The digital business week

17 May 2010

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

Integrity Solutions sinks €1.05m into new ops centre

Irish-owned IT security specialist, Integrity Solutions, has announced a €1.05m investment in a new network operations centre located at its Dublin headquarters. This investment will lead to 12 new high-tech jobs in 2010, which will include IT security engineers as well as sales and marketing. The €1.05m will also mean a 24×7 helpdesk as well as the latest cutting-edge security equipment for the Dublin HQ’s laboratory. The investment is being funded by shareholders following a successful year in 2009, with growth in annual revenue of 65pc to €7.7m. This news comes along with the recent achievement of ISO 9001 global accreditation as well as new partnerships announced with Tufin, real-time software firm Splunk and Palo Alto.

SAP buys Sybase for US$5.8bn

German business software giant SAP has acquired rival Sybase in a transaction worth US$5.9bn. Under the terms of the deal, SAP will make an all-cash offer for shares of Sybase at US$65 per share. The per share purchase price represents a 44pc premium over the three-month average stock price of Sybase. The transaction will be funded from SAP’s cash on hand and a €2.75bn loan facility arranged and underwritten by Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank. The Sybase board of directors has unanimously approved the transaction. The deal will allow SAP to accelerate the reach of its solutions across mobile platforms and drive forward the realisation of its in-memory computing vision.

Biz leaders to demand Govt lead on green procurement

Future Human

Green for Growth is a coalition of leading Irish businesses that has been set up in recent weeks to demand strong Government leadership on green procurement. The Green for Growth group officially launched Friday, 14 May, at the Alexander Hotel, Dublin 2, at 12pm. An open letter to the Government was signed by those attending, including the managing directors, chairpersons and CEOs of Siemens Ireland, Kingspan Renewables, Ecocem Ireland, Pierse Group, Glen Dimplex, Greenstar, SSE Renewables (parent company to Airtricity), Gypsum Industries and Isover Ireland. Other signatories of the letter will include Bord Gáis, Arup, Durkan Homes, Wavebob, Paul Keogh, president of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI) and James Pike of O’Mahony Pike and a former president of the RIAI.

Merck’s MSD creates 150 high-skill Dublin jobs

The pharmaceutical giant Merck is to create 150 new high-skill jobs in Dublin, it was announced. Merck’s MSD division is setting up its shared business centre for EMEA in south county Dublin. According to Taoiseach Brian Cowen, the new financial services centre is “a strategic win for Ireland”. “Its establishment means that the world’s two leading pharmaceutical companies have selected Dublin as the headquarters for their EMEA financial shared service centres,” he said. Cowen also said MSD’s expansion represented “a significant endorsement by MSD of its Irish operation”, as well as “a major vote of confidence in Ireland as a location for strategically important investments by multinational companies. It shows that we continue to have the capability and the capacity to attract high-quality foreign direct investment, despite a difficult global economic climate.”

Sony halves 2009 net loss, predicts 2010 profit

Japanese electronics giant Sony has succeeded in halving its net loss for the fiscal year 2009, largely thanks to significant cost-cutting. The company also forecast a return to profit in the current financial year. Sony said it made a net loss of 40.8bn yen (US$439m) for the year to the end of March 2010, which represents a significant narrowing on the 98.9bn yen net loss it reported last year. Overall revenue for the year to March declined by almost 7pc to 7.21trn yen, which Sony said was primarily due to a 20pc fall in the sale of consumer products. Sales at the group’s mobile division Sony Ericsson also had a bad year, plunging 37pc.

McAfee opens new Cork office

Following an announcement last September that McAfee was to create 100 new jobs, bringing its total workforce to 280, the online security firm has now opened its new Cork office. Officially opened by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe, the new 45,000 sq-foot office will support the company’s inside sales team, servicing mid-market customers in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa (EMEA), and is located at City Gate, Mahon. “McAfee offers high-value career opportunities to Cork and the wider region and recruitment is already well under way. This investment is a significant endorsement of Cork and Ireland by a global high-tech player company and it demonstrates our capacity to attract high-quality jobs in line with the Government’s plan for the ‘smart’ economy,’ O’Keeffe said. Established in Cork in 2004, the McAfee workforce here has “not only been at the heart of much of what the company does in EMEA but also our Asia-Pacific and international markets,” said president of EMEA McAfee, David Quantrell.

BT Ireland profits up 12pc

Announcing financial results for the year ending 31 March 2010, BT Ireland reports strong performance for its all-island operations, with profits up by 12pc year on year. However, the company reported that underlying revenues (excluding foreign exchange movement) declined by 3pc to UK£801.1m in comparison to the 12pc rise in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amoritisation). Operating costs were reduced by 8pc in the past 12 months. This, says BT Ireland, was due to improved supplier management, marketing optimisation, property rationalisation and labour efficiencies. Over the past year, BT Ireland has rolled out its next-generation broadband service, BT Etherflow, which is being used by mobile telcos, including 3 Ireland, as part of its role in the National Broadband Scheme.

Photo: Outgoing BT Ireland CEO Chris Clark

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years