MICROSOFT BOLSTERS IRISH INVESTMENT WITH PLAN FOR NEW DUBLIN CAMPUS - Microsoft is on track to begin construction of a new purpose-built campus in south Dublin that could kick off an expansion of its operations here, says the Irish Independent. The company's managing director for Ireland, Cathriona Hallahan, said that the company hopes to start the project, which will rehome over 1,200 Microsoft staff, by the start of next year. "As a company, it's a continued commitment to Ireland," said Ms Hallahan. "We have acquired some land and are in the planning process at present. That will take six months, realistically. So we should be breaking ground on it early next year." Ms Hallahan said that the new campus, to be based close to the company's existing main office in Sandyford, will house all of the company's existing 1,200 full-time employees. She also said that the company may seek to expand its operations in Ireland. "Our focus is to evolve the investment here and to demonstrate that we can attract European talent here in Ireland," said Ms Hallahan. "We see ourselves as a gateway into Europe." Ms Hallahan said that Ireland's current technology boom was creating an "ecosystem" that was making it more attractive for multi-nationals such as Microsoft to consider creating more jobs.
'NO LEGAL FEARS OVER LENIHAN LETTER' - Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said he is not aware of any legal concerns expressed by the ECB regarding the disclosure of a letter sent by the bank to the late Brian Lenihan in the run-up to the 2010 bailout, writes the Irish Examiner. The ECB has to date refused to release the contents of the November 2010 letter from Jean Claude Trichet to the then finance minister in response to Freedom of Information requests. Mr Noonan, in a written Dáil response to Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty stated that “in early 2014, when the ECB initially sought my views in the context of its discussion on the possible release of the letter, I indicated that the decision to release the letter was a matter for the ECB". "It is important for relationships between institutions to be developed and sustained in order to allow for confidential negotiations to take place especially on particularly sensitive issues. Requests to release the letter have been considered under our own Freedom of Information legislation on a number of occasions. The decision has been to refuse these requests in line with relevant sections of the FOI Act and the refusal to release has been upheld on one occasion by the Office of the Information Commissioner," the Minister said.
GROWTH DATA, GDP - AND A FEW GOALS - Every four years, teams of highly paid, competitive individuals gather together and try to beat their international rivals. But this is not the World Cup. This is investment banks predicting who will win the World Cup, says the Financial Times. Economists from Goldman Sachs, UniCredit and Danske Bank have crunched everything from per capita GDP and the rapid growth of emerging markets to the availability of arable land, in order to come up with their winners and losers this summer in Brazil. Although it may not be apparent when watching a football match, economic fundamentals play a vital role in determining who will come out on top,” said Lars Christensen, chief analyst at Danske. The bank backed the US to get through the group stages at the expense of Portugal due to the US’s larger economy. Portugal may have the world player of the year in Cristiano Ronaldo, but it also has per capita GDP that is $30,000 lower than the US. Likewise, the rapid growth of emerging markets such as Chile and Uruguay has chipped away at the advantage formerly enjoyed by Italy and Spain. Goldman argued that availability of arable land is correlated - albeit weakly - with appearances in the World Cup final. Countries with lots of wide, open spaces such as Argentina and Brazil outperform small, crowded countries, such as the Netherlands.
EX-HUMAN RESOURCES CHIEF SUES DIGICEL OVER $3m CLAIM - Digicel, the Caribbean mobile phone company owned by Denis O'Brien, has become embroiled in an acrimonious court case with a former senior executive who alleges she is owed close to $3 million in unpaid share options. Jean Blackstock, who was Digicel's group head of human resources until 2004, is suing the company in the Supreme Court of Jamaica, where it was founded and is headquartered. The company denies it owes her any money, writes the Irish Times. In evidence presented to the court as part of the financial dispute, Ms Blackstock also alleges she was sexually harassed more than a decade ago by Seamus Lynch, the former group chief executive who now oversees Digicel's Pacific business and sits on its main board. Both Digicel and Mr Lynch strenuously deny there is any truth to this allegation and the company has filed documents with the Jamaican courts in which it strongly rejects this aspect of her claim. "[Digicel] will show that there existed a proper and professional relationship between [Ms Blackstock] and Seamus Lynch during the course of her employment . . . and afterwards," Digicel has told the court.