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Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 21/02/2013

Dramatic cost rises hit farming business

Farming costs in the region have jumped in recent months, led by a 17% rise in feed and animal health product prices. The Anglia Farmers agricultural inflation index points to farm input inflation of 4.39% since August 2012, compared with a rate of 3.38% over the entire previous year.

The figures, to be presented at the Norfolk Farming Conference today, also reflect a surge in the cost of fuel (11.2%) and seed (10.2%). Costs have gone up for all farm types. Livestock areas have seen the largest increases with dairy costs rising by 10%.

Clarke Willis, AF Group CEO, said: “The rising cost of fuel has affected all sectors and rising animal feed prices have caused significant increases in production costs for livestock and dairy farmers....MORE

Birkett Long Business Insolvency Law Advice

Revival in law firms’ fortunes

Legal practices in East Anglia are seeing improving fortunes and growth, helped by ‘robust management’, according a sector survey. The Law Management Section annual profitability survey sponsored by Lloyds TSB Commercial, shows practice fee income for legal firms increased by 3.6 per cent in 2012, up from 1 per cent in the previous year, as firms adapt to challenges in the legal marketplace. Average net profit per equity partner increased from £112,549 to £114,853 – a rise of two per cent.

Carl Woodwards, senior manager, specialist markets for Lloyds TSB Commercial in East Anglia, said: “This year’s survey results demonstrate once again the remarkable resilience of the solicitors' profession. In difficult economic conditions, it’s really impressive to see median income grow by 3.6 per cent, and a similar percentage growth in median net profit per equity partner....MORE

Car retailer expands

Car retailer Thurlow Nunn Vauxhall, which has sites across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambs, is opening a new Vauxhall brand centre in Milton Keynes, which is set to open in January 2014. The retailer has invested over £5million on the project, which will create more than 50 jobs. Simon Bottomley, chairman and group managing director, said: “Subject to satisfactory planning consent, work on the new site is expected to start in spring this year and we can’t wait to see this new addition to the Thurlow Nunn Vauxhall family unfold.” Established in 1875, Thurlow Nunn has had a relationship with Vauxhall for over 30 years and is now one of the largest family-owned Vauxhall franchises in the UK, with 10 sites across the region. Last year, the group acquired two new Vauxhall dealerships in Norwich, adding to its sites in Beccles, Diss, East Dereham, Fakenham, Great Yarmouth, Holt, King’s Lynn and Wisbech.

Council security contract win

Norse security subsidiary EventGuard has won a contract to supply security services to Ipswich Borough Council. The three-year, £100k per year contract covers manned security, keyholding and mobile patrol at three of the Borough Council's sites in Ipswich. Karen Tucciarone of IBC said: “EventGuard were selected through an open tendering process, that involved over 10 interested parties. EventGuard were appointed both because of their flexibility and strength in accessing appropriately skilled local labour, as well as their cost competitiveness.”

Ruth Metcalf, commercial director at Norse, said: ”The agreement continues the shift from one-off event work to contract-based agreements for EventGuard, making the company one of the largest players in the local security industry. This type of work also secures employment within the company and offers increased job and internal career development opportunities.” Four staff have transferred from the previous contractor and an additional three staff are being recruited to fulfil the contract.

New chairman at Health Enterprise East

Dr Chris Winter has been appointed as the new chairman of Health Enterprise East (HEE),  the NHS innovation hub for the Eastern region, based at Papworth Hospital. He takes over from Professor Alan Barrell who is retiring from the post he has held since HEE was established in 2004. Dr Winter brings wide experience in creating value from innovative technologies and start-up companies. He is currently managing partner, Brightstar Innovations, (having created BT’s incubator Brightstar in 1999) and also partner in New Venture Partners, as well as advising a number of start-ups in the healthcare sector.  Dr Winter said: “I am delighted to be joining HEE as its new chairman and look forward to working with the team at a time when innovation in the NHS has never been more important.”

Photo: Dr Chris Winter (left) with Prof Alan Barrell.

Briefly…

Accountancy firm Saffery Champness is expanding in Peterborough. At the end of 2011 the firm moved its operations in the city to Unex House, a refurbished railway building on Bourges Boulevard. It now plans to increase its staff from 38 to 50 by the end of this year. Partner Stephen Collins said: "We have already recruited a number of people and are now looking for additional talented individuals keen to develop their career with a leading national accountancy firm."

Beccles-based PDS is rebranding itself as People With Energy (PWE Recruitment Group Ltd) focusing on recruitment for the region’s energy sector. Stuart Smith, who took control of the business four years ago, said:  "Over the last few years, we have gone from strength to strength and expect last year's £2.4m turnover to leap to £3m this year. We're not only stepping up the recruitment business but intend taking on six new staff ourselves over the coming three years."

Suffolk–based Green Energy (eu) has been shortlisted in the ’Energy Efficient Installer of the Year’ category at the Heating and Ventilation News awards in London in April.

Norfolk-based emergency lighting group STG Aerospace has increased sales by 25 per cent, helped by demand for its SafTglo systems used on Boeing 737s and the first sale of its ‘easy-install’ replacement LED lighting system to Swiss International Air Lines.

