Tuesday 01st December 2020
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 26/10/2020

Region’s food & drink and digital firms set to benefit from trade deal with Japan

The region’s exporters – particularly across its large food and drink sector - stand to benefit from the UK’s first post Brexit trade deal agreed with Japan last week. The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed by international trade secretary Liz Truss in Tokyo is the first agreement that the UK has secured that goes beyond the existing EU deal. It provides improvements in key areas for the region such as food and drink, creative industries, digital and data. Last year over 1,000 East of England businesses exported goods to Japan which were worth £870 million. According to the government, the ‘British-shaped’ deal secures major wins that would be impossible as part of the EU and puts the UK at the forefront of shaping new global standards on digital trade. Food and drink manufacturers employ 36,000 people across the East of England in 2018 and last year the value of food and drink exports to Japan was worth £311.5 million. Under agreed liberal rules of origin terms, exporters be allowed to source ingredients from the EU and the rest of the world. Customs costs and procedures for UK exporters will be more straightforward and the deal makes it simpler for UK businesses to meet Japanese safety regulations. Liz Truss said: “Today is a landmark moment for Britain. It shows what we can do as an independent trading nation, as we secure modern and bespoke provisions in areas like tech and services that are critical to the future of our country and the reshaping of our economy.” She said that the agreement also opens a clear pathway to membership of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will open new opportunities for British business.

Agricultural products kept moving through ABP’s ports in the region

APB's ports of Ipswich and King’s Lynn have continued to play a key role in keeping agricultural products moving to businesses and farmers in East Anglia. Since the lockdown started on 23rd March, the Port of Ipswich has handled nearly 1.2 million tonnes of cargo and following the discharge of over 13,000 tonnes from MV Sten Bergen in September, its cargo-handling total has reached over 1.6 million tonnes this year. Paul Ager, ABP divisional port manager – East Coast, said: “Over the summer months alone, our Ports of King’s Lynn and Ipswich have welcomed 56 vessels, which have exported nearly 200,000 tonnes of agricultural products. This is a truly impressive amount and I would like to thank our teams on the ground and our customers for working hard to keep cargo flows moving efficiently.” Since July, the Port of Ipswich has handled a significant flow of products for agricultural customers such as barley, maize, soya and wheat, including over 120,000 tonnes for Clarksons and more than 152,000 tonnes for COFCO. Recent transport department figures have confirmed the Port of Ipswich’s status as the UK’s number one export port for agricultural products.

Andrew Harston, ABP Wales and short sea ports director, said: “We are looking forward to continued high import levels in the coming months. We have the right infrastructure and expertise to help our customers meet their goals and keep trade flowing.”

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Corporate finance team advises on tech acquisition

Cambridge-based Cyted, which provides artificial intelligence technology, has recently completed the acquisition of Huntingdon-based Pathognomics in a deal where Ensors Chartered Accountants was lead advisor for the purchaser. Bringing together specialists from across the firm, the Ensors corporate finance team, led by David Scrivener (partner) and Andrew Warner (manager), delivered a “seamless service”, said Marcel Gehrung, CEO at Cyted. “David and Andrew provided not only an initial valuation and subsequent due diligence reports, but also invaluable negotiation support with the heads of terms and sales purchase agreement and advice on structuring the deal”. The acquisition of Pathognomics will provide Cyted - which is a developer and provider of artificial intelligence technology and digital diagnostic infrastructure to enable earlier detection of disease - an accredited laboratory environment and access to digital pathology technology. This will, in turn, enable the rapid uptake and expansion of the pipeline of novel biomarkers and AI technology at Cyted. Already Cyted and Pathognomics have worked together to successfully set up and launch diagnostic services for the earlier detection of oesophageal cancer. They will now look to scale their combined diagnostic reporting services and infrastructure to further support both existing and future healthcare partners. David Scrivener, corporate finance partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants, said: “It was great working with Marcel and the team at Cyted on what is a very exciting part of their growth strategy. Andrew and the team worked hard and, as a result, were able to deliver a seamless and professional service despite the current challenging conditions. The successful outcome pays credit to their diligence.”

Marcel Gehrung, CEO at Cyted, said “We are delighted to expand our team with the acquisition of Pathognomics. We have seen great synergy in our work and values through our partnership to launch and deliver our integrated diagnostic service. Merging the two companies is the next step in fulfilling our vision at Cyted, to change lives by enabling earlier disease detection and diagnosis.”

Business park space in demand in Bury and Peterborough

One of the few office deals to be agreed in Bury St Edmunds recently has seen agent Barker Storey Matthews negotiate the surrender of a lease by tech firm Invision UK at Alexander House (photo, right) on Hillside Business Park. Meanwhile, terms have been signed for a new 10 year lease by a new occupier, Dunamis, an electrical infrastructure provider. The property gives Dunamis two floors of office space over a total of 3,046 sq ft on Hillside Business Park, which is the town’s main office location and where work underway by City Fibre to install a new broadband network should give it a further boost.

