Tuesday 25th September 2018
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 15/08/2018

Businesses stay confident although growth set to slow in coming months

Private business activity continued to grow strongly in the East of England in July with confidence reaching a three-month high but new job creation slowed as new business growth slowed, according to a key survey of purchasing managers.  The latest regional PMI data also shows cost inflation picked up sharply in July, with firms passing it on in higher prices. The NatWest East of England business activity index, was unchanged at 55.7 in July, well above the 50 level which signals growth, with ‘robust expansion’ in both manufacturing and services. Although new business growth eased to a three-month low in July, the latest increase in order books was still “solid overall” but work backlogs fell for the second time in three months. Good weather conditions and new project wins boosted sentiment in July, which is traditionally an optimistic month. But jobs growth in the region was the slowest in five years as firms pointed to difficulties in recruiting new staff. John Maude of NatWest Midlands & East regional board said : “July data signalled another considerable improvement in business conditions in the East of England’s private sector, adding to the string of strong expansions seen since May….. That said, the latest data revealed the lowest rate of job creation in over five years amid shortages of skilled staff, which alongside softer new order growth provided signs that growth could ease in the coming months”

Cambs plastic recycling firm acquired by global group

Cambridgeshire plastic recycling specialist PLASgran has been sold to Northants-based plastic design and engineering company RPC Group Plc in a deal supported by Grant Thornton and regional law firm Birketts. Founded in 1999, Wimblington-based PLASgran provides waste recovery, reprocessing and logistics services to businesses across the UK and Europe. The deal provides a commercial fit with RPC which operates seven divisions worldwide and has an annual turnover of around £3.9 billion. PLASgran will retain its name. Grant Thornton’s Central and East corporate finance team led the deal process, whilst Birketts advised on the legal aspects. PLASgran founder and chairman Carl Waters said: “We are pleased to have secured the right home for the company and believe the business will continue to go from strength to strength under RPC’s ownership.”

Stuart Davies, associate director at Grant Thornton who led the deal, said:“This is a great result for both parties and I look forward to seeing the next phase of PLASgran’s journey under RPC.”

See Profile Grant Thornton and Birketts

Ipswich business park fully let after commercial interest recovers

Quantum Business Park in Ipswich, which was bought by Artisan (UK) Developments before 2008, is now fully operational after 10 years of uncertainty in the commercial property market. The site which totals 25,200 sq ft and is 2.5 miles from the town centre on White House Road, is now fully let with U Plastics, Autoglass, Edmundson Electrical and Greggs the bakers, occupying units. “The impact of the economic crash was to stop any development for commercial property for some years” said Artisan MD Michael Eyres. “It was in late 2015 following discussions with Chris Moody at Savills before we felt there was sufficient interest in the site from commercial occupiers to warrant Artisan to relaunch the site and we were quick to act when we could see there was real interest in a potential trade counter development and tabled a plan to develop the current scheme of trade counter units”. Construction began in late 2017 after securing all four occupiers and the project was completed mid-May 2018.

See Profile Artisan (UK) Developments

New jobs in prospect as Norfolk business moves

Barclays has supported a Norfolk business, PAYE for Nannies with banking facilities to buy new premises in Dersingham which will create new job opportunities. Founded in 1998 by Bill and Diane Hill, the business provides payroll services for employers of nannies and domestic staff and other small businesses and now has  over 5,000 clients. The firm will move into new premises in Saxon Way, Dersingham in August, providing more comfortable offices for its 33 staff and space to grow further. Paul Judd, area business manager at Barclays Anglia, said: “This is a good example of how an idea for a business can grow into a much bigger company, providing an important service to its clients and local employment. The new premises will allow them the scope they need to continue their innovation.”

Photo (l-r): Bill Hill (PAYE for Nannies) and Jamie Biggadike (Barclays)

See Profile Barclays

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Advisors shortlisted for Rural Business Awards

East Anglian accountants and business advisors Larking Gowen has been shortlisted in the best rural professional services category of the Rural Business Awards for the eastern region. ”We’re delighted to have made the shortlist for this prestigious award,” said Larking Gowen partner Ashley Smith. “This is a real pat on the back for the team. We have been advising rural businesses since we were founded in 1888, and are now one of the largest agricultural accounting specialists in the UK. In fact, we’ve supported many clients through generations.”

See Profile Larking Gowen

Transport group joins Suffolk Chamber

Felixstowe-based Maritime Transport, one of the largest privately owned multi-modal transport businesses in the UK, has joined Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. John Williams, group managing director of Maritime Transport, said “As a major Felixstowe headquartered transport and logistics company, improvements in Suffolk’s road and rail transport infrastructure are vital to support customer supply chains and our success and we are keen to add our backing."

Cambridge cleantech investment

Cleantech start-up MasterFilter, which has developed and patented a new type of engine oil that prolongs the life of machines, has won investment from a London-based venture capital fund after being introduced at a Cambridge Cleantech event. Paul Clark, CEO of MasterFilter, met Sustainable Ventures at a Cambridge Cleantech Finance special interest group event in January this year. Two months later, its sustainable accelerator fund invested £100,000 in the cleantech start-up as lead investor.

South American offshore alliance

Diss-based SafeSTS and Service Management S.A. have formed an exclusive, five year regional alliance to perform ship-to-ship transfer operations of oil and gas in zones in Uruguay and Argentina as approved in the Offshore Lightering Licence. SafeSTS managing director Yvonne Mason said: “Service Management S.A. is the licence holder for all lightering operations, and the alliance provides for it to supply SafeSTS with local vessel and marine infrastructure support, with the ‘Bremen Hunter’  offshore supply vessel being used to support  ship-to-ship transfer operations.”

PR agency shortlisted for awards

Suffolk agency, Pier PR & Marketing, has been shortlisted for 10 awards in the 2018 CIPR East Anglia PRide Awards 2018, including the top prize of outstanding public relations consultancy. Pier’s launch of the East of England Co-op’s ‘Co-op Guide to Dating’ was nominated for five awards. Managing director, Kate Bowden Smith, said: “It is always exciting to be recognised by our industry and peers, and we are incredibly proud to have in this, our landmark tenth year, earned ten nominations for our expertise which helps our clients drive sales and build reputation.”

AI project at University of Essex

The need to use technology to improve the way the NHS delivers services is behind a new partnership between the University of Essex and Provide CIC. An Innovate UK-funded knowledge transfer partnership will look at how artificial intelligence can help the NHS deal with increasing demands and changing needs. The project will involve psychologists at the University of Essex looking at potential barriers to the use of new technology, so clinicians will use it as an effective tool.

Law firm team runs to raise funds for construction charity

A team from Ipswich law firm Prettys is in training for the Great East Run next month and aiming to raise funds for The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity. Prettys’ partner Peter Blake said: “We have very close connections with the construction sector and we have seen the positive impact that the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity has made on those working in this challenging industry. As the only charity in the UK that supports construction workers and their families, we are delighted to raise money for them by taking part in the Great East Run.” The Prettys team includes Peter Blake, Matthew Cole, Louise Plant and Alice Tennant and they will be running the 13.1 mile course on Sunday 16th September.

Photo (l-r): partner, Peter Blake, Louise Plant, Alice Tennant and partner Matthew Cole

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