INTERTRADE IRELAND SAYS FUSION PROJECT CAN BOOST FIRMS BY UP TO €1.2M - Intertrade Ireland is set to invest €11m in 136 cross border technology projects through its all island technology transfer programme Fusion. Intertrade Ireland is responsible for fostering cross border trade, investment and innovation on both sides of the border.

Thomas Hunter McGowan, chief executive of Intertrade Ireland, says the Fusion programme is aimed towards small and medium sized businesses who want to develop their capability but do not have the resources to do so. "Where a company identifies a need, we find a graduate to fill that post and we have a third level institute in the opposite jurisdiction giving guidance and expertise," he explains.

The agency chief executive says the arrangement was mutually beneficial in that it gives the company the capacity and capability to develop while giving the graduate experience."We have found that the company benefits by an average €1.2m through new product development and efficiencies. That gears the company for increased sales," he says. "For the graduate, they get experience in frontline work and 85% of them end up being offered jobs in the company. We find after the three years that the jobs are sustained and the companies are thriving,'' he adds. The Fusion project is open to companies all over the country from north to south.


MORNING BRIEFS - Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways has reported a tripling of net profits for 2012. It posted profits of $42m in the year compared to $14m in the previous year. Etihad added six new routes and code-share arrangements in the year. Among its new destinations are Shanghai and Nairobi. It also has announced expanded service this year to Washington and other cities.

*** Chartered Accounting firm Hughes Blake has announced that it has formed a joint venture with the UK insolvency specialists, Leonard Curtis. The joint venture is in response to the growing demand for cross border restructuring and insolvency expertise in the Irish debt market. Hughes Blake believe that despite the introduction of the personal insolvency legislation here, individuals will still opt to relocate to the UK to avail of the more favourable bankruptcy environment where you can emerge from bankruptcy within a year as opposed to three here, when the new service is fully established. Justice Minister Alan Shatter is reportedly raising concerns with the UK and European authorities about the numbers of ''insolvency tourists'' going to the UK.

*** Barclays has confirmed to the stock exchange that its finance director Chris Lucas and one of its top lawyers are to retire early. This is the latest in a series of changes at the top of the British bank as it struggles to put a series of scandals behind it. The bank was at the centre of an interest rate rigging scandal last year for which it was fined nearly £300m sterling. The heads of the UK banks are to appear before MPs on the banking standards commission this week.