Firms’ €15m deals with US partners

IRISH companies will sign deals worth $20 million (€15 million) with major American partners during Enterprise Minister Micheál Martin’s trade visit to the United States this week.

The visit, which will take in the key east coast cities of New York, Washington and Boston, will spark more deals worth over $100m. But the final value will be kept under wraps to suit local political sensitivities, as Irish software and services companies beat off competition from US rivals to win the prized contracts. This week will see some of the biggest names in the American healthcare, pharmaceutical and financial services markets sign off on deals with Irish small and medium-sized companies that have blazed a trail in the local market with the help of Enterprise Ireland.

Among the big winners are Cork-based software company Qumas, which helps major corporations meet their legal and other compliance requirements by providing them with automated software solutions.

The company yesterday struck a $1m deal with Janssen Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, to provide compliance services to its drug manufacturing plants in Europe, including one in Cork’s Little Island, and chemical operations worldwide.

The deal will cover Janssen’s procedures for managing documents and manufacturing processes.

Qumas president Kevin O’Leary said the agreement meant Qumas was now a key supplier to four of the world’s top five pharmaceutical companies.

“Qumas is representative of those Irish technology companies that are delivering true value to customers and experiencing the type of growth that fuels global expansion,” said Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan.

Mr Martin yesterday opened Qumas’s new headquarters in New Jersey, on the outskirts or New York City, which has been extended to meet the company’s bigger dealflow. The new office will house 20 sales, customer support and administration staff.

But other American companies will be slower to publicly announce details of partnerships with Irish suppliers.

David Byrne, Enterprise Ireland’s director with responsibility for the east coast of America, said many were reluctant to be seen to be doing business with foreign companies at the expense of American jobs. So-called “offshoring” was a major topic of debate in the American presidential election last year and remained a sensitive issue, he said.

Yesterday also saw Dublin-based ornamental gift and figurine company Blarney Stone Enterprises complete a merger with Tipperary Crystal.

The deal was announced at an event showcasing Irish business in New Jersey.

Tipperary Crystal operations director Christopher Conway said the deal would help Tipperary use Blarney Stone’s knowledge of the American market to increase its export sales.

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