The digital business week

10 May 2010

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

PFH acquires Siemens enterprise comms division

Cork technology company PFH is to become a €50m a year turnover company with 200 employees after acquiring the Irish arm of Siemens Enterprise Communications for an undisclosed sum.

Through this deal, PFH will become Ireland’s largest independent tier one ICT provider and will seek to grow revenue to more than €50m in the coming 12 months.

“This announcement is great news for both Siemens Enterprise Communications and PFH customers,” said Paul Hourican, managing director of PFH. “Our skill sets are complementary with few overlaps. Now we have the ability to offer voice and data offerings, from unified communications, switching and networking, to our range of procurement, implementation, storage and support services.

PFH is Ireland’s largest privately-owned ICT player, employing 150 people, with offices in Dublin, Cork and Galway. This includes 80 engineers to service customers nationwide. Its value proposition is to bring great technology together, using its experience and expertise to deliver winning business strategies for customers.

FeedHenry spins out in Waterford

The Telecommunication Software & Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has announced the spin-off of FeedHenry, an award-winning software firm.

Using a ‘cloud-computing’ model, FeedHenry is an ‘on-demand’ enterprise mobility solution that can be accessed over the internet. The software enables applications (apps) to be developed once and then used across all mobile platforms (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and so on).

“FeedHenry provides an efficient and cost-effective way to create new products. Using this technology, companies no longer have to develop multiple versions of apps for each device. They create one version and with a few clicks can use it across a range of platforms. It also works with complex apps that include location-based services, payment and billing,” said Dr Willie Donnelly, director of the TSSG and head of research and innovation at Waterford Institute of Technology.

Semiconductor industry set for highest growth in 10 years

The last time the global semiconductor industry achieved annual revenue growth greater than 30pc was when Bill Clinton was US president, Gladiator was topping the box office and the boom was so hot that the merger of AOL and Time Warner actually seemed like a good idea.

Now, 10 years after the chip business’ whopping 36.7pc expansion of 2000, the industry is expected to finally break the 30pc barrier once again in 2010, with revenue set to rise to US$300.3bn, up 30.6pc from US$229.9bn in 2009.

However, unlike the internet-crazed spike in 2000, growth in chip sales this year will be driven by real fundamental supply/factors that slowly have been gaining momentum during the past 12 months.

“Building on the continuing expansion in sales that followed the downturn in late 2008 and early 2009, the semiconductor industry is set to achieve remarkable revenue growth and record size in 2010,” said Dale Ford, senior vice-president, market intelligence services, for iSuppli.

Irish Association of Online Publishers established

An Irish branch of the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) has been set up with,, RTÉ.ie and as its four founding members.

Announcing its formation, AOP Ireland said it had been established to represent Irish digital publishing companies that create original, local, branded, quality content. The association said there is an immediate requirement, not currently being addressed, to promote the particular value delivered by publishers that provide local quality content through a trusted online environment.

The stated aims of the association are to: increase awareness of the advantages and benefits for both advertisers and users engaging with websites that create quality, local, unique content; and promote the value of this unique content its members produce and to help make clients aware of the opportunities available.

“The AOP Ireland will allow us to promote quality local content,” said Julian Douglas, managing director of “From our perspective, it is important to make more research available that illuminates the significant role that our websites play in advertising campaigns.”

EirGrid secures full funding for Ireland-Wales electricity link

EirGrid has completed the final phase of funding for its Ireland-Wales electricity link, having recently secured €160m of commercial debt from Barclays and BNP Paribas.

EirGrid’s funding for the East West Interconnector Project includes the €160m recently announced, as well as EirGrid equity, European Investment Bank finance (€300m) and a European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) grant for €110m.

The Ireland-Wales electricity link has a total capital cost of €601m and involves the construction of an interconnector running from Co Meath to the Deeside in Wales, which will link the Irish Transmission System to the British Transmission System and enable the two-way transmission of electricity.

Commenting on the completion of this final phase of funding, EirGrid chief executive Dermot Byrne said:  “We are delighted that the commercial funding at very competitive rates has been secured, especially at a time when economic conditions are difficult.  

“As an island country, Ireland is on track to tie into the greater European energy market in just two years,” he added.

Falling Wii console sales hit Nintendo’s profits

Declining sales of its Wii games console have hit Nintendo’s bottom line, as it reported a fall in annual net profits.

The Japanese computer games giant said its net profit for the financial year ended 31 March fell to Y 228.64bn against the Y 279.09bn reported the previous year.

Revenues at the firm were also down 22pc to Y 1.434tr.

Nintendo sold 20.53 million Wii console worldwide this fiscal year, which represents a decline of 21pc compared to the year previous. It also said it expects to sell 18 million Wii consoles in the coming financial year ended 31 March 2011, some 2.5 million fewer than it sold this year.

Photo: Paul Hourican, managing director of PFH

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