Carbery Plastics celebrates 45 years of success and calls for family business boost

Celebrating 45 years in business in July, West Cork plastics manufacturer, Carbery Plastics Limited, welcomed Senator Tim Lombard to its Clonakilty plant. After meeting with the Carbery team, Senator Lombard was given a tour of the company’s manufacturing operations.

L-R ( John McCarthy, Donal McCarthy, Sen. Tim Lombard, Michael McCarthy, Cal McCarthy)

Established in 1977, Carbery Plastics is firmly established as a leading European manufacturer of rotationally moulded storage containers, directly employing over 60 people. The pioneering company’s product range, is today focused upon specialist tanks for the safe, secure, storage of AdBlue, Diesel, Heating Oil, Liquid Biofuels, Specialty Chemicals and Water. 

Operations Director Cal McCarthy says, “We were delighted to welcome Senator Lombard to our plant, as we celebrate our forty-fifth birthday. 

“As an indigenous, family owned and locally managed business, we’ve always sought to differentiate our products, upon the basis of both quality and service. That in turn, reflects the talent and dedication of our people. Indeed, the success Carbery has enjoyed over the past 45 years, reflects the commitment of our world-class, West Cork team. 

“Recognising you don’t stay ahead by standing still, we continually challenge ourselves to identify solutions to problems, with the confidence to do things differently. And of course, we continually benchmark our products and processes against global standards too. Carbery Plastics’ products are today on sale not just across Ireland, but exported to markets across Europe, including Belgium, Britain, Cyprus, France, The Netherlands, Norway and Spain.”

Carbery’s founder and Managing Director, Michael McCarthy, is quick to point out that Carbery’s ownership structure is an important differentiator in how it operates. “We’re proud to be a local, indigenous, family owned and managed business. As such, we’ve always taken a long-term view of how we do business.  

“We’ve no external shareholders to answer to, so when we make decisions and investments, we don’t just do what’s best for our business. Instead, we strive to do what’s best for our people and the communities in which we trade too. So, like many family businesses across the country, we’ve invested considerably in recent times, to maintain competitiveness, exploit new opportunities and increase employment.”

Born and raised in Clonakilty, Michael passionately believes that West Cork in particular, and Ireland in general, are fantastic places from which to do business. But when meeting Senator Lombard, he highlighted opportunities to further encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and continuity within the family business sector.  

Michael says, “Family-owned businesses are at the heart of the economy nationwide. Indeed, Ireland’s 170,000 family businesses employ no fewer than 1 million people, accounting for 55% of private sector employment, 70% of all businesses nationwide and contributing almost €19bn annually to the exchequer 1,2. There’s not a single city, town, or village in the land, without a family business.”

“In general, family businesses have tremendous loyalty to the communities in which they trade. This is unsurprising since they are a part of those communities. But to build upon this loyalty, it’s incumbent upon government to facilitate the continuation and growth of these businesses. 

Dismissing taxpayer funded handouts, Michael says, “As a family business, we’d instead be supportive of the reform of a system, which can sometimes and unintentionally hinder and frustrate the continuity, ambitions, and growth of local business. Consecutive governments have worked hard to make Ireland one of the best places in the world for foreign direct investment. We welcome that. But looking ahead, to maximise our economic potential as a nation, we need to make Ireland the best place on earth for local, family businesses too.”

Michael is supportive of proposals brought forward by The Family Business Network (FBN) of Ireland. These include:

• The introduction of a temporary reduction in the Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) rate to 20 per cent for an initial period of 2 years;

• The removal of anomalies from how Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Retirement Relief is calculated, to avoid confusion and to ensure it operates on a consistent basis with CAT Business Relief;

• Eliminating the arbitrary cap on the value which can qualify for Retirement Relief on the transfer of shares for those aged 66 years of age and older for an initial period of two years, with a further review to take place thereafter;

• Raising the Band A CAT Threshold to €500k;

• Removing cash as a non-qualifying asset in trading businesses for CAT Business Relief purposes – until and unless the cash is invested in non-qualifying assets;

• Increasing the lifetime limit for Entrepreneur Relief to a minimum of €5m.;

• The introduction of a bona fide test in the anti-avoidance legislation introduced in Finance Act 2017 into Section 135(3A), Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 to facilitate genuine commercial transactions, when disposing of a business. 

“FBN proposals would assist family businesses in overcoming unintentional, yet very real structural disincentives, to growth and ambition. They would also allow family businesses nationally, to compete on a level playing field with overseas competitors, operating in jurisdictions where more enlightened policies prevail. 

“Best of all, the FBN proposals come with little risk to the exchequer yet could prove a real boost to family businesses going forward. That’s not just good news for local, indigenous businesses, but their 1m employees, the communities they support and the exchequer too,” concludes Michael.

WCP Staff

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