Thursday 19th September 2019
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 27/08/2019

Growing companies on the move in Peterborough

The attractions of Peterborugh for tech-based businesses have been underlined by property moves at three growing firms in the city - Opals Group, Rydal Communications and SepSolve Analytical - announced over the past week.

Opals Group, an expanding Peterborough communication networks provider, is moving into a large 41,660 sq ft warehouse building outside the city centre and creating 50 jobs. The freehold of Unit 1 on Morley Way in Woodston has been sold to the group for over £2 million by Savills on behalf of a private vendor. Sam Hodge, managing director of Opals Group, said: “The acquisition of this premises is part of our continued expansion plans and is a unique opportunity to acquire a prominently located commercial building consisting of well-proportioned office space, warehousing and external yard. Once the fit-out works are completed, this will provide our teams and clients with new and improved space and facilities.”

Meanwhile, communications and managed IT provider Rydal Communications (photo, above right) has relocated in Peterborough and taken on eight new staff with support from a loan from Barclays to buy and refurbish the new premises at 19 Church Walk. Founded in 2008 by managing director Steffan Dancy, the company has 52 staff supporting clients across the UK, Europe and USA. Alex Spires, Barclays relationship manager, Peterborough, said: “The new premises will provide a more modern working environment for the company as it moves into its next phase of growth. The future creation of new job opportunities will be welcomed by people in Peterborough who are keen to use and develop their skills in this telecoms sector.”

Elsewhere, SepSolve Analytical, which specialises in products and solutions for separation science, has agreed to a new five-year lease for a two storey office building totalling 2,311 sq ft on Cygnet Park in Peterborough. The firm is part of Schauenburg Analytics. Edward Gee at Savills Peterborough, said: “Situated in the popular commercial location of Hampton, Swan Court provides good quality office space ideal for the firm to continue its UK expansion."

Cambs biotech group expands at Granta Park

Cambridge-based biotech company Sphere Fluidics has opened new office space at Granta Park to support its expansion and accommodate further growth. The firm recently completed a £3.7 million funding round, enabling it to hire 10 new staff to support growth ofits single cell analysis system. Marketing, finance and operations teams have joined the firm which is taking taking 1,038 sq ft of space in the McClintock Building on Granta Park. Sphere Fluidics’ also has offices at Babraham Research Campus in Cambs and in New Jersey as well as an international network of distributors. Director of operations Rob Treanor said: “Recent investment has enabled Sphere Fluidics to accelerate its plans to expand commercial and scientific activities and we are now raising further funding to invest in more new hires and increase our presence in not only the UK but also, the US. It is vital that we are positioned in locations with a flexible and innovative network and look forward to joining the collaborative culture at Granta Park to support these growth projections.”

Law firm advises on water sector acquisition

Law firm Birketts has advised its client Hydro International, a Clevedon-based provider of water management solutions, on the acquisition of M&N Electrical and Mechanical Services, a specialist provider of services and equipment for wastewater treatment plants.  The acquisition will see 140 service professionals join Hydro International’s workforce. Michael Jennings, chief executive of Hydro, said: “This acquisition complements Hydro International’s plans to expand its range of services and technologies. We really valued Birketts' specialist knowledge, commercial approach and first-class service in helping us to take this next step in our strategic planning.”

The Birketts team acting on the deal included Nigel Thompson, Nick Burnett, Alex Forwood, and Ozan Zorba (corporate) with support from Matthew Grindley (commercial property), John Kahn (corporate tax) and Nick West (employment).

Separately, M7 Real Estate has appointed Birketts as legal adviser for its in-house managed funds, covering over 100 industrial, office and retail assets across the UK. M7 is a leading specialist in the pan-European, regional, multi-let real estate market. The team manages over 1,400 retail, office and industrial properties with a value of around €8.5bn. Birketts has been appointed for all fund disposals, acquisitions, leasing events and asset management. Cameron Barlow (photo, right), partner and head of Birketts'real estate investment sector group, said: “We are delighted to be strengthening and growing our relationship with the pre-eminent real estate investor and manager in Europe.”

See Profile Birketts

Large Felixstowe building marketed at £3 million

A substantial production/office building with an adjacent development site in Felixstowe - formerly the Itron building on Langer Road - is being jointly marketed at a price of £3 million by Penn Commercial and Cushman & Wakefield. The 6.53-acre site is next to the port and around 1.5 miles from Felixstowe town centre. Built in 1989, the main 61,000 sq ft double-span steel portal fame building has a minimum 4.6m height clearance and a clean room environment with air conditioning and low static floor. There are perimeter offices next to the main building and further open plan and cellular offices in the 5,219 sq ft former canteen building at the back of the main production bay. Vanessa Penn of Penn Commercial said: “This is an excellent opportunity to purchase a substantial commercial site of flexible usage with superb shipping links and road transport connectivity to the Midlands and London.” The site is offered freehold with vacant possession and offers are sought on an unconditional basis.

