The recently published Screening of Third Country Transactions Bill will introduce Ireland’s first investment screening regime, which will be implemented alongside the new EU Screening Regulation.
The Bill proposes to introduce a mandatory notification requirement for transactions meeting certain criteria. This may impact on transactions involving the acquisition of assets or undertakings in Ireland that relate to, or impact on, the food sector if one of the parties to the transaction is from a country that is not part of the Single Market, i.e. a ‘third country’.
Within the broad categories of sensitive and strategic activities that will be within the scope of the Bill are transactions that directly or indirectly relate to or impact on the “supply of critical inputs”. This includes food security, energy and raw materials. There is no clarification yet on when a transaction will be considered to “relate to or impact on” food security but a level of criticality at the national level will likely be required.
The Minister will review notified transactions to assess whether they may have a negative impact on the public order or security of the State. The Minister will also have the discretion to review transactions that are not required to be notified in certain circumstances. Any transaction that could negatively impact on the stability, reliability, continuity, or safety of the food supply in Ireland would likely give rise to concerns.
Read full details on Ireland's Investment Screening Regime.
This is particularly relevant for UK investors as the UK is a ‘third country’ under the Bill, and UK investors feature regularly in the Irish food sector. Irish companies should also bear in mind the new requirements that may impact on any transaction relating to a food business where a person or undertaking from the UK, the US or any other country outside the EEA and Switzerland is a party to the transaction.
Please get in touch with a member of our Competition & Antitrust team for more information.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.