LIMERICK remains in the running for a high-profile investment from AIG, despite the insurance firm’s decision to open its European headquarters in Luxembourg.
Top brass from the New York based insurer are known to have visited Limerick on a number of occasions over the last year with a view to opening a facility here, in a move which could create hundreds of new jobs.
There were fears last week when AIG relocated its European headquarters from London to Luxembourg, with Dublin believed to have been in the running for the investment.
The Limerick Leader understands, however, that this move will not negatively impact any expansion plans the company – whose Irish operation is based in North Wall Quay, Dublin – has in Ireland.
“From my knowledge of the project that AIG are bringing to Luxembourg, it’s not something that was ever on the radar for the Mid-West region,” an industry source said, “As much as we’d love Limerick to be a city of scale in the same context as Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Dublin and Paris, we’re not there yet.”
It is understood the company has targetted the City East plaza to locate a back office operation in Limerick.
The presence of Northern Trust in this facility at the Ballysimon Road is a major attractor to the company.
“I feel they’ve set up in Luxembourg due to tax efficiencies there. They’d be lower-end financial service processing jobs coming to Limerick. They’re not high worth. But jobs are jobs,” a second source added.
Niall O’Callaghan, the IDA’s Mid-West regional manager said the agency does not disclose any individual deals with prospective clients.
“We had over 50 state visits in Limerick last year by companies in various sectors. There is an ongoing process of site visits by potential client companies when they’re in their due diligence process. We constantly have a stream of companies coming into North Tipperary, Limerick and Clare. But we don't disclose their names unless there’s a formal announcement. And that will always be the case,” he said.
From AIG’s point of view, the Leader understands it sees Ireland as being a core market, despite its deciding on the Grand Duchy for its European base.
AIG employs 400 staff in Ireland across a range of activities including property casualty, IT, treasury and asset management. It also owns health insurer Laya, where 450 staff are on the books. The firm was not available for comment.