GLOBAL EXPANSION?St Patrick’s Day launch of Portwest’s new distribution centre and sales office in Louisville, Kentucky. Pictured from left: Bullitt County Judge, Melanie Roberts; Bullitt County Economic Development Director, John Snider; Shepherdsville Mayor, Scott Ellis; Chairman of The Hughes Group Ltd, Cathal Hughes; Kentucky Governor Stephen Beshear; Managing Director of Portwest Ltd, Harry Hughes and Mrs Deirdre Hughes; and Marketing Manager, Richard Jones.
50 new jobs for graduates announced for Portwest’s Westport base
Global expansion planned for company
A MAJOR global expansion programme means that Westport company, Portwest Ltd will create 50 new jobs for graduates at its home base in Co Mayo and will have sales personnel in every country in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe within three years.
Run by brothers, Cathal, Harry and Owen Hughes – members of a cross-generational business dynasty from the County Mayo town – the 50 new jobs for graduates in the product development, marketing and financial departments at its Irish headquarters in Westport, will support the global expansion.
Portwest, which designs and manufactures high-quality work-wear, already employs 800 people at its factory in Bangladesh and plans to increase that to 2,000 by 2016. It also has long-established partnerships with manufacturing companies in China, which employ over 4,000 people.
Earlier this year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny launched a new Portwest sales office and warehouse in Dubai, while on St Patrick’s Day, the Governor of Kentucky, Mr Steve Beshear, officially launched the company’s new distribution centre and sales office in the US.
“In the last five years we have spread our brand across Europe and are now in the process of globalising it. These are great developments for Portwest and all our staff here in Westport and around the world. We are now one of the top five work-wear companies in Europe and that is due to the wonderful work commitment of our staff,” said Harry Hughes, Managing Director.
Companies Office figures show Portwest Ltd has an annual turnover of €80 million. Harry Hughes confirmed the company has had an annual growth rate of 30 per cent over the last five years, with international warehouses in the UK, Poland, Dubai, as well as the recently opened one in Kentucky. Portwest also has six international sales offices and showrooms in the UK, France, Germany, Poland, the United Arab Emirates and the USA and customer support staff in 84 countries.
Harry Hughes said: “The company’s success is due to its long legacy of making quality products, at competitive prices with large stocks ensuring a rapid service. We also have a fantastic team who have built up their many world-class skills over the years. These factors have facilitated our rapid growth over a relatively short-period.”
During the St Patrick’s Day launch in Louisville, the Governor of Kentucky, Mr Steve Beshear said: “I can’t think of any better way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day than by welcoming an Irish company to the Commonwealth [of Kentucky], I’m very excited Portwest chose Kentucky as its entry way into the US market. This is yet another great example of the Commonwealth being at the forefront of international commerce.”
Portwest specialises in the design and production of flame-resistant and high-visibility work-wear, rainwear, protective footwear, hand protection and personal protective equipment.
The company serves numerous industry sectors including, oil and gas, mining and cement, service and hospitality industries, public and private sectors, transport and utilities, leisure wear and corporate, government, law enforcement and security and many more industries.
Chairman of the Hughes Group, Mr Cathal Hughes said: “I wish to compliment all our staff for growing the Portwest business during the recession and their continued commitment to the company and the brand. We have sales people in every country in Europe and this latest expansion will strengthen the company and improve our customer service.”
Portwest Ltd is one of the many companies founded by the Hughes family, which have been involved in the commercial life of the heritage town and tourism haven for over a century.