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Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics 2021

Irish-owned foreign affiliates reported record turnover of €263 billion 2021

Online ISSN: 2009-6593
CSO statistical publication, , 11am

Key Findings

  • Total turnover for Irish-owned foreign affiliates was €263 billion in 2021, an increase of almost 11% when compared with 2020 and the largest turnover ever reported.

  • Almost 37% of Irish-owned foreign affiliates turnover was generated in the United States compared with almost 15% in the United Kingdom.

  • Irish-owned foreign affiliates employed more than 1.24 million people in 2021.

  • The United States accounted for 22% of persons employed by Irish-owned foreign affiliates, while more than 9% were employed in the United Kingdom.

  • In 2021, the Manufacturing sector at €86.6 billion accounted for the highest turnover in Irish-owned foreign affiliates.

  • The Services sector (excluding Distribution) had the highest employment in Irish-owned foreign affiliates with almost 737,000 or 59% of total persons engaged.

Statistician's Comment

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (16 August 2023) released Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics 2021.

Commenting on the release, Devin Zibulsky, Statistician in the Business Statistics Division, said: “In 2021, Irish-owned foreign affiliates reported turnover of €263bn, the largest ever reported and an increase of almost 11% compared with 2020. 

The Manufacturing sector at €86.6 billion accounted for the highest turnover (32.9%) in Irish-owned foreign affiliates in 2021.

Looking at where these entities are based, we can see almost 37% of turnover at Irish-owned foreign affiliates was generated in the United States compared with almost 15% in the United Kingdom.

Employment

There were more than 1.24 million people employed by Irish multinationals abroad, an increase of 3.4% when compared with 2020.

The Services sector (excluding Distribution) was the dominant sector for employment in Irish affiliates abroad in 2021 with more than 59% (almost 737,000) of total persons engaged.

In 2020, the most recent EU27 data, Irish-owned affiliates generated 4.2% of turnover among affiliates located outside of the EU and represented 6.7% of persons employed, which both represent large proportions of the total relative to the population of the state."

Editor's Note

Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics (OFATS) covers the activities of Irish multinationals abroad. The purpose of the survey is to allow analysis of the sectoral and geographical composition of the affiliates controlled by Irish multinationals. Care should be taken when analysing the OFATS as the register of Irish multinationals abroad can be subject to significant change in the short term.

An enterprise is deemed to be Irish owned if more than 50% of its controlling interest is in Ireland. The population of foreign affiliates is subject to fluctuation based on international market conditions and the buying and selling of affiliates by Irish multinationals. Any enterprise that redomiciles their controlling operations to Ireland will have a bearing on the results, provided the above criteria are satisfied, as it would from that point be considered an Irish enterprise.

Please click the following link to access details of the methodology used:

Compiling Foreign Affiliates Statistics OFATS 2021 (PDF 194KB)

Turnover and persons engaged in Irish-owned foreign affiliates, 2019 - 2021
 Turnover Persons engaged
 201920202021 2021 201920202021 2021
 €m€m€m % breakdown No.No.No. % breakdown
United States101,90392,95196,930 36.9% 263,009259,000273,384 22.0%
United Kingdom42,73039,38738,453 14.6% 125,476116,955117,072 9.4%
Germany10,5839,10312,859 4.9% 34,32430,52337,946 3.1%
France10,2839,56710,292 3.9% 28,63826,24326,953 2.2%
Netherlands6,3476,9555,536 2.1% 16,57816,26516,695 1.3%
Other countries83,84079,70998,887 37.6% 700,708751,356768,996 62.0%
All countries255,686237,672262,957 100.0% 1,168,7331,200,3421,241,046 100.0%

Turnover in Irish-owned foreign affiliates increased by 10.6% in 2021

Turnover generated by Irish multinationals abroad increased by 10.6% from €237.7bn in 2020 to €263.0bn in 2021. Affiliates in the United States (€96.9bn) and the United Kingdom (€38.5bn) combined, accounted for 51.5% of total turnover in Irish multinationals abroad. Germany, France, and the Netherlands accounted for 10.9% (€28.7bn) of total turnover.

There were more than 1.24 million persons engaged in Irish multinationals abroad in 2021, with almost a third (31.5%) employed in the United States and the United Kingdom combined. Irish affiliates in Germany, France, and the Netherlands accounted for 6.6% of all persons engaged.

