Business Irish

Saturday 25 March 2017

Buffett's Fruit of the Loom back to profit

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett

Gordon Deegan

The Irish-based and Warren Buffett-owned Fruit of the Loom returned to profit last year.

New accounts filed by Dublin-registered FOL International - which represents Fruit of the Loom's European operations - show that the firm recorded a pre-tax profit last year of €15.9m, after a pre-tax loss of €6.7m in 2013.

The accounts show the profit occurred in spite of the company incurring restructuring costs of €2.4m. Last year's restructuring - initiated in 2013 - comes a decade after the company announced that it would shut two factories with the loss of 650 jobs in Donegal and Derry before the end of 2009.

At its peak, the US-owned clothing manufacturer employed 3,500 people in six plants in the island of Ireland. The company today retains a small operation at Buncrana, in Co Donegal.

According to the directors' report, the swing to profit resulted from a strategic review initiated in 2013, which led to a focus on the core profitable areas of the business.

The directors said that other key factors included lower product costs, an improving product mix and continual review of ongoing processes throughout the business. The group's intention is to improve its understanding of customer needs and continue to develop its flexibility, they added.

Irish Independent

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