Business Irish

Saturday 20 January 2018

This investment is just one of many in the IDA pipeline

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Fingers are crossed at the IDA that Ireland will secure a number of key investments by the end of the year, including in the crucial pharma sector.

IDA boss Barry O'Leary said he's hopeful that some key deals will be won by the country even as the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Europe remains flat.

"But notwithstanding that, we're still seeing a strong flow of foreign direct investment," he told the Irish Independent. "The pipeline is holding up fairly well."

Mr O'Leary said that 70pc of the investment Ireland secures comes from the US, in order to service European or EMEA markets.

The IDA chief was speaking following the announcement that Pfizer will invest €100m across its sites at Grange Castle in west Dublin and Ringaskiddy in Cork.

"Some sectors, particularly the life sciences and the technology sector and certain aspects of the financial services industry are holding up well," he said in relation to potential investments.

Mr O'Leary also remained upbeat about the prospects for securing fresh investment from within the pharmaceutical sector.

"There's a pool of business related to the existing clients, but there's also a number of biopharmaceutical projects that other countries are vying for around the world at the moment involving companies that have nothing in Ireland today," he said.

"So there's a new wave of investment in the sector and that's why today's investment will actually help the Irish story in pitching to win more new biopharma investment."

The IDA releases a mid-year review next Tuesday, but Mr O'Leary said that a number of major pharmaceutical investments are already under way here.

"There are currently nine pharmaceutical companies in Ireland, each with investments of over $100m (€77m), each under way," he said. Merck has just completed a $300m vaccines facility in Carlow, while other international firms including Amgen, Sanofi and Abbott also have expansion projects on the go.

But pharmaceutical exports from Ireland have slumped recently as the so-called 'patent cliff' in the industry takes effect.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, said that there's transformation under way in the pharma sector.

"The IDA has anticipated the changes that are inevitable," he said, adding that Ireland needs to "move with the times" as pharma companies change.

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