William Fry hosts ‘Investing in Ireland’ conference in London

Economy | Thu 26 Feb | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured at The Shard are: Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD; Eavan Saunders, corporate partner at William Fry; and Bryan Bourke, managing partner at William Fry
Pictured at The Shard are: Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD; Eavan Saunders, corporate partner at William Fry; and Bryan Bourke, managing partner at William Fry

Over 100 senior business leaders from the financial services and asset management community in Ireland, the UK and North America attended a breakfast briefing today at the Shard in London. Hosted by law firm William Fry, attendees heard from Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD why Ireland remains one of the best small countries to do business in.

Panellists included Irish Ambassador to Great Britain, Dan Mulhall; Digicel chairman, Denis O’Brien; Liam Strong, CEO of Cerberus European Capital advisors; Tadhg Flood, global co-head Financial Institutions Group Deutsche Bank; and Dan O’Mahony, global strategist, Davy.  The panel discussion was chaired by Eavan Saunders, corporate partner at William Fry.

As part of the event, attendees participated in a live interactive voting session where questions around Ireland’s viability as an investment destination were posed. Noteworthy results included:

  • 71% of attendees have  acquired or tried to acquire assets in Ireland (including shares, loans and real estate) in the last three years;
  • 24% of those who have not tried to acquire assets in Ireland (including shares, loans and real estate) cited the ‘auction process’ as having discouraged them from partaking in the process at all, 20% noted that prices of the assets are too high with 11% citing insufficient scale of assets available in Ireland.

What makes Ireland as an attractive market to invest in?

  • 49% of attendees cited  the availability of attractive assets with a value up side;
  • 17% indicated Ireland’s low tax regime;
  • 14% indicated that an English speaking population inside the Eurozone;
  • 10% noted strong management teams and a skilled workforce; and
  • 10% agreed that a reliable legal system makes Ireland an attractive market to invest in.

Surprisingly, when asked how they found executing deals in Ireland, only 1% found it ‘very easy’.  One quarter of respondents (26%) found Ireland ‘fine, quite straightforward’ and almost half (46%) agreed executing deals in Ireland is ‘as painful as any other jurisdiction’. The remaining 26% of respondents advised it was more difficult than you would expect to execute a deal in Ireland.

44% of respondents sourced deals in Ireland though their own people and research. This is ahead of local agents on the ground (25%), local corporate finance houses (9%) and international investment banks (9%).  4% of respondents indicated that they have only participated in ‘well-publicised, open market processes run by NAMA or the banks’ with 9% citing ‘other’ as a response.

The focus of the event was on the opportunities for international companies considering investing in Ireland and the lessons learned during the six years of austerity that followed the economic crisis in 2008.

Bryan Bourke, managing partner at William Fry said: “International investment in Ireland in recent years has played a crucial role in the country’s economic recovery – sustaining and creating employment. It has also created a hugely positive environment and encouraged domestic sourced capital to invest as well. We are delighted to have hosted this event which has brought together the investment community with decision and policy makers to discuss the outlook in Ireland, the challenges and how to overcome them.”