Rise in new firms investing in Ireland

Tue, Dec 22, 2009, 00:00

THE NUMBER of companies investing in Ireland for the first time rose by 11 per cent this year despite the economic downturn.

New figures from IDA Ireland show that, despite a 30 per cent global decline in foreign direct investment in 2009, Ireland continued to outperform in attracting companies, with the level of foreign direct investment falling by just 4 per cent compared to the previous year.

Overall, there were 125 new investments by multinationals this year, resulting in the creation of 4,500 jobs. However, net employment within IDA-supported companies fell by 10 per cent, or 13,400, during 2009.

“These losses should be viewed in the context of 183,000 less people in employment in the Irish economy in the past year,” said IDA Ireland chief executive Barry O’Leary.

“It is also noteworthy that 82 per cent of job losses were as a result of downsizing, not closures.”

He said Ireland’s “relative position as a leading international location” for value-intensive foreign direct investment “remained strong . . . despite challenging economic circumstances”.

Among the companies choosing to invest in Ireland for the first time in 2009 were Bentley Systems, Maxim Integrated Products, Big Fish Games, Lumension Security, Vattenfall, Hovione, Everest Reinsurance, Gerson Lehrman, Buy.com and SuccessFactors.

In addition, a number of companies expanded their operations in Ireland this year. These included HP, McAfee, Trend Micro, Merck, Facebook, Abbott and Gilead.

Investment in research, development and innovation (RDI) rose 10 per cent compared to 2008, the figures show. RDI investments accounted for 49 per cent of all investments secured during the year.

Overall, the level of RDI investment was in excess of €500 million, with IBM, Boston Scientific, Citi, Intel, Pfizer, Helsinn, HP, PayPal, Colgate-Palmolive, Alps Electric and Sita among the companies to invest.

IDA-supported companies directly employed 136,000 people and accounted for €110 billion, or 70 per cent, of total exports in 2009.

According to the IDA, client companies were responsible for €19.1 billion in direct expenditure within the Irish economy during the year.

The IDA is in the process of completing a strategic review of its business. It intends to publish a Strategy 2020 during the first quarter of 2010.