Saturday 23 September 2017

McCoy brother aims to facilitate Irish links with Iran

Enterprise Ireland is understood to be keen to prioritise trade with the country, but not until Irish companies can safely receive payments for orders
Enterprise Ireland is understood to be keen to prioritise trade with the country, but not until Irish companies can safely receive payments for orders

John Reynolds

A brother of RTE Dragons' Den investor Chanelle McCoy is launching a payment solution company to facilitate lucrative trade with Iran for Irish companies and other international businesses.

Michael Burke Jr, who is based in Dubai and has two successful existing companies there, says there is the potential to make trade easier with other post-war or post-sanction countries such as Sudan, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan in the future as well.

Though the United States lifted trade sanctions with Iran last year, Irish banks do not facilitate transactions with the country, which remains on an international banking blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force.

It advises its members to apply "enhanced due diligence to business relationships and transactions with people from Iran".

Enterprise Ireland is understood to be keen to prioritise trade with the country, but not until Irish companies can safely receive payments for orders.

There is a significant pent-up demand for trade, with up to 60 Irish firms in sectors such as software, technology, meat and dairy foods and milk powder believed to be eyeing its potential, said Burke, whose wife is Iranian.

"Ireland could probably do about €800m in plane leasing alone, with another €1bn of trade from SMEs. I see potential for up to €30bn of private trade with Iran a year over the next decade, and Irish exporters are well-placed to win a piece of that.

"At the moment New Zealand is exporting its lamb there, after a clear strategy to win the business. Companies from Germany, Italy and Switzerland are also exporting to there," Burke said.

"The biggest constraint at the moment for Irish companies to trade with Iran is the lack of even an indirect means of accepting compliant trade receipts, such as through an intermediary bank."

Burke's firm, Outsourced Service Solutions (OSS) aims to handle €100m in payments, catering for up to 60 clients over the next two years, generating about €3m in net revenues. All of its business is conducted outside of Dubai due to political sensitivities, and it has offices in Armenia and Tehran, with plans to open others in London and Dublin.

Sunday Indo Business

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