Morning business news - April 11

Thursday 11 April 2013 12.11
Morning business news with Emma McNamara
Morning business news with Emma McNamara

DUBLIN TEENAGER WINS YOUTH ENTREPRENEUR AWARD - A teenager from Tallaght in Dublin yesterday won a national competition for youth entrepreneurship. Amy Keatinge invented earmuffs with ear phones in them called CoZey SoundZ. They are customisable to match your outfit or to be done in your team colours. She also invented a cushion with ear phones in it. Amy came first out of 850 competing businesses that have a combined revenue of €250,000. Youth organisation Foroige runs the competition for businesses created by young people from low income communities. The competition was founded by US businessman Steve Mariotti in New York in 1987 to prevent at-risk young people from dropping out of the education system.

***

EXTRA WORK PERMITS MEASURE WELCOMED BY ICT SECTOR - The Government is to issue an extra 700 permits for work in the IT sector this year. It is part of a plan to boost the information technology sector and new measures will also see the time it takes to process a job permit reduced. The move has been widely welcomed. Open Ireland - whose aim is to encourage strategies needed to develop Ireland as a technological economic powerhouse - said the measure will create jobs immediately.

Chris Horn, partner at Irish Venture Capital firm Atlantic Bridge, and the founding chair of the Government's Expert Group on Future Skills, says the extra work permits is a very positive move for the ICT sector here. He says there is a shortage of skilled staff in the sector as more and more companies set up shop here, encouraged here by IDA Ireland. Explaining that the dot.com crash of 2001 resulted in a lot of people leaving the industry, Mr Horn says that from 2004, the ICT sector has staged a remarkable recovery, driven in part by smartphones. He says the smartphone industry have turned ICT on its head and is allowing new companies to bring new innovations to the marketplace. Mr Horn says he believes that the ICT boom will continue.

***

MORNING BRIEFS - Global sales of Personal Computers fell 14% in the first three months this year, the biggest fall since research firm IDC started tracking the industry in 1994. IDC said 76.3 million units were shipped, and said Microsoft's latest version of Windows had failed to revitalise the industry. Recession had also led companies to put back renewal of their PCs, IDC said. Traditionally, companies replace their PCs every three years, but during the economic downturn this is more likely to be every five years. Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest maker of PCs, saw a 24% fall in shipments in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago. China's Lenovo Group, number two in the market, is benefiting from sales to first-time buyers in China and other developing countries. Its sales held steady.

*** Paul McCartney is the wealthiest music millionaire, with an €800m fortune, according to The Sunday Times Rich List. He has actually topped the list since the first one was published in 1989. The list also says the combined wealth of U2 is now €612m. Enya is in there at 26, with a fortune of over €100m. Van Morrisson is in 39th place with €59m. Adele has topped the list of young music millionaires with a €35m.

*** The US Federal Reserve accidentally emailed the minutes from its March meeting to 154 people early yesterday. Those people included employees at some of the world's biggest banks - like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase - lobbyists and people in Congress. While no major news was expected to come from these minutes, they are important documents that can move markets from time to time. Wall Street players often scrutinise the minutes for hints about when the central bank could pull back on its bond-buying policy or raise interest rates. The minutes are usually highly protected by the Fed and their release is supposed to be executed carefully. A Fed spokesman said the mistake was "entirely accidental," and it was a "human error," not a technological one. It is not yet clear if any trading took place based on the early release, but the Federal Reserve will investigate the error.