Dublin pips Paris to become dearest city in Eurozone

Dublin is now the costliest city in the Eurozone to live in for expats, having overtaken Paris, according to a new survey.

The capital is also ranked 32 among the world’s most expensive cities.

It shot up the league table from number 66, primarily as a result of the strength of the euro compared to the dollar.

But the soaring cost of rental accommodation is also a major factor that has fuelled Dublin’s meteoric rise on the table, according to the survey by global consultants Mercer.

“The survey identifies cost pressures on expatriate rental accommodation in Dublin as the key driver of this and this in turn reflects the growth of the economy with continuing high levels of foreign direct investment,” said Noel O’Connor, a senior consultant at Mercer.

The survey uses New York City as its base for comparisons, and 375 cities around the world were assessed using items such as costs for accommodation, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Two European cities are among the world’s 10 most expensive for expats – Zurich at number three and Bern in tenth place. Geneva fell four places to number 11 due to a decline in the city’s housing market.

Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world for expats, according to the survey.

Globally, it’s followed by Asian cities including Tokyo at number two, Singapore at number four, Seoul in fifth place, Shanghai in seventh and Beijing ranking ninth.

“Stronger Chinese monetary regulation, a flourishing economy and a push to have the Chinese yuan as an international currency pushed Chinese cities up in the ranking,” said Yvonne Traber, global mobility product solutions leader at Mercer.

London is ranked number 19 on the list, with Frankfurt at 68 and Berlin at 71. Belfast is ranked 152, up 18 places.

The cost of accommodation in Ireland, and particularly around cities including Dublin, is becoming a significant concern in terms of its potential impact on foreign direct investment into the country.

A recent survey by Ernst & Young showed that Ireland has fallen out of the top 10 most attractive destinations in Europe for foreign direct investment.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, said last week that the decline in Ireland’s ranking was “disappointing”, but insisted that Ireland remains a competitive country.

“The government is nevertheless conscious of our need to remain as competitive as possible,” she added.

“We cannot become complacent in relation to our hard-won gains of recent years.”

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Why you should work for a startup over a corporate

Corporations like Google, Facebook and Airbnb are some of the most coveted workplaces in the world and consistently top the best places to work lists.

It’s not too surprising; established companies have a lot to offer employees; an array of perks and benefits, security, clearly defined progression opportunities and a comfortable salary.

Can a startup offer you health insurance, a company car or unlimited free food? Probably not. More often than not working at a startup means long hours, less benefits and no long term contracts. But what startups lack in shiny perks, they make up for in opportunity.

Here’s 6 reasons you should work for a startup over a larger company.

More autonomy
Being given the freedom to work independently is pretty much guaranteed at a startup, in fact it’s expected that you will be a self-starter and ready to hit the ground running. Startups afford you the opportunity to take on more responsibility and lead projects without necessarily having a huge amount of experience. You get to rise up the ranks quicker too as there are less rigid managerial structures and promotion processes. If you’re ambitious, hardworking and talented you can easily move from a junior position to a senior one, or even segue to a different type of role altogether. Startups are a great place to discover where your strengths and passions lie and carve out your own role.

Varied experience
Another key benefit of working in a startup over a corporate is the opportunity to build a wider set of skills. You get exposure to multiple elements of the business rather than being limited to a particular job description or title. Of course this can be a big challenge for someone inexperienced in a startup environment and can even be a bit overwhelming at times. However, if you can adapt to the fast pace, you’ll be gaining invaluable experience and knowledge that would take much longer to acquire in a corporate setting.

Greater impact
Each employee in a startup is an integral part of the operation with the ability to directly influence the success of the business. While it’s undoubtedly a lot more pressure, it’s also a lot more satisfaction when you can truly see the fruits of your labour. You feel a greater sense of purpose in your job and value in your work.

You’re also not bound by the bureaucracy of huge companies layered with junior, middle, upper and supreme management and so it’s much easier to get your ideas or suggestions over the line. While startups don’t hold the monopoly on creative thinking, they do allow it to flourish as there is less chance of projects being diluted by multiple approval processes.

Tight-knit teams
The working environment of a startup breeds a united team, it’s not down to some magical cultural formula, it’s down to necessity. A startup team spends so much time together (usually in close quarters) that they need to be in tune with one another’s skillsets, preferred style of communication and workload limitations. Employees of a startup enjoy a naturally cohesive team as they are more likely to be strongly aligned with the mission of the company and invested in its success. Working in a close team boosts morale and productivity as members are more collaborative and understanding of one another’s needs.

