Bitesize Business: beef news, education spend and Chinese investment

Business, Finance, Life sciences and energy | Thu 5 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
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Business & Finance brings you the day’s Irish business news in brief.


Reopening of Egyptian market to Irish beef welcomed across the board

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The agreement reached with the Egyptian authorities which reopens the market there to Irish beef has been widely welcomed.

The agreement provides for the approval of five Irish plants to commence exports to Egypt once the necessary technical arrangements are in place.

Egypt is the largest consumer market in the Middle East and North Africa with around 95 million consumers.

It is the third biggest destination for Irish agri-food exports to Africa with exports of €45m in 2015, almost exclusively dairy (€30.5m) and seafood (€11m).

This announcement follows on from the opening of the Egyptian market to live Irish cattle in February of 2016, after an inspection visit to Ireland by the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture.

Today’s announcement also includes approval for beef offals and a limited approval for particular types of sheep meat products.

ABP Food Group is part of winning European food innovation consortium

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ABP Food Group has announced that it has been selected as part of a winning pan-European consortium to lead groundbreaking food research.

The consortium includes 50 partners spanning market-leading businesses, technology innovators, best-in-class research institutions and consumer facing organisations.

The winning consortium was chosen by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) following a competitive selection process and will work to improve food production levels throughout the supply chain.

Over the next seven years, the partners will invest close to €1200m, matched with up to €400m financed by EIT.

The project, called EIT Food, will set up four innovation programmes to target a number of important societal food challenges.

EIT is an independent body set up by the EU in 2008 and modelled on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Breakdown of €36.5m third-level spend announced

education

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, has today published a detailed breakdown of the additional €36.5m which is being allocated to higher education in Budget 2017.

During the last decade, student numbers have increased by 38,000 while spending was cut by 33%.

The additional allocation of €36.5m to higher education is the first significant investment in higher education for nine years. This marks the recommencement of investment into higher education.  

Pure Telecom boosts customer base significantly during 2016

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Pure Telecom today announced that it has surpassed the 40,000 customer mark, after adding more than 10,000 new customers in 2016.

The Irish-owned telecoms provider now has 42,500 customers and is aiming to more than double its customer base to 100,000 in the next three years.

The telco’s growth will be achieved through acquisition of other telecommunications companies, competitive wins and overall market growth, with the landline becoming the preferred mode of internet communications again.

Report indicates widespread use of mobile devices by Primary School children

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Irish edtech start-up Zeeko has announced results of its second School Digital Trend Report. The digital trend report is based on the work carried out by Zeeko with parents and teachers in 2016. 4,439 Primary School pupils completed a questionnaire about their internet use in 29 schools between September and November 2016.

Key findings include the widespread use of mobile devices by primary school children (86% have access to a smart phone, tablet or iPod); the seemingly younger ages at which children say they have open access to the internet (on average 1st class students first went online at 4.9 years old versus 6th class students first went online at 7.6 years old); and the rise of Snapchat which has taken over Instagram as the most popular social media app with 45% of 6th class pupils now using Snapchat.

Eversheds propels China’s first investment into the Irish power market

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Eversheds advised CGN Europe Energy (CGN EE) on the acquisition of a portfolio of 14 onshore wind-farms with an enterprise value in excess of €500m.

The transaction is in respect of wind-farms which operate at approximately 228MW in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

Eversheds acted for the buyer CGN EE, a subsidiary of CGN Group. The sellers were Gaelectric Holdings plc and Lanber Holdings.

The deal was signed in a ceremony attended by the Irish Energy minister, the Chinese ambassador to Ireland, senior officials from CGN and a number of local dignitaries.