Military uniform maker Cooneen takes a hit on profits

Cooneen's stand at the Eurosatory Paris exhibition earlier this summer
Gary McDonald Business Editor

TYRONE textiles firm Cooneen By Design, a major supplier of uniform clothing to police and military around the world, has seen its bottom-line profits halved in the last trading year after sales fell back by more than £14 million.

Figures filed at Companies House reveal that the group, part-owned by millionaire industrialist John B McGuckian, made a profit after tax of £2,144,017 in 2017 compared to £4,890,471 the year before.

It came on a greatly reduced turnover of £59.7 million (down from £73.7m in 2016) in what the directors described as "very competitive market conditions".

But despite those trading numbers the Fivemiletown company - whose range of non-military wear includes Peppa Pig children's pyjamas - still increased its net assets from £60.3m to £62.4m.

Cooneen by Design (formerly-Cooneen Textiles) is part of the Cooneen Group, whose subsidiaries include Hawk Holdings in the USA, a supplier of specialist armour wear. Its clients include the US Army, for whom it provides bullet-proof vests.

The company, which has a 50-year history in the clothing industry in Northern Ireland, is regarded as one of the largest and most diversified garment manufacturers in Europe, operating in a range of clothing markets globally.

According its accounts, the firm employs an average of 150 staff directly, and the group's total wages bill for 2017 was just over £5.6m.

Its key directors were paid a total of £563,384, with the highest paid earning £248,717.

The accounts also show the company paid £505,528 in corporation tax during the course of the year - less than half of the 2016 figure of £1,285,485.

Cooneen makes a range of heavy duty garments for use in the work place, including millions of items of clothing for military personnel across the world.

Other products include ballistic resistant body armour, shields and helmets for law enforcement agencies and emergency services.

It has become the leading supplier of character-based children's pyjamas, featuring the likes of Peppa Pig and Scooby Doo, for retailers across the UK, and it also supplies into Europe.

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