Sunday 25 September 2016

State bodies rally to tell investors it's business as usual after UK vote

Published 05/07/2016 | 02:30

National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) chief executive Conor O'Kelly. Photo: Frank McGrath
National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) chief executive Conor O'Kelly. Photo: Frank McGrath

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan wrote to the agency's 1,200 client companies in the wake of the Brexit vote to reassure them that Ireland remains an EU and Eurozone member, and will continue to have full access to the Single Market.

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He has also engaged with international media to make it clear to global companies and investors that Ireland is in no way linked with the UK's decision to pull out of the European Union.

The IDA's sister agency, Enterprise Ireland (EI), also contacted its 1,500 client firms after the vote.

It has so far spoken directly with 215 of those to gauge what they are most concerned about and to provide them with information, as Government agencies and departments attempt to deal with the fallout of the result on Ireland's business landscape.

The biggest issue for EI companies - which supports exporting firms - is the impact on sterling, which has weakened since the result.

Read more: Cross-border shopping a growing threat due to sterling's slide - Kantar

As polls closed on the night of the vote last month, €1 was worth 76 pence. Now it's worth around 83 pence.

"Broadly speaking, clients are telling us that it is too early to tell the impact on their export plans, but that exposure to currency volatility is a key concern," a spokesman for Enterprise Ireland has said.

"Many have already treasury management policies in place and are hedged, but for those that aren't we are advising them to seek professional advice."

The agency saw a 300pc increase in traffic to its website in the wake of its communication with companies after the Brexit result.

Enterprise Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor has also asked Enterprise Ireland to ramp up its plans to increase the number of trade missions both within the EU, to include France, Germany and Scandinavia, and to intensify its programme of missions in non-EU markets.

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"I am also initiating a review of the overseas footprint of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, to ensure we are fully prepared to support business in finding new markets and investment," Ms Mitchell O'Connor said, in a response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins.

A senior delegation of Trade and Single Market officials from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation met on Friday in London with UK counterparts.

The meeting was to review developments, and discuss common positions on a number of issues on the EU agenda and bilateral interests.

But the Department said the meeting was not solely about the EU referendum result.

"Issues discussed included implementation of the Commission's EU Single Market Strategy and Digital Single Market initiatives.

"Discussion also covered the EU's key trade files and developments at the World Trade Organisation," a spokeswoman said. Minister Mitchell-O'Connor is due to lead a trade mission to the Farnborough International Airshow in England next week, at which a number of Irish companies will be taking part.

Meanwhile, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) - headed by Conor O'Kelly, inset - said that it has been "discussing the topic of the UK referendum on EU membership since it came on the radar with investors".

"No doubt more time now will be dedicated to the matter in discussions as the shape of arrangements unfold," an NTMA spokesman said.

The spokesman added that there is a regular schedule of meetings with investors throughout the year.

Irish Independent

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