Category: Archive

Ryanair discount economic fears, plans Euro expansion

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Stephen McKinley

Despite fear of a severe economic downturn, and with airlines particularly badly hit after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the U.S., Ryanair has announced plans to open 10 to 12 new European routes next year.

The announcement was made by Ryanair’s bullish CEO, Michael O’Leary, who told shareholders that bookings had been “largely unaffected by the recent events in the U.S.”

However, the company still immediately reduced fares in order to promote bookings and stimulate traffic. The group remained committed to taking delivery, as planned, of eight aircraft from Boeing next spring and a further five in the spring of 2003.

“We remain on target to achieve our traffic forecast of 9.2 million passengers for the current fiscal year and we remain determined to open new bases and new routes next year with these new aircraft,” O’Leary said.

Orbiscom gains cash

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Orbiscom, the online credit-card-transaction security company, has secured a second round of funding worth $17.5 million from HgCapital.

Orbiscom, with offices in Dublin, London and New York, said that it would use the funds to continue its growth, and to deliver on its commitment to bring secure and authenticated online payments to consumers worldwide.

The Orbiscom technology establishes a single-use, proxy credit card number for every real credit card number. Thus, even if a hacker steals a customer’s credit card details from a database, the number will be rejected in any attempt to buy with the card details.

Already, Orbiscom has well-established relations with MBNA, Discover, First Data Corp. and Allied Irish Bank. Already, the Orbiscom technology is available to 500 million credit card owners worldwide.

“Authenticating and securing online payments is the final piece of the jigsaw for e-commerce,” said Ian Armitage, director of HgCapital. “Orbiscom’s Controlled Payment Technology has proven to be extremely effective in doing this and has the potential to become a global standard.

“Two years of live transaction experience, its recent cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft, and strong client relationships in the U.S. and Europe made Orbiscom a clear investment choice.”

Ambitious CARA

CARA Group Northern Ireland, a high-tech company, has ambitious plans for the next two years, aiming to double sales by 2003.

Operations director Tom Proctor said that CARA would also undertake new strategic partnerships with both private and state organizations.

“CARA NI currently delivers systems and networking solutions in excess of _5 million annually to various government departments. Our networking solutions expertise positions us well to benefit from future public service projects,” Proctor said.

CARA NI said it also plans to build on its existing accreditations and partnerships with global players including Microsoft, CISCO for networking, Nokia, ISS and CheckPoint for security and Compaq and EMC for storage solutions.

“The CARA NI operations are backed up by CARA Group’s Dublin headquarters, where 300 skilled consultants and engineers are based,” Proctor said. “As well as our prestigious customer base, it is this combination of experience and partner accreditations that will differentiate CARA NI as market innovators.”

Lots of bottle

Irish bottlemaker Ardagh says that it will seek to buy the U.S. assets of North American glassmaker Consumers Packaging, after a failed attempt to acquire the Canadian assets.

The U.S. assets consist of a 60 percent interest in an operation called Anchor Glass, based in Florida.

If successful, the acquisition would triple Ardagh’s turnover to more than $1 billion.

Mining down

Arcon, the Kilkenny-based mining company, has announced interim losses of _8.5 million for the six months to June up from _2.3 million in the same period last year.

Company chair Tony O’Reilly Jr. said that zinc prices were at a 15-year low, and budgeted targets for underground mining have not been met. But he said that the company was strong and would take quick advantage of any upturns in prices.

Be realistic: McGreevy

Warning against overoptimism, Ireland’s finance minister, Charlie McGreevy, has told the public to moderate their expectations in the year ahead.

As he prepares his November budget, McGreevy acknowledged that there is a serious economic slowdown, not least since Sept. 11.

This budget is particularly historic and important, being the last one before the changeover to the single currency, the euro, on Jan. 1.

McGreevy made his remarks at the official launch of the euro changeover handbook.

After the Economic and Social Research Institute gave a gloomy assessment of things last week, McGreevy added some notes of optimism, saying that the medium-term picture for the economy was good.

“I assess the situation we have, assess the situation going forward and make my decisions,” he added.

On the subject of the euro, McGreevy admitted that with the confusion generated by a new currency and different values, price-gouging would be inevitable, and he stressed that educated customers and consumers would be the best antidote to that.

A copy of the handbook, and a cheap electronic converter would be mailed to every home in Ireland, at an approximate cost of _5.25 million.

The latest survey showed that the Irish had a high level of knowledge of the euro’s approach — 87 percent knew that the euro would be introduced on Jan. 1.

Seventy-four percent knew that _1 is be worth E1.27, but only 46 percent knew that the two currencies would circulate together for a few weeks before the punt is phased out in February.

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