Monday 19 February 2018

Food tycoon dismisses Gallagher's Aras run

John Reynolds

IRELAND needs an "entrepreneurial czar" as president, according to multimillionaire businessman Dr Pearse Lyons, the founder of animal food and health firm Alltech.

As the contest narrows to a race between Michael D Higgins, Sean Gallagher and Martin McGuinness, Dundalk native Dr Lyons -- who expects his Kentucky headquartered firm to turn over more than €500m this year -- dismissed former RTE Dragon's Den investor Sean Gallagher as "someone who ran a firm dependent on the building boom, which wasn't very entrepreneurial", adding that Ireland needs a President who can help inspire the sense of confidence, energy and potential associated with doing business, investing and starting businesses in Ireland.

Echoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny's pledge earlier this week to make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business by 2016, the Alltech founder, who was in Ireland this week for the Global Irish Economic Forum, added: "The country needs a more can-do attitude. We need to make it easier to make decisions and get things done at local and national level."

"It's about cutting red tape and helping companies to do what they want to do, rather than telling them what they cannot do," he said, adding that the Forum needed to do more to prove it was "tapping into the people who can make things happen, rather than being a talking forum."

While many businesses around the world are slowing or rethinking expansion plans, Alltech -- which employs more than 2,650 people -- is expanding using the proceeds of the recent sale of a crop preservation and silage business to make new acquisitions.

Last month Lyons spent €14.9m on a firm in the US Midwest which employs 75 people, serves the livestock and agri industry there and has annual sales targets of €37m. He also recently paid €20m for a Dutch firm which employs 35 people, and is eyeing a privately-owned fish farm investment in Greece.

Alltech is focused on growing sales in China's expanding market for food, meat and animal nutrition and health, and is aiming for $1bn (€745m) in annual sales there by 2015.

Sunday Indo Business

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