Friday 16 November 2018

New innovative hub for start-ups - backed by eir - to create 100 jobs in rural Ireland

Earnings at the telecommunications group has grown 5pc in the first nine months of the year

Eir's offices Pic: Mark Condren
Eir's offices Pic: Mark Condren
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A new state-of-the-art innovative hub for start-up firms - powered by eir - opened in Co Kerry on Friday morning.

The Dingle Hub is a community enterprise initiative aimed at helping young firms establish, collaborate and expand with other businesses.

With an emphasis on creativity, work at the hub will focus on Music/Film-making, Animation and Internet of Things (IoT).

eir is behind the centre's communications infrastructure which includes a 1 Gigabit dedicated fibre connection, hosted voice services and Wi-Fi.

Richard Moat
Richard Moat

The Hub plans to support the creation of over 100 full time jobs in five years.

“Our facility will enable a new generation of people to work and live in Dingle, doing work that was not previously possible," Jim Garvey, The Garvey Group and Spokesperson for the Hub said.

"Dingle will continue to be a vibrant place in which to live and, though remote physically, it is now fully connected to the world beyond, so there is no limitation to the type of work that can be carried out in such a beautiful surrounding that inspires creativity and draws deeply from the local traditions and culture”.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said that "there is no disputing the significant economic and social benefits that such facilities bring to rural communities across Ireland".

"Dingle is a place of beauty and has a strong international reputation, not only for its entrepreneurial spirit but also its creative acumen. It is reassuring to see eir play such a pivotal role in rural regeneration," she said.

"The 1GB connectivity will give users of the Hub access to a best in class network that will allow them to confidently conduct business on a local, national and global scale”.

Working closely with Udaras na Gaeltacta and Kerry County Council, the Hub will also provide a comprehensive support and mentoring mechanism for entrepreneurs, SMEs and start ups. 

Results

The announcement comes as eir announced results for the third quarter and nine months ending March 31, 2017.

Earnings at the telecommunications group grew by 5pc in the first nine months of the year as more customers have signed up to the broadband service.

According to the company, earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by €17m to €374m in the period until the end of December, compared with the same period the previous financial year.

“We delivered another set of strong results during the third quarter of the financial year with continued EBITDA growth of 10pc compared to the prior year quarter," Richard Moat, CEO eir, said.

Reported revenue for the quarter of €319m was "broadly flat" compared to the corresponding prior year quarter, according to CFO Huib Costermans.

"Underlying revenue for the quarter, excluding mobile termination rates (“MTR”) and foreign exchange (“FX”) movements of €325m, increased by €4m or 1pc year on year," he said,

"On a year to date basis, underlying revenue of €991m rose by 2pc or €17m. Reported revenue was €976m and broadly flat compared to the prior year period."

eir have invested over €500m in fibre to date - and have recently signed a commitment contract with the Government to deliver FTTH to 300,000 premises by December 2018.

"We have now passed 82,000 premises to date with FTTH, of which 44,000 are part of the 300,000 rollout, and we are on track to bring fibre broadband to a total of 1.9m premises or over 80pc of homes by the end of 2018," said Mr Moat.

Meanwhile, operating costs continue to reduce on the back of the firm's Simplicity programme, and eir are on track to achieve full year guidance of single digit year on year EBITDA growth.

"Operating costs for the quarter ended 31 March 2017 were €123m, a reduction of 7oc compared with the same quarter last year. On a year to date basis, operating costs were €379m representing a reduction of 5pc or €18m on a year to date basis,"  said Mr Costermans.

"Excluding exceptional storm costs in the prior year, operating costs were down 4pc for the quarter and 3pc on a year to date basis when compared with the corresponding prior year period."

The total group broadband customer base was 890,000 at 31 March 2017, growing by 10,000 in the quarter and 36,000 for the nine months ended 31 March 2017.

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