Ireland benefits from surge in Chinese investment

Chinese investment in Ireland rose to almost $3bn (€2.78bn) last year, it has emerged.

The record investment in 2016 places the country amongst the top five recipients of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe, law firm Baker McKenzie has said.

It is a massive increase from 2015 when China invested just $10m (€9.27m).

The scale of recent investment amidst a period of global uncertainty was revealed by data from Baker McKenzie.

The law firm said the "unprecedented rise" in investment into Ireland was largely down to the purchase of Irish aircraft leasing business Avolon by China's aviation and shipping giant HNA Group for $2.5bn (€2.32bn).

The deal, which closed in early 2016, saw Avolon become part of HNA's extensive interests in the aviation sector, spanning stakes in 20 airlines and nine airports in China.

Ireland's Energy sector also saw a significant boost in Chinese investment, with a $400m (€370m euro) investment from China General Nuclear Power's European energy arm, into 14 Irish Wind Farms owned by Gaelectric.

Other sectors in Ireland to have received Chinese investment in 2016 were ICT, $121m (€112m ), Financial and Business Services, 26m dollars (24m euro), Electronics, 10m dollars, Entertainment, $5m (€4.46m), and Industrial Machinery and Equipment $3m (€2.78m).

Tim Gee, M&A partner from Baker McKenzie, said: "Ireland's surge in investment from China is indicative of a trend throughout Europe, as Chinese investors look to the transport, energy, ICT and industrial machinery and equipment sectors."

He added: "We expect 2017 to be another strong year globally, as previously announced deals reach financial close, and protectionist rhetoric in some major markets could further boost the attractiveness of Ireland as an investment destination."

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