Wednesday 19th December 2018
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 28/09/2018

Grocery supplier expands with £40 million logistics facility outside Ipswich

A major international grocery supplier LDH (La Doria) is expanding its operation in Suffolk with a new, £40 million distribution facility at Sproughton Enterprise Park, near Ipswich. The new plant on a former sugar beet factory site will employ more than 100 and create 30 new jobs and was part-funded through a £500,000 grant from New Anglia LEP’s growing business fund. LDH (La Doria) is a major supplier of Retailer Own Brand grocery products and will use new technologies and workflow systems to boost delivery times and productivity. Paul Nicholas, logistics director at the company, said: “The choice of Sproughton as a site to locate our new operating facility was a lengthy process and in selecting Sproughton Enterprise Park we are confident it will future proof our supply chain offering.” Sproughton is one of ten sites which form New Anglia LEP’s space to innovate enterprise zone and which offer discounted business rates, simplified planning and superfast broadband.

Doug Field, chair of New Anglia LEP, said: “This is a huge investment and a real vote of confidence in the Sproughton Enterprise Park, Suffolk and the East. It’s also bringing growth, infrastructure and jobs to a key place and key industrial sector for the Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Strategy. LDH has recognised the advantages this site has to offer and many more firms are sure to follow.”

Photo (from left): Babergh councillor Nick Ridley, LDH logistics director Paul Nicholas, IBC leader David Ellesmere and Chris Dashper of New Anglia LEP.

Boost for business confidence in September

Business confidence in the region enjoyed a boost September and outperformed national trends although fewer firms are planning to recruit. Companies in the East of England reported higher economic optimism at 29 per cent, up 16 points on the previous month, while confidence in their own business prospects edged up one point to 28 per cent, according to a business barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. A net balance of 17 per cent of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year, down eight points on last month. Nationally, firms’ optimism about the economy bounced back after August’s dip, rising nine points to 26 per cent. Andrew Connors, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “September marks the second month in a row where local firms have reported increased confidence in their own business prospects. While hiring intentions took a slight dip, firms have remained optimistic about the wider UK economy and their prospects in the next 12 months.”

Growth in Peterborough creates development opportunities

Strong economic and population growth will produce new opportunities in Peterborough's commercial and residential sectors but new stock is needed to meet growing demand, according to Savills. The firm’s new report Peterborough: A growing city says that whilst the area is responding to strong residential demand through ambitious targets and a healthy land supply, high levels of development are still required to meet need. Both the adopted and emerging local plan targets for Peterborough are for over 1,200 homes each year. There is also scope for landlords to upgrade warehouse and office space around the city. William Rose, director in the firm's business space team, said : “Attracted by its strong rail and road links, the likes of Amazon, Debenhams and Ikea have now established large scale distribution centres in Peterborough. At present, there is just one unit of 100,000 sq ft of industrial space available within a 50 mile radius of Peterborough.” In the office market, the conversion of 600,000 sq ft of space to residential under permitted development rights, has left vacancy rates at 4.4 per cent and created pressure on rents.

Strong interest in new Ipswich office space

The Maltings building which is currently being restored in Ipswich’s Princes Street has seen strong interest ahead of it being ready for occupation in April next year. When complete, the restored buildings will provide around 23 000 sq ft of Grade A office space which is in demand but in short supply in the town. Mark Pertwee, managing director of Colchester-based developer Pertwee Estates, which is restoring the building, says his confidence in the town is growing month on month. He said: “It’s clear to me that many companies around Ipswich and from well beyond are looking at expanding, despite the general post Brexit uncertainty that’s talked about nationally. If they want to be at the heart of things in Ipswich, they’re looking at this fast growing and improving part of the town.”

Vanessa Penn of Penn Commercial, agents for the site, said: “This is the only Grade A office building to become available in the near future, and as such, there’s been a lot of interest.”

See Profile Penn Commercial

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Norwich-based manufacturer wins regional accolade

Norwich-based manufacturer, Fabcon Food Systems has won the regional stage of the Barclays Entrepreneurs Awards in the international expansion of the year category. Founded in 2013 by Trevor Howard and Andrew Peek, the company designs, manufactures and supplies bespoke handling and process solutions to the food industry in the UK and worldwide. Managing director Trevor Howard (photo, right) said: “The challenges have been rewarded by us being recognized as a player across the global snack food market, from our UK client base to new markets in the Middle East, Asia Pacific, the EU states and many other European customers.” Exports account for 50 per cent of revenues.

