Global financial markets, including financing for major
projects like wind farms, have been very volatile and
become more risk averse. Our operations are largely
based in the US and in Ireland, two countries that have
yet to emerge from recession in any sustained way.
In Ireland, the deep recession since 2008 has led to a
decline in real Gross National Product of 11.9% up to
2011, and economic forecasters (such as the Economic
and Social Research Institute) are not projecting any
meaningful recovery in 2012-13, particularly in the
context of Eurozone uncertainty. In the US, according
to the latest Federal Reserve outlook, economic activity
has decreased in the first half of 2012, unemployment is
still high and the outlook for growth is flat.
Although the sectors in which we operate, renewable energy and sustainable waste management, are attractive and expected to grow in the longer term, they are not immune from the wider economic context and the resulting challenges. Management have had to negotiate these challenges carefully to progress our plans this year.