Leadership network brings £1.5m deal to county
PUBLISHED: 12:25 03 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:35 03 March 2014
A landmark business deal will bring a £1.5million manufacturing contract back to the county from China. Plus more news from across the Cotswolds...
Staverton-based Future Advanced Manufacture has been awarded the contract to produce a key component for Cheltenham’s ADEY Professional Heating Solutions, following a chance observation made by Future’s Managing Director Craig Peterson when visiting ADEY’s Commercial Director Rebekah Howard.
The two were part of a small peer-to-peer coaching group of four Gloucestershire businesses, meeting monthly as part of LEAD, the Lancaster University Management School leadership programme, delivered locally under license by QuoLux.
Rebekah Howard explains: “We were unhappy with the long lead times, increasing cost and quality issues we were experiencing from our supplier in China, but had been struggling to find a UK engineering company that met our requirements.
“I was discussing this dilemma with my trusted LEAD colleagues, but it was only when I pointed out the actual component as we were walking through the office that Craig realised ‘I can make that!’ - it was one of those light bulb moments,” says Rebekah.
Within a month, designs had been agreed and a prototype tested. Within three months, a contract was signed for £1.5million, creating five new jobs in Gloucestershire.
“This is the single largest deal between LEAD delegates in the 10 year history of the national programme,” says Stewart Barnes, founder of QuoLux.
Craig believes programmes such as LEAD may be underestimated as a means for growing the economy. He says: “As the ADEY/Future deal shows, LEAD is the type of programme that delivers on growth, employment and local commerce, keeping revenue and jobs in the county. I’d like to see it embraced and promoted by local government agencies and further education, as a proven model to support growing Gloucestershire companies such as ours.”
Renishaw reports growth after sluggish start
Following weak first quarter results (due to very large orders from China in the corresponding quarter last financial year) Renishaw bounced back in the second quarter reporting revenue for the six months ended 31 December 2013 at £164 million, compared with £174.2 million for the corresponding period the previous year. Excluding the exceptional Far East revenue, the company reports underlying revenue growth of 11%.
A regional analysis shows that underlying revenue growth in the first half year was 13% in the Far East, 12% in the Americas, 11% in Europe and just 5% in the UK.
More specifically, revenue in the Americas increased from £36.1 million to £40.4 million, in Europe from £44 million to £48.8 million and in the UK from £10 million to £10.5 million. Far East revenue fell from £78.6 million to £56.1 million due to ‘exceptional circumstances’, says the Interim Report. The Group’s profit before tax for the first half year was £25.6 million.
While the Group faced tough financial comparators for the first half of this financial year and sterling had strengthened in recent months, the Interim report says that Renishaw is expecting an improvement in trading activities and revenue in the second half. The report goes on to say: “With our continuing investment in our business sectors, we remain confident for the longer term prospects for the Group.
Specialist hydraulic manufacturer expands
A specialist hydraulic design and manufacturing business has expanded its Gloucestershire headquarters to facilitate the continued growth of its product range and international customer base.
Hydraproducts, which develops hydraulic power packs for mobile and industrial applications around the world, has been based in premises at Unit 5 Tuffley Trading Estate since 2011. It has now expanded into the adjacent Unit doubling its floor space to accommodate additional design and development work, production lines and testing facilities and to provide an extensive stock area.
Alder King advised the landlord AXA Real Estate. Rob Holley, surveyor at Alder King, says: “Hydraproducts is the type of innovative manufacturer which is driving our economic recovery. It’s very pleasing to see it expanding its capability and remaining competitive in the world market.”
Alderley Systems successfully achieves ISO Welding Certification
Wootton-under-Edge Alderley Systems Ltd has achieved ISO 3834 “Quality Requirements for Fusion Welding of Metallic Materials – Part 2: Comprehensive Quality Requirements” By achieving this certification, Alderley System’s welding management system also satisfies the requirements set out by EWF (European Welding Federation) and the IIW (International Institute of Welding).
Jim McAleese, Managing Director, Alderley Systems Ltd, said: “Welding is an important part of our fabrication process and by achieving this accreditation it demonstrates that we are able to meet the stringent criteria placed by these governing bodies.”
Gloucester businesses help launch Government support fund
Thousands of small businesses are set to receive expert help to grow their business as the successful providers of the £2.6 million Mentor Challenge Fund have been announced.
Launching the Mentor Challenge Fund in Gloucester, Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Growing a business is hard work and we want to do everything we can to support ambitious entrepreneurs. The best source of advice for businesses comes from others in their field who have been through it and can offer practical, trusted advice.
“As well as ensuring these businesses receive sector specific mentoring, we hope this raises the profile of how valuable this kind of help can be.”
