Ireland has become the jurisdiction of choice for high value investments in hi-tech manufacturing plants, research and development projects and financial services according to the Irish government’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA Ireland) as it marked an “outstanding” year for growth and new investments in 2006.
“Ireland is now seeking and winning high value investments, that add to our innovation and support regional development; 2006 was a very good year for these investments and we are well set for 2007” said Sean Dorgan, Chief Executive of IDA Ireland, launching the Agency’s end of year review on Tuesday.
“The quality of investments from global companies into Ireland is of the highest standard, reflecting the remarkable evolution of the business ecosystem in Ireland as international competition and Irish economic conditions have changed,” he added. “Investments in the past year, such as those by Amgen and in R&D by Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo and Georgia Tech, are clear evidence of this evolution.”
“There has been a rapid transformation in what Ireland offers international investors since the year 2000, which was the last year of volume-based growth; now our growth is quality-based. Then we measured job numbers, now we seek job value. In the past we were concerned to add jobs, because employment numbers mattered. Now, while we still add jobs (gaining a net 3,800 jobs in 2006 in IDA supported companies), it is the impact of creating new areas of opportunity and of raising living standards that drives us. As a result, today’s jobs tend to be more satisfying and better paid.”
Some of the highlights of IDA’s activities during 2006 include:
- 71 new business projects were negotiated with new and existing clients which involve a total investment of EUR2.6bn over the coming years.
- Investment in research & development continues to increase. 54 R&D investment projects were supported by IDA Ireland in 2006 involving a total investment of almost EUR470m. The corresponding values were EUR140m and EUR260m in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
- Reflecting IDA’s strategy of balanced regional development, 89 new investment projects (including 46 R&D investments) occurred outside of Dublin.
- IDA supported companies spent almost EUR15bn in the Irish economy in 2006 from their annual sales of EUR77bn and paid over EUR2.8bn in corporation tax.
- Over 50% of jobs in new IDA supported projects in 2006 have wage & salary levels in excess of EUR40,000 per annum.
- Employment in IDA supported companies increasing by 3,795 in 2006, bringing total employment to 135,487.
In biopharmaceuticals Amgen and Eli Lilly have joined Schering Plough, Wyeth, Genzyme and Centocor in making Ireland the location of choice outside the US for development and manufacture of the newest drugs.
Ireland has also attracted several big names in the digital media, with Amazon in Cork and Dublin, and Google in Dublin growing rapidly, along with other leaders such as eBay / Paypal and Yahoo. Meanwhile, the IT sector saw new investments from Cisco, IBM, Netgear, Sandisk and Trend Micro, amongst others.
The financial services sector also continues to thrive and saw new investments from Citco (Cork), Northern Trust (in Limerick) and Vesta (Dundalk).
“The performance of IDA over the past seven years generally mirrors the strong national economic performance under the current National Development Plan. As a new NDP is launched in 2007, it is imperative that we continue to invest strongly in infrastructure, and actively encourage knowledge-driven activities,” noted Dorgan.
Looking ahead to 2007, Dorgan forecast another strong year of investment growth in Ireland.
“The very strong investment achievements of 2006 combined with the ongoing collaborative national efforts to continue the transformation of Ireland into an ever more advanced knowledge economy, gives us great confidence in our ability to win exciting new investment projects in 2007,” he said.
“We have a good pipeline of potential investments and we are optimistic of winning quality new investments from new and existing clients for locations across Ireland,” he concluded.