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News : Irish Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM

IBEC says re-energising trade with the US is a key component in Ireland's economic recovery
By Finfacts Team
Dec 10, 2008 - 12:03:16 PM

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President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House Monday, Nov. 10, 2008.

IBEC Director General Turlough O'Sullivan today said that re-energising trade with the US is a key component in Ireland's economic recovery. "We are entering a new era of transatlantic relations with a new US administration, against a backdrop of global economic downturn. Now is the time to build our business networks in order to strengthen our long-term unique relationship with the US."

O'Sullivan was speaking at a joint Enterprise Ireland/IBEC conference in Dublin today to highlight business opportunities in the US and inform Irish companies on the economic outlook for the US market in 2009.

Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland added, "The USA is our second biggest export market and growing. Figures show indigenous exports to the US grew by 16% last year. Going into 2009 it remains, not just a critical market, but one that continues to offer enormous potential.

"Large Irish companies such as CRH, and Glanbia continue to grow and expand through acquisitions and strong sales. Newer entrants such as Creganna, NewBay, Multis and Vigitrust are demonstrating that opportunities exist and that significant sales can be secured with a focused strategy."

O'Sullivan said, "The spread of this Irish investment across a range of business sectors, including cheese and nutritional ingredients, medical devices, software and clean technology, is extremely impressive, and an achievement of which we can be proud."

The US is Ireland's most important single trading partner. Over 200 Irish companies employ more than 82,000* people at over 1,300 locations across all 50 states. In 2008 alone, Irish companies opened 25 new offices in the USA. Ireland is now the 10th largest investor in the USA investing over $33 billion last year.

*See detail on CRH below

Adrian Jones, Managing Director of Goldman Sachs in New York said the US market was and always will be a brutally competitive environment, but for those who get their business strategy right it offers extraordinary opportunities for company transformation.

Below: Summary of conference presentations on the experience of Irish companies in the US market.

John Moloney (Managing Director) outlined that Glanbia has eight processing sites, employs 1,427 people, is the number 1 supplier of American style cheddar, and is a leading supplier nutritional ingredients in the USA. He said that the USA is key to Glanbia's growth strategy (focused on organic investments, sound acquisitions and joint ventures) and experience had shown that strong partnerships, good people and processes are critical to success in the US.

Helen Ryan, CEO of the medical devices company Creganna also emphasised the importance of partnership, taking local advice and choosing the right location for your investment. In 2007 Creganna opened its first international manufacturing facility Massachusetts in the USA and earlier this year opened an office in the Silicon Valley hub of Mountain View to serve its local customers.

Cyril McGuire, CEO of Trintech, the leading provider of integrated financial governance and transaction risk management software, said its listing on the Nasdaq since 1999 and establishing operations in Dallas, Chicago and San Jose were key milestones for Trintech's business development. He said that in looking at acquisitions it is important for companies to consider how to align their own company culture with that of the acquisition and that an effective post acquisition integration plan.

Dr Rosheen McGuckian, Group Corporate Development Director, NTR said that Cleantech was building substantial capacity in the US in renewable energy and sustainable waste management.

Is CRH an Irish Company?
CRH, which is Ireland's only significant transnational company, is the largest building materials supplier in the United States and among the biggest in the world (CRH at a glance).

CRH has 48,000 employees in North America from its total of 92,000 while about 2,000 are employed in Ireland.

CRH accounts for over 30% of  the market capitalisation of the Irish Stock Exchange  and in December 2007, 84% of its shares were held outside Ireland.

Ireland is more dependent on US investment than any other developed economy

Value added of US firms overseas as % of GDP highest in Ireland; US Employment of its Multinationals was 70% of total in 2006 down from 80% in 1988

Irish Economy: US will remain very important to Ireland's economic progress but a new approach is badly needed

Foreign-owned firms were responsible for 90.2% of Irish exports in 2006 - including both merchandise goods and internationally traded services

Global Economy: US savings rate rises from close to zero in 2007 as housing wealth falls - bad news for Emerging Economies

Perfect US consumer storm until mid-2009 - long period of convalescence to follow

Conference Briefing:


Irish companies speaking at the conference ….. 

  • Glanbia’s acquisition ‘Optimum Nutrition Inc’ is a leading manufacturer of supplements for the sports nutrition sector, with some of most trusted brands in the US. It has three operating facilities in Illinois, South Carolina and Florida employing 387 people. In 2007 Optimum generated US$185 million revenue (€125m) and US$32 million (€22m) in operating profit.
  • Creganna opened an office in the Silicon Valley hub of Mountain View, California in 2008, to provide a local base for existing and new customers. A series of technical conferences will be run at the Silicon Valley office to feature the latest developments in medical technologies at Creganna. In 2007 the company opened its first international manufacturing facility in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
  • NTR Cleantech have just completed a $100 million investment in a solar energy company in the US, Stirling Energy Systems. Bio Verda is another NTR subsidiary  active in the US market.
  • Chrysler Financial has selected Trintech’s AssureNET GL to automate the review, approval and status tracking of account reconciliation, and manage the accounting close process. Chrysler Financial, with headquarters in Farmington Hills, Mich., serves as the centre of activity for operations in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. 
  • T-mobile’s blogging software is powered by Newbay; in addition to T-Mobile's My Album and MyFaves in recent months, NewBay Software has continued to expand in North America, and in September 2008 announced it had won a new contract to provide U.S. Cellular with its Online Album service.

Some other interesting Irish companies ……

  • Both MasterCard and Discover card use Orbiscom’s technology to ensure secure credit card payments.
  • When you travel to JFK airport, as you pass through immigration a camera photographs your eye.  The Biometric software that enables that system is supplied by Daon.
  • The signage of the New York Subway System is powered by Data Display.
  • The famous Irish Famine memorial in Battery Park in Manhattan is constructed from Natural Blue Limestone from Irish Natural Stone Products.
  • Some of the software programming that supports the international space station located in outer space is provided by Skytek.
  • AMT has completed a deal with Boeing and is in discussion with US airlines on the use of Flightman for existing aircraft.
  • Arantech are enabling US mobile phone operators to manage and improve the quality of user experience for all mobile subscribers in real-time and for all voice and data services.  Their software supports over 50 million subscribers in North America.
  • An Irish company, OGT, supplies golf course fertilizer, derived from seaweed from the NW coast of Ireland, to some of the top US golf courses including Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, Spanish Bay and Pinehurst.
  • In emergency/natural disaster situations, Altobridge provides the solution to quickly and reliably re-establish communications between first responder, government agencies and rescue teams.
  • Swan Net Gundry supply fishing nets to the US East coast and US Alaska fleet, and are particularly famous for dolphin proof fishing nets.
  • When you turn on the Air Con in a new BMW or Honda, assembled in South Carolina, the cool air blowing your way travels through an air duct manufactured by Mergon.
  • Lincor Solutions provide bedside digital information and entertainment systems to U.S. patients, which helps to reduce medical errors while improving the patient’s access to online information and entertainment.
  • Nualight is working with Fortunoff in New York to install lighting in their 5th Avenue flagship store.
  • Curam Software provides the City of NY with the capability to run and manage data from 30 cities, states and federal programs.

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