Pictured at the Ireland Day 2014 opening bell ring at LSE are Ian Hyland, founder and CEO, Ireland INC, Dr Martin Naughton, president of Glen Dimplex Group and Irish business leaders.
Leaders from the Irish and UK business communities opened trading at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) this morning, coinciding with the historic visit to the UK of President Michael D. Higgins, the first for an Irish Head of State. The ceremony kicks off Ireland Day 2014, a programme run by Ireland INC to further business relations between Ireland and its trading partners in the rest of the world.
Global business leaders, tech innovators, financial thought-leaders, media notables, government officials and more gathered today for the one-day international business summit to engage on vital topics and to participate in a leading networking platform for business interests worldwide, discussing and debating business issues under the ‘Ireland INC’ brand.
The summit hosts more than 300 executives from leading international firms, including Fortune 500 companies, venture capital firms, entrepreneurial start-ups, market makers, policy makers and financial organisations from the UK, Ireland and around the world.
At the summit, discussions moderated by the BBC’s business correspondent, Joe Lynam, cover a range of subjects including ‘Investing in Ireland’ and ‘The New Irish in Britain.’ Speakers at the forum held at LSE include Shirley McCay, director of UK Trade and Investment from the British Embassy in Dublin and Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland. Smurfit Kappa’s CEO, Gary McGann, gave a keynote address, where he said, “In many ways the story of Smurfit Kappa Group is emblematic of the strong economic ties with both countries and in particular the interest of both countries in securing a strong thriving manufacturing base. Smurfit entered the UK in the early 1970s around the time of the Anglo Irish Trade Agreement. The driving motivation was ‘to eat, or be eaten’.
“Acquiring companies such as WJ Noble, Alliance Alders, Cannon and Clapperton, Tremletts, and Cundell, and doing business with long established companies like Reed, Bowater and SCA, we grew from strength to strength with our most recent acquisition being in late 2013 when we acquired CRP, a high-end RRP and display packaging company.”
Irish companies represent important business to the London stock market with 52 companies listed on the Official List and the Alternative Investment Market. Combined their market value is more than £65.5bn and in the last three years they have raised a combined £730m through their London listings in 2013.
Commenting on the day, president and founder, Ireland INC, Ian Hyland said: “In discussing the theme of Ireland Day 2014, we have brought together an influential group of business, political and cultural leaders to discuss and debate key global business issues and in their presence communicate the strongest possible message for Ireland to the international market.”
A ceremony held over lunch will present an ‘Outstanding Contribution to British Irish Relations Award’ to Dr Martin Naughton, president of Glen Dimplex Group, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of domestic appliances employing more than 10,000 people in 22 manufacturing plants in the UK, Ireland and across the world.