Morning business news - October 11Friday 11 October 2013 11.30
STORYTOYS A HIT ON ITUNES STORE - Storytoys is an Irish company that develops apps to both entertain and educate children. Its 3D interactive pop-up books available on iPads and tablets are proving very popular. Its latest app "Goodnight Mo" became the number one download in the books category on the iTunes store within two days of its launch.
Gavin Barrett, the company's commercial director, says the iTunes ranking is a ''massive deal'' for the company as the store is a huge retail environment with tough competition from the likes of giant Disney. He says the fact that Storytoys holds the number one slot in over 40 markets is a ''big deal''. The company's products are developed entirely in-house, and have developed from the traditional fairy tale. Admitting that his business is a hit-driven one, Mr Barrett says it is necessary to produce a new product very regularly and Storytoys now release three new products every month.
Looking to the future, Mr Barrett says that children's television brands are very popular and form an important part of the company's future strategy. He says that it has a licensing deal with the popular kids' programme Chuggington with more in the pipeline. The company currently employs 25 people, which Mr Barrett is about the right fit for the next year or so. Storytoys also believes that it is very important to have a presence in the US, and the US market is part of its growth strategy.
MORNING BRIEFS - The Competition Appeals Tribunal has set a date for hearing an appeal by Ryanair against a ruling that it should sell most of its stake in Aer Lingus. The notification from the CAT says will take place on 12-14 February 2014 for three days''.
*** Malaysian energy company Tenaga has pulled its bid for Bord Gáis Éireann, leaving just two suitors remaining for the semi-state. Tenaga said that Bord Gáis "might not be the one to fit us as we have other priorities". Britain's Centrica - the owner of what used to be British Gas - and Belfast-based Viridian are the final two bidders in the race. It is anticipated that the sale of Bord Gáis' retail and power generation unit will raise in the region of €1.4 billion.
*** Meanwhile a UK state asset passes a milestone today when shares in the Royal Mail begin trading conditionally on the London Stock Exchange at 8am. A minimum of 52% of the company is being sold through the share offering valuing the Royal Mail at £3.3 billion. The huge demand for shares has fuelled anticipation that the stock will rise strongly when trading gets underway.
*** Fashion retailer Abercrombie and Fitch saw a huge sales boost in Ireland over the past year, according to accounts just filed by the company. A&F owns the Abercrombie and Hollister brands. Between their two shops in Dublin city centre and Dundrum Town Centre shopping centre they racked up revenues of €15.8m over the year to the end of February 2013. That is up from just over €8m in the previous 12 months. A&F Hollister Ireland made a pre-tax profit of €457,000 on that.
*** China passed the US as the biggest net importer of oil in world during September. New figures show Chinese oil imports outstripped the amount of oil it produces by 6.3 million barrels a day during the month. Rapid growth in industrial production and soaring car sales are behind the oil consumption figures. The US still uses a lot more fossil fuels than China does - 18.6 million barrels a day versus 10.9 million. But, crucially, the US is less reliant on imports to satisfy its fossil fuel craving.