Afil­ias’s Ir­ish prof­its dip as it moves base back to the US

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS NEWS - PETER HAMIL­TON and CIARA O’BRIEN

In­ter­net do­main man­ager Afil­ias recorded a fall in profit in the last full year its head­quar­ters were based in Ire­land, re­cently filed ac­counts show.

Profit be­fore tax at the US-founded com­pany dipped 7 per cent as a re­sult of a drop in profit on avail­able-for-sale fi­nan­cial as­sets, the com­pany said.

Its rev­enue, how­ever, im­proved by more than 6 per cent to $113.6 mil­lion af­ter it ac­quired the UK-based In­ter­net Com­puter Bureau for more than $70 mil­lion.

Afil­ias, which man­ages hun­dreds of mil­lions of in­ter­net ad­dresses, was the first known com­pany to re­lo­cate to the US on the back of “favourable” tax changes in­tro­duced by US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump last De­cem­ber.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion cut the cor­po­rate tax rate from 35 per cent to 21 per cent, prompt­ing spec­u­la­tion that it would im­pact on for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment by US com­pa­nies.

Afil­ias plc in Ire­land is now a wholly-owned sub­sidiary of the US-head­quar­tered cor­po­rate en­tity, lo­cated in Penn­syl­va­nia.

Top-level do­mains

Afil­ias is one if the in­ter­net’s first reg­is­trars, man­ag­ing a num­ber of top-level do­mains in­clud­ing .info, .mobi, .org, .xxx., .global, .sex, .aero and .rich, along with coun­try do­mains such as .IN (In­dia) and .AU (Aus­tralia).

The re­cently-filed ac­counts for 2017 re­veal the cost of bid­ding for these do­mains, with the com­pany suc­cess­fully win­ning one auc­tion held by the In­ter­net Cor­po­ra­tion for As­signed Names and Num­bers (ICANN), but fail­ing to se­cure an­other. Hav­ing lost that auc­tion, Afil­ias was com­pen­sated $1.9 mil­lion.

The com­pany’s Ir­ish arm em­ployed 279 peo­ple last year, down seven on the pre­vi­ous year. Wage and salary costs, mean­while, in­creased al­most 23 per cent to $28.8 mil­lion.

Re­lo­ca­tion

At the time of its re­lo­ca­tion to the US, Afil­ias said it did not ex­pect any per­son­nel changes to arise from the de­ci­sion.

Afil­ias orig­i­nally set up its Dublin of­fice al­most two decades ago, es­tab­lish­ing in the IFSC.It set up in the Repub­lic pri­mar­ily be­cause of the an­tic­i­pated ap­peal of .info, its first prod­uct in Europe, the makeup of its ini­tial owner and what it termed “other fi­nan­cial con­di­tions”.

The com­pany ex­pects to re­main prof­itable here, a di­rec­tors’ note said.

“In 2018, the group is ex­pected to re­alise a de­crease in rev­enues due to the rene­go­ti­a­tion of cer­tain registry ser­vice provider con­tracts, and to gen­er­ate a profit for the year,” the ac­counts state.

Afil­ias orig­i­nally set up its Dublin of­fice al­most two decades ago, es­tab­lish­ing in the IFSC’

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