The digital business week

8 May 2012

€175m Euro-China trading hub project approved

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

€175m Euro-China trading hub project approved

An Bord Pleanála has granted permission for the development of a €175m European/Asian trading hub in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

RTÉ reports that this Europe China Trading Hub will be built on a 140-hectare site in Athlone.

It will be used as a trading hub for international commerce between China, Europe and the rest of the world. Chinese manufacturers will be able to display their products to European and international buyers in order to generate business. This will mean customers could trade with Chinese businesses without having to travel to China.

There will also be space made for showcasing Chinese heritage and culture.

It will be the largest European source of Chinese-branded goods and will also offer visitors banking facilities, taxation advice, translation services, legal services and travel arrangements. It’s expected to attract a possible €1.5m from buyers and visitors annually when finished.

Planning was initially granted by the Westmeath County Council to Athlone Business Park, which is behind the project. It’s being financed by private equity and pre-sales of concession spaces at the centre.

Google most reputable company in Ireland – RepTrak

Google has been named the most reputable company in Ireland for the third year in a row in the Ireland RepTrak study 2012 from Corporate Reputations.

Google has its European HQ in Dublin.

The study was based on responses from 3,720 people in Ireland and is part of a wider global study carried out in more than 40 countries. It ranked 101 of the largest organisations in Ireland, which included indigenous, multinational and semi-state bodies.

They were rated on how highly they were held in esteem, how much they were admired and trusted, and how the general public feels about them. It also looked at how it rates in performance, innovation, leadership, products and services, governances, workplace and citizenship.

Eircom Examiner rejects conditional offer for company

The Examiner appointed to troubled incumbent operator Eircom, Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton, has revealed that he received a conditional offer for the company but rejected it. Lenders support the Examiner’s decision.

Eircom’s revenues in the last 12 months fell to €1.6bn for the year.

Eircom Group has also begun winding up various holding companies, including declaring a Luxembourg company ERC Luxembourg Limited Sarl bankrupt voluntarily.

Yahoo! to review ‘error’ in CEO’s background

Digital media giant Yahoo confirmed a discrepancy in the academic background of its CEO Scott Thompson and said it will review the matter and report the findings to shareholders.

Activist hedge fund Third Point’s founder and chief executive, Dan Loeb, raised the issue of Thompson’s academic credentials in a letter to Yahoo!’s board yesterday.

Third Point, which owns 5.8pc of Yahoo!’s shares, has been battling to join Yahoo’s board.

In the letter, Loeb wrote Thompson claims to hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College near Boston, but said Thompson “embellished his academic credentials” because the CEO’s degree is in accounting only.

A Yahoo spokesman responded yesterday, calling the discrepancy an “inadvertent error.”

Tumblr president John Maloney quits

The president of blog hosting platform Tumblr John Maloney resigned from his post recently because his skills became less relevant as the company grew, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Tumblr has grown to number 100 employees and it has brought other department executives to lead operations in finance, engineering and human resources, the report said.

Maloney, who joined Tumblr in 2008, had said in an interview that broached the subject of moving on with the board earlier this year. While he said he enjoys the early phase of building a start-up, he is not so fond of running a large company. He remains a large shareholder.

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