IDA Ireland (IDA), the body tasked with promoting foreign investment, has said that ‘Ireland has won a strong share of global investment for Dublin and regional locations in the first half of 2015, despite intense international competition and economic uncertainty in Europe.’
IDA said major global brands continued to express confidence in Ireland as a business-friendly location and were placing large scale capital investments into locations across the country.
In the first half of the year, IDA approved 110 investment projects, which will lead to creation of 9,000 direct jobs this year and over future years as the companies gradually roll out their investment plans.
This compares to 100 investments at this time last year and 8,000 direct jobs. IDA estimates that for every 10 direct jobs provided by foreign direct investment (FDI), another seven indirect jobs are generated for the Irish economy.
A notable feature of announcements in the first half year were the large number of investments, particularly with a capital investment component, going to locations outside Dublin. Currently, 59% of employment in IDA companies is located outside of Dublin.
Speaking about the trends, IDA Chief Executive Martin Shanahan said: “The first half of the year represented a very strong performance for Ireland from an FDI perspective, particularly when one considers the challenging backdrop in Europe and parts of Asia. It is very satisfying that major global players are voting confidence in the Irish economy, which is set to be the fastest growing in Europe this year, with FDI playing a strong part in that performance.
“Attracting investments into all regions will take time, but based on some of the significant investments we have seen to date – I’m confident that we are progressing in the right direction and I expect that IDA will be in a position to announce several more significant investments in regional locations in the coming months.
“IDA is at the beginning of a new five-year strategy which was launched in February 2015. Central to that strategy is the winning of investments for regional locations. IDA Ireland is taking a number of steps to realise this ambition. We have strengthened our regional management structure; we are working with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and other stakeholders in developing Regional Action Plans for Jobs and we have commenced a programme of property investment in regional locations which have not attracted private sector property investment.”
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said: “Multinational investment is a key part of our Action Plan for Jobs, and in the past four years we have seen a strong performance in this area, with over 25,000 extra direct jobs created by foreign companies here. We have put in place a range of measures to support jobs growth in this area, including an increase in the number of Ministerial trade missions, extra IDA staff overseas, and improved policies in areas like skills, R&D and tax. Today’s very welcome results show that this trend is continuing and accelerating.
“Of particular importance to our jobs strategy is accelerating the rate of job-creating in every region of the country. While unemployment has fallen in every region, and many areas with historically high joblessness are now growing jobs rapidly, some regions are growing faster than others. We are in the process of implementing our regional jobs plans to deliver increased job-creation in every region, and IDA has an important part to play in that. Today’s results confirm that major progress is being made in this area, and that IDA is making major strides towards delivering the ambitious targets for regional job-creation set out in the recent 5-year strategy.”
Almost half of the investments so far this year have come from first time investors to Ireland, with the remainder represented by expansions and transformations by existing companies.
(The full-year performance, including gross and net employment creation levels at IDA client companies will be measured via the Annual Employment Survey, to be released in January 2016).
Among the companies publicly announcing investment plans in Ireland in the first half were:
- Apple making a €850 million investment in Athenry, Galway with 300 jobs in multiple phases
- Alexion Pharmaceuticals making a €450 million investment in its first biologics facility outside the US, in Blanchardstown, west Dublin.
- Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, operating as Vistakon Ireland, investing over €100 million in the expansion of its site at Plassey, Limerick.
- DePuy Synthes of Johnson & Johnson, investing €53 million at a plant in Ringaskiddy expected to bring an additional 80 new jobs to the estimated 800 positions already at site
- Northern Trust expanding its operations and creating 300 new jobs in Limerick
- Facebook planning to construct a new data centre in Clonee, Co Meath.
- Slack of San Francisco opening a European HQ in Dublin creating 100 new roles
- Agora Publishing setting up a multilingual contact centre in Portlaw in Waterford, adding 100 jobs
- Viagogo planning to double its workforce in Limerick, creating 200 roles
- Medical devices company Zimmer investing €51m in Oranmore, Galway creating 250 jobs
- US engineering Company ABEC Inc planning to expand its global operations in Fermoy, creating 100 jobs.
- Zalando setting up an online fashion platform in Dublin creating 200 jobs in Dublin’s Silicon Docks.
IDA also today released a new FDI value proposition for Ireland, which is a key plank of the IDA’s new five year strategy, Winning Foreign Direct Investment 2015-2019, to be used in the marketplace. This value proposition revolves around 9 elements of what Ireland offers international investors: track record, talent, tax, ease of doing business, education, access to Europe, cities and clusters, connected research and cutting edge companies.
A graphic display of the new value proposition is available at: http://www.idaireland.com/en/docs/publications/fdi-value-proposition.png
The IDA’s Annual Report for 2014*, also released today, shows that at the end of 2014 there were 174,488 people working in IDA client companies, a new record for the FDI sector in Ireland. There were 15,012 gross jobs created in 2014
IDA said its pipeline for the second half of the year is promising and Mr Shanahan summed up the prospects for the remainder of the year:
“Strong progress has been made in the first half and we are satisfied with the amount of business wins Ireland has chalked up to date. Clearly there are difficult months ahead in a European context, but investors now see Ireland as a very stable option for making large scale investments and as that message resonates I expect the final year picture to be very encouraging.
All investment projects are hard won. We need to ensure that Ireland‘s pro-business policy environment is continually built upon and that we continue to produce and attract highly skilled professionals.
International competition for investment has never been as tough, and our competitors are making their own offerings more and more attractive on a daily basis. With this in mind, it is absolutely essential that the Government does all in its power to ensure that we remain cost competitive.
The introduction of a new Knowledge Development Box in the forthcoming budget will further support Ireland’s attractive regime for R&D. This, coupled with the clear tax roadmap set out in the last budget, underpinned by a commitment to a stable regime and a competitive rate, will be a key part of Ireland’s offering.