Written Answers. - Card Technology Ireland.

Liam Aylward

Question:

225 Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if he will give details of all grants approved by the State to the Card Technology of Ireland Factory at Purcellsinch, Kilkenny; the arrangement and commitment given by this company towards the provision of jobs in the factory; the way in which his Department can justify this investment by the State which has resulted in closure just 12 months later; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1938/96]

Liam Aylward

Question:

226 Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the progress, if any, that has been made towards the provision of a replacement industry for the Card Technology of Ireland Factory at the industrial estate, Kilkenny, which was put in receivership prior to Christmas, 1995; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1939/96]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 225 and 226 together. Card Technology Ireland commenced operations in May 1995 in the production of plastic cards, games cards and promotional cards. The project had a target of 120 new jobs in the first year of production, rising to double that at full production.

The project was evaluated by IDA Ireland in accordance with normal criteria and was considered to be a worthwhile investment. However, it later transpired that while key potential customers had indicated that significant sales would be forthcoming when interviewed prior to the project approval, actual sales were much slower to materialise. In addition as the project progressed, certain financial constraints emerged in the company, which further hindered sales build-up.
Following discussions with IDA Ireland in mid 1995, the company decided to appoint a consultant to seek a new investor for the project. It was the promoter's view that a new investor would strengthen the company's operation and assist in the generation of sales. The consultant's search for an investor extended throughout Ireland and indeed worldwide, and was assisted by the overseas IDA office network. However, despite concerted efforts involving contact with approximately 100 companies, no investor-strategic partner had emerged by December 1995. The company then decided to appoint a receiver. The receiver placed advertisements in major publications which resulted in approximately 100 inquiries and 22 visits to the plant but to date have not proved successful.
In line with the grant agreement the company has been requested by the IDA to repay the capital and employment elements of the grants paid to-date. I have been assured by IDA Ireland that they are continuing to actively market the factory to suitable security printing companies. However, if a suitable company is not identified, then they will market the factory for other potential industries.