O’Neills profits rise amid strong warning over Brexit

The directors of one of the best-known sporting brands here, O’Neills, have warned that Brexit and its associated uncertainty is a considerable risk to the company’s outlook.

O’Neills profits rise amid strong warning over Brexit

O’Neills has substantial operations across Ireland and its new accounts filed for its units in the Republic and the North show the company posted a combined pre-tax profit of €1.74m last year.

Revenues and profits increased as retail spending picked up.

O’Neills Irish International Sports Ltd — the group’s main entity in the North — posted a 53% increase in pre-tax profit to £946,455 (€1.09m), as sales increased by 17% to £31.48m.

Staff numbers employed by the Strabane-based company increased by 39 to 426. A new warehouse has been built in Strabane.

“Although the growth in the UK and worldwide economies strengthened in 2015, the impending exit of the UK from the EU and the associated uncertainty is a considerable risk to further development,” the directors warn.

“The company aims to remain competitive in the market by reviewing component costs, pricing and profit profile.”

The directors make a similar warning in the accounts of its southern unit, Balbriggan Textiles Ltd, where they say the group is well positioned to manage Brexit.

Balbriggan Textiles employed 169 staff at the end of last year. Its pre-tax profits increased by 33% to €680,284.

O’Neills Irish International Sports Company had accumulated profits of £7.79m last year, and its cash pile increased more than three-fold to £788,806. Staff costs at the firm last year increased from £7.8m to £8.64m, while directors’ pay totalled £146,315.

The balance sheet at Balbriggan Textiles is even more robust, showing accumulated profits of €15.4m, and a cash pile that has more than doubled to €5.7m.

The profit takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €157,074. Staff costs at the Co Dublin firm increased from €5m to €5.28m.

“Operating profit increased during the year due to a general increase in retail sales attributed to improved consumer spending as the confidence returns to the UK and worldwide economies,” the directors say.

O’Neills was established in 1918 on Dublin’s Capel St by Charles O’Neill. Its jerseys are worn every year by top GAA stars, including Tyrone’s Seán Cavanagh and Donegal’s Michael Murphy. O’Neills also increased its overseas business.

With GAA games played in 30 countries, O’Neills gear is worn by clubs, including Orang Éire in Malaysia and Fort McMurray Shamrocks in Canada.

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