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Big companies in Republic 'in need of state support'

Many of Ireland's biggest and best-known companies need immediate help from the Irish Government, similar to what has been announced for SMEs, according to a senior corporate debt expert.

Some of the largest companies in the Republic are already under huge stress and need Government backing to secure loans of up to €25m (£21.8m), said David Martin, head of debt advisory at EY.

"That's what my clients are saying to me is needed," he said, adding that major clients were "now coming under serious pressure".

"And if this keeps on going, if there's a prolonged disruption, say to the end of August, I mean, you're going to see GDP going down by 13% and you could have up to 675,000 people lose their jobs," said Mr Martin.

EY was seeing issues across every sector, not just hospitality and retail, he said.

"No one has really avoided the disruption. Our analysis of profit warnings across the FTSE index suggests that 36 of the 42 sectors are impacted and we are seeing a domino impact across the economy. Initially, larger clients were drawing down any cash facilities they had with their lenders, so they built up cash reserves on their balance sheets. But there's only some people that can do that." EY said a package of support aimed at larger businesses with a turnover greater than €50m (£43.7m) is badly needed.

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