James Whitaker, regional head of high growth & entrepreneurs at Barclays, said: “The Barclays Entrepreneur Awards are a celebration of our clients and an official recognition of their entrepreneurial successes and leadership. This is the third year of the awards and as a regional winner of the international expansion of the year category, Fabcon will go forward to the national stage, which will recognise clients from across the UK.”

Separately, Norwich-based KakeCo has won start-up entrepreneur of the year category in the regional stage of the Barclays Entrepreneurs Awards. Started in 2007, KakeCo is a communication agency working with clients to understand the digital age, current trends and the 16-30 demographic.

Law firm advises on insurance acquisitions

Bury-based solicitors Greene & Greene has advised Nexus Group on its recent purchase of Altitude Risk Partners LLP, a specialist aviation managing general agency (MGA) and Huntington Underwriting, a structured solutions MGA based in Malaysia. The Greene & Greene team was headed up by mergers & acquisition specialists, Simon Ratcliffe, Andrew Cooper and Natalie Stoter at the firm’s office in Bury.The Nexus Group is now the largest independent speciality MGA in the London market and Greene & Greene has been working closely with the group on its purchase of various businesses for 10 years.

New recruits join inclusive traning programme

Grant Thornton has appointed eight new recruits at its Ipswich office after securing a place on the firm’s inclusive training programme. Graduates George Hutchings and Phil Parish along with school leavers Alex Shipp, Cameron Harbison, Ethan Abrahams and Thomas Clark join the Ipswich audit team, while graduate Ben Maguire and school leaver Georgina Swain start with the firm’s tax team. They will study for a range of professional chartered accountancy qualifications whilst gaining on the job experience. In 2013, Grant Thornton became the first professional firm in the UK to remove academic barriers to entry to instead focus on individuals’ talents and potential. It also introduced online interviewing and coaching for all candidates. Rob Thomson, director at Grant Thornton’s Ipswich office, said: “We know that a more diverse, inclusive workforce is good for business, leading to improved organisational performance and a better outcome for our people and clients. Creating a level playing field for all continues to be a priority for the future of a vibrant, productive economy."

Photo (l to r): Ben Maguire, Cameron Harbison and Tom Clark.Front (l to r): Phil Parish, George Hutchings, Georgina Swain, Alex Shipp and Ethan Abrahams.

See Profile Grant Thornton

Consultant makes key appointments

Gary Knight has been appointed as associate director at Ipswich-based Concertus Design & Property Consultants. He joins having spent four years managing the delivery of a professional services framework for Essex and Kent Police, and  major transformation projects for the Metropolitan Police Services. Meanwhile, over 20 employees have been promoted to new positions within the multi-disciplinary business. This includes five promotions to the senior management team; Charles Coulson, Darren Fellowes, David Garrard, Nick Smith and Paul Smith. Concertus managing director Andrew Rowe said: “As a leading provider of design and property services to the region, it is important that our business reflects the changing dynamic and professional needs of both our private and public sector clients.”

Photo (l -r): David Garrard, Nick Smith, Darren Fellowes, Charles Coulson and Gary Knight .

Invest in Suffolk Ambassadors mark achievements

Over 40 business people recently attended the annual Invest in Suffolk Ambassadors dinner at Wherstead Park to mark local business achievements and outline future plans. Invest in Suffolk was launched by Suffolk County Council in 2014 to promote the county as a business location and to respond to inward investment enquiries and opportunities. Working with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, the initiative has recruited over 100 business people to champion the county as a business location, using the message “Suffolk is the bright choice for your business."

Cambridge venues showcased for conferences and events

Event organisers can sign up for two events in October to visit venues showcasing their facilities for meetings, conferences and corporate dining. Organised by Meet Cambridge, the exclusive open doors showrounds are limited to 12 people and comprise two or three venues in one session. On Wednesday 3rd October, 10.00am-12.15pm the visits will be to Jesus College, Cambridge Corn Exchange & Guildhalls (photo, right) and Hilton Cambridge City Centre and on Wednesday 17th October, 10.00am-12.30pm to Murray Edwards, St John’s College and Newnham College.