Sunday 17 December 2017

Aercap's Kelly: tweak tax to attract more FDI bosses

Aercap chief executive officer Aengus Kelly. Photo: Bloomberg
Aercap chief executive officer Aengus Kelly. Photo: Bloomberg
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

The Government should tweak the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) to make it easier to attract expatriate decision makers to Ireland, Aercap chief executive Aengus Kelly has told the Sunday Independent.

SARP - which was introduced in 2012 - provides an income tax relief to people sent to work in Ireland from abroad.

Kelly said that Ireland risks losing valuable FDI if it does not make the country attractive to multinational firms' decision makers.

"There are competitive threats out there. It's well and good to have as many jobs as possible, which of course we have to have - but you need really to generate long-term value," he said.

"You want to have decision makers and people who are really generating economic value in the country. They are the people who bring all the skills with them. It's much harder then [for FDI companies] to move away when you have a really high skill set.

"Look at Silicon Valley, where you have millions of people in IT. The tax rate there isn't particularly low but you have a huge gathering of talent, mainly because California is so big, there's so much of the skill set there.

"I think SARP is a move in the right direction, for sure. I don't think you need to change the rates, you just need to change some of the terms of it, make it a bit easier to use, make it longer in duration and it'll be fine," Kelly added.

Aercap, which has its headquarters in Dublin, is one of the world's biggest aircraft lessors, with some $43bn in total assets.

Its roots lie in Guinness Peat Aviation, which was founded by the late Ryanair founder Tony Ryan.

Aercap had a cash pile of $3bn as of the end of June this year.

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