Thursday, August 23 08:09:57
IDA Ireland notched up yet another win this week, with four firms ranging from gaming to consultancy services announcing yesterday that they would set up operations here. Red 5 Studios, Aasonn, Van Tibolli Beauty and Qualvu are all new client companies for the organisation. The announcements will create 100 jobs in Dublin and Cork, and could see further growth in the future.
A further two companies - Md7 and Infobright - said they planned to open their European headquarters in Ireland. The jobs tally may pale beside some of its more recent announcements - 500 jobs for Apple in Cork; several hundred to be created at IBM's Dublin operations; and 200 at Merit Medical Systems in Galway - but the announcement is part of IDA's strategy to attract early-stage firms to Ireland to set up business.
A dedicated division, which was set up in 2010, has been working to identify targets that would be strategic to attract to Ireland, with a view to building up employment. "With Horizon 2020, we set up a new division, the emerging business division. Our objective is to target early-stage fast growth companies that are scaling their operations effectively and attract them to Ireland," said Barry O'Dowd, senior vice president of IDA Ireland's emerging business division. The agency is targeting companies that are typically seven years in business or less, with a revenue of up to E30 million, although these are not hard rules. The Irish Times
Fifty jobs are to be created in Dublin as a company that specialises in the treatment of sleep disorders expands its research facility. ResMed, which manufactures medical products to combat sleep and respiratory disorders, will grow its research, development and innovation facility at University College Dublin over the next three years.
The company said the expansion will allow it to undertake the most comprehensive medical device development project ever carried out by a multinational here. The project will develop a new technology platform based on sensors designed to manage patients with chronic diseases in their home.
"We believe there are great opportunities in growing our presence in Ireland, said ResMed founder and chief executive Dr Peter Farrell. "One of the factors that played a part in our 2011 acquisition of BiancaMed, a UCD spin-out company, was the tremendous advantage of being based in a country that strongly supports research and development." The Irish Times
Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks will struggle to reach Government- set targets to lend E3.5 billion each to small businesses this year, according to the head of the Credit Review Office, which adjudicates on appeals from companies rejected for new loans. John Trethowan, head of the Credit Review Office, expected the banks to make up ground towards these goals in the remainder of the year but said that "it will stretch them" to reach these targets.
The chief executives of the two banks had rejected his call for them to do more to lend to businesses in marginal cases where loans were turned down, he said. Mr Trethowan said he had met Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher and AIB chief executive David Duffy since calling on the two lenders in June to make more exceptions to approve new loans for viable small businesses.
His biggest concern, he said, was that there were just three banks lending to small and medium-sized businesses in Ireland - the two main banks and Ulster Bank. He was speaking after the publication of a report by two Central Bank economists which said Ireland had the second highest rate in the euro zone for borrowers who needed loans but were discouraged from applying in the belief they would be rejected.
This contradicted an earlier Government-commissioned report which showed that a much lower level of borrowers were discouraged from applying for loans. Irish Banking Federation president John Reynolds said the banks were not attempting to make their lending figures better than they actually were but he conceded lenders needed "to keep probing" to find out why firms that required credit were not applying for loans.
"I don't believe it is an attempt by the banks to paint a rosier picture. We are in the fifth year of this crisis and it is in our interests to paint the picture as it is," said Mr Reynolds, who is head of KBC Bank Ireland. The Irish Times
What a difference a year makes. On July 13, 2011, the eight-year bond yield -- a current key benchmark -- peaked at 15.6pc. This week the yield has hovered around 6pc. Taking advantage of the lower yields, in late July of this year the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) made a return to the international bond markets, placing E5.2bn of five- and eight-year bonds at an average yield of 5.95pc, with reported strong interest from influential US-based investors.
Although it is not straightforward to infer perceptions of default risk from observed bond yields, a standard calculation puts the implied probability of default over the rest of the decade at 83pc in July 2011 and 52pc today. (This calculation assumes risk- neutral investors, a total recovery rate of 50pc in the event of a default, and treats observed German yields as providing the "risk-free" rate.) What explains both the significant improvement over the course of the last year and substantial remaining investor concerns? Three factors stand out: perceptions of the Government's capacity to push through a daunting fiscal adjustment; evaluations of the economy's growth potential; and developments in eurozone crisis-resolution policies. The Irish Independent
Containerised exports through Irish ports fell 5pc in the second quarter of the year, according to the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO). The figures back up data from the Central Statistics Office last week that showed the overall value of Irish exports slipped in the same period. The IMDO said that overall container traffic at Ireland's ports fell 5pc in the three months to the end of June. That fall comprised a 5pc drop in export volumes and a 6pc decline in imports. The agency said that weaker global demand had a direct impact on the export levels, while continued depressed domestic demand adversely affected imports. The latest quarterly fall in imports marks the 18th consecutive quarter of import declines.
During the first six months of the year, the IMDO said containerised exports through Ireland's ports fell 2pc, while imports slid 4pc. Roll-on/roll-off traffic -- including trucks on ferries -- fell 4pc in the second quarter. With the vast majority of that traffic destined for or originating from the UK, the decline reflected a struggling economy on the other side of the Irish Sea. In the first six months of the year, the volume of roll-on/roll-off traffic was down 3pc.
Dry bulk volumes, which include coal and aggregates, slumped 6pc in the second quarter. But shipments of other items in the segment, including animal feed and agricultural products, continued to perform well. The volumes of bulk traffic, which includes cement, timber and steel, fell 3pc in the three months to the end of June and 7pc in the first half. The Irish Independent