In an article dated 28/4/2010 we discussed Toyota and its social responsibility to its customers. At that time there was much discussion about problems caused by its accelerator,what the company knew and didn’t know,who may have been at fault etc. Four years later and the situation is again to the fore.
Hundreds of lawsuits have resulted in Toyota today announcing a $1bn settlement as compensation to those who felt that the value of their Toyota had plummeted as a result of that adverse publicity. The plaintiffs claimed that the cars had the potential to accelerate on their own causing crashes,injuries and even deaths.
The cases have been categorized into those who suffered economic loss and those who suffered wrongful death. Todays settlement relates to the economic loss cases only.
The first case involving wrongful death is due to take place shortly.
The Irish economy is heavily reliant on exports as a key for creating economic growth. Consumption,Investment and Government spending remains flat therefore the reliance on exports.
While the mutinational companies located here tend to export their output indigenious companies are seeking new opportunities abroad. The relentless growth in the global demand for food for example provides an opportunity for Irish business.
Increasingly the Government are looking beyond the EU and to that end have organised trade missions to parts of the world we have not traded with in the past. This has seen visits to the BRIC countries -Brazil,Russia,India and China. Such visits are bearing fruit. Exports to China for example have increased by 40% in the past year with potential for further growth. Indeed China has become our sixth leading destination for our exports.There are extra challenges involved in terms of distance,technical,language and culture.
At present the Taoiseach,the Minister for Employment and a number of Irish business’s are involved in a trade mission to the Gulf region including Saudi Arabia,United Arab Emirates and Quatar.
Get out of bed and have a quick shower using Dove soap,wash the hair with Tresomme or VO5 shampoo,clean your teeth with Mentadent p or Close Up toothpaste,tidy the bathroom with Jiff fluid and freshen the toilet with Domestos. Dab on some Faberge and head downstairs for some Liptons tea,spread Flora on your toast,put some clothes in the washing machine adding some Persil,Radion or Omo not forgetting the Comfort fabric conditioner.
Time to load the dishwasher adding Sun crystals. Now check the fridge for dinner and ensure there are Menu Master convenience meals and Birds Eye frozen vegetables. Make sure you have enough Vesta curries,McDonnells noodles,Oxo gravy,Ragu sauces,Hellmans mayonnaise,Colmans mustard,Knorr soup and HB ice-cream.
Its been a busy morning so far but at least you have made Unilever Ireland very happy by purchasing just some of the hundreds of brands they have on the market.
Who makes the most popular mobile phones in the world? Who is leading the way in redefining how we watch TV? Who is the first to bring to market the next big thing in tech-the smartwatch?
Samsung Electronics has sales of €150bn a year,employs 270,000 worldwide,has 32% of the mobile phone market(at present it sells 4 phones globally every second) and almost 50% of the smart TV market.
Its true to say that Samsung and Apple are continuously trying to outdo each other. Apple has sued Samsung for patent infringements and been awarded $1bn in damages.
Samsung manufactures in its own Asian factories enabling them to bring product to the market quicker than Apple who rely on suppliers to make parts before sending the parts to Taiwan for assembly.
The Galaxy Gear(Smartwatch which allows users make calls,check e-mails,receive texts,listen to music and take pictures.)has allowed Samsung to get a head start on the Apples iWatch which is due early next year.
Samsung intend to bring Smart to all home appliances(fridges/cookers/dishwashers etc) and allow communication between appliances.
The Irish Government are presently examining bids for An Bord Gais. Favourite to be successful is a bid from Veridian, a Northern Irish power company.
It is believed that an Bord Gais could be split up into a number of separate companies after privitisation to take account of its wind farm assets, pipeline development as well as retail gas supply business.
The privitisation was agreed between the Government and troika in 2010.
Neymar da Silva Santos Junior the young Brazilian sensation who is enjoying his maiden season as a FC Barcelona player is certainly an example of how a serious sporting talent can be commercially managed.
Already earning a salary of €7.5m having “earned” a signing-on fee of €40m he is ready to become more famous once the world in Brazil comes around.
Nike,Unilever,Volkswagon,Panasonic are just some of the global brands associated with the emerging star. A team of 22 professionals directly manage his affairs together with his father.
Smyths Toys,which originated on the Main St. Claremorris in Mayo is showing no signs of slowing down. Indeed it continues to grow. The company presently has 22 shops in the Republic and 46 shops in Britain and Northern Ireland. At the end of 2012 it was employing 790 people.
Manchester United the most successful club in England and one of the most famous around the world are doing their utmost to capitalize on its reputation.
Recently it announced a £156m 8 year deal to make its training complex known as the “Aon Training Complex”.
Of course Aon have previously been the shirt sponsors paying £25m a year for that privilege.
At the same time it has agreed with Chevrolet that they will become the new shirt sponsors from 2014,in a 7 year deal worth £357m. Nike will be the producers of that shirt and will pay£650m over 10 years for having the “swish” clearly visible.
Finally it is in negotiations with airline companies to become their airline sponsor,taking over from Turkish airlines in a potential £100m contract.
The gradual strengthening of the € against the £ will see the price of our goods becoming more expensive in the U.K. thus problems for our exporters. At the moment €1 will get you £0.87 but there is speculation that parity is a possibility. Exports to Britain are worth €15 bn a year. Indigenious Irish business is heavily dependent on the U.K. so they will be hard hit by such an event.
Vitamins,supplements,sports drinks and other nutritional products have in recent times become mainstream products and are being actively produced by many of the worlds leading pharmaceutical firms. Glaxo Smith Kline, UK’s biggest drug company,and the owner of Lucozade paid €190m to acquire Maximuscle.
Other companies like Procter & Gamble,Pfizer,BASF together with Irelands Glanbia have been instrumental in the creation of products they claim improve athletic performance,make us look or feel better. In fact their combined activities has led to a new sector called the “nutraceutical” sector.