Profits increase at O’Neills despite condensed All-Ireland series impact
Pre-tax profits at the main firm behind the O’Neills sports brand here last year increased by 46% to €1.9m despite the impact of the shortened GAA All-Ireland series and increased energy and freight costs.
New accounts filed by Balbriggan Textiles Ltd show that the O’Neill firm achieved the increase in pre-tax profits as the company’s gross profit grew by 12.5% from €11.76m to €13.25m.
Finance Director with O’Neills, Paul Towell, said that the sales of GAA replica jerseys are down again this year due to the condensed GAA All-Ireland series resulting in the firm further expanding into markets overseas.
He confirmed that O’Neills is going to open its first retail outlet in France next year with a new store at Pau in the south of France in addition to the 10 outlets in Northern Ireland and four in the Republic.
Sales of replica GAA county jerseys were down 16% last year and Mr Towell said that sales of GAA county jerseys are down another 5% in 2023.
Mr Towell said: “The shortened season is disappointing but we are adapting.”
The O’Neills CFO said that Dublin, Limerick and Kerry GAA replica jerseys were the best sellers this year in Ireland but he said that the company’s best-selling replica jersey is the Australian rugby league team, the Penrith Panthers.
Mr Towell said that with the All-Ireland hurling and football finals taking place in late July or early August, “you sell very little replica jerseys until Christmas”.
He said: “We now have to chase markets overseas as we employ 1,060 here and you have to provide production for the workers in manufacturing. You can’t turn production on and off like a tap.”
Mr Towell said that 2022 was a difficult year due to increased energy and freight costs. He said:
He said that business is up in 2023 on 2022 while energy and freight costs have reduced. Balbriggan Textiles employs 135 and staff costs totalled €5.56m. At the end of December last, shareholder funds came to €23.85m. Cash funds totalled €5m.
Separate accounts for the Northern Ireland-based O’Neill’s Irish International Sports Co Ltd show that pre-tax almost doubled from £993,026 to £1.76m (€2m) as gross profits climbed 30% from £9.72m to £12.3m.
Numbers employed went from 720 to 760 as staff costs rose from £14.55m to £17.43m. Shareholder funds totalled £15.43m which included cash funds of £3.3m. The company recorded a post-tax profit of £1.6m after paying corporation tax of £111,966.
The directors state that during the year, the company opened a new superstore at Omagh as part of the retail expansion in Northern Ireland. The directors add that while Brexit risk has been reduced, there still remains ongoing uncertainty for businesses operating in Northern Ireland as issues remain over the protocol.