Irish firms supported by Enterprise Ireland pass €20bn export mark

The value of exports from Enterprise Ireland-supported firms has almost doubled in the past decade having broken through the €20bn mark for the first time last year.

Irish firms supported by Enterprise Ireland pass €20bn export mark

Irish SMEs supported by the government agency increased the value of their exports to €20.6bn in 2015 — a 10% rise on the previous year.

In 2005, client companies exported €10.73bn while last year saw growth across all export sectors.

Software exports for the year totalled €1.8bn after an increase of almost a third while exports for construction and consumer companies surged more than 20% higher.

More traditional industries also enjoyed success in foreign markets with manufacturing exports up 11% at €3.4bn and food companies exporting €10.6bn worth of goods in 2015.

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon heralded Irish firms’ success overseas and highlighted their push into newer markets as a key trend that she is keen to see continue.

“Enterprise Ireland’s role is to help Irish companies export globally. The 2015 export figure of €20.6bn demonstrates the scale of the success that Irish companies are seeing in terms of winning business at record levels internationally,” Ms Sinnamon said.

Exports increased to five of the seven global regions categorised by Enterprise Ireland with slowdowns in the Russian and Brazilian markets denting sales to central and eastern Europe and Latin America.

A sharp 27% increase in exports to the USA and Canada saw its overall importance to Irish exporters grow with the North American market now accounting for 14% of total exports.

A fifth of goods sold overseas last year, worth €4.17bn in total, were destined for Northern Europe while the UK remained Ireland’s biggest market despite its overall share of exports falling.

“The UK remains our largest export market, but we are seeing a trend whereby the exports to the UK as a proportion of our total client exports has declined from 45% in 2005 to 37% in 2015, as more companies have diversified their export strategies into Northern Europe, the USA and high growth markets including China, India, the Gulf and Brazil,” Ms Sinnamon said.

Enterprise Ireland is targeting exports of €22bn in 2016 but warned that its client companies were at the mercy of a number of external risks.

“There are a number of risks to the continued growth in exports and the uncertainty associated with the UK referendum has already had an impact on clients exporting to the UK,” she added.

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