Cambridge-based agency Mobas has appointed Alison Meadows, former managing director at fellow agency Ware Anthony Rust (WAR), to a new role of business development director. She has wide experience working with national and international brands and is one of a number of key appointments at Mobas.

The former Norfolk Frames premises in Marsham have been sold to Aylsham Plant Hire. Administrators McTear Williams & Wood instructed Savills to market the property on the Old Norwich Road after the door manufacturer went into administration in mid 2012. The 2.2 acre site provides more than 30,000 square feet of industrial and office space plus barns.

Just under an acre of brownfield land in Wrentham has been sold for housing. Marketed by Savills Norwich development team at a guide price of £400,000, the land, which has planning permission for four detached family houses, was sold to regional house builder Badger Building.

Essex law firm Birkett Long is to post a series of free podcasts to give people l advice and information on issues such as divorce and making a will. The podcasts, titled “Law Cast”, will feature interviews with Birkett Long solicitors from the Colchester, Basildon and Chelmsford offices on a range of issues for individuals such as wealth management, family law, funeral planning and reclaiming care fees. Law Cast will also cover issues of interest to businesses. Jennie Skingsley, marketing manager at Birkett Long, said: “Our Law Cast will feature easily understood expert advice and information on a number of legal issues which we hope listeners will find useful, without the worry of the cost of speaking to a solicitor. “ Listeners can subscribe at http://birkettlong.podomatic.com. It can also be downloaded through iTunes by searching for ‘Birkett Long’.

Kerry McMahon of Christian Aid recently visited QualitySolicitors FJG to thank staff for their contribution to Will Aid and to present then with a certificate. QualitySolicitors FJG is the highest donating firm nationwide for the latest campaign, raising over £16,000 by writing some 180 wills for local clients as part of November 2012’s campaign. Will Aid clients were offered a basic will and asked to make a donation instead of paying the firm’s usual fee. The money raised is shared by Actionaid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, SCIAF, Sightsavers and Trocaire. Quality Solicitors FJG has taken part in Will Aid for some years and has raised over £65,000 to date.

Photo (l to r): Anastasia Packman, Diane Rudd, Vanessa Santomauro, Kerry McMahon (Christian Aid) Susanne Grimwade, Kate Wombwell, Amy Herring, Richard Hildrow

Downing College, Cambridge has expanded its conference team with the appointment of Isabelle Maxwell-Watts as conference and sales co-ordinator. She is responsible for day meetings, non-residential and residential events, as well as delivering the college’s sales and marketing activities plan. Her background is in theatre production, stage management and project work and previous positions have included working in recruitment and for another Cambridge college. Isabelle said: “My objective in my new role is to provide a well-organised and efficient service to clients to ensure their events are a success.” www.downing-conferences-cambridge.com

Ashton KCJ Solicitors  will be supporting three local charities through a charity of the year partnership. From April 2013, the firm will be supporting Macmillan Cancer Support, Nelson’s Journey, who work with bereaved children and young people across Norfolk, and Magpas, the emergency medical charity. Each year, staff at the firm vote for the charities they wish to support. The firm aims to raise at least £10,000 per year and has already raised over £8,500 since last April for its current charities: EACH, Big C and Headway, with a Wills Week initiative and charity bowling event still to come. Edward O’Rourke, CEO at Ashton KCJ, said: We are delighted to be supporting three new charities this year, each of which provide vital services and support in the local communities where we live and work”.

Mandy Jordan, Macmillan’s Fundraising Manager in Suffolk said: “Ashton KCJ staff will be making a lasting difference to the lives of people affected by cancer and we are extremely grateful to them for supporting us.”

Photo: Toby Kramers, a partner at Ashton KCJ taking part in a sky dive to raise funds for EACH.

The House Collection, a new boutique hotels group behind Poets House in Ely and Paddocks House near Newmarket, has unveiled a range of executive services for companies. Day delegate packages are available from £65 (inc VAT) and the 24-hour packages from £240 (inc VAT). Poets House has 21 bedrooms and can cater for up to 100 for a sit-down dinner or 150 people for a reception. Paddocks House has 15 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 150 for a sit-down dinner or 200 for a reception. Both hotels also offer private dining and smaller boardroom facilities. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

An event on Tuesday 26 February, Facing The Challenge of Business Development, organised by Cambridge Businesswomen’s Network will look at common hurdles people face and offer tips on how to turn these into successful sales. The session is led by Caroline Robinson (right) who runs Sandler Training in Cambridge and acts as a business development coach for businesses across a range of sectors. It will be held in the Lucia Windsor Room at Newnham College from 6.30-9.00pm on Tuesday 26th February. It costs £27 and includes a hot buffet supper with wine and coffee (£20 for CBN members). To book www.cbn.org.uk. Booking closes on 21st February.

Essex Chambers of Commerce are holding a series of ‘Chelmsford City Networking’ events starting with Heart FM and Boreham on 20th March 2013 at Boreham House and followed by bi-monthly meetings on 15th May, 23rd July, 16th October and 11th December. www.essexchambers.co.uk/events or call the Events Team on 01206 765277.