This article first appeared in The Business Post, 24 November 2019
2019 has been a busy year for Hayes solicitors. “Our growth in teams across all departments has meant that we have been able to support an increasing number of Irish and international clients,” said Head of Corporate, Ken Casey.
“Looking back at the year, there were lots of uncertainties,” said Casey. “The key challenge for businesses continues to be uncertainty, however Ireland’s economy is performing strongly with great opportunities for further investment and long-term growth. Overall, it has been a strong year and we have seen good growth in transaction work and a fairly stable economy.”
“We saw a lot of sales in the first half of the year, with a growing number of Irish businesses being sold to international buyers” he said. “We also saw growth in investments and purchasing transactions in the first half of the year from across the EU, and also from countries further afield, like China and India (in addition to the usual strong UK and US investment). There were plenty of internal business acquisitions too and Irish businesses looking outside of the country to make strategic and financial investments.”
Dublin-based Hayes solicitors is one of the top 15 law firms in terms of size in the country. The company provides a comprehensive range of legal services to corporate, public and private clients in Ireland and internationally. Hayes solicitors has a strong reputation for handling complex mandates, providing strategic advice and representing clients in high value litigation, but also offers advice and expertise in business, technology, employment, property, media, healthcare, banking and insolvency law.
“We have been around a long time,” said Casey. “But we have been particularly vibrant and dynamic over the past five years. We employ approximately 140 people, including over 60 solicitors. We have been expanding our business team to reflect the economy and that business dynamic we are seeing. For a firm of our size we punch above our weight in terms of expertise and attract a strong bunch of clients, domestically and internationally”.
The firm continues to be active in key sectors like retail, motor, media, sports and entertainment, advertising and healthcare/pharma. Over the past 12 months Hayes solicitors worked with shareholders of the Giraffe Childcare Group in the sale of the company to Busy Bees. “That was one of the standout transactions across the year,” said Casey. “We were involved in the Nationwide Controlled Parking Systems Ireland (NCPS) acquisition by APCOA Parking - the international parking group, and worked with The Irish Fairy Door Company in an EIIS funding investment and other aspects of its business”.
Hayes solicitors’ advised the senior management team of Fulfil in the part sale and restructuring of the company, with investments by AIB and Hershey the US confectionary makers. Hayes solicitors was also involved in international joint venture agreements for Alter Pharma and has acted for a number of other pharmaceutical companies in ongoing transactions in that space.
“We saw an increase in European businesses reviewing opportunities in Ireland to buy up or down their own supply chain,” said Casey. “They see the opportunity for continued growth amid an international slowdown.”
“It’s important to acknowledge the strength of the Irish economy,” said Casey. “We have had the fastest growing economy within the EU over each of the last five years. It’s a credit to Irish business and to the people in the State who have shaped the environment for those businesses to succeed.”
Looking ahead to next year, Casey said that Brexit will remain part of the story. “We’ve seen sustained and increased foreign direct investment over the past year showing that we have had some benefits from the less certain environment in UK.”
He said that the US dollar will continue its strength in first half of the year. “That is really an engine for investment in Ireland,” said Casey. “The domestic economy may slow down a little, but it is still projected to grow at twice the pace of other European economies over the next few years.”
“2020 could be a very good year despite the uncertainties we have going into it,” said Casey. “I am confident in the continued recovery of the Irish economy. We have seen incredible resilience in Irish business, and I remain positive and hopeful for what we can achieve. I look forward to supporting our clients as they adapt and respond to the changes that are coming.”
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About the Author
Ken is Head of the Corporate team and has built a practice in acquisitions, disposals, and capital markets transactions across various industry sectors; joint ventures and corporate re-organisations of publicly quoted and private companies; and advises on corporate governance and general corporate law. He has extensive expertise in the financial services, aviation, gaming, technology, media and sports sectors.