Border; Midland and Western; Midland
Location of affected unit(s)
Manufacture Of Material For Textiles, Apparel, Leather And Related Products
Manufacture Of Textiles
13 - Manufacture of textiles

116 jobs
Number of planned job losses
Job loss
Announcement Date
3 December 2003
Employment effect (start)
Foreseen end date
1 March 2004


Tennis-ball manufacturer Penn Racquet Sports plans to close its Irish factory in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, with 116 job losses. At its height, the plant produced 80,000 tennis balls a day.

Production will transfer to a sister facility in Phoenix, Arizona, US, by March 2004, which is likely to have been motivated by a desire to protect American jobs. With the US government pressurising manufacturers to safeguard domestic jobs, Penn Ireland may be a victim of its parent's determination to protect operations in Phoenix.

In a statement Penn, which opened in Mullingar in 1974, blamed the closure on a slump in tennis ball sales and competition from cheaper Far East rivals.

The plants prospects have been grim following the closure in March of its main supplier, Kilkenny-based Textech. Since then, raw materials have been sourced at much greater expense from Maine in the US.


  • 4 December 2003: The Irish Times


Eurofound (2003), Penn Racquet Sports, Closure in Ireland, factsheet number 59176, European Restructuring Monitor. Dublin, https://restructuringeventsprod.azurewebsites.net/restructuring-events/detail/59176.