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Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 06/03/2013

Cambridge aerospace group makes Oxford acquisition

Cambridge-based Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has acquired FlairJet, an aircraft management and charter company based at London Oxford Airport. It will become part of the group’s newly formed aviation services business unit and will continue to be led by managing director and founder, David Fletcher.

David Fletcher said: “We are excited to be joining one of the most respected and largest privately owned aviation groups in Europe. FlairJet has strong entrepreneurial spirit and customer service values and I believe this to be the perfect platform to support FlairJet’s ambitious plans for growth.”

Steve Fitz-Gerald, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group CEO, said: "This is the ideal acquisition to complement our expanding business aviation activities and it will allow us to take full advantage of synergies that exist and skills that FlairJet bring.” ...MORE

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Tough times continue

ALMOST two fifths of SME owner managers across East Anglia are sceptical that we’re out of recession according to a Close Brothers business barometer. Some 16 per cent of respondents felt that trading conditions for their business are worse than they were this time last year. Andy Sopp, regional sales director for Close Brothers Invoice Finance in East Anglia, said: “It’s clear that many firms are finding it exceptionally tough to do business in the current economic climate. The business barometer demonstrates just how tough that environment is; as many as 16 per cent of local firms told us they have considered closing down within the last year.”

Angels seek business propositions

Venta, an eastern region business angel funding initiative, is holding an investor day on 9 April to seek out start-up and small expanding companies based in East Anglia that are looking for funding. Current Venta investment opportunities exceed £8.5m, with over £2.5m of deals in ‘serious negotiation’. It is inviting applications from companies and individuals seeking funding for their business propositions, and from existing or potential business angels. The event will be held with University Campus Suffolk, at the UCS Waterfront Building, Ipswich. John Irving, chief executive, said: "The Venta initiative has received huge levels of support and encouragement throughout the eastern region business, political and financial communities and will enable our wealth generating companies of tomorrow to stay in the area without having to look elsewhere for investment and management skills.” Over 170 current and potential business angels in the region have seen presentations from 23 local investment opportunities at Venta investor days so far. www.venta.uk.com or contact John Irving on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Seasoned entrepreneur appointed to Hub

The Eastern Enterprise Hub has appointed an experienced entrepreneur Simon Mead as chief executive officer. He has held senior positions in various sectors and most recently worked for consultants Heaton Camillo specialising in financial planning and how a business is prepared and presented to potential investors or lenders. He also chairs the Tendring Enterprise Agency. Harry Berry, chairman, EE Hub, said:“ He is a seasoned entrepreneur who has set up, run and invested in many successful businesses.  He has worked for a number of blue chip companies including France Telecom and Thames TV but also clearly understands the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, especially given his role as founding Director of E*TRADE.” Since it was established early in 2011 to provide support for early stage entrepreneurs, the EE Hub has created 71 businesses with a combined turnover of £22m.  The new appointment comes at a time of regional expansion for the EE Hub.

Photo: Simon Mead

Briefly…

Exporting

Over 100 firms recently met at Trinity Park to focus on international trade - what Suffolk Chamber is calling ‘a fundamental pillar of the economic recovery in the county.’ Alan Ridealgh, managing director of Muntons said: “While businesses in the UK continue to struggle, exporting is a growth market and businesses in Suffolk should be aware of the wide variety of products and services that can be successfully exported.” Half of the firm’s production is exported to Europe, USA and Asia. The event, sponsored by Dummett Copp LLP, was part of a wide range of events taking place throughout 2013 as part of the Suffolk Chamber “Exporting is Good for Suffolk” campaign.

Legal appointment

Ashton KCJ has appointed a new solicitor to its corporate and commercial team in Cambridge. Mark Whittacker has spent nearly nine years working in the corporate teams of two large national firms across Leeds and Manchester. He has wide experience of acting on significant deals including acting for Irish multinational DCC plc on its £50m+ acquisition of BP’s LPG business across the UK, Holland and Belgium. He also has wide experience advising on company reorganisations, shareholder agreements, private equity investments and general commercial matters. Geoff Hazlewood, head of corporate and commercial at Ashton KCJ, said: “Mark’s appointment enables us to expand our commercial presence in Cambridge and we are delighted that we are continuing to attract so much new talent to the firm. Mark will be a pivotal member of the team.”

