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Irish report Irish report
by Euro Reporter
2008-09-30 08:09:13
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Fruit importer Fyffes has reported pre-tax profits of 35.1 million Euro for the six months to the end of June, up 124 percent from the figure of 15.7 million Euros the same time last year. The first six months of the year were traditionally stronger for the company, RTE Ireland reported on September 11. Revenues rose by 5.6 percent to 302 million Euros from just over 286 million, as the company said it saw increases in selling prices and more favorable exchange rates.

This enabled it to offset the impact of substantially higher costs. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax rose to 15.5 million Euros in the six months period, compared with 11.7 million Euros a year ago. The company had warned last month its profits for the full year would be substantially lower due to the strengthening USD and higher costs such as fuel. It said that over the last two years the importing industry has seen unprecedented increases in the costs of fruit, shipping and fuel.

‘As announced on August 29, the group’s expectations for the remainder of the year have changed, as the increases in selling prices needed to offset further increases in costs, and less favorable exchange rates, are not currently being achieved,’ the company said. Fyffes said its banana activities saw a 2.8 million Euro increase in profits for the first half of the year compared to the same time last year. Its winter melon unit reduced losses from 2.8 million to 0.9 million Euro. Its pineapple activities delivered a small profit, but the figure was slightly down on the same time last year. Fyffes said that climatic factors caused an oversupply of fruit which resulted in lower average selling prices.

It's all down to a fruit salad


Unemployment increasing dangerously

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Ireland jumped to a 10- year high of 6.1 percent in August from 4.5 percent in the same month last year, Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) reported on September 3. There were 235,100 people claiming unemployment benefits in August, up 73,200 over the 12-month period to the end of the month, the highest jump ever recorded, the CSO told national broadcaster RTE. Unemployment in Ireland has been steadily increasing since the beginning of the year when the economy started to take a downturn. Two thirds of the new claimants were men, and one-quarter were under 25, CSO reported.

Ireland’s economy grew rapidly from 1994 to 2007 on the back of unprecedented foreign investment, particularly by 600 US companies attracted to the European Union member because of its EU-low corporate tax rates and English-speaking work force. But the boom thudded to a halt last year in line with the US economic slowdown, global credit crunch and a sudden reversal in Ireland’s long-galloping housing market. Heavy layoffs in the construction industry, a key plank for past Irish growth, have accelerated this year and spilled into many other sectors of the economy. Ireland’s construction sector is contracting at a record pace, threatening to drag the economy into its first recession in a quarter century.

Manufacturing and services are also shrinking, adding to pressure on the labor market. “Ireland has not witnessed such a rapid deterioration in the labor market since 1975,” Alan McQuaid, an economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers in Dublin, was quoted by the press as saying before the report. “It is clear that a wide range of sectors in the economy are now being affected by the international credit crunch and the domestic housing slowdown.” Irish monthly jobless figures include part-time and seasonal workers who claim unemployment benefits.

Dangerous times!


And the …unemployment example

A company in Waterford is seeking a further 50 job cuts on top of 100 which were announced in July, RTE Ireland reported on September 15. Honeywell Transportation, which operates out of the IDA industrial estate in Waterford, is also introducing short-time working until Christmas at least. Three months ago, the US multinational announced that up to 100 redundancies were being sought at its Waterford facility. But on September 15 the company said that due to instability and continued declines in demand in the car market, an additional 50 jobs were at risk, as well as a possibility for other action to address the loss of volume. Talks between unions and management at the company were set to resume on September 16.

Don’t underestimate the number, the reality is hard!

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