Tuesday 20 March 2018

Punch shareholders paid €8m in dividends


Donal O'Donovan

THE Irish company that created 'colour catchers' for washing machines paid its shareholders €8m in dividends last year.

Accounts just filed with the Companies Office show Cork-based Punch Industries remains one of Ireland's manufacturing successes, more than 150 years after the business was founded.

Accounts just filed show that the creator of 'colour catchers', which is also a long established boot-polish maker, saw pre-tax profits hold steady at €9.5m last year.

Employee Pat McNamee invented the colour catcher at the company's laboratory in 1993 and it is now a global seller.

The Irish company was family owned until 2006 when it was sold to Paris-based Spotless Group. Spotless was owned by Axa Private Equity until it was sold to BC Partners last year.

The Irish unit paid €8.2m in dividends last year to shareholders, including its French majority owner. It means it sent almost all of its after-tax profits abroad, though management, including Irish-based director Gerard Lawlor, have shares in Spotless Group. Last year an exceptional staff bonus of €465,000 was paid as a result of the change in corporate ownership. In the year to the end of 2006, when it was sold by the Punch family, the company recorded losses of €9m.

Sales at Punch Industries were €49.8m in 2010, up from €47m the year before, with profits almost unchanged. Sales hit a high of €53m back in 2008.

The Irish unit has proved a cash cow since being taken over by Spotless, consistently paying substantial dividends.

Shareholders took a €10m payment in 2008 and €13m in 2009, even before the €8.2m paid out last year.

Irish Independent

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