IDA Ireland says existing FDI in Ireland is resilient but not immune to impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Flow of investments continues but at a slower rate

Future Challenging

  • Existing base of Foreign Direct Investment has shown itself to be resilient but not immune to impact

  • Investments continued despite significant disruption caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic

  • 132 investments won so far in 2020 - 53 new name investments and 44 expansions from existing companies with the combined employment potential of 9600 jobs

  • 64 projects, representing 48% of the total investment were in regional locations

  • COVID-19 expected to significantly reduce global flows of FDI in second half of 2020 and into 2021

  • Competition for FDI in key sectors is intensifying as recovery gets underway

  • Focus on Ireland's competitveness remains critical

  • IDA CEO Martin Shanahan says outlook for next 24 months looks "very challenging"

Dublin, July 8th, 2020: IDA Ireland, the inward investment agency of the Irish Government today reported continued investment in the first half of 2020 despite the serious disruption to business caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
132 new investments were won with associated employment potential of 9,600 jobs. 53 were new investors and 44 expansions from existing companies. 48% of the projects won were for regional locations.

At the launch of IDA Ireland’s 2019 Annual Report, The T├ínaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar said: “Throughout the Covid 19 crisis, the IDA’s extensive client base has shown real grit and resilience in responding to the economic shock caused by the pandemic and many have been to the fore in helping with the Covid 19 emergency.

“Medtronic in Galway increased the production of ventilators to meet worldwide demand for the life saving devices, from 200 ventilators a week at the end of February to more than 1,000 a week by the end of June, while Mallinckrodt Pharma in Blanchardstown and Intel are among the many firms who have donated tens of thousands of items Personal Protective Equipment to frontline staff.”
“Today, as we mark the IDA’s mid-year results, we recognise the important role that the Agency has already played – and will continue to play – in enabling our country and our economy to bounce back. The IDA has a track record of delivery and high performance for the State.
“Despite the record growth achieved in recent years, we are under no illusions that the time ahead will prove more challenging. The global market for FDI will become even more competitive. We will have to fight, harder than ever before, for new investment projects and the jobs that go with them. We are ready for that fight.”

Speaking at today’s media briefing Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA Ireland said: “In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is encouraging that Ireland has been able to secure a significant number (132) of investments in the first six months of the year. These investments were won against a backdrop of our global business being impacted from January in Asia and increased upheaval across all major source markets as the first half of the year unfolded. 132 investments in H1 2020 compares to 140 investments in the same period last year - a 6% decrease. IDA Ireland expects the Investment Approvals in the first half of the year to lead to 9,600 jobs. 

The figures IDA Ireland is releasing today demonstrate both the strength of our value proposition and the resilience of the FDI sector. That said, there is absolutely no room for complacency, the global economic climate within which we are now all operating remains extremely challenging, with international forecasting bodies predicting significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global growth, trade and on FDI flows. 

Ireland’s extraordinary FDI performance over the past five years puts us in a strong position going into the Covid-19 crisis and the high value sectors we have pursued provide us with a strong base from which to help to drive recovery once again. Going into 2020, employment levels in IDA’s client companies had reached over 245,000 - the highest ever number employed in the multinational sector, exceeding all targets set by Government contained in IDA Ireland’s Strategy – Winning: Foreign Direct Investment 2015-2019.

We continue to actively support our client companies through the crisis. The majority of IDA Ireland’s existing portfolio remains functioning either remotely or on-site while adhering to public health guidelines.”

At this point, existing FDI is looking for the most part resilient, but it is not immune; it is early days and a prolonged battle against the virus where sectors remain closed here or elsewhere could change this situation. Sectors are dealing with a supply side and demand side shock. The pandemic and the subsequent economic shock has impacted on sectors differently with some sectors impacted more than others.

Commenting on the likely impact the economic crisis will have on IDA’s ability to attract new investment in 2020, Martin Shanahan said: “UNCTAD estimates that the impact on FDI flows in 2020 and 2021 will be severe, potentially cutting global investment by up to 40%.  While it is too early to say what the ultimate effect of that will be on the out-turn for this year and next, it will undoubtedly exert downward pressure on job creation and increase job losses.

The open nature of Ireland’s economy, and deep embeddedness in global value chains means that the speed of Ireland’s recovery will be partly influenced by global factors, which are very negative in the near-term and uncertain in the medium-term.