See Profile Penn Commercial

Call for more firms to offer work experience to the young

Ipswich-based law firm Prettys has called on more businesses to support younger people by offering work experience placements. The firm has taken on eight work experience candidates this summer with feedback describing placements as “engaging”, “enjoyable” and a “good variety of work.” CEO Ian Carr (right) said: “At Prettys we understand how important work experience can be in supporting the future of the workforce. Our work experience places are awarded to individuals who either have a strong interest in law or are considering a legal career in the future. However, we do limit the number of places we offer as we want to ensure the experience is a really valuable one which works for both parties.” The programme also brings benefits to Prettys. “It has allowed us to scout out potential future employees, help us with staff resources during the holiday season and increase efficiency within day-to-day tasks. Introducing the scheme has boosted staff morale as they’ve had the opportunity to mentor others by investing in new people, we better our reputation as a go to employer for the best young talent out there.”

He added: “After our work experience placements have been carried out we remain in regular contact with the candidate and may discuss an offer of employment as and when the candidate becomes available and there is a suitable vacancy.”

See Profile Prettys

Internal appointments at Norfolk-based solicitors

Norfolk-based solicitors Rogers & Norton has appointed three new associates; Elizabeth Gibson, Lauren Golder and Laura Rumsey. Solicitor Elizabeth Gibson, is a key member of the litigation team, specialising in general civil litigation, including debt recovery, contract disputes, landlord and tenant disputes, insolvency and enforcement of judgments. Conveyancing executive Lauren Golder deals with all aspects of residential conveyancing including leasehold and shared ownership. She has strong relationships with a wide cross section of estate agents and mortgage brokers referring her work.  Solicitor Laura Rumsey advises on a wide range of private client work, focussing on wills, probate, administering estates, powers of attorney and court of protection work. Managing director Richard Etheridge said: “All the promotions are richly deserved and reflect the hard work, dedication and expertise they have both contributed towards the company’s success. It is also indicative of our commitment to recognise the talented staff working at Rogers & Norton, by promoting from within.”

See Profile Rogers & Norton

Agency secures accreditation from industry body

Pier PR & Marketing has secured the Consultancy Communications Management Standard (CMS) accreditation from the Public Relations & Communications Association. The Consultancy CMS is an independently audited set of nine core areas combining elements of quality standards from ISO 9000 and Investors in People. Pier managing director Kate Bowden Smith said: “CMS provides evidence that the company is well managed and gives us a robust procedure to ensure we have all the correct systems and structures in place, and are dedicating quality time to continuous improvement. For our clients it provides reassurance that Pier positions quality and business improvement at the centre of everything we do.” Recent new business wins at the agency include Stokes Sauces, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Energy Systems Catapult and Medway Council.

Norfolk-based lightering firm expands in the Caribbean

Diss-based SafeSTS, a specialist in ship to ships transfers of fuel, is expanding its Caribbean lightering business after opening a base in Port of Spain in 2017. Trinidad and Tobago is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the Caribbean, as well as importing refined products. The base is located offshore Port of Spain in the sheltered waters of the Gulf of Paria, where vessels of up to 18.0m draft can be safely accommodated. This allows SafeSTS to do transfers involving smaller MR and coastal tankers up to large crude oil carriers. "The Gulf of Paria is a sheltered, semi-enclosed inland sea which separates Trinidad and Venezuela, situated to the south of the hurricane belt. This drastically reduces working days lost to bad weather, delays which are often experienced in other neighbouring locations," said SafeSTS CEO, Yvonne Mason. "This helps us to provide a highly reliable service to our growing base of clients in the region." SafeSTS now operates from 14 lightering locations in America, Africa and Asia.

Translational science conference at Norwich Research Park

Norwich Research Park is hosting a ‘Research, Translation, Innovation and Learning’ conference with park partners the Quadram Institute and University of East Anglia on  Monday 9 September. Jointly organised by S-Lab and UKSPA, it will focus on the important aspects of the design, management and operation of science-based research, translational and innovation facilities. It will include keynote speeches and breakout sessions focused on the vision and strategy that has been created for Norwich Research Park and its partners and the launch of an UKSPA translational interest group. The event will provide an opportunity to see and hear the very best in translational science vision and implementation. For more information go to  https://www.norwichresearchpark.com/event/research-translation-innovation-and-learning-ukspa-and-s-lab

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Norfolk pupils put STEM skills to the test

Norfolk’s young engineers of the future put their practical skills to the test in the classroom with the help of property and construction consultants Ingleton Wood. Students aged 12-14 were tasked with tackling a STEM project to design and build a complex rollercoaster run, the strongest K’Nex bridge and the highest helipad structure. Mechanical engineer Joshua Slater and architectural assistant Priyanka Shah from Ingleton Wood’s Norwich office mentored two teams of pupils from The Locksley School in Norwich and Douglas Bader School in Badersfield to design and build the model rollercoaster. Both schools are run by multi-academy trust The Short Stay School for Norfolk and look after vulnerable children. Priyanka Shah said: “It was an eye-opening experience for everyone. We know there is a skills shortage nationally in the STEM sector so it was very rewarding to see the students really engaged with the project – particularly the girls who may not see STEM careers as an option for them. They all grasped the project and the finished designs were fantastic.” The Go4SET project is run by the Engineering Development Trust which provides opportunities for children to become inspired in STEM and connect with employers.

See Profile Ingleton Wood