Financial services firms are among the pace-setters looking to establish operations in Ireland, along with companies involved in activities including technology, e-commerce, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, north west business leaders were told at a HURST-sponsored event.
Niamh Breslin, of IDA Ireland, the investment arm of the Irish government, and Anthony Casey, a partner at Dublin-based accountancy firm Noone Casey, explained the opportunities and advantages for British businesses considering investing in the country. The event was held in conjunction with Barclays at the bank’s offices in Spinningfields, Manchester. It attracted representatives from sectors including chemicals, digital media, distribution, law, lighting, importing and wholesaling.
Niamh said 2016 was a record year for IDA Ireland, with 244 investments by overseas companies, a rise of 14.5 per cent on 2015. Of these, 99 were new entrants. The EU referendum result prompted a huge increase in inquiries from British companies considering relocating. For financial services firms in particular, having full access to the EU will require them to have an office in a member country.
Niamh said the Irish economy is the fastest-growing and most competitive in the Eurozone, and the Dublin government is totally committed to remaining in the EU. “Companies setting up in Ireland are not doing so to look at the Irish market. They are looking at a market of 500 million people,” she said, in reference to the EU.
The Emerald Isle’s attractions include a strong and burgeoning international talent pool, good transport links, a corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent, a fast-track visa system, tax credits for research and development activities and a boom in new office buildings, added Niamh.
Noone Casey is a one-stop shop boutique accountancy and business advisory firm with a focus on helping start-ups. HURST is working with Noone Casey to advise north west businesses. Both practices are members of the PrimeGlobal association of independent accounting firms. Anthony said Brexit has ushered in a period of fundamental change and uncertainty, and he urged UK firms which import or export goods or services to start preparing now.
They should look at their strategies and appoint teams to identify the risks and opportunities created by Brexit. He said key areas which should be addressed include:
• Supply chain management
• The movement of goods
• Sales and marketing plans
• Potential foreign exchange volatility
• Potential tariffs
• People and management issues in the event of restriction of movement
• Regulatory changes
Anthony said companies should adopt the mantra of “Plan for the worst, hope for the best”. He added that incorporating a business in Ireland can mitigate risk and provide a platform for growth. “It’s very easy to set up a company in Ireland, it has a flexible and agile economy, and the ease of doing business there will far outweigh any potential concerns,” he said.
A major advantage for the north west is its proximity. Anthony said his flight from Dublin to Manchester took just 35 minutes, whereas his train journey from Manchester to London later in the day would take two hours. “We are closer than you might imagine,” he said.
Are you an International Business considering your options post-Brexit? Call us on 0161 477 2474 or email Inspired@Hurst.co.uk if you'd like any advice on this.