Keohanes will ‘fly the flag’ for West Cork at awards

February 6th, 2020 11:56 AM

By Southern Star Team

Colman, Mike and Brian Keohane and their factory, right, at Gherhies, Bantry.

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BANTRY’S Keohane Seafoods will be flying the flag for West Cork at an awards lunch ceremony in County Hall next Friday (February 7th).

The firm, founded in 2010 by Mike, Colman and Brian Keohane, will be one of three businesses vying to win Cork County Council’s inaugural Cork County Business of the Year award.

The other two businesses hoping to take home the overall title are Castlemartyr Resort & Spa in East Cork and Health & Safety Publications, representing North Cork.

Built on 40 years of experience in the seafood industry, Keohanes were able to reopen the Gherhies factory in Bantry in 2015 and bring a large scale seafood business back to the area, creating 130 jobs.

Keohane’s specialise in salmon and white fish value-added products for the retail market and have built up a client base in Ireland and overseas through a combination of their ‘state-of-the-art’ processing facilities, a passion for their products and unrivalled customer service.

This ethos has seen the business grow at an average of around 30% pa with turnover last year exceeding €40m and the Gherhies factory is Ireland’s largest salmon processing site, with a capacity to process over 10,000 fish per day.

In 2019 they landed another major high street Irish retail client, meaning that for the first time they supplied four of the five main retailers in Ireland (SuperValu, Lidl, Dunnes and Centra) as well as supplying brands like Tesco and Iceland in the UK.

In addition, around 20% of their revenue is now from exports, with their newest market being Germany which the company views, along with the US, as key to driving export sales over the next few years.

The company had the vision to invest in a facility that was significantly larger than what their requirements were in 2015, meaning they were able to offer significant economies of scale to existing customers, and quickly attract new ones, foreign and domestic.

When they started the business, the Keohanes were in a small production facility with nine staff. Today over 200 people are employed across the two sites in Cork and Bantry, with a wide range of employment opportunities – from engineers to food scientists, general operatives to finance managers and marketeers.

When asked what it would mean to win the overall Cork County Business of the Year award, managing director Colman Keohane said that being able to live and work where you’re from means a huge amount to the owners and employees alike. ‘We have short commutes and a good work/life balance, all in a stunning setting. For this to be recognised by winning the overall award would further help build our brand as an employer, helping us recruit talent, and for our employees it would be further recognition of the fantastic work they do.

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