Startups by their nature are fast moving, dynamic and innovative. There’ll always be new opportunities and challenges to sink your teeth into and the working environment rarely stales. Being part of the startup community also means you’ll meet a number of inspiring entrepreneurs and benefit from the networking events and supports on offer. The connections you make through working in a startup will stand to you at every stage of your career.

You become more employable
Candidates who have worked in startups are highly sought after for their work ethic, self-motivation and resilience. Regardless of the role or industry, an employee who can bring determination and accountability to a company will always be a desirable prospect for hiring managers.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Monday 25 June 2018 ‘I gave up my job and life savings to start my Irish clothing brand’ – Gym+Coffee CEO and co-founder Niall Horgan

Early last year, Niall Horgan helped to create a new clothing brand in Ireland that fit the lifestyle Irish people were leading.

Many of us like to regularly huddle up over a coffee (or chai latte), and we also aware of the importance of exercise for our overall wellbeing. Now we’re adopting a lifestyle where you can socialise doing both.

The ‘plus’ sign in Gym+Coffee signifies that balance we’re striving to reach. Niall Horgan shares a little more with us about his company success – and the state of his wallet.

Spender or Saver?
Somewhere in between! I don’t spend too much regularly but I try not to let money be the reason I don’t do something, so when I spend it’s usually a little impulsive and a little excessive!

Biggest purchase to-date?
My biggest investment to date is spending most of my life-savings to start Gym+Coffee (gympluscoffee.com) along with two friends. We were inspired by the growing lifestyle shift in Ireland becoming more active and health conscious. We had lived abroad ourselves and saw Dublin quickly catching up with places like Vancouver, Melbourne, San Francisco where people use exercise to socialise and the “athleisure” clothing that goes with this lifestyle too.

So we thought there was an opportunity for an Irish brand to promote this lifestyle, represent Ireland and compete with some of these international brands.

After six months we went full-time so it was a risk to invest what I already have, and giving up a job meant I gave up future earnings too.

We’re coming up on 18 months in business and so far it’s been a great decision. It’s been a very emotional journey and we are so proud of what we’ve achieved so far. We’ve hired a small team, we’ve launched in the US and UK, we have a passionately community of followers and everyday we’re learning something new. So as a personal investment it’s been a great success!

Cash or card?
Card, and ideally just a tap. Maybe it’s a bad sign when I’m too impatient for pin codes!!

Three things you couldn’t live without?
My wife, my friends and exercise. I think the most important things in life to make time for are exercising and socialising and ideally combining the two. So I try do as much of these two things as possible.

What would be your largest monthly outgoing?
Apart from a mortgage and bills, I’d be scared to actually calculate how much a month goes on coffee!

Best financial advice?
Time is more valuable than money so value your time! I guess normally financial advice would be to help make money but my advice is around making more time.

Make sure you have a few hours in every day that are not involving work and then try fit something into this time. Meet some friends, go for a run, learn a language. It’s amazing what you can fit in when you get a bit disciplined with your free time too!

My advice would be to get up an hour earlier, it takes a week or two to get into a routine but you can use that extra hour so well and it starts the day on your terms, it’s a proactive kind of way to begin the day.

It’s very cheesy but as a kid I was told that old saying “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” and I have to say I’d probably agree with that. Even though it makes me sound 100 years old!

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

New MSD drug plant in Dublin gets nod

Pharmaceutical giant MSD – part of the US group Merck – has been given the go-ahead for plans to build a new biologics facility in Swords, Co Dublin, that will employ 350.

MSD has said that number could rise in the future.

An average of 700 construction workers will be involved in the project, hitting a peak of 1,000 over a nine-month period.

The new plant is set to open in 2021, with construction set to start this year.

MSD manufactures a range of products, including treatments for heart and lung health, cancer and infectious diseases.

It has said that the development at Swords will play a “pivotal role” in the manufacture of MSD’s biologics-based medicines, where cell-cultured drug substances are used to make products such as immune-oncology treatments.

The Swords plant will make a drug substance called Keytruda, also known as Pembrolizumab. The facility will manufacture mammalian cell culture-based protein therapeutics.

Keytruda is currently manufactured by MSD in the Netherlands and at contract manufacturing sites in Germany and the United States.

