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Irish firms exported €706m of goods through Tesco

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Irish suppliers to Tesco's stores exported nearly €706m worth of produce in 2010 to the group's operations in the UK, central Europe and Asia, according to a new report commissioned by the chain.

That figure represents almost 10pc of the country's total food and drink exports that year.

The report, prepared by economic consultancy Indecon, also showed that Tesco spent €1.95bn on goods and services procured in Ireland.

The gross contribution of Tesco activities to Irish gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have been €1.7bn, or 1.1pc of total GDP, in 2010.

Tesco said that exports of beef to its international operations totalled €177m in 2010, or 14pc of the entire value of beef exports from Ireland that year.

Total fresh meat exports to the Tesco group amounted to almost €206m. Dairy product exports to its operations totalled €178.2m, while drink exports were €116.6m.

Vegetables and other horticulture produce exports totalled €52m, with health and beauty exports to Tesco operations hitting €47.4m. Bakery product exports touched nearly €25m, while household product exports totalled almost €21m.

"The new data shows the significance of Tesco's role in the facilitation of exports, in particular in the area of beef, but also in its overall and substantial contribution to the Irish economy," said the report's author, Indecon partner William Batt.

Tesco Ireland chief executive, Tony Keohane, said the group had invested more than €1.5bn in Ireland over the past decade and that this was now paying "considerable dividends" for the country in the form of exports, employment and "value added" to the economy.

Tesco Ireland directly employs 14,925 people in Ireland and pays about €300m in wages every year. It contributed nearly €200m in tax to the Exchequer in 2010.

Irish Independent