ISE OFFICIAL LEAVES AFTER SEVEN MONTHS - The person hired by the Irish Stock Exchange to promote Irish companies listing on the exchange has left the position after seven months, reports The Irish Examiner. Leslie Williams has joined the Dublin-based investment firm Investec. Ms Williams said she “left the ISE because an opportunity came up with Investec”. Before joining the ISE, she was head of institutional equities at Goodbody Stockbrokers. Even though Ms Williams left the ISE on good terms, it will still come as a blow to the Dublin market, which has seen a number of high-profile defections over the past few years. The building firm Grafton is the latest Irish plc looking at leaving the ISE to opt for a listing in London. Over the past few years some of the biggest Irish companies have delisted from the ISE in favour of the London Stock Exchange. These include United Drug, DCC, Greencore, and ICON, while CRH also moved its primary listing to London. One Dublin-based investment manager who spoke to the newspaper said small regional markets such as Dublin are finding it increasingly hard to compete as the financial services sector becomes more globalised.
EU PLANS REFORM OF TELECOMS MARKET - The European Commission will tomorrow unveil an ambitious reform of the European telecoms industry which aims to abolish roaming charges across the EU, and stimulate investment in the European telecoms sector, according to The Irish Times. The new regulations, which will be outlined by European commissioner Neelie Kroes at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, aim to create a single EU market for the telecoms industry, though they stop short of establishing a pan-European regulator. The plan would drastically reduce the cost of roaming charges for customers by addressing the wholesale price operators pay to access their rivals’ networks, and encouraging providers to form “alliances”. The move – which could eventually see consumers offered EU-wide packages that minimise the disparity between international and domestic call rates – builds on measures introduced by the commission since 2007 to cap roaming fees. The package is also expected to address the contentious issue of “net neutrality” – the idea that all types of content, whether voice, video or data, are treated equally by telecoms carriers.
HOTEL GROUP INCURS €27.4M LOSS - The group that operates the Gresham Hotel in Dublin and the Metropole hotel in Cork incurred combined losses of €27.4m over the past two years, reports The Irish Independent. Accounts just filed to the Companies Office for 2012 and 2011 show that the chief factor behind the losses was a €21m property writedown in 2011. The accounts for Precinct Investments also show that pre-tax losses narrowed sharply from €26.1m in 2011 to €1.26m last year. The group recorded an operating profit of €4m last year and finance costs of €5.3m put the group into the red. The group returned to operating profit in 2012 after its revenues increased by 9% to €16.5m. According to a note attached to the accounts "the group has experienced an improvement in trade with the hotels continuing to trade ahead of their competitive set, however the group has incurred significant losses and cash outflows due to a high level of debt within the group following its privatisation in 2004 and recent asset devaluations". The note continues: "Cash flow from operations was positive in 2011 and 2012 and is expected to be positive for 2013 ... Trading to date in 2013 has been satisfactory and is in line with budget."
DYSON SUING SAMSUNG OVER VACUUM PATENT - The Financial Times reports that Sir James Dyson has turned to the courts to defend his company’s intellectual property, accusing South Korean electrical conglomerate Samsung of a “cynical rip off” of the vacuum maker’s steering mechanism. Dyson last month issued proceedings against Samsung in the English High Court, alleging that Samsung’s Motion Sync vacuum cleaner infringed the UK engineer’s patented pivot steering technology used in its DC37 and DC39 cylinder vacuum cleaners. “This looks like a cynical rip off,” said Sir James, sole shareholder of the company, which last year had sales of more than $1bn. “Samsung has many patent lawyers so I find it hard not to believe that this is a deliberate or utterly reckless infringement of our patent.” Dyson, which over the past decade has become a global force in vacuum cleaners, has requested that Samsung remove its Motion Sync vacuums from sale in the UK. But Samsung Electronics, a subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group, disputed the allegations, and dubbed the claims as “groundless”. “The Samsung Motion Sync is an outcome of our own extensive research and development,” it said. “We will take all necessary measures, including legal actions, to protect our technological innovation against Dyson’s groundless claims.”