Monday 18 February 2019

The son of a garda, aeronautical and mechanical engineering graduate Martin Naughton (79), who was born in Dublin but grew up in Co Louth, is one of Ireland's most successful industrialists.

He founded radiator business Glen Electric in 1973, which later bought out UK rival Dimplex, which was about eight times its size. Glen Dimplex now has operations on both sides of the Border here, employs over 5,000 people, and its success has made Naughton a billionaire. Its best-known appliance brand is perhaps Morphy Richards.

He stepped down as president of the company in 2016, and son Fergal is now CEO of the business, while family members Neil and Fiona also work there. A change in how and where the company files accounts has brought new information on its finances to light. Accounts for Glen Dimplex Europe Holdings, which is now registered in this country - but has an Isle of Man parent firm - reveal that it had a turnover of €990m for 2017, with a pre-tax profit of €37.8m. The firm had net assets of €436.5m, which included €302m of cash, and paid out €13m in dividends that year.

Last year, Naughton was honoured with the Oslo Business for Peace prize, for his efforts promoting the role of the private sector in contributing to peace and environmental sustainability. Among the previous honourees are Richard Branson and Elon Musk.

He is also one of the country's leading philanthropists, supporting the arts through the Royal Irish Academy and the National Gallery of Ireland. He also supports education institutes and scholarship schemes on both sides of the border. Last May, through his Naughton Foundation, he and his wife Carmel donated €25m towards a new €60m E3 institute in energy, engineering and environment at Trinity College, where the Naughton Institute building is named after him.

He and fellow former Glen Dimplex executive Lochlann Quinn own Dublin's Merrion Hotel, and they also made money from property investments in the IFSC in the capital, which sold for about €90m.

Naughton is restoring a gate lodge at Kylemore Abbey in Co Galway, and lives on a 200-acre estate near Slane. Over the years, he's made investments in wind energy, water coolers and telecoms. He will have had a windfall from investing in Eddie O'Connor's Airtricity.

Online Editors

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