Separately, Unit 29 at Aston Business Park on Shrewsbury Avenue in Peterborough has been let to Maccasports by Savills for Opals Group. The firm specialises in custom apparel and sportswear and has agreed to a new five-year lease for the industrial unit, which totals 3,670 sq ft. Edward Gee at Savills Peterborough said: “Located in a well-established commercial location to the south of Peterborough city centre, Aston Business Park provides good quality office and industrial space ideal for Maccasports continued expansion. We are very pleased to have secured this top quality occupier on behalf of our client.”

New warehouse lettings underline strength of Cambridge industrial market

The third letting on a new warehouse scheme at Cambridge South has been agreed and talks are underway with further potential occupers. Salmon Harvester Properties has let warehouse space at Unit 3 at Cambridge South on Dales Manor Business Park in Sawston to Building Product Solutions. The window manufacturer has agreed to a new 10-year lease for the space unit over 12,529 sq ft at an annual rent of £9.50 per sq ft. Salmon Harvester was advised jointly by Savills, Carter Jonas and JLL. It is the third letting on phase one of the 68,000 sq ft scheme, which will see BPS join occupiers including Plant Shake by Foga and Echion Technologies. Phase two involves an extra 63,000 sq ft of logistics space. Rupert Dando at Savills Cambridge said: “Cambridge South offers premium newly-built warehouse units in an excellent location within the city’s southern cluster. The diversity of users that Cambridge South has attracted to date is a testament to the schemes design and continued strength of the Cambridge industrial market.”

Rorie Henderson, director at Salmon Harvester Properties, adds: “We have a number of positive discussions underway with other occupiers, so watch this space.”

Rebrand for major Norwich retail destination

Fifteen years after opening its doors as one of the region’s major retail destinations, Norwich’s Chapelfield shopping centre, has been renamed Chantry Place. The former intu location, which houses stores including Apple, Zara and House of Fraser, has had a rebrand with a new name that pays homage to the lesser known history of the site. The change comes after LaSalle Investment Management was appointed as asset manager, with Savills taking over the property management and commercialisation. Rebecca Gates, head of asset management at LaSalle, said: “We did try to keep the name ‘Chapelfield’, while having to remove ‘intu’ from all the branding and assets. However, ultimately this was not possible, so we are delighted to have the opportunity to rebrand as Chantry Place, celebrating Norwich’s interesting local history in the process. We are really excited to showcase our offering as a premier retail, restaurant and leisure destination, and enter 2021 with our new identity.” Chantry Place attracts an annual footfall of 15 million and has 91 units over 530,000 sq ft in the centre of the city and is home to almost 100 retailers. The new branding was created by Norwich design and PR agency FOUR.

Consultant appointed to make case for Huntingdon Bypass

Atkins has been appointed design, engineering and project management consultant for the A141 Huntingdon bypass. Atkins - which has offices in Peterborough and Cambridge - was selected from a field of five contenders for the project. The firm will work with the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to develop a strategic outline business case for an A141 offline bypass, to the north of Huntingdon. Previous studies have shown that a bypass is needed to support increasing traffic and enable economic growth and development in the area. Atkins will identify wider economic benefits that a bypass may bring. James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough: “Global experience and local knowledge, I’m delighted that we’ve been able to sign up such a big-hitter to move forward this critical work and make the case for investment. Safer greener travel will boost good growth around Huntingdon and change life for the better. We want to maintain traffic at the 2018 level, or hopefully below it, to reduce the number and length of car trips, and increase the speed and safety of cleaner transport like buses and bikes.”

Temporary bridge installed to allow Cambridge college restoration

A temporary bridge has been installed over the River Cam in Cambridge to enable construction to start on the restoration and extension of the River Wing and North Passage at Clare College. The 57-metre long bridge was built and craned into place by Mabey and now sits between the Garret Hostel Bridge and Clare College Bridge, the oldest bridge in Cambridge. The project team for the multi-million-pound scheme includes main contractor Barnes Construction, London architects, Witherford Watson Mann and Cambridge-based firms Smith and Wallwork, the structural engineer and Henry Riley, cost consultant and client project manager. Matthew Ramplin, contracts manager for Barnes Construction, said: “Due to the tight constraints of the site and the historic significance of the adjacent buildings, the best option was to install a temporary bridge that enables us to get the plant and equipment across the River Cam that we need to help us with the construction work. We will now be moving onto the next phase, repointing the external brickwork on the River Wing wall that faces the courtyard and cutting a three metre opening to allow access so that we can carry out the internal demolition.” When completed in late summer 2022, the inside of the River Wing will have been reconfigured and a new three-storey extension created.