Tuesday 25th June 2019
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 22/05/2019

Investment in region's tech sector gathers pace

Capital investment into the technology sector in the East of England has grown at the fastest rate in the country over the past 12 years according to the Tech Nation 2019, government survey of the sector. It has risen by 206 per cent over the last 12 years. Meanwhile the report identifies 19,090 tech companies in the East, which generate a turnover of £8.33bn and employ 89,000 people with an average productivity of £101,000 per person. Linn Clabburn, programme director of the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor, said: “The Tech Nation report highlights the importance of the East to the UK’s thriving tech economy. Our world-leading research centres in Cambridge and Norwich are undoubtedly a big draw for businesses and investors, but the rapid growth of funding into the region is testament to the innovative, ambitious companies based throughout the Tech Corridor tackling the big issues facing society around food, energy, medicine and mobility." Firms in Cambridge’s tech cluster attracted £583m in new funding in the last year, making it the second most popular UK destination for investors behind London.

The report also highlighted the growth of the tech sector in Suffolk. Tim Robinson, chief operating officer at TechEast, said: "The Tech Nation report identifies the East of England as the 3rd largest tech cluster in the UK by revenue and cites important digital skills initiatives designed to boost Ipswich’s talent supply including a new Creative Computing Centre and  a joint BT/University of Sufffolk skills and innovation accelerator which has received £6.5m in funding. The tech scene in Ipswich is described as ‘thriving’ with grassroots tech organisations helping build a ‘real buzz’ in the digital community."

Tourism & leisure businesses invest despite mixed results

Tourism and leisure businesses in the region have made heavy investments in weather-proofing attractions which have helped increase visitor numbers and given a boost to the £8 billion visitor economy across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, according to the annual tourism, leisure and hospitality business survey from MHA Larking Gowen. A combination of unusual weather and rising rent, rates and staff costs mean that while 49 per cent of businesses saw revenues increase in 2018, nearly one in three saw a decrease in income. One in three businesses increased profits by over 10 per cent but nearly a third of businesses in the sector saw profits fall. Chris Scargill (photo, right), partner at MHA Larking Gowen who coordinates the survey, said : “…this could be a worrying trend, particularly as two-fifths of those making a loss this year are anticipating losses in 2019.” He added: “This clearly brings to question sustainability and risks investment long term. However, for now, investment continues, with 16 per cent of businesses planning to extend their premises and three in five planning site improvements and refurbishment to help improve business. 2019 will inevitably be another interesting year for the sector.”...Read more

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Norfolk-based marine company joins export champions

Diss-based Future Marine Services, which specialises in ship-to-ship transfers of oil and gas worldwide, has become one of 23 companies in the East of England to a join the government's 2019 Export Champions Community. Virtually all of the company’s  turnover comes from exporting to areas including Asia, the Middle East, North, East and South Africa and South America. Yvonne Mason (photo, right), who leads the company with Bob Gilchrist, said: "We know from experience that there are often unique barriers to overcome when looking to enter export marketplaces, and as export champions we believe we will be able to provide information, guidance and encouragement to other businesses considering those markets for their products and services". The DIT recently held an inaugural event in Cambridge where export champions in the East looked at ways they could help  other businesses export and shape the department’s policies.

Cambridge firm partners on new manufacturing facility

Cambridge-based TTP plc, a technology and product development company, is to partner with Quotient , a commercial-stage diagnostics company, to develop a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for Quotient’s proprietary MosaiQ™ system. Phil Rawlins, programme manager at TTP, said: “This has been an incredibly exciting partnership as Quotient’s MosaiQ platform is set to radically change the field of blood transfusion typing and screening.... working with Quotient to commercialise a high-volume manufacturing system has been extremely rewarding.”

Ed Farrell, president at Quotient, said: “The multi-disciplinary team at TTP are highly experienced and were able to rapidly assist us in the manufacturing of MosaiQ to build what is now an industry leading system. Their expertise, together with their drive to bring our idea to reality, made them the ideal partner.”

International group acquires Essex-based machinery firm

Law firm Birketts has advised Wintersteiger AG, an international machinery and plant engineering group with an hq in Austria, on its acquisition of a controlling interest in Trials Equipment (UK), which is based in Braintree. Set up by Essex businessman Colin Coleman, Trials Equipment (UK) produces agricultural trials machinery and equipment and has worked with Wintersteiger AG for many years, importing machinery for the UK and Irish markets. Harold Kostka, CFO of Wintersteiger AG said: “Although transactions in the UK in general and the structure of this particular deal was vastly more complex in terms of documentation than most of our past acquisitions in continental Europe, Birketts did support us with a great fit of their wide team of specialists, and helped us with tremendous effort to hold our tight timeline.”The Birketts team was led by partner, Nick Burnett in Chelmsford (photo, right) assisted by partner, Rafael Ruiz (corporate), senior associates, Matthew Grindley (property) and John Khan (tax), associate, Heidi Jones (corporate), and solicitors, Sabina Rooney and Tom Utting (corporate), and Nicholas West and Abigail Hubert (employment).

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Law firm supports enforcement acquisition

Ipswich-based Prettys Solicitors recently advised the parent company of Rundles, a Leicestershire-based debt recovery & enforcement business, on its sale to JBW, which ranks as the second largest company in the UK in the enforcement sector. Prettys has provided Rundles’ parent, Traditional Group, with legal advice since the early 2000s. Ian Waine (photo, right), head of corporate and commercial law at Prettys, said: “We are proud of our association with the seller with whom we have enjoyed a longstanding relationship during its growth, major strategic changes and, with this transaction, the realisation of the value of its principal subsidiary Rundles.”

Bernard Gover, executive chairman of Traditional Group, said: “Prettys legal and strategic input into the transaction, as well as their skill at handling a transaction with advisers several time zones away was an important factor in completing the transaction in a short timescale.” JBW is part of multi-national parent, Outsourcing Inc.

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Cambridge college gives fresh look to meetings offering

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge will be unveiling a fresh look to its conference and meetings offering in the autumn with a rebranding of its events packages - under the name Fitz Events. It has also appointed three new staff members to enhance its conference and meetings expertise. Jo Olivey joins as college events coordinator, with responsibility for handling all internal college events, from committee meetings to garden parties. She has more than ten years’ experience with Cambridge colleges and other venues in the city, most recently as events executive at Meet Cambridge. Lucy Allinson has been appointed as a sales & event coordinator, bringing experience in hospitality management and sales coordination and Lina Vainauskaite has been appointed as a sales & event coordinator with experience in a wide variety of events. All three will work with existing members of the team, Robert Clarke, head of events & catering and Emma Hilditch, events manager. Leaving the events team after 28 years is Caroline Choat, events support consultant, who is retiring at the end of May after organising hundreds of events over her time at the college. Robert Clarke said: “2019 sees a new look to our conference and events business. We have a great new team with lots of enthusiasm and energy, along with a brand new website.”

Photo (l-r): Lina Vainauskaite, Lucy Allinson, Caroline Choat, Robert Clarke and Jo Olivey (Emma Hilditch is not in the photo).