Enterprise Ireland Breaks Pre-Recession Exports Records

Enterprise Ireland has broken it’s pre-recession record level of exports after the organisation announced that it’s client companies exceeded the €15bn mark in 2011.

Releasing the results in their annual Report and Accounts today, they also showed employment levels in Enterprise Ireland client companies stabilised in 2011 with full-time employment in client companies at 141,228 – a similar number to 2010.

Announcing the results, Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said: “The outstanding achievements of these Irish exporters are of huge value and significance to Ireland and are to be strongly commended. The performance of Ireland’s exporting sector in overseas markets in 2011 was remarkable in any context, but particularly against the backdrop of a global economic slowdown.” “The impact of this on the Irish economy is enormous. These companies are responsible for the direct and indirect employment of more than 300,000 people in every town and village in Ireland. Indigenous exporters also spent E18.3bn on goods and services in the Irish economy in 2011″.

Exports Rise While Transport Equipment Pushes Imports Up

Figures released for March by the Central Statistics Office show Irish exports rose by 5% when compared to the same month last year. Seasonally adjusted exports rose by €361m, while imports rose by €961m (or 26%).

The CSO pointed out that the increase in imports was largely due to significant imports of  transport equipment during the month. Chemicals and related products accounted for €5.131bn (or 60%) of the total exports of €8.499bn in the month.

Comparing March 2012 with March 2011, exports of Medical and pharmaceutical products fell by €681m (24%) while the value of exports of Organic chemicals rose by €233m (13%).

On an overall basis the EU accounted for €5.259bn (or 62%) of total exports in March 2012, with Belgium and Great Britain accounting for over half of the EU share.

The US was the main destination for exports outside the EU accounting for 17% of total exports in the month.

AIB Announces €250m Agri-Business Investment Programme

AIB today announces the launch of a €250 million Agri Investment Programme as part of its effort to entice the ever expanding industry. This fund is available to help all existing or potential customers in this sector to plan for their future business needs.This initiative is an element of AIB’s Big Drive for Small Business.

The Agri Investment Programme comprises three elements: €100 million for on-farm capital investment, €100 million for working capital and €50 million for asset finance.

1. The €100 million on-farm capital investment component priced competitively at 4.40% per annum, variable, will be available to farmers who require funding to facilitate farm expansion or upgrading initiatives

2. The €100 million working capital component is designed to assist the management of seasonal funding requirements e.g. purchase of seed, feed and fertiliser.

3. €50 million asset finance component; AIB has forged relationships with many of the major equipment and machinery suppliers in Ireland and now has a dedicated fund which can be used for hire purchase, equipment lease and farm vehicle lease.

AIB Chief Executive, David Duffy said:“Today’s announcement represents a major boost for Irish farming and demonstrates AIB’s commitment to assisting the Agri-sector develop its enormous potential.

“The provision of an investment programme of significant scale at this time is very appropriate in that it will facilitate investment in line with the Government’s Harvest 2020 Strategy allowing farmers to more fully exploit the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Small Business Show: It’s All In The Genes – Bovigene Genetics

Based in one of Ireland’s agricultural heartlands, Co. Laois, Bovigene is providing top quality bovine genetics and fertility management services to farmers and breeders throughout Leinster, Ireland and beyond.

They source embryos from pedigree herds and export them all over the world. Their services include flushing, freezing and transferring embryos. They can also provide bovine pregnancy scanning and semen evaluation.

Founded by Stephen Dowling, their laboratory is in Cloneygowan, just outside Portarlington.

We met up with Stephen in Portlaoise, Co. Laois and asked him about the science behind this and how they have big plans to export their top embryos around the world.

Exports Rise As Weak Euro Brings Benefits

The Irish Exporters Association has revealed that ambiguity and turmoil within the eurozone has effected any possible growth in the exports sector for the first three months of this year. But did say that exports were still performing strongly.

Merchandise exports grew by just 0.1% in the first quarter of the year, while service exports grew by a more robust 8.1%, providing all of the uplift in the total export growth of 3.6%.

For the full year, the IEA is forecasting total export growth of 3%, made up of 1% growth in goods and 6% growth in services.

The association said a big positive within today’s report was exports to the UK, which grew by 19% in the first quarter. The increase was helped by a weaker euro.

Exports to Brazil and Russia were up 32%, and exports to India were up 14%, but exports to China fell by 5%.

Total exports to BRIC countries accounted for just 4% of all Irish exports. In comparison, most EU states send a fifth of their export to the BRIC countries.

In Focus: What Will Happen To Tourism And Business If Shannon Splits From The DAA

Earlier this week we reported that Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy from Shannon said he believes that full autonomy for Shannon Airport is inevitable, after a Government-commissioned report recommended an end to the Dublin Airport Authority’s(DAA) management of the facility.

Senator Mulcahy said the Booz and Company report strengthens the argument put forward by public bodies, regional development agencies, private organisations and politicians in the Mid West Region in relation to an autonomous Shannon Airport and Free Zone.

Senator Mulcahy talks to focuSMEireland.com about what this could mean for tourism and business and how pre-checked cargo clearance could hold the key to the airports reinvention.