Portwest completes acquisition of second Australian company

Mayo-based family-owned business acquires Huski workwear brand for €10 million

Westport-based speciality clothing company Portwest has completed the acquisition of its second Australian company as it expands its presence in that market.

The family-owned business has acquired Huski, a workwear brand, for €10 million to add to a previous acquisition in the Australian market.

While Huski was acquired in October last year, Portwest couldn’t state the name of the Melbourne-based company due to a non-disclosure agreement.

This acquisition is expected to more than double the Irish company's turnover in Australia and New Zealand to €25 million by 2019, which will represent about 10 per cent of its overall business.


Last year Portwest also acquired Prime Mover Workwear, also based in Melbourne, for €7.5 million.

Huski’s turnover in 2017 was near 10 million Australian dollars (€6.37 million).

"The acquisition of Huski allows Portwest to establish a global network to service our expanding list of global customers," said managing director Harry Hughes, one of three brothers running the company which designs and manufactures personal protective equipment, workwear and outdoor leisurewear. The brand is sold in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Founded in 1904 by Charles Hughes as a small shop in Westport, the firm now employs more than 2,000 people globally.

Portwest financial director, Owen Hughes, noted the company is looking to expand further still in the Australia and New Zealand market. "This [acquisition] marks an exciting new phase of development for Portwest and we look forward to expanding our reach in this area," he said.

The Hughes brothers have grown revenues at the firm from about €200,000 in 1979 to €126.9 million for the 12 months ending February 2017.

Harry Hughes was last October named Irish Times Business Person of the Month, having already won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Last year also saw the brothers acquire the 455-acre Westport House and estate.

The company is firmly in growth mode and in a statement on Thursday said it was “actively seeking acquisition opportunities in the US and European markets”.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business