05. 06. 12. - 16:01
Irish business opportunities
Businesses from Austria's southernmost province of Carinthia say they see economic opportunities for expansion in the Irish market after the decision to accept the European Union’s fiscal pact.
The Yes campaign, with the full weight of the government, establishment political parties, trade unions and big business behind it, won a clear victory with over 60 per cent of the vote and Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister, hailed a result that would bring "stability and certainty" for Ireland’s economy.
"The people of Ireland have taken another step on the road to economic recovery," he said.
For companies in Carinthia the message is clear and they see a lot of potential in Ireland – with a high-powered trade delegation currently in the country to discuss various business opportunities.
The companies represented by the delegation include the Austrian hotel interior design firm Wolte und Partner from Klagenfurt who are currently equipping the luxury Ritz-Carlton Hotel south of Dublin.
Much of the interior is being prepared in the firm's headquarters in Poggersdorf and also in other Corinthian partner firms and then being delivered to Ireland.
Project manager and deputy firm boss Florian Wolte said: "The contract is worth 6 million euros. We have 50 fitters working on location and in total we got 250 people working on finishing this contract."
But he admitted that the firm had noticed that the property bubble had burst in Ireland and business has not recovered from the economic crisis until now – with high taxes hitting private customers the most.
Florian Wolte added: "We did have a follow-up contract after this one and two that were almost signed and sealed but because of the crisis they all came to nothing. And there have seen lots of building projects that have just stopped. But we believe that things are now getting better and we are confident that we are going to soon be winning business in renovating older hotels and bring them back on their feet in exactly the same way as we develop this business in Great Britain."
The end result of the yes to the EU fiscal packed means that Ireland will begin saving and getting rid of debt according to Wilhelm Nest who is leading the Carinthian business delegation currently in Ireland.
He said there were particular opportunities in environmentally friendly technology and renewable energy. He said that by 2020 the Irish government wanted to make sure a fifth of its energy came from renewable sources.
Nest said that meant it was absolutely the right time to get in position in Ireland to take advantage of this business and that there was a lot of opportunity as Ireland needed to prepare for the 2020 EU objectives in renewable energy.
One of the Carinthia firms well placed to take advantage of this is Greenonetech from St Veit that already has a good established relationship with many Irish companies to deliver solar panels and it already has 50% of the market.
The company as well as expanding its base in Ireland still further also sees opportunities in the market in Great Britain, according to firm manager Klaus Kucher.
He said that contrary to popular belief there was more than enough sun in both Ireland and the UK to make solar energy a good prospect and that there was a lot of catching up to be done which meant a lot of business possibilities.
The Carinthian Chamber of Commerce president Franz Pacher said Austria had a lot to offer in terms of consulting and provision of solar panels and that discussions with various Irish firms on the subject set to continue in autumn.