The Minister met with two of the projects during a roundtable held at the Gloucestershire Engineering Training Group. One to help suppliers for the construction of the nuclear power plant at Hinkley (Somerset Chamber of Commerce) and the other for firms working with composite materials (National Composites Centre). He then visited Gloucester-based surface coating specialist firm Poeton,
Thirteen projects will share £1.27 million of Government funding which has been more than matched by industry for a total investment of £2.69 million. It is expected this will help to sustain and create over 200 jobs, increase skills levels in participating firms and generate increased sales in excess of £7 million.
The projects cover ten different sectors including creative industries, life sciences and manufacturing, and will provide mentors to ambitious company bosses in these industries.
Research shows that small and medium-sized businesses looking to grow, particularly in the manufacturing sector, want mentoring from a peer with direct experience of their particular sector. The Mentor Challenge Fund aims to meet this need.
On average, the projects will offer businesses 20 to 24 hours of annual direct advice, although the individual schemes vary to meet demand.
Successful projects in this region include Hinkley Supplier Enabling Programme and the National Composites Centre in South Gloucestershire.
EXPORTING: Business secretary beats drum for West businesses in UAE
Two Gloucestershire companies got an extra boost from Vince Cable’s first trip as Business Secretary to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to boost trade with the region and encourage more inward investment into the UK.
Dr Cable visited Cheltenham-based laundry business, Paragon, as it launched a new facility in Mussafah in Abu Dhabi, creating initially 120 jobs but rising to over 300 and with over £12m investment. Paragon, which operates as NewGen in the UAE, will operate the facility, which opened in February on behalf of the local owner. NewGen already operates commercial laundries in Dubai and Qatar with other planned openings within the Middle East over the next 2 years. The company was helped to set up in Dubai by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and UKTI in 2009. It has been a real success story for the Cheltenham based business which has more than 100 years trading experience in the UK and is led by Joint Managing Directors, Robert and David Stevens.
Steve Connell, NewGen’s Business Development Director, said: “We’re developing interest from across the region, including Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Manila, so it’s a very exciting time for us to launch our latest laundry in this fast growing area.”
Dr Cable also met with some of the 170 UK businesses exhibiting at the international fire and security show (Intersec) in Dubai, including Gloucester safety footwear specialists, Footsure.
The two-day trip, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forms part of efforts to meet UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) target of increasing bilateral trade with the UAE in goods and services to £12bn by 2015. Current trade and investment levels are on track to meet those targets, reaching £10 billion in 2012.
During his trip Cable encouraged businesses in the UAE to invest in the UK by launching a new UKTI Gulf Investment team, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. This follows the development of two British Business Centres in the UAE (Dubai, due to open this month, and Abu Dhabi, due to open in October). South West based UKTI International Trade Adviser, Nick Field, who specialises in the Middle East, said: “The UK has a well-established relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and British products and services have a reputation for high quality in the region. The UAE has made great strides in diversifying its economy away from oil and gas. We will continue to provide advice and support to South West companies targeting this important and high growth market.”
A survey of Middle Eastern perceptions of trading with the UK is being launched to coincide with the trip. It found key strengths include political stability, the banking and financial system, stable and effective regulation and the education system. Business representatives from the Middle East also ranked the UK fourth best for investment and saw it as a key destination for accessing the rest of Europe, but high costs and taxes coupled with low growth were seen as particular barriers.
New Spin-out to Target Chinese Market
Translating and packaging research and technologies for the Chinese market will be the mission of the latest spin-out company set up by Isis Innovation, the University of Oxford’s technology commercialisation company, Oxford MESTAR Limited.
The founder, Prof Zhanfeng Cui of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, will work with a team of consultants to screen technologies for the Chinese market.
“Oxford MESTAR will provide a flexible platform to respond quickly and efficiently to the opportunities for medical and healthcare technologies in the Chinese market,” said Prof Cui. “We are fortunate to be working with Simon Dai, a strategic and dynamic investor.”
Simon Dai, principal investor in the venture said: “By cooperating with Isis and Oxford, we are able to work closely with some of the best researchers in the field and access world-class facilities. Oxford MESTAR will be dedicated to developing and bringing to market promising biomedical technologies.”
Dr Rakesh Roshan, Technology Transfer Team Leader at Isis Innovation said: “Isis spin-outs continue to attract significant investment into the UK. Oxford MESTAR Limited has a novel commercialisation model, which will support technologies that may otherwise lack the necessary resources to reach the market.”
Isis Innovation established a presence in Hong Kong in 2009 to coordinate the growth in the company’s activities throughout Asia. Isis also has two joint ventures in China at the 100,000 sq ft technology business incubator, Jinhui International Technology Transfer Centre located in Liuzhou, Guanxi Province and at the Changzhou Centre in Jingsu Province.
This article is from the March 2014 issue of Business & Professional Life