Irish corporate tax rate of 20 per cent would not prompt multinational exodus, says pharma chief

Helsinn chief executive Ricardo Braglia says overseas investors would pay 15-20 per cent

Helsinn chief executive Ricardo Braglia: “I think 20 per cent could be a good rate, comparable to what we pay in Switzerland, which is 20 to 22 per cent. Probably there is a margin to move there from 12.5 to 15 per cent or maximum 20 per cent.” Photograph: Ken Lennox

Helsinn chief executive Ricardo Braglia: “I think 20 per cent could be a good rate, comparable to what we pay in Switzerland, which is 20 to 22 per cent. Probably there is a margin to move there from 12.5 to 15 per cent or maximum 20 per cent.” Photograph: Ken Lennox

 

Increasing Ireland’s corporate tax rate to about 20 per cent would probably not result in an exodus of overseas multinational investors, according to the chief executive of Swiss pharma group Helsinn, which employs 180 staff in Dublin.

Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monaco, Ricardo Braglia said: “If it goes up to maybe 20 per cent that will not affect us substantially because we would not move away from the investment for that increase. If it were to go to 35 or 40 per cent, as it is in other countries, that would definitely impact . . . especially for new investments.

“I think 20 per cent could be a good rate, comparable to what we pay in Switzerland, which is 20 to 22 per cent. Probably there is a margin to move there from 12.5 to 15 per cent or maximum 20 per cent. I don’t think nobody will move for two, three or four per cent [more].”

Recent controversy
Mr Braglia’s comments come in the wake of recent controversy over how certain multinationals pay little or no corporate tax here.

Helsinn manufactures products that help to minimise the side-effects of cancer treatments and improve the quality of life for patients.

It set up in Ireland in 1990 through the acquisition of local pharma company Birex and employs 180 staff at a plant in Mulhuddart that is involved in manufacturing, logistics, and research and development.

The Dublin plant handles about two-thirds of Helsinn’s $340 million annual revenues and serves the US market for the Swiss company, which has its headquarters in Lugano.

“A good thing for us is the strong relationship between Ireland and the US, which is 50 per cent of our turnover.”

Mr Braglia said it recently completed a €5 million refurbishment of its Dublin offices and staff facilities and is considering new production and R&D activities there.

The company is supported by the IDA, which Mr Braglia said was “probably the best development agency I ever met in my life”.

He is one of 49 entrepreneurs from 47 countries bidding to become E&Y World Entrepreneur of the Year.

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony tonight.