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Business Briefs Failure to host ’97 equestrian games costly

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry keaney

Ireland’s unsuccessful attempt to host the World Equestrian Games last year cost the state $820,000, and it may be liable for a further _1.5 million, the Dail committee on public accounts was told last week.

The _820,000 was made up of a _770,000 grant from Bord F_ilte and _50,000 from Cospoir, a state sports agency.

Representatives of those trying to organize the games in Ireland visited people in a number of countries, including the United States, seeking support. But finding a major sponsor proved to be a problem. A sponsor eventually emerged and the Irish government was encouraged to continue its support. However, the sponsor later withdrew. Without the sponsor, the state would have had to increase its funding by a minimum of another _2.5 million, and probably more, to get the games on time.

“We had to make a call on whether we should now withdraw, cut our losses or continue,” Margaret Hayes, secretary general of the department of Tourism and Trade told the public accounts committee.

Asked about possibilities liabilities, Hayes said there was the question of a guarantee entered into by Bord F_ilte with the international equestrian federation. Bord F_ilte believed it had no liability. Hayes understood the federation had raised the matter with Bord F_ilte and a liability of _1.5 million was the worst case scenario.

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Corporate glance

It is expected that the Irish state telephone company Telecom +ireann will be floated on the stock market next year. The government is to sell off up to half of the company through an initial public offering. Already, the government has decided to cede 14.9 percent of the company to employees.

ICON, the Irish clinical trials company floated on the NASDAQ market in May, has reported strong growth in its final quarter and for the year to the end of May. Profits before tax and interest in the fourth quarter were up 88 percent to $1.6 million. Profits for the year more than quadrupled to just under $5.8 million.

Piercom, a Limerick-based software group which has developed systems to combat the year 2000 problem, is believed to be shaping up for a stock market listing after raising _3.5 million in a private placing with institutional investors, the Irish Times reported. The placing, through NCB Corporate Finance, values Piercom at _16.5 million.

If a decision is made to go public, a dual listing on the developing companies market in Dublin and the alternative investment market in London are thought to be the most likely options.

At First Maryland Bancorp, the U.S. subsidiary of Allied Irish Bank, pretax profits reached $75.4 million for the three months to the end of June, a 34 percent increase on the corresponding quarter in 1997. Profits after tax were 32 percent up at $47.5 million. The latest results are not directly comparable with the previous year because they include the Dauphin Deposit Bank acquired in July 1997 for $840 million.

Meanwhile, exceptional investment returns have resulted in a 34 percent rise in total value of Irish pension funds in 1997, according to the Irish Times. The value of the funds’ assets increased to _25.8 billion from _19.2 billion at the end of 1996.

Golden handshake

The former chief executive of the Irish Trade Board, Oliver Tattan, has finalized a severance pay package deal with the government. He had declined to take up a position in a new agency called Enterprise Ireland which incorporates the trade board. Details of Tattan’s package were not available. Tattan began working for the trade board in Sept. 1996 and had three-and-a-half years to go in his current position.

Pfizer seeks expansion

Pfizer Pharmaceuticals is planning a _200 million extension to its plant in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork. The factory, which makes a key element of the impotence drug Viagra, has applied to Cork County Council to extend its plant. The expansion must yet be approved by the board of Pfizer’s parent in New York. The new project is expected to result in about 100 permanent jobs in the Pfizer plant where 320 are already employed. Up to 400 people may be employed during the construction of the extension which would last two to three years.

Ireland a Euro software center

Novell, a U.S. multinational network software provider, has chosen Ireland as the center for all its European activities as well as some of its software research and development. A hundred people are already employed in Novell’s operation in Dublin.

Following U.S. fish

A consortium of skippers from Killybegs, Co. Donegal, has bought three U.S. fishing vessels of more than 100 feet long to land fish into North American ports. The Irish skippers are taking advantage of unfished quotas at a time when the European Union is restricting midwater operations in eastern waters. The underdeveloped U.S. fleet is unable to match the requirements of the U.S. domestic market, which imports one million tons of fish annually.

Meeting the IRS

The IRS for Manhattan district will hold its next problem solving day on Aug. 12 from 1- 6:30 p.m. in its office at 290 Broadway. The IRS says the purpose of problem solving day is to give taxpayers with longstanding federal tax problems an opportunity to work face-to-face with an IRS employee in finding a solution. To schedule an appointment for problem solving day, taxpayers should call the IRS at (212) 436-1013.

Birth of a business

Valerie Boland, a 38-year-old Canadian now living in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, has set up a new business called Angel Wings Gift Baskets. It’s a gift service that enables family and friends living abroad to celebrate the birth or christening of a baby in Ireland by sending a distinctive gift chosen from a range of 17 specially prepared gift baskets, including mothers’ baskets.

Boland married Irishman Paul Boland seven years ago. The birth of their daughter, Victoria, two and a half years ago, led to the idea for the new business. For information, call 011-353-67-25533.

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