Chamber sees signs of recovery


SOME TENTATIVE shoots of economic recovery were evident in the first quarter of 2012, according to a survey of members by the Ireland-France Chamber of Commerce.

The survey found that 45 per cent of the 150 members polled experienced increased business activity in the first quarter while 37 per cent said activity levels were the same. Just more than one in three reported increased revenues in the period while 29 per cent of the businesses increased staff numbers.

Not surprisingly, the chambers members said a Yes vote in the upcoming fiscal treaty referendum was essential for Ireland’s economic recovery. Eighty-four per cent said it was important for Ireland to vote yes with just 4 per cent advocating rejection. The balance were don’t knows.

Business outlook remains positive for this quarter, with 57 per cent expecting revenues to increase and just 12 per cent forecasting a decrease in revenue. Just under half of the respondents plan to recruit extra staff in the quarter.

Of those polled, 39 per cent experienced an increase in new business from abroad in the first quarter. Fifty one per cent expect the Irish economy to recover within the next two years.

Those surveyed ranged from small and medium sized enterprises to large multinationals, across the financial, IT, manufacturing, retail, healthcare/pharma, and professional services sectors.

Most of the chamber’s members are based in the Dublin region, with 38 per cent employing more than 100 staff. Members include Air France KLM, BNP Paribas, O’Callaghan Hotels, Renault Ireland, Sanofi-Aventis, Veolia Environment and Smurfit Kappa.