Tuesday 21 November 2017

Looking for top Irish exporter? Google it

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

GOOGLE is the leading exporter in the country, according to new figures from the Irish Exporters' Association (IEA), as a doubling in sales catapulted it to the top of the list.

The internet giant saw its export turnover climb by 55pc to €10.1bn during the year.

This year's IEA report on the export sector shows service exports continue to mushroom, with foreign multinationals recording huge growth despite the economic downturn.

The top end of the list is dominated by multinationals, many of whom run their businesses through Ireland for tax purposes.

Google tops the list, closely followed by Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson. Dell and Pfizer round out the top five, with Smurfit Kappa, the leading Irish exporter, and sixth overall, recording €6bn worth of sales.

The report also highlights changes in long-established exporting areas, such as agri-foods and ICT.

The top five indigenous companies: Smurfit; Kerry Group; Glanbia; Glen Dimplex; and the Irish Dairy Board, recorded international sales of €17.3bn last year but less than half of those sales were directly generated in Ireland.


IEA chief executive John Whelan said the change in how indigenous companies were exporting their wares was a growing trend.

"Outward direct investment (ODI) has developed as the key route for Irish companies to internationalise and grow their business, with ODI from Irish companies now exceeding foreign direct Investment (FDI). In 2010, Irish ODI was €261bn and FDI held in Ireland was €185bn," he said.

"Outward direct investment is now commonplace among a wide range of large- and medium-sized Irish-owned companies and is seen as a complementary process to traditional exporting.

"It can be a more suitable means to gain market share in other countries for some products and services while an in-country presence can help firms overcome trade barriers," he added.

This year's list is also marked a by a number of high-profile new entries. Facebook makes its debut, as does PayPal. Elsewhere, Valeo Foods, the owner of a number of brands including Barry's Tea, said it will more than double the value of ingredients it sources from Ireland to deal with rising exports.

The company said it will source €14.5m in Irish ingredients this year, an increase of approximately €6m since 2009 including a 20pc increase in Peas for its Batchelors brand.

"The increase comes on the back of extremely strong export sales which have seen a 15pc increase year on year to €12m arising off the back of account wins in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, the US and Africa," Valeo said.

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