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Turnover
United
States
36.9
United
Kingdom
14.6
Germany4.9
Other
countries
37.6
Netherlands2.1
France3.9
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Persons engaged
United
States
22
United
Kingdom
9.4
Germany3.1
Other
countries
62
Netherlands1.3
France2.2

Irish-owned affiliates in Germany generated almost €13bn in turnover

In 2021, Irish-owned affiliates in Germany generated turnover of €12.9bn, an increase of 41.3% when compared with 2020. Between 2020 and 2021, aside from the United Kingdom (-2.4%), the Netherlands was the only country where Irish affiliates showed an annual decrease in turnover (-20.4%), whereas between 2019 and 2020 the Netherlands was the only country to show an annual increase in turnover (+9.6%).

X-axis label201920202021
Germany10.5839.10312.859
France10.2839.56710.292
Japan7.2527.2258.379
Canada6.2225.8526.314
Spain5.3994.7386.226
China5.0124.1555.982
Netherlands6.3476.9555.536
Italy4.9874.564.873
Poland3.5482.6934.414
Brazil3.1142.6312.739
Table 1 Turnover in Irish-owned foreign affiliates by country, 2019 - 2021

Germany and Brazil showed highest percentage growth of employment in Irish-owned affiliates

Between 2020 and 2021, the number of persons engaged in Irish-owned affiliates in Germany increased by 24.3%, followed by Brazil (+16.5%), Italy (+14.1%), and Japan (+9.5%).

Excluding the United Kingdom and the United States, a number of other countries also made significant contributions to employment in 2021. There were more than 38,300 people employed in Irish affiliates in China, followed by 37,900 in Germany, 32,700 in Brazil, and 28,400 in Italy. Between 2020 and 2021, employment levels fell in just two countries, China (-14.8%) and Spain (-3.1%) respectively.

X-axis label201920202021
China386374501238339
Germany343243052337946
Brazil299002806432704
Italy268882489528404
Spain265612907928183
France286382624326953
Japan210502298225172
Poland209672209022370
Canada211032089421947
Netherlands165781626516695
Table 2 Persons engaged in Irish-owned foreign affiliates by country, 2019 - 2021

Asia had the highest number of persons employed in Irish multinationals

In terms of employment in Irish multinationals abroad by continent in 2021, Asia (441,881), the Americas (410,533), and Europe (including the Russian Federation) (363,433) accounted for 98% of total persons engaged. Employment in the Oceania & Polar regions and Africa accounted for the remaining 2.0%.

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Persons engaged
Europe
(excluding
the Russian
Federation)
359309
Russian
Federation
4124
Americas410533
Asia441881
Oceania and
Polar regions
13617
Africa11582
Table 3 Persons engaged in Irish affiliates abroad by continent, 2019 - 2021

Manufacturing sector generated highest turnover in Irish-owned foreign affiliates

The Manufacturing sector at €86.6 billion accounted for the highest proportion of turnover (32.9%) in Irish-owned foreign affiliates in 2021. Affiliates in the Services sector (excluding Distribution) generated 30.2% of total foreign affiliate turnover, followed by Distribution (+29.6%) and Other sectors (+7.3%).

The Services sector (excluding Distribution) with almost 737,000 persons engaged was the dominant sector for employment in Irish affiliates abroad in 2021 at 59.4%. Manufacturing affiliates accounted for 22.9% of total foreign affiliate employment, while Distribution and Other sectors employed 15.3% and 2.4% respectively.

X-axis labelOtherDistributionServicesManufacturing
Turnover7.329.630.232.9
Persons engaged2.415.359.422.9
Table 4 Turnover in Irish-owned foreign affiliates by sector, 2019 - 2021

Table 5 Persons engaged in Irish-owned foreign affiliates by sector, 2019 - 2021

French-owned and German-owned affiliates dominated European multinational employment outside the EU in 2020

More than 966,000 persons were engaged in Irish-owned foreign affiliates outside the EU in 2020 (latest available EU data), representing 6.7% of the 14.5 million persons employed by European multinationals outside the EU. EU multinationals making the largest contribution to employment were French-owned foreign affiliates at 31.1% and German-owned foreign affiliates at 24.6%.

In 2020, turnover of Irish-owned foreign affiliates outside the EU was €180.7 billion, representing 4.2% of the €4,349 billion turnover of European multinationals outside the EU. The largest contributors to turnover were German-owned foreign affiliates at 34.0%, followed by French-owned foreign affiliates at 22.1% and Dutch-owned foreign affiliates at 14.5%.

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% Turnover
Irish4.2
Dutch14.5
Italian6
Other19.2
German34
French22.1
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% Employment
Irish6.7
Dutch6.7
Italian7
Other23.9
German24.6
French31.1
Table 6 Nationality breakdown of turnover and employment outside the EU by EU multinationals, 2020