Today in the press

Friday 26 January 2007 20.41
Today in the press

French's €7.3m profit on K-Club apartments - Leixlip estate agent and property developer Arthur French made a pre-tax profit of €7.3m in 2004 on the development and sale of The Village luxury apartments at the K-Club, writes the Irish Independent. Mr French's company, A.F. Developments, had a turnover of €20.4m and enjoyed a gross profit of €14.7m. After hefty administrative expenses of €7.6m, the retained profit for the year came in at €6.3m. At the end of 2004, A.F. Developments had cash in hand of €13.6m and net assets of €6.4m, according to accounts recently filed with the Companies Office. Mr French, who is a prominent estate agent and former captain of the K-Club, has acted on behalf of Michael Smurfit and developer Gerry Gannon on a number of property deals, including their purchase of the entire K-Club from the Smurfit Group.

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Fás jobs event attracts 50,000 to Croke Park - Opportunities 2006, billed by Fás as Europe's biggest career, education and skills exhibition, attracted more than 50,000 visitors to the Croke Park Conference Centre over three days, with 40,000 expected to arrive today, says the Irish Times. Thousands of secondary school students are set to travel to Dublin by coach from all over the country to attend the annual event in its final day, in the hope of finding the right career path. Students from half of Ireland's post-primary schools registered for the exhibition, with most scheduled to visit today. The event had drawn 50,000 people by lunchtime yesterday, according to Caitríona White, a spokeswoman for Fás. The national education and training authority is hosting the exhibition for a 12th year. 'Over the weekend, most of the visitors were jobseekers or those looking for a career change,' Ms White said. 'There were also a lot of foreign nationals. In the Mobility Village, not a word of English was to be heard with foreign workers exchanging notes on working and living in Ireland,' she added.

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GUS to sever Argos and Experian - GUS plans to separate Argos Retail Group, its retail arm, and Experian, its credit scoring and financial services business, in December, a year after it sold its majority stake in Burberry, writes the Financial Times. The timing of the separation of the two businesses has been kept strictly under wraps by John Peace, chief executive, who has refused to tell investors whether the demerger would occur this year or next. However, the company's financial advisers are working towards a December deadline behind the scenes, according to banking sources.

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C&W plans to cut jobs and become Armani of telecoms - Cable & Wireless is expected to cut hundreds more jobs from its UK workforce as part of a restructuring plan to be announced by the telecoms operator tomorrow, reports the Guardian. John Pluthero, the new head of C&W's UK division, warned in a leaked strategy memo that the struggling business faces a difficult 12 months as it attempts to turn around its performance. Mr Pluthero, who was promoted to his role when C&W announced that it was splitting in two last month, is to cut 485 jobs in the UK with more expected as the overhaul continues. 'That's just the start,' he said. 'As we reduce the number of customers we serve, fix some of our problems, strip out layers of management, we will need fewer people to run the business." Mr Pluthero said the company would be "selling less stuff but making better profits out of it - think Georgio [sic] Armani rather than Top Shop.'