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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics


Number of persons engaged and turnover in Irish-owned foreign affiliates by sector, 2012 - 2014
 Number of persons engaged% Change Turnover (€millions)% Change
 201212013120142013-2014 201212013120142013-2014
All sectors291,502305,570307,9990.8 94,703102,04699,340-2.7
 - Manufacturing124,073124,538130,9725.2 31,71332,06629,713-7.3
 - Other industrial2,9854,6844,262-9.0 1,3001,3851,347-2.7
 - Construction1,1251,0111,000-1.1 58454874535.9
 - Services163,319175,337171,765-2.0 61,10668,04767,535-0.8
1 Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics were revised for 2012 and 2013

Decrease of 2.7% in turnover of Irish multinationals abroad

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In 2014, Irish multinationals abroad had turnover in excess of €99bn, which represented a 2.7% decrease on 2013 levels.  These affiliates employed nearly 308,000 persons, an increase of 0.8% on the previous year.

The Services sector, which includes Distribution, dominated in terms of both employment and turnover. In this sector, employment fell slightly to just under 172,000 while turnover decreased by  0.8% to over €67.5bn. Turnover in foreign Manufacturing affiliates decreased by 7.3% in 2014 to under €30 billion, though employment in the Manufacturing sector rose by 5.2% to just under 131,000 persons. Turnover in foreign Construction affiliates rose to €745 million, while employment in Construction affiliates dropped  by 1.1% to 1,000 persons.

An enterprise is deemed to be Irish owned if over 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.

Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics (OFATS) cover 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 Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics as the survey is relatively new and the register of Irish multinationals continues to be developed. Please click the following link to access an article published in Business in Ireland 2010, which details the methodology used to compile these statistics:  Business in Ireland 2010 (PDF 450KB)

Services and Manufacturing accounted for 98% of both turnover and employment in Irish-owned affiliates

Services, which includes distribution,  was the dominant sector for employment in Irish affiliates abroad in 2014 with 55.8% of total persons engaged, while  Manufacturing affiliates accounted for 42.5% of total foreign affiliate employment. Other Industrial and Construction sectors employed 1.4% and 0.3% respectively. There was a similar picture when looking at turnover, where 68% of turnover generated was in Services and almost 30% in Manufacturing. See Figures 1 and 2.

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Persons engaged

Majority of employment and turnover in Irish affiliates abroad in UK and US

When analysing employment of Irish affiliates abroad by country of activity, the US was the most important country in 2014 with employment of over 100,000, followed by the UK, with over 86,000. In terms of turnover, affiliates in the UK had the highest turnover at €37.6 billion, followed by the US with turnover of €27.2 billion. The UK and the US combined accounted for 60.5% of total employment and 65.2% of total turnover in Irish affiliates abroad. Other countries with relatively high employment and turnover were Germany, the Netherlands and France.  See Figures 3 and 4.

Other countries628606433662798
Other countries169821886518404

More turnover generated in Distribution than any other sector by Irish affiliates abroad

When looking at the sectoral composition of turnover generated by Irish affiliates abroad, the Distribution sector held the largest share with 35.1% of the overall figure, followed by Manufacturing with 29.9% and Professional, Scientific and Technical activities 17.1%. The rest of the sectors combined accounted for less than 18% of total turnover. See Figure 5.

Information and Communication0.44
Financial and Insurance activities8.45
Professional, Scientific and Technical activities17.09

The Manufacturing and Distribution sectors dominated employment in Irish multinationals in the US

When looking in more detail at Irish multinationals in the US, it is evident that the employment is almost entirely in Manufacturing and Distribution, with 42.6% and 49.1% of total employment respectively. These sectors also accounted for almost 81% of turnover, while turnover in Other Activities which included Services, Construction and Other Industrial sectors accounted for the remaining 19% of the total. See Figures 6 and 7.

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Persons engaged
Manufacturing 42.6
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Other activities19.1

Employment in UK based affiliates dominated by the Distribution sector

The UK portrayed a more even picture than the US in terms of employment. Distribution at 44.3% dominated,  Other Activities accounted for over 30% of employment in the UK, while the Manufacturing sector accounted for the remaining 25.2%.

Other Activities dominated in terms of turnover, with 58.5% produced by these sectors. Distribution produced 26.8% of turnover of Irish multinationals in the UK, while Manufacturing produced 14.8%. See Figures 8 and 9.

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Persons engaged
Other activities30.5
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European multinational employment outside EU dominated by UK, France and Germany

The number of persons engaged in Irish-owned foreign affiliates outside the EU was over 115,000 in 2013.  This represented 0.7% of the 15.4 million persons employed by European multinationals outside the EU.  The largest contributors to this EU employment were British-owned foreign affiliates at 28.3%, French-owned foreign affiliates at 22.3% and German-owned foreign affiliates at 18.3%.  See Figure 10.




