Belfast Telegraph

IT firms dominate exports from the Republic, states survey

By PETER FLANAGAN

Microsoft was the biggest exporter from the Republic last year, as the information technology sector continues to dominate trade in Ireland.

According to the Irish Exporters Association's (IEA) annual Top 250 survey, Microsoft was comfortably the busiest firm in Ireland during 2012, sending goods and services worth €13.7bn (£11bn) overseas during the year, €1bn (£0.85bn) more than Google, who exported €12.5bn (£10bn) in the same period.

IT companies dominate the list, making up five of the top 10, and nine of the top 20 firms overall.

Microsoft's trade levels increased 37% in the past year, driven in part by the rollout of the company's Windows 8 operating system and its increase in software and consulting services.

Dell, which has a PC manufacturing business but is morphing into consulting, was fourth.

The computing giant, which is at the centre of a takeover battle, exported some €9.9bn (£8n) worth of goods and services.

Outside of IT, pharmaceuticals and life sciences are by far the second biggest exporter. Packaging firm Smurfit Kappa Group, based in Ireland but with operations worldwide, is the biggest native-Irish exporter. It sells goods and services worth €7.4bn a year –good enough for fifth overall. IEA chief executive John Whelan pointed to the growth in the IT sector in Ireland, and warned that the country was failing to fill the vacancies being created by the sector.

"Total IT exports grew 12% in the past year, maintaining Ireland's place as the second-largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world," he said.

"The continuing rapid growth in the sector, which now employs 75,000 people in 8,000 companies, will require an increase in the availability of software developers and engineers."

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