Newry-based business of Glen Dimplex reports pre-tax profit of £126.5m, as Portadown workers prepare for strike ballot

Huge profit understood to be driven by sale of Morphy Richards brand to Chinese group Donlim

The Glen Dimplex heating and ventilation operation in Portadown and (inset), the company's founder Martin Naughton.
The Glen Dimplex heating and ventilation operation in Portadown and (inset), the company's founder Martin Naughton.

The Northern Ireland business of electrical and heating group Glen Dimplex has reported a pre-tax profit of £126.5 million, just days before Portadown workers will vote on potential strike action over of the planned closure of the town’s manufacturing base.

The Newry-founded global domestic appliance group, owned by the Louth-based Naughton family, announced plans to shut its Portadown heating and ventilation operation in February with around 200 jobs expected to be lost over the next two years.

The work is set to be transferred to manufacturing sites in Lithuania and in Newry, where Glen Dimplex said it will invest around £20m in building up its heat pump business.

The group is undergoing a significant restructuring of its island-wide operations, which is reflected in the latest accounts for its Newry registered business, Glen Electric Limited.

According to the report filed with Companies House, turnover fell by 1.9% to £746.9m for the year ended September 30 2023, with the group reporting good momentum for its heating and ventilation and precision cooling divisions in EU markets.

It said the growth was partly offset by weak economic activity in the UK.

Despite the falling revenues, Glen Electric said its profit for the year (before tax and group restructuring) amounted to £126.5m, which included profit made on asset disposals. That compared to £27m in 2022.

It’s understood the significant increase in profit was derived from the sale of its Morphy Richards home appliances brand to the Chinese Group Donlim, also known as the Guangdong Xinbao Electric Co Ltd.

The Irish Times reported Glen Dimplex made $198m from the sale to its long-term business partner in China.

When profit from the disposal of assets is stripped out, Glen Electric still reported a strong year, with underlying operating profit rising from £1.3m in 2022 to £15m for the 12 months ending September 30 2023.

The publication of the accounts comes just days before Unite plans to ballot its members at Glen Dimplex in Portadown on potential strike action.

The ballot will open from July 15 to August 8, with the union warning industrial action could take place before the end of the summer.

Speaking at a rally in Portadown on June 28, Unite’s regional secretary Susan Fitzgerald hit out at the company and its founder, Martin Naughton.

Mr Naughton and his family were recently placed second by The Sunday Times in its list of Northern Ireland’s richest families, with their wealth estimated at around £850m.

But the company has maintained its pivot to heat pumps is about future proofing its business.

In the report, the directors said: “The period under review saw strong progress being made in our business transformation and key strategic initiatives, which supports global trends in electrification of heat and ventilation and the building of a long-term sustainable business to better serve our customer and the communities in which we operate.”

The accounts for Glen Electric Ltd show it has continued to invest heavily in research and development, with £50m spent over the past two years, including £24m in the latest year.