The digital business week

6 Sep 2010

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

HP wins the war for 3PAR

After Hewlett-Packard raised its bid to about $2.4bn, Dell has announced it will not raise its bid any higher, effectively ending its race for 3PAR.

Dell had recently countered HP’s $30 per share bid with a $32 per share offer.

HP’s newest offer is $33 per share for 3PAR, which offers a virtualised utility storage platform to drive down cloud computing infrastructure.

At this, Dell officially announced it would not raise its bid any higher.

“We took a measured approach throughout the process and have decided to end these discussions,” said Dave Johnson, senior vice-president of corporate strategy

Hotel start-up site sells €100k in six months

Hotel booking website has made more than €100,000 in sales since it launched in February, with luxury hotels proving more attractive to consumers than budget properties.

Owner Martina Skelly believes all website owners need to analyse their site visitor data to respond to visitor preferences and market conditions.

“The information provided by these tools is quite simply marketing gold.  It enables us to fine-tune our campaigns and our focus.  Our analytics data showed us early on that our users were drawn to the luxury offers and this allowed us to give more prominence on the website to the luxury deals,” she said. 

Free scheme to help SMEs develop their online presence

The WebActivate programme aims to help 600 SMEs get online for free and develop their digital strategies, with the help of ‘Web-activators’.

The programme is being run by the Digital Skills Academy, with support from The Digital Hub, as well as Chambers of Commerce. It will be delivered in partnership with four colleges of further education, including St John’s College, Cork, Galway Technical Institute and The Digital Hub, Dublin.

Interested businesses are invited to apply to take part in the WebActivate project by 15 October, with 600 SMEs being accommodated in the first phase.  

As well as helping businesses that want to go online, the scheme is also helping those who are currently unemployed, with 200 ‘Web-activators’ receiving training in areas such as internet publishing and iMarketing in Dublin, Cork and Galway.  

Irish tech companies raise €76m in Q2

Technology companies in Ireland have raised €76m from investors in the second quarter of 2010, an increase of 33pc compared to the same period last year.

The Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) Venture Pulse survey measures funding raised from domestic and international venture capital funds from AIB and Bank of Ireland seed capital funds, private investors, including angels, and Enterprise Ireland.

They found that €57m of the funds were for follow on or expansion investment.

Of this figure, 45pc was provided by Irish venture capitalists and 55pc provided through syndicated deals by international venture capitalists.

The funds acquired will be used to scale up international business opportunities of indigenous Irish SMEs.

“The pattern is that for every €1 invested by Irish VCs, an additional €1.20 is brought in from abroad into Irish SMEs,” said Regina Breheny, director general of IVCA.

Trintech revenues reach US$9.1m, up 9pc year-on-year

The Irish Nasdaq-listed financial technology provider Trintech has reported revenues of US$9.1m for the second quarter, up 9pc on last year.

For the six months ended 31 July, Trintech reported revenues of US$17.6m and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of US$2.5m.

Net income during Q2 reached US$2.5m, but when allied with the sale of its healthcare business to The Advisory Board Company in April for US$21.8m provides Trintech with a net income of US$23.4m.

Overall for the half year, Trintech, headed by Cyril McGuire, generated US$28.9m, including the sale of its healthcare division.

Eircom profits and revenues down – 1,500 headcount drop

Eircom has reported that revenues have fallen 8.5pc year-on-year from €1.9m to €1.8m at the end of June. The company has warned about the challenges it faces returning to profitability and has reported 1,500 positions have been reduced over the year.

Fourth-quarter results show that revenues fell from €479m last year to €440m this year.

The company has made some headway in reducing costs with operating costs falling from €1.3bn in June last year to €1.1bn this year, an 11.2pc reduction.

Cashflow has improved from €84m last year to €127m this year.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were €669m, a 3.3pc reduction.

CEO Paul Donovan said the results highlight the work under way and the challenges the company faces returning to profitable growth.

“The results for the quarter and the year show sustained progress in cost reduction,” he said.