Monday 18 February 2019

€60m Brexit aid boost for pharma, tech and food firms

Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Theresa May during a bilateral meeting in Brussels
Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Theresa May during a bilateral meeting in Brussels

Dearbhail McDonald Group Business Editor

HEALTH services, technology and food companies enjoyed a near-€60m boost from the State this year as the threat of a hard or no-deal Brexit intensifies.

Under the European Commission's State Aid transparency rules, member states are required to publicly notify details of individual aid awards above €500,000.

The IDA, led by Martin Shanahan, paid out more than €42m, with Enterprise Ireland issuing grants of close to €15m, according to the European Commission's State Aid Transparency Award Module.

Smaller grants were issued to a number of companies by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, mostly for investment in agricultural holdings. Pharma giant MSD, which employs around 1,800 across its sites in Ireland, received aid of almost €7m for experimental development, the largest single award. MSD was followed by Optum Services, which received just over €6m for experimental development. Pramerica Systems Ireland, the Letterkenny-based technology company, received €5.25m last March.

The IDA aid to Pramerica was listed as 'regional aid' under a direct grant/interest rate subsidy instrument. Enterprise Ireland also granted significant sums to a host of companies including Aurivo Dairy Ingredients. The co-op received €1.49m for energy-efficient measures.

Food firms, many in border and rural regions, received much of the State Aid granted by Enterprise Ireland, which says many companies are seeking to diversify their market base as Brexit looms. "The big trend we are seeing now is demand for innovation, competitiveness and market development," said Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, the agency responsible for the growth of businesses in global markets.

The IDA says it is "fighting hard to win jobs for Ireland" in a very competitive international environment and says the funding programmes are "vital in assisting IDA Ireland in its role to promote Ireland as a place to locate and expand investments in regions across the country".

The top 10 recipients

1 MSD €6.82m IDA
2 Optum Services €6.04m IDA
3 Pramerica Systems Ireland €5.25m IDA
4 QT Technologies Ireland €5.08m IDA
5 Genesys Telecommunication Labs €3.03m IDA
6 AbbVie Ireland €2.5m IDA
7 Online Ventures Hospitality €2.36m IDA
8 Helsinn Birex Pharmaceuticals €2.33m IDA
9 Boston Scientific Ltd €2m IDA
10 Vention Medical Ireland €1.69m IDA

Irish Independent

Also in Business