MSD said the new Swords facility will bring the ability to manufacture “life-changing and life-saving medicines to patients worldwide”.

The state-of-the-art plant will be built on the site of MSD’s former women’s healthcare manufacturing business, whose transfer to the Netherlands was completed in 2016. That operation employed almost 600 people at the site.

MSD had originally intended to sell the 33-acre site in Swords, with other pharmaceutical firms having been predicted to be potentially interested in the facility. It had been expected to fetch as much as €25m.

MSD has had a presence on the site since 1990, and has manufactured products such as contraceptives, fertility treatments, hormone replacement therapies and products used in the treatment of mental health.

But as MSD formulated plans for a new biologics plant, the facility in Swords became the favourite option for the investment. It will transform an existing 13,000 sq m warehouse building on the site into the core biopharmaceutical manufacturing operation.

The existing warehouse will also be extended, as will the existing manufacturing and packaging facilities. New laboratory and warehouse facilities will also be constructed.

The development will increase the existing floor are of the MSD facility from 31,700 sq m to about 43,700 sq m.

The site is strategically located close to the M1 and M50 motorways, as well as Dublin Airport.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

The Big Tech Show: Why are we freaking out about Amazon jobs?

How has it come to a situation where a big tech company announcing 1,000 new jobs is freaking people out?

This week’s Amazon jobs announcement has led to a backlash from people who feel it will put extra pressure on rents and infrastructure in the capital.
Where will they live?”

“Oh great, even higher rents…”

“Why are these jobs all in Dublin?”

“How many will come from abroad?”

20, 10 or even five years ago, big job announcements were seen as a huge boost to the country.

Today, they’re seen as a threat.

Adrian Weckler and Irish Independent environment editor Paul Melia discuss the origins of the problem and potential solutions.

The resentment appears to come from those trying to buy a home or rent an apartment. The already sparse stock of available accommodation gets thinner and thinner. A two-bedroom terraced ex-council home that sold for €280,000 three years ago now costs €400,000. A 450 square foot one-bed apartment that cost €900 now costs €1,200.

Engineers can afford to pay this. Retail or service industry workers can’t.

At the heart of the problem is the feeling that we haven’t gotten our act together on housing and infrastructure.

So more and more of us are being squeezed out of parts of the city where rents and house prices are rocketing.

But instead of blaming ourselves (planners, politicians, councillors, lawyers and countless Nimby-addled community associations) for the Wild West property market, we’re turning on companies offering new jobs.

If only multinational firms would stop coming in with these jobs, things might be easier for ‘ordinary people’.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

A new property search engine, Perfect Property, has revealed the budget of the average house hunter in Dublin.

According to the site, the average house hunter in Dublin has a budget of €315,000 for their prospective home.

However, there are some exceptions, with 4pc of Dubliners having a budget of €1m and 1pc having a budget of €5m when it comes to searching for houses, according to research on from the site.

Meanwhile, the site has found that the majority of searches are for houses, with just under three in four consumers searching for houses as opposed to apartments.

And the areas proving to be most popular for property searches include Finglas, Swords, Tallaght and Malahide.

“Our focus at Perfect Property is to work with house hunters and make the journey to their new homes as seamless as possible,” Laura Pollard, managing director at Perfect Property, said.

“Our latest insights will help people in search of a new home by showing them at there are various options when considering one of the biggest purchases they’ll ever make.”

The research also suggests that just over one in four house hunters are looking for properties with renovation potential.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Nama surplus for taxpayers forecast to reach €4.5bn

Nama will deliver a €4.5bn surplus over its life – around €1bn more than its own latest estimates, according to Investec.

Last year the State’s bad bank redeemed the last of its €32bn startup costs, so the balance left when it is wound up will be returned to taxpayers and in effect goes to reduce the overall costs of the bank bailout.

At current projections, the Nama surplus combined with recoveries from AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB will take the final bailout bill well below the €30bn mark.

Investec Ireland yesterday predicted the organisation will wind up posting a total surplus of €4.5bn – boosted by the rise in house prices.

Investec’s Philip O’Sullivan’s upgraded Nama projections have been consistently borne out to date.

The revised figures were contained in Investec’s latest quarterly update on the economy, which highlighted a 13pc year-on-year increase in house prices in April amid an ongoing “disconnect between housing output and demand”.

Last week Nama, which is working on the redevelopment of key areas of Dublin’s docklands with the likes of Ballymore Properties and Kennedy Wilson, revised its own final profit forecast to €3.5bn, a 17pc increase on its previous estimate of €3bn.