Photo: Mark Whittacker (left) and Geoff Hazlewood.

Norwich environmental contract

A new £4.8 million pa contract between Norse Commercial Services and Norwich City Council, which will secure local  jobs came into effect on 1 March. The  contract to deliver environmental services such as street cleaning, grounds maintenance, building cleaning, arboriculture, pest control and sheltered housing cleaning will be provided by a new company called Norwich Norse (environmental). “This joint venture approach between Norse and Norwich City Council is a partnership, with shared goals and agreed outcomes for mutual benefit,” said managing director of Norwich Norse Graham Jermyn. Around 150 staff have transferred into the new company under TUPE arrangements.

Photo: ( l to r)  Mike Britch (MD Norse Group) Bill Tombs (Operational Manager, Norwich Norse) Councillor Alan Walters, Peter Hawes (Norse Commercial Services MD), Adrian Akester (Head of Citywide Services, Norwich City Council).

Solar contract

Planning permission has been granted to Solarcenture for a 62-acre solar farm at Stratton Hall near Ipswich. The 11.5MW project at Stratton Hall will comprise 47,500 free standing solar panels, producing electricity to power nearly 3,000 homes. David Grindley, head of Savills Energy in the east, Solarcentury’s adviser, said: “Solar farms produce a range of benefits - not only do they provide local electricity but also ratings income for local authorities and new environmental habitats which are being created on site.”

Property

Fenn Wright’s commercial division has been named the Most Active Agent in Suffolk, by Estates Gazette after its Ipswich office completed the largest number of sales and lettings over all sectors in the county during 2012. Alistair Mitchell, Ipswich commercial partner said: “The commercial property market over the last 12 months has proved to be very challenging but combining high professional standards with a dedicated and hardworking team has ensured that we have achieved some very good results for our clients.” The firm’s Colchester, Witham and Chelmsford offices were named as the most active agent in north Essex for the last three years.

Ipswich-based Penn Commercial has risen two places in regional rankings of commercial property agents. Estates Gazette named Penn Commercial as the fifth most active team, responsible for one in 20 deals in the East of England. The company, set up by Vanessa Penn just five years ago, has a team of six.

Builders merchants

East Anglian builders’ merchants Kent Blaxill has relocated to larger premises on Trinity Street in Ipswich, in an acquisition negotiated by its agent Fenn Wright. Operations director John Ford said: “It is Kent Blaxill’s 175th anniversary in business this year and we are pleased we are able to celebrate this with the move to larger and more convenient premises. This offers us the opportunity to have a much larger decorating business, a better designer paints area, increase our glass and glazing offer and introduce a plumbing and heating supply.” The move will take Kent Blaxill from its current location at 4/5 Holywells Retail Park to Unit 5 Trinity Street. Reader Commercial and Roche Chartered Surveyors acted for the landlord.

Finance

Cambridge & Counties Bank, which launched last June targeting SMEs, has appointed Carl Ashley as business development manager. He has 27 years’ experience in the sector with Yorkshire Bank and will manage the new bank’s appointed national brokers and will also cover Northants. Gary Wilkinson, chief executive at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “We have already started lending to a number of businesses across a wide range of sectors and have been encouraged by the quality of businesses that have approached us for loans so far.” Cambridge & Counties Bank is jointly owned by Cambs Local Government Pension Fund and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

Peterborough appears to be bucking the national trend in the retail market, with occupancy and trading very good while shops are closing in other parts of the country, Simon Moore, head of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks’ team in Cambs, told a networking event held by the bank in the city. He said: “The overiding feeling in the room was that, while conditions remain challenging for businesses, there are success stories particularly from local companies which are exporting services to emerging markets.”

Ipswich Building Society marked the opening of its new agency in Newmarket with a community party in the town on 2nd March. The agency opened at Balmforth Estate Agents on Rous Road.

