By Harry Keaney
Forbairt, which is the Irish government’s domestic industrial development agency, the Irish Trade Board, and part of FAS, a recruitment and training agency, are to merge into a new entity to be known as Enterprise Ireland. The chief executive of the new body will be Dan Flinter.
There are several issues still outstanding regarding the merger, such as whether layoffs will be necessary. However, Flinter has reportedly confirmed that existing trade board offices overseas will be retained. Flinter said he had substantial experience of managing overseas offices from his days at Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority.
Enterprise Ireland will have more than 1,000 employees and total annual funding of about _200 million. It has not yet been decided if Forbairt’s scientific and technological research function will be part of the new agency.
Euro confab in Apple
For exporters doing business in Europe, an interesting conference will take place June 11 in the Grand Hyatt, on Park Avenue at Grand Central, Manhattan. The title of the conference is “The Euro and U.S. Exporters’ Conference,” and it will run from registration and breakfast at 8 a.m. to reception at 6:30 p.m. For information, call Suzanne Guinter at (908) 859-1300, ext. 6042, or visit the Euro countdown website at http://www.nsinc.com.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
Meanwhile, for an idea of how Irish people are viewing the country’s entry into European monetary union, an Irish Times/MRBI poll shows that 41 percent believe monetary union will improve Ireland’s economic performance with 24 percent believing it will damage it. About 25 percent believe EMU will make no difference and 10 percent had no opinion.
Intel opens plant in Leixlip
The Santa Clara, Calif.-headquartered Intel Corp. has opened a $1.3 billion chip factory in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, where it will build its most advanced microprocessors. The factory, called Fab 14, is adjacent to an older chip factory, Fab 10, which will also be converted to create chips with circuits that are 0.25 microns wide, or 1/400th the width of a human hair. Intel is investing $5 billion in capital expenses such as new factories this year and expects to convert all of its microprocessor production to 0.25 micron manufacturing by year end.
Although an unprecedented number of new jobs are being created in Ireland, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Industrial Development Authority, the people of Donegal are not happy. According to figures obtained by the local Donegal Democrat newspaper, the IDA has announced more than 6,700 new jobs during the first four months of 1998, but not one major project was in Donegal. However, Joe McHugh, the IDA’s northwest regional manager, said there were a number of target towns for the IDA around the country and Letterkenny is one of the top priorities. He acknowledged that the area had structural deficiencies, such as quick and easy access to the county, but McHugh pointed that considerable effort were being put into trying to attract a major firm to Donegal.
Eyeing Irish Nasdaq launches
The Investment Bank of Ireland, which has a strategic alliance with the New York investment firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, is hoping to capture business from a number of forthcoming Irish launches on the Nasdaq. The Irish listings are expected to come primarily from technology and healthcare companies.
Citibank grows in Dublin
Citibank expects to triple its current staffing levels in Dublin within a year and house a workforce of 1,700 in a new building at the International Financial Services Center. Citibank plans to merge with Travelers Group. Also, NatWest, one of the world’s biggest bank groups, is to locate its new software development center in Dublin. This is good news for Ireland, especially considering current concern about a software skills shortage in the country.
ICON market offering hot
Shares in the Irish clinical research group ICON soared 42 percent on their first day of trading on the Nasdaq last week. Dr. Ronan Lambe and Dr. John Climax sold 296,800 shares each into the flotation at $18. The flotation will be a windfall for the state development agency Forbairt ,whose 637,040 shares in ICON will be worth $16.3 million at the market rate. A total of 3.5 million shares were sold in the IPO, 2.8 million by the company, and 700,000 by selling shareholders. The underwriters were Goldman Sachs, William Blair and Merrill Lynch.
Meanwhile, Iona Technologies director Kevin Melia has disclosed that his wife, Anne Marie, and daughter, Careena, have sold 5,500 Iona shares for a total of _126,000.