Visa card expenditure in Ireland

There was a 43pc rise in the number of Visa cards in Ireland since 2011 to reach 4.9 million for the year ending 30 September 2012 with annual expenditure reaching €15.5bn, an increase of 17pc. This means €1 in every €7 of consumer spending in Ireland is now on a Visa card — either debit, credit or prepaid cards. There was a 26pc increase in the number of transactions during the course of 2012, with 201 million transactions taking place during the 12 month period. Visa Europe said growth in Ireland was driven from consumers becoming more comfortable paying with Visa cards particularly for lower-value everyday purchases as well as…

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Barry O'Leary, chief executive IDA, Minister Michael Noonan, Barry O'Sullivan, Vistakon Ireland plant manager and Minister Richard Bruton

Contact lens manufacturer Vistakon Ireland is creating 100 new highly skilled jobs at its site in the National Technology Park, Plassey, Co Limerick, where it is investing €100m in the expansion of its manufacturing operations. The investment, supported by IDA Ireland, will also lead to 200 temporary construction jobs over the next 18 months. Established in Limerick in 1996, Vistakon Ireland designs, manufactures and markets the Acuvue range of soft disposable contact lenses, the world’s number one brand. It is one of several Johnson & Johnson companies operating in Ireland, employing a total of 1,900 people. “Vistakon Ireland has been a major provider of employment and an important exporter since…

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Irish Pension fund

Pension fund assets performed strongly in 2012, with fund values up an average of 13pc to 17pc during the year, according to pension experts Mercer. “Global equities were up by 15pc during 2012, and have almost doubled in value since their lows of March 2009” according to Patrick McKenna, senior consultant with Mercer’s Financial Strategy Group.  “Furthermore, Eurozone sovereign bond markets also performed strongly, with average returns also ranging from 15pc-20pc, resulting in further gains for pension funds”, commented McKenna. However, pension scheme liabilities have also grown materially over 2012, due to the continuing decline in the yield available on ‘safe haven’ German government and other high quality sovereign and…

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Sean Rooney, technical director of Integrity Solutions

Many Irish businesses are facing increased security threats in 2013, according to IT security specialist Integrity Solutions. Mobile malware, securing the big data mountain, increasingly sophisticated social engineering, social networking attacks, and issues surrounding security and compliance in the cloud will all become more prevalent this year, it said. Following major security breaches in recent times at large international businesses such as Sony, LinkedIn, Global Payments and RSA, even the most successful organisations are finding it difficult to protect all of their data, all of the time, the company noted. In Ireland, there were a smaller number of high-profile security breaches in 2012 but this should not put organisations off…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Dublin City Council has reduced commercial rates for 2013 by 0.5pc and now other local authorities must follow suit, according to Dublin Chamber of Commerce. “The current revaluation of commercial properties that is taking place in the Dublin City Council area could lead to an increase in the rates bill for some businesses from 2014 onwards so any reduction in advance of this is positive,” said Chamber chief executive Gina Quin. “The remaining three Dublin county councils will vote on their 2013 budgets in the next three weeks and be put to the test as to how supportive they really are of commerce.” In the past four years, commercial rates…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

PayPal, which employs 1,500 people at its facility in Blanchardstown, has been awarded the Employer of the Year Award at the 2012 Fingal Business Excellence Awards. The awards, which were hosted by TV personality Marty Whelan at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry on Friday last, recognised how highly PayPal values and treats its employees. According to the judges: “ PayPal more than met the criteria for this award – they really value their people and do everything in their power to ensure that each and every employee is treated with respect, dignity and fairness in a creative and innovative atmosphere which celebrates the worth  and contribution of each individual.” Louise…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Zurich has been awarded the 2012 Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA) Service Excellence Award in the General Insurance category. The ceremony took place in Dublin last night. “To win this award for the second year in a row is a fantastic achievement for our team and a great endorsement of our industry-leading service delivery to brokers and their customers,” said Ken Norgrove, chief executive officer, Zurich. The PIBA Annual Survey of more than 420 broker firms across Ireland forms the backdrop to the association’s industry awards and is a key performance indicator of service excellence, measuring the level of customer service provided by Insurers in the marketplace. Karina Corbett

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Shares in Petrel Resources have jumped by more 350pc after the Irish Aim-listed oil and gas exploration company announced today that it has identified a target in the South Porcupine Basin of the Irish Atlantic Margin with a billion barrel potential. The target is located on Quad 35 of Petrel’s 100pc owned 11/4 licensing option.  Petrel said the identified targets have been mapped at several levels indicating that they are vertically stacked and would be accessible with one well. According to the company, which is chaired by John Teeling, stacked targets have been mapped at Eocene (Lower Tertiary), Lower Cretaceous and locally Jurassic levels.  This facilitates drilling and testing of…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Over half of retailers have experienced increased levels of crime in the last two years, with €512m of retail stock stolen in 2011, according to a new survey from Retail Ireland. The Ibec group has called for a more pro-active and collaborative approach from Gardai and retailers and said those caught shoplifting should bear the full brunt of the law. In the survey of 33 retail companies, which have over 800 shops and employ over 67,500 people around the country, 52pc said they had experienced an increase in crime in the last two years. Nearly half (49pc) said they have experienced theft of cash from their premises. Eighty-two percent said…

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Profits rise at BT Group

BT Group has announced its results for the second quarter and half-year to 30 September 2012. Profit before tax in the second quarter was �608m – an increase of 7pc – while profit in the half-year was �1,186m, up 8pc. Revenue for the second quarter was up 9pc at �4,474m, while revenue for the half-year was �8,958m, an increase of 7pc. BT Ireland’s revenue increased by 1pc in the period, which also saw the company entering into a wholesale deal to provide Sky with managed voice and broadband services. “We have delivered another solid quarter of growth in profit before tax despite the economic conditions and regulatory impacts,” said chief…

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