Skills initiative

Barclays has launched LifeSkills, an education programme and work experience matching service that aims to reach one million young people by 2015. It will involve 50,000 work experience opportunities (including the Eastern region) to be offered in 2013 working with employers such as Barclays, Waitrose, Centrica and ISS, as well as government backed careers platform, plotr. LifeSkills ambassadors Karren Brady, Jameela Jamil, Colin Jackson and Thea Green, have joined the initative. Barclays will provide at least 6,000 opportunities and is encouraging businesses of all sizes across the UK to get involved. Andy Wright, regional director, Barclays Eastern said: “We face a major challenge in supporting our young people nationally and in Eastern Region to make the transition from education into the world of work….The opportunities we provide now to our young people for them to shape and realise their aspirations will have a profound impact on our economy and society.”  www.barclayslifeskills.com.

Photo: Karren Brady, Ashok Vaswani, CEO UK retail and business, Barclays and Jameela Jamil.

Corporate

Domino Printing Sciences, based at Bar Hill in Cambs, has appointed Sandy Shattock (right) as corporate responsibility manager with a remit covering corporate reporting and projects on environment, health & safety and supplier compliance in terms of human rights and sustainability. Domino is committed to being a responsible sustainable business. Improvements over the last 12 months include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing internal monitoring and raising over £60,000 for charitable causes. Sandy said: “Corporate responsibility is really everyone’s job and it is my responsibility to ensure that everyone here fulfils this brief within their own role. We also deliver special projects – such as Climate Week – to raise awareness within the company and monitor our achievements against indicators so that we can benchmark our performance.” www.domino-printing-sciences.com

Ipswich-based international lighting supplier, MGC Lighting, has created a new role in its international business team to help it expand into targeted global markets. It has appointed sales executive, Jessica Munke, to assist with growing the company’s business in Germany and other parts of Europe, selling and supplying lighting products across a range of sectors including stage and studio, medical, LED and purification.

Liz Chidgey has joined Essex Cares, the country’s first local authority trading company in adult social care, as managing director. She has wide experience in the sector, most recently running the adult services department at Essex County Council where she was instrumental in the formation of Essex Cares.

Expansion

Image Display & Graphics, an exhibition, display and experiential events company, has recently moved to new premises in Fletcher Way, Norwich. The move is part of a planned expansion and underlines a commitment to remain in the region. Image has seen a steady upturn in business over the past two years, helped by more small to medium sized exhibitions and events. “Companies need to market their products and live events; exhibitions, conferences, product launches etc. play a central role in getting a product or service to market,” said MD Iain Cosham." We are good at helping them achieve just that, even within reduced or modest budgets”. The move to much bigger premises allows projects to be managed more efficiently, new equipment to be installed and has seen the company employ two new staff. Having bought the property in July 2012 the building has undergone complete refurbishment and refitting to provide a purpose- designed environment ready for the move in January 2013.

See Business Profile of Image Display & Graphics

Events

Business support agency NWES has introduced Start-up Saturdays at The Norwich Enterprise Centre on Guildhall Hill in Norwich. It will be open on selected Saturdays throughout 2013 to offer a business support service for people in jobs who want to start their own business. Business advisers will be on hand and workshops will focus on viability, HMRC registration and market research. The first dates are 16th March and 6th April. 0845 60 99 99 1

Law firm Birkett Long is to hold a free seminar to advise people paying care home fees on whether they are entitled to reclaim them. A panel of experts will explain the criteria of reclaiming care home fees, even where the person receiving care has since died. The ‘Paying Care Home Fees?’ seminar will take place near Colchester, from 9:30am to 11am on Tuesday 12 March.  www.birkettlong.com/events or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

On 21 March 2013, Howes Percival will hold a specialist seminar for rural land agents on structuring rural land ownership for development.  The event, which will be held at Yaxley Hall in Suffolk, will cover the preparation of land for development from putting in place appropriate ownership structures in order to maximise tax reliefs, through to identifying potential land and dealing with developers.