The digital business week

26 Sep 2011

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

HP fires Apotheker – Meg Whitman named CEO

In the latest chapter on HP’s travails, the company’s board has sacked former SAP CEO Léo Apotheker and has replaced him with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman in the chief executive role, claiming “additional attributes” are now needed.

It is the latest in a bewildering chain of events that began last year when the board sacked Mark Hurd over a sexual harassment scandal, and which saw Apotheker take the reins, reshuffle the management team and begin the process of axing the technology giant’s PC and webOS divisions.

In a statement, HP said Ray Lane has moved from non-executive chairman to executive chairman of the board of directors, and the board intends to appoint a lead independent director promptly.

Pfizer to invest €145m at its Dublin facility, creating jobs

Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD this morning announced that world-leading biopharma company Pfizer is to inject €145m (or US$200m) into its Dublin biotech manufacturing facility in Grange Castle – one of the largest biotech manufacturing sites in the world – creating up to 400 jobs during the peak of the construction phase.

The investment will enable Pfizer to introduce two new processing suites to the site and expand current production and product testing capabilities.

Pfizer’s Grange Castle facility in Clondalkin, Co Dublin, produces two of the pharma giant’s blockbuster medicines – Enbrel and Prevenar 13.  

I.T. Alliance invests stg£500k in UK expansion

Irish technology outsourcing provider I.T. Alliance has revealed it is to invest stg£500,000 in an expansion in the UK market that will also see the firm beef up its UK management sales team.

The investment follows strong performance in the UK, with the company recording a 15pc increase in services in the last year from existing tier 1 partners, including BT and HP.

On foot of growth with existing partners, I.T. Alliance has announced a new partnership with Fujitsu Services in the UK.

The company has developed a Tier-Two Service Alliance (T2SA) outsourcing model, whereby it acts as the outsourcing partner to the world’s major outsourcers.

The company is targeting a niche in the UK IT outsourcing market which it estimates to be worth about US$15bn.

Adobe beats analysts’ expectations

Graphic design software maker Adobe Systems Incorporated’s fourth-quarter sales forecast beat analysts’ estimates, buoyed by demand for creating content and digital marketing.

Sales will be US$1.08bn-US$1.13bn in the fourth quarter, the company said yesterday, when it reported financial results for its third quarter fiscal year 2011 ended 2 September 2011. That beat the average US$1.07bn estimate of analysts, according to Bloomberg data.

Adobe reported revenue of $1.01bn, which is an increase of 2.3pc.

Third-quarter profit also beat estimates, even though it was less than the same period last year. Net income fell 15pc to US$195.1m, or 39 US cents a share, from US$230.1m, or 44 US cents last year.

Strong sales lift Oracle’s Q1 profits

Strong sales in Oracle Corp.’s core software business have bumped the company’s first-quarter profits up 36pc.

The maker of databases and other business software said its new software sales increased 17pc in the fiscal quarter ended 31 August.

“This strong organic growth coupled with disciplined business management enabled yet another increase in our operating margin in Q1,” said Oracle president and CFO, Safra Catz. “Operating cash flow increased this quarter to $5.4bn, up $1.6bn from $3.8bn in Q1 of last year.”

New software licence sales, a predictor of future revenue, increased 16pc to US$1.5bn. Hardware sales, however, decreased by 1.4pc to $1.67bn.

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