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Expleo Ireland announces 200 new jobs for Cork

Expleo, a global technology, engineering and consulting service provider, has announced 200 new jobs and the opening of its first regional hub in Mahon in Co Cork.

The company is investing €10m in the expansion of its workforce from 800 to 1,000 over the next two years.

The majority of the 200 jobs will be highly skilled IT roles in disciplines including software development, software engineering and technical engineering.

As part of its investment, Expleo is also establishing a network of regional hubs that will be complementary to its Irish headquarters in Dublin and its base in Belfast.

The Cork hub is now open with plans underway for similar facilities in Galway and Limerick.

Staff based in the hubs will be offered the same flexible working arrangements as those in the company’s Dublin and Belfast offices.

“Following extensive research of available resources and skills throughout the country, it was evident that regional hubs would provide Expleo with the additional talent and impetus we need to deliver on our ambitious growth plans,” said Phil Codd, Managing Director, Expleo Ireland.

“Our new hires in Cork will have access to all the benefits our current employee base enjoys including competitive salaries, flexible working, world-class training programmes and a highly supportive working culture,” he added.

Article Source – Expleo Ireland announces 200 new jobs for Cork – Brian O’Donovan – RTE

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Asking prices for homes up almost 11%, growth rate slows – MyHome.ie

Cost-of-living concerns and rising interest rates will slow the demand for houses in the second half of the year, according to the latest house price report from MyHome.ie.

It reveals that a “minor” fall in house prices could be on the way as a result, but states that a ‘Celtic Tiger’ crash in unlikely.

Asking prices for houses are now up 10.9% on the same time last year, with the median asking price in the second quarter standing at €320,000.

This is a slowdown in the growth rate, with the last report showing annual asking price inflation running at 12.3% for the year to March.

The median asking price in Dublin increased to €403,000.

National asking prices rose 5.3% on the previous quarter – however the data suggests that price inflation will slow in the final six months of the year.

Conall MacCoille, author of the report and Chief Economist at Davy, said anecdotal evidence from estate agents suggests that the momentum driving asking price inflation earlier in the year, is starting to slow.

However, he said there is unlikely to be a repeat of the Celtic tiger era.

“Mortgage lending rules have kept the market in check,” he said.

MyHome.ie Managing Director Joanne Geary said inflationary pressures are likely to temper demand as the year goes on, leading to a “year of two halves”.

“We anticipate that the first half of the year will see stronger asking price inflation growth than the second half of the year with our forecast of asking price increases still standing at 7% for the year,” she said.

Rising supply levels

The report reveals that there were 12,700 properties listed for sale on MyHome.ie in June, up from 11,200 in March and flat over the past 12 months.

“It is encouraging to see stock levels and new listings rise this quarter, albeit from a low base,” Ms Geary said.

However, she pointed out that demand is still far outstripping supply.

“This imbalance needs to be rectified in order for normality to return to the market,” she added.

Mr MacCoille added that this is the first time there has not been a year-on-year decline in the number of properties listed for sale since 2019.

“In Dublin, the number of homes for sale in June 
was 3,900, up 7% on the year, now at its highest level
 since mid-2020.

“That said, the housing market is still very tight, with listings still well down from the 21,000 on average through 2017-2019,” he added.

He pointed out that the small improvement has not been driven by a lack of demand, rather vendors returning to the market.

The report reveals that the average time it takes for a property to go sale agreed fell to a fresh record low of just 2.6 months in the second quarter of the year.

Mr MacCoille said this is indicative of the large gap between supply and demand evident across Ireland.

“The average time to sale agreed outside Dublin has also fallen to a record low of 2.9 months – taking just two weeks longer to sell a property outside the capital,” he added.

The report also reveals that 20% of those with mortgage approval, or 8,500 potential home buyers, are failing to secure a property each year – further highlighting the difficulties people are facing when it comes to purchasing a home.

Regional breakdown

The figures show that the median price of all properties listed for sale on the MyHome website was €278,000 in the second quarter of the year, up 4.9% on the year.

Median prices in Louth have seen the strongest gain over the past 12 months, up 15.4% to €225,000 in the second quarter, closely followed by a 14% rise in Wexford to €245,000.

Offaly has also seen a 9.4% gain to €210,000 and there was an 8.1% rise in Westmeath to €200,000.

Meanwhile, the border counties have seen very sharp price inflation.