While the focus is on COVID-19, other challenges, like Brexit, increased trade tensions, achieving global consensus on tax and digitisation/automation of sectors have not gone away

Global Competition for FDI

The competition for FDI in our key sectors, specifically Pharmaceuticals and Medical Technologies, is intensifying as countries increase their focus on self-sufficiency and security.  

Ireland’s value proposition for inward investment is based on offering a safe and stable investment location with access to the EU market, an educated and skilled workforce, an attractive environment where people want to live and work, a competitive, consistent and transparent corporate tax regime and an excellent return on investment. 

This value proposition will continue to remain valid, but notwithstanding the inevitable constraints that will face the Exchequer in this forthcoming era of heightened competition for FDI, it is critical that investment in productive assets that enhance our competitiveness continues,” said Martin Shanahan.
“It is in this context that IDA would endorse the recent analysis from the National Competitiveness Council1 that highlights the need for Ireland to focus on productivity enhancing areas including infrastructure investment, digital enablement and skills and training. Indeed, it is plain to see that targeted investment in skills and training will be a key priority for all sectors of the economy, including FDI, in the coming years given the probable legacy of challenges arising from the pandemic” he continued.

IDA Ireland’s Focus to End of 2020

IDA Ireland’s focus from now to year end will be on helping to protect and grow jobs within our client company portfolio through stabilisation and recovery. Over the past number of months IDA Ireland has worked to support to the fullest extent possible our client companies throughout the pandemic and we will continue to engage closely with them to help retain, transform and position them for future growth. 
The key elements of this plan will include:

Staying close to existing client companies

  • Responding with appropriate supports to minimise potential job losses within the portfolio

  • A focus on transformation driven by the COVID-19 pandemic but also responding to underlying digital change

  • Engaging with clients on a growth agenda

Continued Focus on Regional Investments supported by:

  • Digital marketing and remote client tours of locations and property solutions

  • Regional teams’ engagement and collaboration with stakeholders

  • Delivery of Regional Advanced Building Solutions, enabling strategic infrastructure and Strategic acquisitions to enable future growth 

Targeting Pharmaceutical & Medical Technology investments

  • New Targeted €200m COVID-19 Fund

Driving New Business Development for 2021+

  • Ongoing active outreach to new clients through our global team

  • A new global marketing campaign

  • New ways of working to support the investment journey (e-Site Visits)

Strategy 2021 - 2024

Prior to the onset of the COVID Pandemic IDA Ireland was far advanced in preparing a new Strategy to succeed Winning 2015 – 2019. Cognisant of the impacts of the pandemic IDA will review its strategic direction albeit that we believe the key pillars that we have planned for will remain central to our focus. Those are Growth, Regions, Transformation, Climate Action and Economic Impact. Climate change and sustainability are key priorities for all companies, reflecting increasing global commitments to green transition. IDA intends to fully support our clients in their embrace of this important issue.

Mid-Year Briefing on SlideShare by CEO, Martin Shanahan

For further information contact:

Ellen Lynch
Press & PR Manager
087 4112084

Gillian Kelly
Communications Executive
087 1789893 

Key announcements H1 2020

AxiomSL.Limerick. Established business operations centre in Limerick, creating 100 jobs.

doTerra. Cork. A manufacturer of essential oils and wellness products, the company announced it was establishing a facility in Blarney creating 100 jobs.

Mastercard . Dublin. Launched its new campus site in Leopardstown as its new Technology Hub for Europe, creating 1,500 jobs.

UPMC. Kilkenny. Company announced it was opening a global technology operations centre in Kilkenny to support international expansion, with the create of 60 jobs.

HubSpot. Dublin. Company commits to creating 450 jobs in Ireland as it announced new office space ‘HubSpot House’.

TriggerFish. Galway. The South African animation studio announced it had chosen Galway as home for its first international expansion, creating 60 jobs. 

Udemy. Dublin.  A global marketplace for learning and teaching online, the company announced the opening of its expanded office in Dublin, creating 100 jobs.

BearingPoint Beyond. Dublin. The growing SaaS-based digital platform solution provider announced an expansion of its operations and the opening of a new technology centre in Dublin, creating 50 jobs.