Business Irish

Saturday 24 March 2018

Enterprise Ireland lost €9m in 'significant' single investment

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland
Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Enterprise Ireland lost €9m on a “significant” single investment that it has since pulled out of, it has emerged.

The semi-state company said it had invested in a fund which it was hoped would put money into businesses to help them grow.

But the public value of the fund reduced considerably, Enterprise Ireland told TDs at the Oireachtas Jobs Committee today.

It comes just days after the agency’s annual report showed that it lost €16.8m last year in investments, mostly through share sales. 

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon said this afternoon that a profit of €38m was made on all of the agency’s investments in venture capital funds between 1999 and 2013.

“That’s taking the basket of them. So it (the single loss) would be more of an exception,” Ms Sinnamon said.

The agency told TDs that the fund, which it did not name, only “partially did what it needed to do”.

Enterprise Ireland said the fund was not investing enough in companies and it decided to withdraw its investment. The agency said it got back about half of the money that it put in.

Earlier this week it was announced that companies backed by Enterprise Ireland clocked up record export sales last year with the biggest growth occurring in the Asia-Pacific region.

The semi-state agency said 2013 witnessed the best performance in more than a decade in both export growth and net job creation.

Meanwhile, IBEC and Chambers Ireland both appeared before the Finance Committee today to outline their pre-budget submissions and called for tax breaks for companies that do R&D as well as cuts to consumer taxes.

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