In Cavan, price inflation in the second quarter was 13.4% to €190,000, while in Donegal, prices are up an enormous 19.4% to €185,000 and they rose by 12.1% in Monaghan, also to €185,000.

Today’s report also shows that upward pressure on rents has continued, with the CPI private rents index highlighting an 11.2% rise in rents in the year to May.

This follows a 9% rise through last year, according to the Residential Tenancies Board, when rents rose to a fresh record high of €1,415 on average and by 8.9% to €1,972 in Dublin.

Article Source – Asking prices for homes up almost 11%, growth rate slows – MyHome.ie – Gill Stedman – RTE

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AIB’s share trading plan extended up to January

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said today he was extending AIB Group’s share trading plan, which was first announced in December.

Since then the Government’s stake in AIB has been reduced from about 71.2% to about 68%.

The plan aims to gradually reduce the State’s investment in the bank, while it is also improving liquidity in the shares.

The share trading plan was due to end no later than July 10 but today’s extension means that the plan will now end no later than January 24, 2023, unless further extended by the Minister.

Proceeds generated from the share trading plan since its launch come to about €161m.

The average price per share achieved so far is €2.32.

The number of shares sold will depend on market conditions, amongst other factors.

“When I announced the launch of the share trading plan last December, I said that the State’s exit from its investment in AIB would be a multi-year journey, so it is important, and I believe it is in the taxpayers’ best interest, to extend the share trading plan for a further period,” Paschal Donohoe said.

“I will continue to keep other monetisation options open, should these opportunities present themselves,” he added.

In line with the Government’s commitment to deliver best value for the taxpayer, the Minister said the shares will not be sold below a pre-determined floor price, which the Department of Finance will keep under review.

The Central Bank yesterday fined AIB and EBS a combined €96.7m for their part in the tracker mortgage controversy, representing the largest fine ever levied by the financial services regulator.

AIB’s chief excecutive Colin Hunt said it was deeply sorry for the distress and the financial losses caused to customers.

Article Source – AIB’s share trading plan extended up to January – RTE

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AIB set for record tracker mortgage fine from Central Bank

The Central Bank is set to hit AIB with a record fine later today for its role in the tracker mortgage issue.

The banking group, which includes EBS, is said to have set aside €70m to cover the fine, which resulted from an enforcement investigation that has been running since 2017.

Over 9,000 AIB customers were incorrectly deprived of tracker mortgages, or were put on the wrong tracker rates.

Another 5,900 cases were admitted by AIB in 2020 after it lost a case with the Financial Services Ombudsman.

The bank has spent almost €600m on legal advice and compensation for those affected by the issue.

AIB chief executive Colin Hunt said in April that he wanted to see the regulatory investigation completed this year.

“My ambition is to do everything in my power to restore the reputation of AIB,” he said at the time.

He added that the resolution of the tracker mortgage issue was “critical to that ambition of mine.”

Tracker mortgages are home loans where the interest rate is pegged to the main European Central Bank rate, with a fixed additional margin for the bank issuing them.

So far the Central Bank has imposed around €82m in tracker fines on four lenders in the past two years.

The Central Bank’s enforcement action against Permanent TSB, published in 2019 alongside a €21m fine, found it had failed to warn certain customers that they would lose their tracker mortgage entitlements as a consequence of their request to break early from a fixed or discounted interest rate.

KBC Bank Ireland was also fined €18m for failing to adequately warn customers that they would not be able to return to a tracker rate from a fixed rate.

The Central Bank also last year fined Ulster Bank Ireland a record almost €38m for dozens of regulatory breaches in its handling of its tracker mortgage customers.

Bank of Ireland has yet to be fined for its role in the tracker scandal but said it has set aside €94m of tracker-related provisions at the end of last year, including funds for an expected fine.

Article Source – AIB set for record tracker mortgage fine from Central Bank – RTE

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More Irish companies sign low carbon pledge

70 of Ireland’s biggest companies have now committed to setting carbon-reduction targets based on climate science, by signing a low-carbon pledge overseen by Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), a not for profit organisation.

The number of companies signed up to the pledge has increased from 47 in 2019, when it was first launched.

Companies signing the pledge must commit to setting Science-Based Targets (SBTs) no later than 2024 – and review their indirect and supply chain emissions.

This includes their entire carbon footprint – and must be in line with the Paris Agreement and the latest IPCC findings.

The ultimate goal of the pledge is to achieve carbon neutrality.

A report published today by PwC, in partnership with BITCI, shows that the companies that have signed up to the pledge are making steady progress.

