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Just 10 firms responsible for half of industrial production

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'Pharmaceutical products and preparations accounted for two-fifths of the entire value of industrial goods produced here in 2019.' (stock photo)

'Pharmaceutical products and preparations accounted for two-fifths of the entire value of industrial goods produced here in 2019.' (stock photo)

'Pharmaceutical products and preparations accounted for two-fifths of the entire value of industrial goods produced here in 2019.' (stock photo)

More than half of the entire value of goods produced in the State comes from only 10 firms, reflecting the central role of drug-makers in Ireland's export-driven economy.

While the Central Statistics Office did not identify the companies by name, its breakdown highlighted the super-sized contribution of pharmaceutical companies here to the State's overall industrial output.

Ireland is home to 24 of the world's 25 biggest pharma firms.

The CSO report on Ireland's industrial production found that the 10 firms generated net sales of nearly €70bn last year. That figure excludes the addition of VAT, excise and other state charges on what are mostly exported goods.

The other 3,654 industrial firms here combined had net 2019 sales totalling €65bn. Around €25bn of that was generated by 40 companies ranked just below the top 10 producers.

The CSO identified chemical products as the fastest-growing industrial sector in Ireland, with sale values more than doubling from 2017 to €21.4bn in 2019.

And sales of artificial joints - a major export product for medtech firms here - rose by 68pc in that two-year time span to €1.4bn.

The report put in stark relief the exceptional and growing value of pharmaceutical goods.

Pharmaceutical products and preparations accounted for two-fifths of the entire value of industrial goods produced here in 2019. They had a net value of nearly €53.9bn, more than a fifth higher than two years before.

Food production remains Ireland's second-largest industry in value terms, but its output is relatively static and exposed to potential Brexit disruption.

The CSO said the value of food products fell by nearly 1.9pc last year to €23bn. That represented barely 17pc of the value of Irish-made goods, down from 20.6pc in 2017.

The value of beverages, however, rose by 3pc to €2.7bn. This reflected, in part, the growth of microbreweries, distilleries and whiskey and gin brands at home as well as growing drinks exports to the US and China.

The report also found growth in the prices for building materials, although these values chiefly reflect the domestic economy.

Output of ready-mixed concrete reached €380.5m in 2019, 32pc higher than in 2017. Bricks and other building blocks rose 35pc to €215m.

Irish Independent