MHC Times Issue 27
10 March 2010
Welcome to the 27th edition of MH&C Times.
By now, there are few who are not familiar with the remarkable story of Ireland's economic performance over the past number of years. Throughout the early part of the last decade, Ireland was the fastest-growing economy in Europe, and experienced unprecedented economic success. However, in the last two years, the country has suffered from the compounded effects of the global economic recession as well as from admittedly overdue corrections to certain aspects of its own economy.
There is general agreement that Ireland needs to redefine and refresh its international value proposition. The Government is expending considerable time and effort in developing and determining the elements of its new strategy in this regard. For example, its "Smart Economy" framework for economic renewal has amongst its objectives the development of Ireland as an innovation and commercialisation hub in Europe, while continuing to foster a sustainable and effective infrastructural and regulatory environment in which modern, growth-area activities can flourish and prosper.
Up to €500m will be generated to create a venture capital fund known as Innovation Fund Ireland. The multinational community will be given incentives to intensify innovative, skill-intensive and high-value activity in technological conversions in order to enhance and materially advance Ireland's global reputation in the science arena by 2013. Science Foundation Ireland will attract a premium cohort of world class researchers. All of this is good news. Ireland is positioning itself for future growth and a return to better economic times.
MH&C Tax Offering
In January of this year, we announced a strategic initiative to expand our tax offering through the hiring of a new Head of Tax, John Gulliver. John has extensive international experience in advising multinational businesses on using Ireland's corporation tax system to optimise and manage their groups' effective tax rates. John's appointment underpins our determination to grow the firm strategically, and in line with our commitment to servicing enterprises that wish to use Ireland as a platform for international expansion, or as part of their global structuring generally.
John and his team work closely with our corporate department on all major deals. As the international corporate finance market reopens, John is increasingly advising on the advantageous international tax synergies that can occur through structuring cross-border acquisitions through an Irish BidCo.
MH&C Financial Services
Our Financial Services offering continues to expand. Recent company law changes provide a new, clear and efficient framework to facilitate the re-domiciling of funds to Ireland. This has been complemented by the new Finance Bill, which introduces measures designed to enhance Ireland's attractiveness as a location for regulated funds and for UCITS IV management companies in particular, thus creating an environment in Ireland where demand for legal services for fund remains buoyant.
The redefining of Ireland internationally has resulted in significant business wins for our Corporate Department. MH & C acted as sole Irish legal adviser for Dragon Oil plc in the recommended st£1.2b offer by way of scheme of arrangement by Emirates National Oil Company. MH & C is also currently acting as sole Irish legal adviser for Berkshire Partners, LSC, Advent International Corporation and Bain Capital Partners, in their recommended st£1.1b offer by way of scheme arrangement for SkillSoft plc.
Whilst bank-funding remains an issue, and commercial and property-based activity in Ireland will remain modest in the coming year, amongst other things, the state's fresh concentration on attracting new businesses to Ireland, on continuing an attractive tax regime, on making Ireland an attractive location for regulated funds and on the "Smart Economy" will ultimately take 'Ireland Inc.' to its next level. This will translate into significant business wins for Mason Hayes & Curran, and will underscore the wisdom of our commitment to continuing the enhancement and development of our Tax, Financial Services and other relevant legal services offerings that are aligned with the future trajectory of our economy.