70% are on track to set their science based targets by 2024, with most set to achieve them by 2030 or earlier.

The report reveals that most of those who have not yet set their science based targets have set emission reduction targets – which is a step in the right direction.

“The scientific community has used every possible opportunity to warn us of the irreversible changes we are causing to the planet and our livelihoods,” said Tomás Sercovich, CEO of BITCI.

Mr Sercovich said this is why their targets must be based on science.

“We are making steady progress towards our ambition to have science-based emission reduction targets set no later than 2024.

“This is a mission we cannot afford to fail and we cannot leave anyone behind. Business must act and business must lead,” he said.

The report states that the growing geopolitical uncertainty around the world may impact negatively on the journey towards net zero.

It also highlights a growing gap between ambition and action at the global level.

“Now more than ever we need to close the ambition, emission, power supply and credibility gaps to truly drive urgent and just climate action at every level,” said Eamon Ryan, Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport.

“As societies and economies bounce back from the pandemic so too have our carbon emissions. We are also now living through extraordinary times with spiralling global energy costs and inflation primarily caused by the invasion of Ukraine,” he added.

Minister Ryan said this decade is our final opportunity to peak and slash emissions.

“Decisive business and political leadership can help us get to net zero much sooner than 2050.

“I call on you to engage in the movement led by Business in the Community Ireland. This is a crucial step toward the transformational change required,” he added.

Kim McClenaghan, Partner, PwC Ireland Energy, Utilities & Sustainability Practice Lead, said it is now time for action.

“It is very encouraging to see the progress of leading Irish firms and their clear commitment towards decarbonising their businesses.

“However, the majority must quickly move from statements of intent to mapping out clear decarbonisation pathways and formally signing up to SBTs,” she said.

Article Source – More Irish companies sign low carbon pledge – Gill Stedman – RTE

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Toast to create 100 jobs as it opens new Dublin office

US restaurant management platform Toast said it plans to create 100 jobs this year as it opens its new office on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.

Toast said the new jobs will be across several functions including software development, sales and customer support.

Launched in 2013 in the US, Toast powers restaurants of all sizes with a technology platform that combines restaurant point of sale, front of house, back of house and guest-facing technology.

It set up its first international technology and product development centre in Dublin in 2017.

Robert McGarry, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Toast and leader of Toast Dublin office, said the company originally chose to invest in Ireland largely for its concentration of high level technical capability.

“Over the last several years, we’ve come to reap so many more benefits from our strategic investment here–ease of collaboration with other Toast teams, Irish hospitality, and more,” he said,

We look forward to more fruitful days to come for Toast in Ireland,” he added.

Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, said the company’s expansion underlines Toast’s commitment to Ireland.

“It builds on Ireland’s reputation as both an established software hub in Europe and as a strategic location of choice for driving international growth,” the IDA CEO added.

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English said he was happy to hear that the new Toast jobs will be in a range of areas including software development, sales and customer support.

“It shows that Ireland continues to be a location of choice for FDI thanks to the large pool of highly skilled workforce we have and can attract. The concept of a one stop shop for restaurants to manage all their digital needs shows great innovation and I’ve no doubt it will be welcomed by many companies in the industry,” he added.

Article Source – Toast to create 100 jobs as it opens new Dublin office – RTE

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Ireland and Denmark most expensive countries in EU – Eurostat

Ireland and Denmark had the highest price levels for consumer goods and services across the EU in 2021, according to Eurostat.

The EU’s statistics agency published data today showing price levels here and in Denmark were 140% of the EU average. The lowest prices levels were in Romania and Bulgaria at 56% of the average.

The biggest difference between the most and least expensive countries was when it came to restaurants and hotels.

Denmark was the most expensive with prices 155% of the EU average, followed by Sweden at 137% and Finland at 133%. Ireland was 129.5% of the average.

Denmark was 3.4 times more expensive than the cheapest country, Bulgaria, at 46% of average followed by Romania at 54% and Hungary at 62%.

The second biggest difference was when it came to alcohol and tobacco. Ireland was the most expensive at 205% of the average, followed by Finland at 173% of average and Sweden at 136%.

The cheapest country was Bulgaria at 64% of the average, followed by Poland at 72% and Hungary at 79%.

Eurostat said the price differential is largely explained by differences in the taxation of alcohol and tobacco.

Meanwhile, food and non-alcoholic beverages were most expensive in Luxembourg at 125% of the EU average, followed by Denmark at 120% and Ireland at 119%.

