Saturday 17 March 2018

Business in brief: Cat to join the cream of business

Brian Cody
Brian Cody
Aaron Forde CEO of Connacht Gold.

Legendary Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody has been announced as the latest speaker at a major business event in Dublin later this month.

The Smart Business Show, sponsored by Vodafone Ireland, runs in the RDS on April 22 and 23 and is the first event of its kind in Ireland.

It aims to help businesses connect, network, and create opportunities with new suppliers and thousands of potential customers as well as discover smarter ways of doing business.

Mr Cody said: "SMEs are key to the future of the Irish economy. I'm delighted to be speaking at the Smart Business Show because it will genuinely give business people an insight into increasing their networks and how to grow their business.

"Many of the skills and experiences gained in sport are the same as those you need to succeed in business."

He added: "I am really looking forward to sharing my experiences and to explaining these many parallels."

Sixty other industry leaders, including Paddy Power's chief information officer and Vodafone's head of digital, are set to speak at the event. The entry charge for the show is €30. Mr Cody will give his keynote address on Wednesday, April 22.

Mainstream to cut cost of wind

Irish energy firm Mainstream Renewable Power has said its 448-megawatt Neart na Gaoithe project will produce cheaper electricity than any UK offshore wind farm.

The company said that this is due to it using cost-cutting technology from Siemens and High Wind. Neart na Gaoithe received planning consent in October 2014 and is expected to be generating electricity and fully commissioned by 2020.

"As a global wind and solar company our goal is to deliver a world-class wind farm as well as the best value for money for consumers; and that's what these technologies will help us achieve," said Mainstream's chief operations officer, Andy Kinsella. The firm said Siemens's expertise removes the need to install large offshore substation platforms via specialised ships and High Wind's system allows turbines to be installed in stronger winds, speeding up construction, "Logically, wind farms are being built in areas where there is a lot of wind," said Bart De Poorter, GeoSea general manager.

"That's why it makes sense to use the right tools to maximise on the workability during periods of strong winds and, at the same time, maintain the highest level of safety. We look forward to capitalising on the benefits of Boom Lock in future projects by improving safety as well as productivity as we saw during the development and testing of the Boom Lock system that was done in close cooperation with GeoSea." Mainstream, which is seeking to develop 17 gigawatts of clean-energy plants, is operating and building wind and solar projects in Ireland, South Africa, Chile and Canada. Neart na Gaoithe is to be built in the North Sea off eastern Scotland.

Hays to take on 60 new staff

The Irish arm of recruitment giant Hays is to create 60 new jobs across the country. Hays currently employs 100 staff in Ireland. Globally, the company has over 245 offices across 33 countries, employing more than 8,700 staff.

The roles on offer are for consultants, across all specialist divisions of the company and will be based in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick. According to the company, these are entry level positions that would be ideally suited to graduates.

"We look forward to greatly strengthening our footprint in Ireland by significantly adding to our workforce," said Richard Eardley, managing director of Hays Ireland.

"More than any industry, recruitment is a mirror of what's happening in the wider economy. We're hiring because the demand is there."

Hays recently announced a strong set of results and said that it expects second-half operating profit to be slightly ahead of its first-half level of £81.5 million (€112.7m).

In 2014, Hays UK & Ireland reported an operating profit of £26.2m, with a growth in net fees of 11pc.

Across the group it said net fees increased by 8pc on a like-for-like basis. Net fees in the UK and Ireland also increased by 8pc. The UK and Ireland accounts for 36pc of group fees.

However, although Hays does not break down revenue for its Irish operations, the company said that net fees in Ireland were down by 11pc.

Aurivo profits rise as debt falls

Aurivo, the dairy co-op known until recently as Connacht Gold, said operating profit rose despite a small slip in sales last year.

Aurivo, which is Ireland's third largest dairy co-operative not listed in the Dublin stock exchange, posted sales of €447m last year compared to €454m the previous year.

Operating profit at the Sligo-based company jumped to €8.9m from €5.3m in 2013. Sales slid as the mild winter led to a fall in feed sales, chief executive Aaron Forde, pictured, said.

"2014 saw significant improvement in profitability with operating profits increasing by some 70pc," he added.

"This was achieved while significantly reducing our net debt from €12.9m to €1.4m."

The company, which recently bought a London-based sports nutrition drinks firm called Mr Goodness, is optimistic about 2015 thanks to the strong dollar and growing demand, Mr Forde added.

Still, he warned that milk markets will be volatile following the European Union's decision to de-regulate the market earlier this month. Employing around 700 people, Aurivo is a globally- focused agri-business exporting to 50 countries in markets as diverse as Afghanistan, Africa, Asia, Central America, Costa Rica, Germany, Iraq and the UK.

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