Angry Birds firm considers migrating south to Ireland


THE FINNISH company that created the hugely successful Angry Birds mobile phone game is considering moving its headquarters to Ireland, chief executive Mikael Hed has said.

The mobile phone game has been downloaded by more than a billion users around the world and its owner, the Rovio group, is developing a broad-based entertainment business on the income from the brand.

The British prime minister, David Cameron, is among the people known to be regular players of the game.

Rovio’s turnover grew to €75 million last year from €10 million the previous year, and less than €1 million the year prior to that.

“This year looks very good too,” the Rovio chief executive and one of its founders, Mr Hed, told The Irish Times.

The company’s profits before tax and other charges was more than 60 per cent of its income, he said.

Rovio employs approximately 400 people, mostly in Finland, but Rovio is in contact with IDA Ireland about establishing headquarters here.

“The Irish authorities have been very active and we have been promoting that. We are considering it,” Mr Hed said, speaking in Monaco, where he is a contestant in the Ernst & Young International Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

“It is something that we need to look at. For now we have stayed in Finland. But it is on top of our minds.”

He said that if the decision was made to move to Ireland, the company would then decide exactly what elements of its operations would move. “If we did make that decision then it would be a natural thing to do to have some production [in Ireland] also.”

The corporation tax rate in Finland is 24.5 per cent, while Ireland’s rate is 12.5 per cent. Most of the world’s fast-growing technology companies, such as Google and Facebook, have set up European headquarter operations in Dublin so as to benefit from Ireland’s low corporation tax rate.

The Angry Birds game has been one of the world’s top 10 downloaded apps since February 2010.

Mr Hed said the company has now branched out onto other platforms, and has moved into animation, merchandising, books and other areas of the entertainment business.

“We have an aspiration to have an Angry Birds film made, but we don’t have anything to announce,” he said when asked about the matter.