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Tech Firms Dominate Irish Exports

ICT continues to dominate Ireland's export trade, accounting for three out of the top five biggest exporters.

Data from the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) and Investec, published in the 2014 edition of Ireland's top 250 exporters, shows that Google has moved up one place to top spot with exports of €17bn this year, a yearly increase of nearly 37%.

Google was followed by Microsoft Ireland Ltd (export turnover of €15bn), Johnson & Johnson (export turnover of €10.5bn), Dell Products (export turnover of €8.6bn) and Smurfit Kappa Group (export turnover of €7.3bn).

Total exports from the sector within the top 250 grew by 3% in the past year, maintaining Ireland's place as a leading exporter of computer and IT services in the world. Of the top 20 companies listed, eight of them are focused within the ICT arena.

Other sectors featured in the 250 top exporters include food and drink, where the top five Irish food exporting companies in terms of sales are:

1. Kerry Group (€5.2bn)
2. Aryzta (€4.5bn)
3. Total Produce (€3.1bn)
4. Glanbia (€2.3bn)
5. Greencore (€1.4bn)

According to Ian Hunter, equity analyst, Investec, the food and beverage companies listed on the ISEQ now account for 30.5% of the total Irish market, with four of the top 10 companies in the index coming from the sector. Combined, they generated over €13.6 billion in revenue in 2013.

In the life sciences sector, the top five pharma and med-tech exporters this year are:

1. Johnson & Johnson (€10.5bn)
2. Pfizer (€5bn)
3. BSC International Holding (€3.5bn)
4. Gilead Sciences (€2.2bn)
5. Warner Chilcott (€1.9bn)

Hunter says that a success story in the Irish life sciences industry has been the growth of the medical devices sector.

“There are currently 250 indigenous med-tech companies in existence. That said, multinationals dominate the business, accounting for 80% of companies operating in Ireland.

“The sector has developed over the past 20 years into one employing the highest per capita number of medical technology personnel (25,000) in Europe. It exported goods to the value of €7.2 billion in 2013, which represents 8.3% of Ireland's total merchandise exports.”

In the IFSC, the top five companies by turnover are (€m sales):

1. Deutsche Bank AG (€26,404)
2. Bankinter SA (€2,318)
3. Hannover Re (Ireland) (€1,994)
4. Depfa Bank (€1,636)
5. Aareal Bank AG (€1,408)

Philip O'Sullivan, chief economist with Investec, says that the IFSC has grown to become synonymous with the wide range of economic activities involving the exporting of internationally traded financial services.

“It encompasses sectors as diverse as fund and asset management, banking, insurance, aircraft leasing, securitisation, payments and money transmission, and corporate treasury.”

O'Sullivan adds: “As the financial services industry fragments into more specialised areas, we would expect to see some new names included in this list by the time next year's report comes along.”

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's top five export companies are:

1. Glen Electric (£8.1bn)
2. Caterpillar (NI) Ltd (£7.9bn)
3. Moy Park Ltd (£7bn)
4. Dunbia (£6bn)
5. Aventas Manufacturing Group (£5.7bn)

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