Today in the pressMonday 19 May 2014 11.42
FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE CALLS FOR FULL DISCLOSURE OF STATE COMPANY SALE - A former chief executive of State seaweed company Arramara Teo has called for full disclosure of the terms under which the firm was sold to Canadian interests, says the Irish Times. Tony Barrett, who served as the head of Arramara until 2007, said that he believed the buyer, Acadian Seaplants, was seeking exclusive access to the west coast's valuable seaweed crop as part of the deal. Two European Parliament and several local authority election candidates, along with former Gaeltacht minister Éamon Ó Cuív, have already called for details to be made public, following conclusion of the purchase this month with Údarás na Gaeltachta for an undisclosed sum. Arramara Teo applied for foreshore rights shortly before its sale, having hitherto relied on the licensing rights of several hundred traditional harvesters during its 67- year history. Mr Barrett believes the sale was contingent on this application being made. If it is approved by the Department of the Environment, he says this will effectively undermine the role of some 250 harvesters , and may cut out other players. "Harvesting rights should stay with the harvesters," he said.
BETTER PAY THE SPUR FOR NEW JOBS - Nearly two-thirds of the workforce is expecting to move jobs in the next year as the employment opportunities improve across the economy. A survey carried out by recruitment specialists the Berkley Group found that nearly a third of the workforce are preparing to move jobs within six months which may cause headaches for businesses. The main driver of churn in the jobs market is pay, with an overwhelming 92% of respondents expecting to receive a pay rise in the next 12 months, says the Irish Examiner. Managing director at Berkley Group Fergal Brosnan said that as confidence grows people will increasingly seek new opportunities. “Ireland has certainly seen high levels of activity over recent months, with companies across the board noting a lot of opportunities and more employment options becoming available. As investment in the economy continues to rise, and confidence in the market remains, this sentiment will only get stronger,” he said.
HEALTH CRAZE WHIPS UP PRICES FOR EGG WHITES - A run on egg whites in the US food industry has made prices sizzle for the sticky ingredient, stirring up turbulence for companies from Cargill to an investment holding of Goldman Sachs. Analysts say the fragile egg supply chain has been under pressure as fast-food restaurants race to add low-cholesterol egg sandwiches to menu boards, writes the Financial Times. The cost of liquid egg whites has flipped above yolks for the first time in years, according to Urner Barry, a food price information service. In the latest sign of a squeeze, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics last week reported wholesale prices for processed eggs had leapt 56% from a year ago. The average American eats more than 250 eggs annually, according to the US Department of Agriculture. McDonald’s introduced its Egg White Delight McMuffin to breakfast customers in April 2013. “Pretty much the rest of the industry followed suit,” said Rick Brown, senior vice-president at Urner Barry. Hamburger chain Jack in the Box launched an egg-white breakfast sandwich in December, followed by 7-Eleven convenience stores. Dunkin’ Donuts serves an egg-white flatbread. The price of unpasteurised liquid egg whites has soared 80% to more $1 per pound in the past year, Urner Barry data show. Leading egg products manufacturer Michael Foods - owned by a private equity affiliate of Goldman Sachs - declared it a “record high” market.
BT TO HIRE 1,600 STAFF AMID INTERNET CONNECTIONS CRITICISM - BT is hiring 1,600 engineers amid criticism from regulators over the speed at which new internet connections are installed and faults are repaired, reports today's Guardian. The telecoms company, whose network is also relied on by dozens of other broadband providers including Sky and TalkTalk, has been rapped by watchdogs for leaving customers stranded without web access for too long. Watchdog Ofcom will on Tuesday publish its final decision on tough new sanctions designed to ensure BT repairs faults within two working days and installs new lines within 12 working days. "One customer being out of service for too long is one too many," said Joe Garner, chief executive of Openreach, which builds and maintains BT's network. "Millions of customers depend on broadband and they rely on us to keep them connected, whatever the weather." Garner said the new recruits would be a "welcome boost" to an engineering workforce that completes hundreds of thousands of jobs - such as installing fibre optic lines - each week.