Morning business news - February 21

Thursday 21 February 2013 14.48
Morning business news with Emma McNamara
Morning business news with Emma McNamara

EIRCOM TO EXPAND BROADBAND ROLLOUT TO 1.2 MILLION HOMES - Eircom has announced results this morning for the first half of its financial year. In a statement the company's chief executive said the business is still trying to stop losing customers, revenue and profit, as revenue fell by 6% and earnings fell 8%.

Eircom's chief financial officer Richard Moat says that the company is expanding the reach of its fibre network from one million to 1.2 million homes and businesses. He says that when the rollout is complete it will reach 60% of all households in the country. He says that while Eircom continues to see lower revenues, the rate of decline is slowing and the company plans to transform its performance in the future due to its investment in broadband and in 4G data services. He says the company plays to launch television services in the third quarter of this year and says that it will be able to offer ''quad'' play packages to customers as part of a ''compelling'' package.

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COMPANIES MUST BE AWARE OF THE ''THREE Rs'' FOR THEIR DIGITAL FUTURE - Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, his wife Priscilla and Google boss Sergey Brin have launched a $33m Science Prize, calling it the equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The award is the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and will reward researchers who work at curing disease and extending human life. Mark Zuckerberg said he thought society should reward not just famous movie and sports stars, that science would also be seen as a star career. He said he hopes that the fund helps society recognise more engineers and scientists as "heroes". The foundation has already selected 11 winners for this year - including a neurobiologist, a geneticist and a molecular biologist - each of whom will receive $3m.

David Shing, AOL's Digital Prophet, says that the new prize is phenomenal because at the end of the day, technology is the interconnector to the eco-system that we all play in. Mr Shing notes that about 80% of people here are connected digitally and 50% are excited about technology helping them in their everyday lives in making better choices on goods and services. He admits that while digital services can boost efficiencies, where they can hinder is in the ability to put the screen down and actually face someone. As a Digital Prophet, he says companies have to be aware of the 3 Rs - companies have to be Reactive, they have to Relevant and they have to be Remarkable and be able to stand out.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Ireland will try to sell €500m of Treasury Bills on the bond markets today. It follows a similar auction last month which saw the same volume of Treasury Bills sold with a yield of 0.2%. The National Treasury Management Agency is to auction the €500m worth of three month bonds as part of its efforts to reach a funding target of €10 billion for the year, as Ireland prepares to exit from its bailout programme.

*** 100 have been announced this morning at digital advertising company Quantcast, which is setting up its Europe, Middle East and Africa Operations Centre in Dublin creating the jobs over two years. Quantcast chief executive Konrad Feldman said Dublin offers the mix of a vibrant local technology business scene, an "exceptional" talent pool and easy accessibility to Europe's major markets, all of which were instrumental in its decision to locate here.

*** Portuguese police say they have made the biggest ever seizure of fake euro notes, worth more than €380,000. 1,901 fake €200 banknotes were seized in an operation in the northern city of Oporto, where police arrested a 46-year-old man whose identity and nationality were not revealed. Police said the notes were "of exceptional quality" and part of a batch that has been in circulation for about ten years, with the notes turning up mostly in Spain, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria and Portugal.