But Investec has adopted a far more optimistic stance, arguing the organisation stands to deliver a much greater surplus to the State by the time it closes its doors in 2020.

Hefty increase in house prices and Nama’s profitable business model underpins this view, fuelling debate over whether the agency has adopted a too conservative approach and will end up overshooting its own estimates.

Last year the agency raked in €2.56bn from selling loans and property, enabling the organisation to repay the final €2.6bn of its €30.2bn senior debt.

It remains a powerful player in the housing market funding the construction of tens of thousands of homes.

Investec Ireland’s chief economist Philip O’Sullivan, pointed out Nama stands to benefit from “further write-backs from its €1.4bn stock of provisions as property values climb” and highlighted its net interest margin – a measure of profitability – reached a “remarkable” 7pc in 2017.

But others in the market argue Nama has sold its most valuable real estate portfolios and is now dealing with secondary sites, and point out the agency has little to gain from underplaying its final profit targets.

Yet Nama retains control of pivotal sites in the capital, including the Irish Glass Bottle land in Ringsend, Dublin, which can accommodate 3,500 homes.

There is little prospect though of the agency continuing into the next decade with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe insisting last week that he has no plans to extend Nama’s life beyond 2020, when it is due to be disbanded. That’s despite some calls for the agency to be restructured as a national housebuilding authority.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Tesla plans to cut 9pc of workforce, says Musk

Elon Musk’s electric car maker Tesla is cutting about 9pc of its workforce, Mr Musk said yesterday, as it seeks to reduce costs without endangering the critical ramp up of production of its Model 3 sedan.

Tweeting pictures of an email he said had been leaked to media, Mr Musk said that the cuts were part of a simplification of Tesla’s management structure promised last month.

“As part of this effort, and the need to reduce costs and become profitable, we have made the difficult decision to let go of approximately 9pc of our colleagues across the company,” the email read.

“These cuts were entirely from our salaried population and no production associates were included, so this will not affect our ability to reach Model 3 production targets in the coming months.”

Tesla’s latest annual filing last December showed it had 37,543 full-time employees.

Up nearly 7pc earlier on Tuesday, shares of the company trimmed gains to stand 3.5pc higher at $344 by early afternoon.

Yesterday Mr Musk said Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system will get full self-driving features following a software upgrade in August.

Autopilot, a form of advanced cruise control, handles some driving tasks and warns those behind the wheel they are always responsible for the vehicle’s safe operation. But a spate of recent crashes has brought the system under regulatory scrutiny.

“To date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety. With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features,” Mr Musk said.

He said an autopilot issue during lane-merging is better in the current software and will be fully fixed in the August update.
Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

‘Do you have that fiver for me?’ – PayPal gets personal in new push

We’ve all been there – a tenner borrowed here, a fiver owed there. It can be hard to keep track when you owe it – and mortifying to have to ask for it back when you don’t.

Digital payments giant PayPal thinks it has the answer. It is throwing down the gauntlet by scrapping fees for euro transfers in Ireland.

With more than one million active accounts here, the money-transfer firm previously charged a fee of 3.4pc plus 35c on euro transfers.

PayPal is probably the best known for its use in online purchases, originally linked to eBay. A 2015 split from eBay helps explain the new peer-to-peer shift, and a focus on in-store payments thanks to its acquisition of iZettle.

Its cut in fees is targeted at inter-personal payments.

Research by PayPal found Irish adults are owed on average €152 through loans to family and friends.

According to the survey, this adds up to a hefty €575m owed to Irish consumers in small, often unpaid debts.

Paypal says it can counter costly and inefficient methods of payment that, it maintains, are causing animosity between the debtor and borrower.

Turning away from cash and moving towards faster mobile payments is the first step, according to PayPal’s vice-president of global operations EMEA Louise Phelan.

“Cash is still king in many people’s eyes, but it doesn’t deserve our loyalty. Cash comes with hidden costs and frustrations, both financial and personal,” she said.

“There seems to be an Irish taboo around asking to be paid back by friends and family. Almost a third of us prefer to do nothing and not ask to be paid back, leaving many people out of pocket.”

It’s a tough space though. Irish payments start-up Plynk was specifically targeted at the family and friends payments segment and, despite initial enthusiasm, this month took the decision to seek a liquidator.

