Majority of Irish SME exporters expect upturn in sales this year

AIB’s exports outlook report reflects upbeat attitude of Irish firms exporting to US and EU


The majority of Irish SME exporters expect sales to improve this year, according to a report commissioned by AIB.

With exports accounting for almost 40 per cent of total SME turnover last year, the bank’s exports outlook report, produced in association with the Irish Exporters Association and Bord Bia, found 65 per cent of firms expected improved sales this year, while 30 per cent plan to export to new markets.

Among these companies, the US is cited as the top destination (27 per cent), followed by Germany (16 per cent) and France (13 per cent).

Almost 40pc of the SMEs say that staff levels will increase, while close to two in three expect an increase in turnover this year.

AIB’s head of business banking Ken Burke said the research clearly demonstrates the potential for major export growth amongst SMEs.

Chief executive of the Irish Exporters Association Simon McKeever said: “Exporting is the lifeblood of the Irish economy driving growth, innovation and employment. Our own data supports some of the findings of this report showing that a strong majority of exporters expect further growth in exports this year and that they are continuing to target new markets and develop new products and services as a result.

AIB also announced today the establishment of a specialist nationwide team to assist SME exporters as well as a €200 million fund to support exporting companies.

The fund will support the provision of multiple export finance products including working capital and loan finance for Irish exporters