PADDY POWER HONES IN ON MOBILE BETTING MARKET - Betting firm Paddy Power's results out this morning show its profit before tax rose by 15% to €139.2m, while its revenue grew by 25% in 2012 to €5.7 billion.
Paddy Power's chief executive Patrick Kennedy says that the group now has nearly twice as many online users as it has in 2010 as mobile gaming has been adopted across its markets and the company has invested heavily in the sector during the last three years. He notes that 62% of Paddy Power's online customers use mobile to access the company's services. Mr Kennedy says that tomorrow's market is in mobile, noting that the company is now the biggest mobile betting provider in the UK by some distance. ''Mobile is where the customer is going and we have positioned ourselves well there,'' he states.
The Paddy Power boss also says that the betting shop in the high street is substantial and is quite resilient - subject to the economic conditions. Retail on average has grown by 5% in the UK on an annual basis and Mr Kennedy says there is an attraction to the cash element and the social aspect of the bookies. While he admits there is migration from shops to mobile, Mr Kennedy says that the growth of online is not the death knell for the bookie shop, noting that the group opened 47 new shops in the UK and Ireland during the year. He also says that company research has shown that Paddy Power customers drive footfall to the other shops in the high street.
HUB SPOT CREATING 150 DUBLIN JOBS - Hub Spot is a company that emerged from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Its business is marketing software and today marks the opening of Hub Spot's new European headquarters in Dublin. The office is expected to create 150 jobs including sales, support, marketing, engineering and development roles in total. 22 staff are employed in Dublin already.
The company's chief operations officer JD Sherman says it is very easy to find exceptional talent in Ireland in the areas of marketing and technical support and he says the company is thrilled by its founding team in Dublin. Explaining the company's ''unlimited vacation policy' in its US operations, he says Hub Spot believes that the amount of time spent in the office is less important than the amount of work and quality an employee delivers. The culture of Hub Spot blends well with life in Dublin and Mr Sherman says that if any US business is curious about how successful they can be in Ireland, they should talk to them.
MORNING BRIEFS - As consumer demand sees a resurgence in interest in fresh produce category and retailers allocate more shelf space to it, Total Produce has reported profits before tax up 19.1% to €47.3m for 2012.
*** Two German newspapers have said there are growing doubts within the European Central Bank about its continued participation in the so-called "troika" of the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the ECB.
Today's Die Welt and Sueddeutsche Zeitung papers say some ECB members are concerned that participation in euro zone rescue efforts could create a conflict of interest for the ECB and compromise its independence. The newspapers quote a government source in Berlin as saying there are two reasons for the concerns - it has become quite normal for the ECB to take part in rescue efforts for struggling euro zone countries. Secondly, they say, the ECB's political influence is growing and that together with the IMF and the EU, it is imposing massive adjustment and reform programmes on ECB nations.
*** Hotel room rates in Ireland got more expensive last year and are at their highest since 2008 with the average room price in Ireland at €90 per night, up 5% year-on-year. Figures from the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index show that average prices in Dublin grew by 8% to €90 and that Killarney is Ireland's most expensive destination at €101 per night. Prices in Belfast rose by 18% to €90 as the Titanic Experience opened last April and Portrush in Co Antrim hosted the Irish Open at the end of June. The index shows that Limerick is Ireland's least expensive destination at an average of €67 per night. Galway is the second most expensive destination with prices up 3% to an average of €100. The increase is being put down to events like festivals, concerts, conference and sporting events which drove demand and occupancy.