And the battle for mobile payments may never be fully won, because lots of people remain very attached to cash, for a variety of reasons – even technical ones as the recent Visa outage that left people unable to make card payments showed.

“We believe cash will play a reduced role in the future of money, but it will not become obsolete. Ultimately, we think it is about choice. Consumers should be able to decide how they want to pay,” says Phelan.

“We have to show Irish consumers that there are better alternatives to cash.”

In the nationwide PayPal survey, over two-thirds of respondents (67pc) said they would use cash to repay a personal debt; with Irish consumers actually carrying more cash on them now (€57 on average) than they did two years ago (€39 average).

But while many consumers are not be able to let go of the notes and coins in their wallet, the drawbacks may not be apparent.

A third of survey participants paid fees for withdrawing money at an ATM, or for using telephone and online banking services, in order to facilitate the repayment of these small debts.

Depending on their bank, customers can be charged a standard flat fee of around 35c for ATM withdrawals using a debit card – or up to 1.5pc if they use a credit card.

Just under one-fifth of those who owe small amounts to family and friends say a lack of ready cash is the reason they don’t pay it back.

These outstanding debts between loved ones are having an impact on relationships, according to the survey, as a quarter of respondents state they will never lend money to that person again and 8pc admit to a falling out with the borrower.

Phelan said the PayPal app is efficient in terms of time and ease-of-use, and it can help save consumers money when they’re looking to repay a debt.

“In this day and age, we should expect more from our financial services. We have these incredibly powerful computers in our pockets, which should make life easier,” she said.

But will other financial institutions in the State follow suit?

“Our research shows that cash is still king in Ireland, and so far there haven’t been any contenders for its crown.

“I believe PayPal is best placed to take the fight to cash.”

Phelan leads PayPal’s global operation team in Dublin, Dundalk and Berlin.

When asked if any up-and-coming Irish fintechs had caught her eye, Phelan said she wouldn’t speculate on targets but PayPal is intent on leveraging its position “as the global leader in digital payments to make investments around the world in like-minded companies”.

And any such development would only strengthen PayPal’s business in Ireland, she said.

“These deals are about growth and expansion, not about cost cutting.

“They will not affect our commitment to Ireland, which remains an important strategic hub for our business,” she added.

PayPal recently acquired an “appealing partner” in small business commerce platform iZettle, which has a presence in Europe and Latin America.

“Small businesses are the bedrock of our business, and they increasingly want a one-stop solution that can help them compete online and offline,” she says.

“The acquisition of iZettle will significantly expand our in-store presence, and strengthen our platform to help millions of small businesses around the world grow and thrive in an omnichannel retail environment.”

eBay’s decision to drop PayPal following the separation, worked in her firm’s favour, she said.

“Under the terms of the operating agreement with eBay, we were not able to pursue some of their marketplace competitors. Now we will have the ability to pursue after July 2020,” she says.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Irish Ferries to take further hit of €4m – €5m from ship delay

The announcement from Irish Ferries operator ICG of another delay to the delivery of the W.B. Yeats ship is set to hit earnings at the company by a further €4m – €5m, according to Davy analysts.

The group had already taken a hit of €2.5m in lost revenue from cancellations announced earlier this year.

On the back of this, analysts have reduced their financial year 2018 earnings estimate for ICG to €74m from €78.5m.

However the Stockbroker group added that while the news, which sees the holiday plans of up to 19,000 passengers thrown into disarray, is “disappointing to all concerned” it does not see the setback as material in the context of a 40 year useful life of the ship.

Read more: Ferry delivery delay costs ICG €2.5m
As a result of this Davy is leaving its financial year 2019 earnings forecast for ICG unchanged at €91m.

In April this year a further 2,500 Irish Ferries bookings were disrupted when Irish Ferries cancelled sailings between July 12 and 29. However 95pc of those choose to switch to Irish Ferries’ other cruise ferry, the Oscar Wilde.

Following the latest disruption, all Dublin-Cherbourg sailings up to September 13 have been cancelled. The ship is now set to debut this autumn on its Dublin-Holyhead route.

FSG — Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft & Co. KG — the German ship builder commissioned to deliver the new vessel said that the setbacks are “due to delays in the delivery of interior components for public areas and on the electrical system installation in the hull and deckhouse”.

Customers affected by the cancellations are being offered €150 voucher—however it can only be used to Ireland-France routes “next year” and not the 2018 season.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42