Monday 18 November 2019

TH€ PUNT: Pfizer's $130m reward for taking care of the pennies

The Punt was impressed with the scale of the Pfizer plant in west Dublin as the drug giant this week announced its $130m (€100m) investment in the capital and Cork.

But what caught The Punt's eye was an information poster beside the dining area. It tells the 1,000-plus employees at the Grange Castle facility that the plant will cost a whopping $622m (€477m) to run this year.

Yes, you read it right. That includes $126m in payroll costs and over $110m in inter-company material purchases, as well as other expenses such as depreciation and the likes. It's a staggering figure for just one plant. Employees are urged to help reduce those costs by ensuring they strive to manufacture batches "right first time".

Pfizer vice-president Paul Duffy (above) was obviously chuffed at having secured the investment from the group. "The big plus I see is the work the sites have done in managing their costs," he told The Punt. "If we're inefficient, then we're not going to get investment."

Martin's mixed fortunes

FOUR years ago, Micheal Martin would have been one of the favourites to be the next Taoiseach. One economic collapse and international bailout later, he is leading Fianna Fail, but he is in opposition – and, to some degree, in the political wilderness.

The Punt was at an event last year in Croke Park. The press had assembled just around a corner to wait for Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The tape recorders and microphones were all at the ready. By coincidence, Mr Martin came around the corner. Instinctively he took a step toward the hacks, stopped himself, smiled, and walked on. Nobody wanted to talk to him then, and he knew it.

Friday found him hosting a session at the ASEAN-Ireland event on doing business in southeast Asia, not dealing with the fallout – both good and bad – of the abortion vote which he would have been doing in government.

He ran the plenary session competently enough, but let the speakers run on well over their allotted time, instead of politely giving them the shepherd's hook.

One thing he didn't do was make another attempt at the Chinese accent he notoriously put on in 2011 when speaking about that country's IT skills.

Best to forget about that one, Mr Martin.

Facebook's Euro operations chief logs out to join White Star capital

FACEBOOK'S head of European operations has left the firm to join a venture capital company.

Christian Hernandez, who was the UK and pan-European director of Facebook, has upped sticks to join early stage investment firm White Star Capital.

Mr Hernandez's resignation is a blow to Facebook, which hired him four years ago. At White Star he will join up with angel investor Eric Martineau-Fortin. Mr Hernandez had been working with White Star for the past year but has now decided to commit fully to the firm.

It has made about 20 investments, and is known to have made a killing when Summly, a news app, was bought by Yahoo for some $30m (€22.9m) in April.

According to 'Wired' magazine, Mr Hernandez plans to make another 20 investments after they have raised about €75m in new funding.

White Star Capital has also recruited two principals to develop the company. John Henderson worked with Mr Hernandez at Facebook before joining Summly, while David Szekely has worked with Martineau-Fortin on a number of venture deals.

Irish Independent

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