FDI investment up 11 per cent


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 the IDA Ireland shows that despise a 30 per cent global decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2009, Ireland continued to attract companies with the level of FDI falling by just 4 per cent when compared to the previous year.

Overall there were 125 new investments from multinationals this year, resulting in the creation of 4,500 new jobs.

However, net employment within IDA-supported companies fell by 10 per cent or 13,400 or 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 added.

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 Success Factors.

In addition, a number of other companies including HP, McAfee, Trend Micro, Merck, Facebook, Abbot and Gilead expanded their operations here in Ireland this year.

“Ireland’s relative position as a leading international location for value intensive FDI remained strong in 2009 despite challenging economic circumstances, with IDA securing 125 investments. Almost 70 per cent of these were from existing IDA clients further investing in Ireland and reinforcing Ireland’s reputation as a key strategic global business hub," said Mr O'Leary.

In such turbulent economic times it is extremely significant that many of the world’s leading companies continued to invest in Ireland in a wide array of activities including high end manufacturing, global services and Research, Development & Innovation (RD&I)," he added.

The number of investments in RD&I rose 10 per cent compared to 2008, the latest figures show and RD&I investments accounted for 49 per cent of all investments secured during the year.

Overall, the level of RD&I investments was in excess of €500m; 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 €19.1billion in direct expenditure within the Irish economy during the year