Friday, December 01, 2006

Irish Venture Capital Investment in 2006 will amount to 4% of Investment in Commercial Property

Battersea Power Station was operational from 1937 until 1982

The acquisition of the iconic Battersea Power Station in London, by Treasury Holdings controlled REO, is just another high profile Irish property acquisition in the UK.

The largest brick building in the world has been sold for 40 times what its last owner paid for it, even though it lies derelict and undeveloped.

Victor Hwang's Oriental Property company sold the London site for £400m to Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, two Irish developers.

The Taiwanese Hwang family, which bought it for £10m 13 years ago, had been frustrated in its development efforts despite spending millions on advisers and consultants.

Best of luck to Treasury but beyond property, there is little of consequence happening in the Irish investment area.

CRH, the largest building materials group in the US and Ryanair, an airline of global consequence, are the only two Irish companies of international significance that the Celtic Tiger period has produced.

In the first seven months of 2006, the Dublin-based Cosgrave development family, spent more than three times on two UK shopping centres than the total of venture capital that will be invested in Irish business in 2006.

It is forecast that less than €200 million in venture capital will be invested in Irish business in 2006 - a derisory (more objective than its use by Aer Lingus) 4% of the total of €5 billion that will be invested in commercial property - principally overseas - in 2006.

Today US company Magna announced the planned closure of its plant in Kildare with the loss of 280 jobs.

Property and US investment is what underpins Irish prosperity but it is hardly a recipe for a permanent prosperity.

On Tuesday last, Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment announced a major investment of €11m by Cavan-based Foamalite Ltd, with support from Enterprise Ireland.

Martin said that the investment will lead to the development of a purpose-built R&D facility at Foamalite’s Lough Gowna site and will lead to the creation of twenty six new jobs, including five high-value R&D roles, over the next three years.

Martin made no public comment on the loss of "high-value" jobs in Kildare.