Irish multinational employment outside EU dominated by Services

In terms of the sectoral breakdown of employment in European-owned foreign affiliates outside the EU, Irish and British multinationals had over 65% of their employment in the Services sector, higher than the EU average of 55.9%. By contrast, German and Italian multinationals had a greater than EU average emphasis on Manufacturing. Of employment in Irish-owned foreign affiliates outside the EU , 28.8% was in the Manufacturing sector and 68.9% were employed in the Services sector.  See Figure 11.




EU 2855.936.72

Irish multinational turnover outside EU dominated by Services

Looking at the figures for Irish owned multi-nationals outside the EU, it can be seen that the Services sector generated 74.4% of all turnover while 24.8% of turnover came from Manufacturing. The overall turnover picture for European-owned foreign affiliates outside the EU was very  much a reflection of the situation seen with employment data.  Irish and British multinationals generated more turnover from Services than the EU average, while German and Italian multinationals generated more turnover from Manufacturing. See Figure 12.




Revisions to Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics, 2012 and 2013

As a result of the ongoing development of the survey and register of Irish multinationals new information becomes available every year. Consequently, revisions were made to Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics for 2012 and 2013.

Total employment in Irish-owned foreign affiliates in 2012 was revised upwards from 259,267 persons to 291,502 persons and turnover from €85.6 billion to €94.7 billion. For reference year 2013 the revisions resulted in an increase in turnover from €91.2 billion to €102 billion and total employment increased from 261,428 persons to 305,570 persons.  Sectoral and country breakdowns were also amended.

Background Notes

Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics (OFATS)

Target population

The target population for outward FATS comprises all foreign-based affiliates that are controlled by an institutional unit resident in the compiling country. The units that complete the CSO Outward FATS survey are resident institutional units i.e. Irish multinationals.  The Outward FATS survey requires the CSO to survey domestic-based Irish multinationals and request information about their foreign-based affiliates.

Data source

The CSO carry out a survey to capture the outward FATS information.  On the survey form respondents are required to complete a list of foreign affiliates that are under the control of the Irish multinational.

The required variables for each foreign affiliate are as follows:

•             Name of foreign affiliate

•             Country in which foreign affiliate is located

•             Description of the activity of the foreign affiliate (which is coded to NACE Rev. 2 activity codes)                         

•             Shares in registered capital of foreign affiliate (only a shareholding of 51% or greater in a foreign affiliate is taken for compilation purposes).  

•             Turnover

•             Number of persons engaged


Main Concepts and Definitions

1.  Institutional unit

An institutional unit is an elementary economic decision-making centre characterised by uniformity of behaviour and decision-making autonomy in the exercise of its principal function.  A unit is regarded as constituting an institutional unit if it has decision-making autonomy in respect of its principal function and keeps a complete set of accounts.

2.  Foreign Affiliate

A foreign affiliate is enterprise not resident in the compiling country over which an institutional unit resident in the compiling country has control (Outward FATS).

3.  Control

The concept of control is used for the breakdown of the FATS variables.  Control means the ability to determine the general policy of an enterprise by choosing appropriate directors, if necessary.  In this context, enterprise A is deemed to be controlled by an institutional unit B when B controls, whether directly or indirectly, more than half of the shareholders’ voting power or more than half of the shares.

Indirect control means that an institutional unit may have control through another affiliate which has control over enterprise A. 

Therefore, control implies the ability to determine the strategy of an enterprise, to guide its activities and to appoint a majority of directors.  In most cases, this ability can be exercised by a single investor holding a majority (more than 50 %) of the voting power or of the shares, directly or indirectly.

4.  Ultimate controlling institution (UCI)

The ultimate controlling institution (UCI) of a foreign affiliate is an institutional unit, proceeding up a foreign affiliate’s chain of control, which is not controlled by another institutional unit.  FATS data are compiled according to the UCI concept.  The crucial characteristic of a UCI is that it should effectively control and manage the group, i.e. take global strategic decisions.

Therefore, in the case of Ireland, Outward FATS describes the activities of affiliates abroad where the UCI is an Irish resident institutional unit. 

5.  Residency

The place of residency of an UCI is the country of registration of the UCI in the case of legal entities and the country of residence in the case of natural persons acting as UCI.  Residency is often but not always the nationality of the UCI.

Geographical Breakdown

The Outward FATS variables are broken down by the resident country of the foreign affiliates.  These countries have been amalgamated into geographical aggregates which are listed separately.

Activity Breakdown

The NACE Rev. 2 sectors covered by the Outward FATS data are as follows:

A - Agriculture, forestry and fishing

B - Mining and quarrying

C - Manufacturing

D - Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

E - Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities

F - Construction

G - Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles

H - Transportation and storage

I - Accommodation and food service activities

J - Information and communication

K - Financial and insurance activities

L - Real estate activities

M - Professional, scientific and technical activities

N - Administrative and support service activities

P - Education

Q - Human health and social work activities

R - Arts, entertainment and recreation

S - Other service activities

Note: A special article was published the Business in Ireland 2010 that goes into more detail on compiling Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics (OFATS).  Please click the following link to access Business in Ireland 2010:

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