The cheapest country was Romania at 69% of the average, followed by Poland at 72% of average.

Article Source – Ireland and Denmark most expensive countries in EU – Eurostat – RTE

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Lidl launches new EV and HVO vehicles into Irish fleet

Lidl has today started the rollout of its first electrical truck and hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) heavy goods vehicle (HGV) into its logistics fleet.

The pilot scheme will see the sustainably powered vehicles join Lidl’s logistic fleet at its Newbridge Regional Distribution Centre.

It marks the start of the retailer’s transition from fossil fuel commercial vehicles to more environmentally friendly vehicles.

Lidl also said it furthers its commitment to becoming a carbon neutral business by 2025, alongside the ongoing journey to a 46% reduction in its operational emissions by 2030.

This move is a first in the Irish food retail industry in conjunction with refrigerated delivery suppliers Zellwood.

The introduction of the new trucks is the initial step to a larger rollout across Lidl’s logistics fleet that deliver to its four distribution centres and over 200 Lidl stores throughout the island of Ireland, on a daily basis.

Lidl Ireland’ss logistic fleet covered over 16.8 million kilometres last year – equivalent to 21 return trips to the moon.

It said the HVO vehicle will reduce emissions by 90% per trip by using 100% renewable fuel, which is produced by the hydrotreatment of vegetable oil that create a fuel product with the same chemical structure as diesel.

Robert Ryan, Chief Operating Officer, Lidl Ireland & Northern Ireland, said the company was delighted to be the first retailer in Ireland to incorporate positive change by use of these environmentally friendly haulage trucks into its logistics fleet.

“Not only does it accelerate our journey to cleaner roads, but in turn with the soaring cost of fossil fuels like diesel it will keep prices down for our customers. We are looking forward to the journey ahead to scale up adaption across our entire fleet aligning to our sustainable environmental commitments and goals,” Mr Ryan added.

Article Source – Lidl launches new EV and HVO vehicles into Irish fleet – RTE

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AIB’s €400m non-performing loan sale cuts NPE ratio to 4.4%

AIB has sold a non-performing loan portfolio in long-term default to Everyday Finance, part of a consortium that includes Everyday, affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management and LCM Partners Limited.

AIB said the €400m loan sale cuts its non-performing loan ratio to 4.4%.

It added that it remains on track to reach its 3% target by the end of next year.

The lender said the portfolio includes multiple asset classes with an average time in default of about nine years.

It said its sale substantially resolves AIB’s legacy, long-term default NPEs.

“Normalising NPEs remains a priority delivering balance sheet resilience with improved risk profile, lower calendar provisioning and facilitates normalisation of our workout unit,” it added.

As at December 2021, the loan portfolio had a gross NPE value of about €0.4 billion.

In the year ended 2021, the loan portfolio incurred a loss before tax and post-provisions of about €46m, the bank added.

AIB said that all customers in the loan portfolio will continue to have the same regulatory protections, including protections under the Consumer Protection Code (CPC) and the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) after the sale.

Colin Hunt, AIB’s chief executive, said today’s sale is an important milestone for AIB as it reduces the NPE ratio to well below 5%, resulting in a proforma NPE ratio of about 4.4% in the first quarter of 2022.

“It demonstrates further progress as we move towards closing out legacy items this year while maintaining momentum in the delivery of our strategy,” Mr Hunt said.

Article Source – AIB’s €400m non-performing loan sale cuts NPE ratio to 4.4% – RTE

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New €85m digital transition fund for businesses

The Government has announced a new €85 million digital transition fund that will provide grant aid for businesses.

The funding is designed to help companies develop new digital products, processes and services and will allow them invest in software, new equipment, staff training, automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

€85 million in funding will be made available between now and 2026, with €10 million available in 2022.

The fund will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and will be used to help companies access digital technology like AI, cloud computing and big data to improve their products, processes, supply chains and services.

The funding is designed to help companies at all stages of their digital journey and a new website is being developed which will allow businesses assess what their needs are and provide advice on next steps.

“Our lives are only going to become more integrated with digital technology and that is why we need to make sure our SMEs are prepared,” said Tánaiste and Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment Leo Varadkar.

“This €85m will fund businesses looking to use cutting edge technology like artificial intelligence to improve how they make their products and services,” he added.

As part of the initiative, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy will host a series of “Grow Digital” workshops in regional locations from the end of June and throughout July.

Article Source – New €85m digital transition fund for businesses – RTE

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