IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 2 March
Eircom revenues, earnings decline | Ballotbox.ie poll mirrors real election
The Irish Times reports that Eircom is expected to begin talks with lenders on its financial position in the coming days, after saying on Tuesday that it could breach its financial covenants by the end of August. Sources suggested that the company's advisers will seek an "aggressive" restructuring of its EUR3.8 billion net borrowings, possibly seeking to reduce them by EUR800 million or more. Eircom chief Paul Donovan declined to quantify the size of any restructuring. The company said it expected to conclude an agreement this week with unions on cost savings of EUR90 million to be achieved by 2013 that will include pay measures, additional redundancies, performance management, a reorganisation of functions and a modernisation of work practices.
The paper also reports on Eircom's results for the six months to the end of December 2010. Revenues fell 6 percent to EUR880 million. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) declined by EUR5 million to EUR322 million. This was offset somewhat by an 8 percent reduction in group operating costs to EUR558 million. The number of fixed lines was down 75,000 to 1.4 million year-on-year. In mobile, revenue was down 9 percent.
The Irish Independent notes that a youth who allegedly stabbed a teenage girl twice in the back was remanded in custody on Tuesday after a court heard he contacted her on Facebook and threatened to "finish her off".
The Irish Examiner says that Irish emigrants who took part in a symbolic online election poll would have returned just two Fianna Fail TDs to the Dail. The Ballotbox.ie survey of 5,580 Irish people living in 124 countries showed they believed Fianna Fail was solely to blame for Ireland's economic crisis. If the poll was used to elect TDs to the Dail, Fine Gael and Labour's combined real-life results would have been matched, while Fianna Fail would have almost completely disappeared.
The Financial Times reports that Yahoo is in talks to trade or sell its 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan, according to sources. Among the possibilities is a swap of assets, in which Yahoo would exchange its holdings in Yahoo Japan and give majority owner Softbank a stake in the US company. However, negotiations are still in the formative stages. Nothing is imminent, sources said, and the talks could go nowhere.
The paper also says that UK telcos would be banned from issuing misleading advertisements about broadband download speeds under proposals published on Wednesday. Regulator Ofcom is calling for changes to the advertising code of practice after finding a huge gap between several internet service providers' advertised download speeds and the actual speeds consumers receive. In a survey, Ofcom found the average advertised download speed in the UK was 13.8 Mbps, but the actual speed experienced by consumers was 6.2 Mbps.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is preparing to offer a package of services aimed at SMEs that includes expanded support for company computer systems. Apple is set to unveil 'Joint Venture', a USD499-a-year service contract that gives companies using Apple computers, smartphones and tablets priority treatment for technical support, training programs and repairs, according to two Apple employees. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
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