Belfast Telegraph

Big firms 'expect business to grow'

Multinationals in Ireland expect business to grow next year, a survey has revealed.

More than 100 executives were questioned with more than half predicting exports will improve and a quarter polled said they were likely to take on new staff, while just over a fifth of big businesses expect to make lay-offs.

Tom McCarthy, Irish Management Institute chief executive, said executives had insisted that the country's low 12.5% corporation tax rate has to be kept to attract new jobs.

"While the survey last year indicated the extent to which companies were cutting staff in the face of falling order books, this year over half of respondents don't foresee any change in the size of their workforce over the coming year," Dr McCarthy said.

"In fact, more of them see their employee numbers increasing than decreasing - 47% predict that their turnover will increase in the coming year, compared to just 11% who foresee a decline."

The IMI/National Irish Bank survey of multinational corporations (MNCs) also warned that Ireland's cost base is still significantly higher than competing nations despite falls in wages and prices over the last two years.

The survey was carried out using an online questionnaire in July and August and circulated to chief executives and senior managers in 418 companies. A total of 124 responded representing firms employing more than 54,000 workers.

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