DUBLIN -- Bristol-Myers Squibb (IW 500/40) announced Friday plans to build a $900-million facility for biological medicine in Ireland, creating up to 400 jobs in one of the country's biggest investment deals.
The move will reassure the Irish government, which recently bowed to international pressure to close the so-called "Double-Irish" tax loophole that had attracted multinational firms to the country.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who met BSM executives in New York to seal the deal, said it was a "huge boost to the Irish economy, almost one year after it emerged from a massive EU-IMF bailout program."
The pharmaceutical group said the new manufacturing plant, located on the grounds of its existing site on the outskirts of Dublin, will take four years to build and should be operational in 2019.
It will create 350-400 highly skilled jobs, including scientists, engineers and bio-process operators, and up to 1,000 temporary construction jobs.
Martin Shanahan, chief executive of Ireland's Industrial Development Agency (IDA), said the facility will be the second biggest investment won by its life sciences division.
Eight of the top ten world-leading pharmaceutical companies have facilities in Ireland, including Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, according to the IDA.
BSM chief executive Lamberto Andreotti said the investment reflected the increasingly important role played by biologic medicines, which come from natural sources rather than products which are chemically synthesised.
"For 50 years, Bristol-Myers Squibb has maintained a significant manufacturing presence in Ireland, and we look forward to building on that legacy through this significant expansion of our manufacturing capability," he said.
During a speech in New York on Friday, Kenny said Dublin had moved to tighten its corporation tax rules to ensure there were no "brass plate companies" -- those which were based in a country only on paper.
Ireland has faced criticism from fellow European Union countries for its low rate of corporation tax, which at 12.5% gives the country the edge in attracting investment, as well as further tax reductions.
"We want companies in Ireland to register and to see that their employees are there, that there are no brass plate companies because it was causing reputational damage," said Kenny.
He added Ireland has "nothing to fear here because we've got the greatest talent pool on the planet that can stand against any competition."
Ireland was hit hard by the financial crisis but it completed its bailout program in December 2013 and is expected to grow by an enviable 4.6% this year and 3.6% next year, according to EU growth forecasts.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014