US firms are Ireland’s top exporters

Simon McKeever, Irish Exporters' Association chief executive; Orla Ni Cholmain, credit analyst at Investec; Jobs Minister Richard Bruton; and James O'Connor, MD of Microsoft EMEA Operations Centre.

The huge strengths of Ireland’s exporting base — which helped the country get through its worst ever economic crisis — were highlighted yesterday in the annual publication of the list of the top exporters on the island.

However, the Irish Exporters’ Association and Investec’s “Top 250 Exporters in Ireland and Northern Ireland” report again underlines a comparative weakness of indigenous companies.

Packaging company Smurfit Kappa — in eighth position — along with Tralee-based Kerry Group and Dundalk’s Total Produce — are the only Irish companies to secure a top 20 place in the league table of largest exporting firms here.

Launched by Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, the report highlights the huge role exports of US-owned technology and pharmaceutical firms are playing in the economic life of the country.

The rankings are decided by the value of exports that each company produces.

Microsoft Ireland, with 1,200 employees, is top of the league as the No 1 exporter in the Republic — producing €18.22bn in software exports.

Google, medical devices maker Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and industrial giant Ingersoll Rand are the next largest Irish-based exporters by the value of the goods and services they sell abroad.

Google, with 2,288 employees here, produces €17bn worth of exports, while Medtronic, based in Galway, employs 4,000 people and with €16.7bn in exports grabs a third place in the exporters’ league table.

J&J employs 2,500 people and exports €10.5bn in goods from a number of its units in Ireland — including DePuy, Janssen Biologics and Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Cork, and Vistakon and Ethicon in Limerick.

Ingersoll, the fifth largest exporter, shipped goods worth over €9.8bn.

By region, Munster is home to five of the top 30 largest exporters, according to the report. Dell Products, based in Limerick, is seventh on the overall list, with €8.65bn in exports. It employs 2,300 people in Dublin, Limerick and Cork. With €7bn in exports, Pfizer Global of Cork is the 10th largest overall and ranks in second place by size in Munster. It employs 4,000 people across eight facilities in Cork, Dublin and Kildare.

Employing 4,000 people in Cork, Apple exports €6bn worth of goods and services and is 11th in the overall list and the third largest exporter in Munster.

Tralee-based Kerry Group, with €5.2bn in exports, is the fourth largest exporter based in Munster and placed at No 13 in the overall league. Exporting €2.16bn worth of software, VMware International is the province’s fifth largest exporter from its Cork base.


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