Building sector in North hits new low
NORTHERN Ireland's construction industry continued to suffer significantly from cuts in public spending and the wider economic malaise during the first quarter of 2011, according to a new survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Northern Ireland remains the UK region with the largest number of construction sector chartered surveyors experiencing declining workloads, with a net balance of -68, compared to a UK average of +5. This was worse than the final quarter of 2010 when the balance was -52. RICS Northern Ireland construction's Jim Sammon said it was important new measures were put in place to support the continued investment in infrastructure. "There are things that can be done to create an enabling environment for the construction sector. These include the fast-tracking of economically important planning applications, and introducing domestic water charging to help ensure that money is available for capital spending," he said.
Bookmakers select new IT supplier
PADDY Power has selected System Dynamics, Ireland's largest indigenous supplier of IT services and solutions, for the implementation of Oracle Financials, Purchasing and i-Procurement. System Dynamics, an 'Oracle Gold Partner', will use Oracle 'Business Accelerators' to deliver a tailored 'Oracle E-Business Suite implementation'. The solution, it is hoped, will provide the group with access to real-time financial information, initially across its UK and Ireland business. Dave Ellis, Paddy Power project manager, commented: "The implementation provides Paddy Power scalability and flexibility as it continues to grow its business. It will provide the group with greater control of expenditure across all its cost functions, while simplifying and centralising its key accounting functions to achieve greater efficiencies".
EU, US both claim victory in dispute
BOTH the US and Europe have claimed victory after the World Trade Organisation (WTO) partly overturned an earlier ruling that Airbus received billions of euros in illegal subsidies. Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said it was "a big win for Europe", and the EU had won "on all key elements". However, US officials called it a "definitive victory" for their side. They said $18bn (€12.6bn) in subsidies were still deemed to have broken rules and "caused serious prejudice" to US interests. "We're enormously pleased with these findings," said Tim Reif, the US general counsel for trade, commenting on the latest decision in the longest-running transatlantic trade dispute.
BP and Russian oil firm in new talks
ROSNEFT has said it has received "new proposals" from BP after the deadline for their Arctic deal lapsed. The Russian state oil firm said the proposals went "outside the framework" of the earlier failed deal, and meant talks on a tie-up could continue. It is unclear whether the new proposal covers the Arctic exploration planned under the previous agreement. Russian deputy prime minister Igor Sechin said that the share exchange agreement had "failed". BP had earlier said that it would continue talking to Russian oil giant Rosneft over a share swap. "We think that on the whole BP is a very good partner," said Mr Sechin, who led the negotiations for Rosneft, although he suggested that the Russian oil company should sue over the breakdown in the talks. "We do not rule out some arrangement in which BP could be brought in as a contractor, perhaps on an outsourcing basis (for the Arctic) and on other projects." Analysts suggest Rosneft may now be talking about its Arctic assets with other major oil firms that have deep-sea drilling expertise, notably Exxon, Chevron and Shell.