BANK OF IRELAND ALLOWS KBC TO PROMOTE ITS PRODUCTS TO 350,000 CUSTOMERS - Bank of Ireland has allowed rival KBC to promote its current account products to 350,000 personal customers under the terms of a restructuring plan agreed with the European Commission last year. KBC is the first bank here to avail of the so-called “customer mobility” measure, which allows competitors of a certain scale to promote their products to Bank of Ireland customers. Bank of Ireland has agreed to do this twice a year out to the end of December 2016. The advertising material from KBC urges Bank of Ireland customers to switch their current accounts to the Belgian group to save money. “As a Bank of Ireland customer, by changing your current account to KBC and using your KBC debit card for cashback to avoid any ATM charges you could save up to €70.40 per year,” KBC’s covering letter states. “Gives us a try. We’re sure you’ll like us.” KBC invites Bank of Ireland customers to visit its branches in Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Galway and offers a freetext number to contact the bank. A spokeswoman for Bank of Ireland confirmed that it had facilitated KBC to target its customers. She said the marketing material was sent to a random selection of customers and no personal data was shared with KBC.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS FIRMS SPENDING MORE ON WAGES - Companies in the information and communications sectors increased the amount they spent on pay by just over 8% a year in the decade up to 2012, a new survey shows according to the Irish Independent. This far outstripped the manufacturing sector, where wage-related payments rose just 0.5% per annum over the 10 years, according to the study by the State's policy advisory board on enterprise, Forfas. The annual Business Survey of Economic Impact also found that total sales by companies supported by the State's enterprise agencies such as the IDA and Enterprise Ireland totalled €157.14 billion in 2012 - up 4.4% from the previous year. Companies reported both a rise in sales and exports in 2012, with direct expenditure in terms of pay and buying supplies produced here jumping 3.8% to about €40.8 billion. Martin Shanahan, Forfas chief executive, said the firms were making a significant contribution to the economy.
BUILDING FIRM SUES IRISH ASPHALT FOR ALLEGED DECEIT OVER PRODUCT 'NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE' - A building company has sued Irish Asphalt Limited (IAL) for loss and damage for alleged deceit over putting on the market an in-fill product when it allegedly knew it was “not fit for purpose” and contained excessive amounts of reactive pyrite, says the Irish Examiner. James Elliott Construction Ltd says, arising from its use of the in-fill product supplied by IAL, legal action has been brought against it by St Canice’s Boys National School and Forest Tosara Ltd. It is also concerned about potential claims relating to some 14 other building projects including Mulhuddart Enterprise Centre, Power City at Coolmine, Santry Student Accommodation and projects including at Blanchardstown, Donabate and Park West. It claims Irish Asphalt Limited (IAL) misrepresented the quality of the product sold by it and either knew, or was reckless, whether its representation of the product was true or false.
BOX REVEALS LOSSES AS ITS SEEKS $250m IN IPO - Box, the enterprise cloud storage company, said it hopes to raise $250m in an initial public offering as it revealed revenues that doubled last year but were outpaced by its losses, says the Financial Times. The Silicon Valley-based company, which raised $100m last December at a reported valuation of about $2 billion, saw sales leap from $58.8m in the year ending January 2013 to $124.2m last year, according to its IPO prospectus published on Monday. However, net losses rose from $112m to $168m during the same period, largely due to substantial investments in sales and marketing of its online storage products. The fact that Box is going public while saying it does not expect to be profitable “for the foreseeable future” will test investors’ willingness to gamble on the next generation of software and internet companies, which are attempting to displace traditional service providers. Box is planning to launch an investor roadshow and expects to price its offering in April, one person familiar with its plans said. A dual class share structure will give existing investors ten times the voting rights of new shareholders.