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Thomas Pink founder makes another fortune -- from wellies

Dubliner Peter Mullen, who made a fortune when selling his Thomas Pink shirt business for €75m a decade ago, has landed a second major payday from green wellies.

The Irish businessman was part of a consortium that paid €2.5m to rescue posh Scottish wellington boot firm Hunter out of administration in 2006. Searchlight Capital Partners, a US private equity firm, has bought a majority stake in the company in a deal which values Hunter at over €120m. Mullen owned around 18.2 per cent of the business. He is to remain as the company chairman and will retain a "significant" stake.

Mullen helped oversee an extraordinary turnaround at the wellington boot maker, which is a supplier of wellies to Queen Elizabeth. The company traded on its "posh" image while repositioning itself as an uber trendy brand worn by the likes of Kate Moss and Madonna. Prices were hiked and new colours -- other than green-- were introduced. The gambit worked and in less than five years, the Mullen-chaired firm turned a €350,000 loss into profits of €19m last year. Sales mushroomed from under €5m to about €60m as fashonistas fell in love with the rubber boots . . . especially when trudging through mud at Glastonbury and other festivals.

Mullen and his brother set up the Thomas Pink shirt making firm in 1984, selling 70 per cent of the business to LMVH in 1999 for around €48m and the remaining 30 per cent in 2003.

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