PFIZER TO INVEST $130M IN RINGASKIDDY AND GRANGE CASTLE PLANTS - Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced two investments in Ireland totalling $130m. The money will be used to upgrade and extend existing Pfizer manufacturing sites at Ringaskiddy in Cork and Grange Castle in Dublin. The investment will enable those sites to produce new drugs that are in development at the moment. Pfizer has recently seen two multi-billion dollar revenue drugs, Lipitor and Viagra, come off patent. Replacing the revenue from treatments such as those is a key issue for the drug industry and for Ireland.

Pfizer vice president Paul Duffy says that these two investments will be key for Pfizer in meeting the challenge of ''the patent cliff''. Mr Duffy says the fact that a large number of patents expired at the same time was a ''painful'' process for the company. But he says that new drugs for the like of stroke prevention, arthritis and cancer have been released, while others are in the pipeline. The Pfizer executive said that Ireland faced a lot of competition for the double investment with other countries in the group, adding that a lot of work in preparing for the investments had to be done. Pointing out that the parent company invested $200m in its Grange Castle site in 2011, he says that a facility has to be ''good'' to secure the funding.


EIRGRID INVESTMENT TO SUSTAIN UP TO 3,000 JOBS A YEAR - RESEARCH - Eirgrid, the commercial semi-state which manages electricity transmission across the country, will spend €3.2 billion upgrading infrastructure up to 2025. It has commissioned new economic research which suggests the various projects will sustain up to 3,000 jobs a year, will help Ireland secure investment which might otherwise be lost and will open up new opportunities for renewable power generation and transmission.

Alan Gray of Indecon, which produced the report, says that Eirgrid's Grid 25 project is critically important for Ireland's foreign direct investment as well as inward investment from domestic companies. The research shows that 90% of firms surveyed felt that Grid 25 was very important in attracting investment, adding that improvements in the electricity grid is an important factor in companies deciding to locate in an area. It also found that the country would not be able to meet its renewable energy targets without the grid investment, he adds.


MORNING BRIEFS - Shipments of personal computers have fallen worldwide for the fifth consecutive quarter. The rise in smartphone and tablet sales has proven a bitter pill for PC manufacturers to swallow. Consumers seem to be deciding that the cheaper, internet enabled devices can meet their computing needs, obviating the need to own a desktop or laptop. Market research firm IDC puts the global decline in shipments at 11.4% over the past three months compared to a year earlier. In a statement alongside its latest figures, IDC said manufacturers can no longer consider it realistic a realistic goal that each individual owns a PC. "Now we're thinking more conservatively that it's going to be one tablet per person and one PC per family," it added.

*** Paddy Power is to debut a Facebook betting application. It will be the first time the social network has allowed real money sports betting. Until now various games have allowed users to bet and kept score. The Paddy Power app will be introduced on a trial basis in the coming weeks.

*** The euro has gained over 1%t against the dollar overnight after the publication of minutes of the recent meeting of the US Federal Reserve. They showed the Fed was less inclined to start pulling back its $85 billion a month stimulus for the US economy than many people had thought.