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JULIE SYKES Rising to the next challenge!

NICK GREENALL Engineering the future

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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees

Firm is primed for further expansion

NURSERY products firm Mamas & Papas has secured a multi-million pound funding package. The Colnebridge-based company said the deal with HSBC heralded the start of a new relationship, which will see the company move all its banking to the Leeds-based HSBC Corporate team. The funding will enable Mamas & Papas to invest in building its brand internationally – particularly through its expanding operations in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and Japan. The award-winning company, formed in 1981 by husband and wife David and Luisa Scacchetti, has grown to become the UK’s leading nursery brand, with global turnover in excess of £120m. The firm’s stylish products are favourites with a host of celebrities, including singer Gwen Stefani, who was recently snapped pushing her son Zuma in a Mylo pushchair near her north London home.. She was the first person to take

delivery of the new product, which is now in full production for customer delivery in March. Other stars to support the Mamas & Papas brand include fashion designer Stella McCartney and ex-Spice Girl Emma Bunton. Mamas & Papas has its headquarters, distribution centre and showroom at Colnebridge as well as 50 retail outlets in the UK and Ireland. It supplies a further 250 retailers, including a number of major UK national retail chains and a growing number of international distributors, retailers and franchisees. Mamas & Papas group finance director Jason Greenwood said: “2009 was another strong year for Mamas & Papas – driven by the opening of new stores, diversification in our award-winning product ranges and the announcement of further global expansion. “As we enter a new decade and a new phase of growth, we need a banking partner with the unrivalled

international presence to support our global strategy, plus the ‘on the ground’ expertise to help us realise our ambitions – wherever and whenever we need to. “The company aim is to become the world’s favourite nursery brand and this partnership is central to the growing momentum.” Martin Lunt, HSBC head of corporate banking, Yorkshire & North East said: “We are thrilled to be supporting one of Yorkshire’s – and indeed the UK’s – best known and most exciting businesses in their mission to become the number one global nursery brand. “We firmly believe that the strength of the Mamas & Papas brand, along with the superior quality of its products and its franchise model will help to make it a success in every international market it enters.” Eversheds acted as legal advisors to HSBC Bank plc. Pinsent Masons provided legal support to Mamas & Papas.

conditions in 2010 above other options such as improved funding, additional staff and a better work/life balance. Close said the poll result reflected general concerns over the stability of the UK economy – with small and medium-sized firms worried about market volatility and securing their cash flow.

Ideas for business GRADUATES with ideas for new businesses have been urged to attend a special event. Huddersfield University is staging an Enterprise Skills Workshop later this month for graduates interested in self-employment. Participants will draw up a draft business plan and get clear advice on how to take their ideas forward.

● Full story - Page 8

■ LATEST HIT: Gwen Stefani takes son Zuma for a walk on Hampstead Heath in the Mamas & Papas Mylo pushchair

Kirklees companies put economy top of list COMPANIES in Kirklees have put an improvement in the economy at the top of their wish list for the year ahead. A survey by Close Invoice Finance, part of merchant banking group Close Brothers Group plc, showed that owner-managers across the district would prefer to see improved trading

INSIDE

Some 44% of small business owners also admitted to having suffered sleepless nights worrying about the economic crisis. David Thomson, chief executive officer of Close Invoice Finance, said the wish for a “better economy” in 2010 came as no surprise – given that the Insolvency Service had logged

4,716 new corporate liquidations nationwide in the third quarter of last year. He said: “For their own peace of mind throughout 2010, it is crucial that owner managers adopt a robust attitude to risk and consider how best to safeguard the long-term health of their business.”

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Healthy outcome RECRUITMENT agency Travail Employment Group has won a key contract with the NHS. The company, which has offices inGeorge Street, Huddersfield, will help supply staff for non-medical and non-clinical roles.

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Recovery is fragile says chamber poll KIRKLEES firms remain cautious about prospects for their businesses and the economy, it was claimed today. Now business leaders want business-friendly policies after the general election to hasten the recovery. The latest quarterly survey of member firms by the Lockwood-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce presented a mixed picture – with a sustained rise in domestic sales and orders and improvement for exporters and manufacturers. But firms across Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield remained doubtful about employment growth and had downgraded their expectations for turnover and profits. Steven Leigh, chamber head of policy and representation, said: “A number of key balances have continued to improve since our last survey for the third quarter.

“These improvements – particularly in home and export sales and order intake – are most welcome. “However, the fourth quarter survey has also given rise to some unexpected results which may be regarded as timely reminders of the fragility of the business sector and recovery out of recession.” Mr Leigh said manufacturers and exporters saw “some light at the end of the tunnel” after more than a year of extremely difficult trading conditions. But he said: “Uncertainties about prospects for the year ahead together with downgraded estimates of turnover and profit expectations are matters of serious concern. Raw material and other overhead costs remain a worry to our members and serious misgivings are now being expressed about inflation and exchange rates.

“This dip in confidence backs up anecdotal evidence from our members suggesting that the recovery is likely to be slow and far from smooth.” Mr Leigh said uncertainty was likely to remain until after the general election, adding: “Despite the poor state of our public finances, we consider it essential that in the year ahead the Government should prioritise business at the heart of the economic recovery. “We need to ensure that this priority is supported by policies that stimulate enterprise. Any additional taxes on business will be bound to prolong the period of recovery.” Mr Leigh said the chamber would continue to lobby “vigorously” for a “genuinely business-friendly agenda” which would encourage investment, create employment and reward enterprise.

CHOCOLATE company Ferrero has moved a step closer to joining the Cadbury bidding war after lining up a loan that could be used to back an offer, it is claimed. Ferrero, which makes Ferrero Rocher and Kinder chocolate eggs, has discussed a £2.8bn loan with Italian bank Mediobanca, according to newspaper reports. Cadbury is the subject of a hostile bid from US firm Kraft and shareholders have until February 2 to accept its offer, which values the British confectioner at 764p a share or £10.5bn. Ferrero is thought to be more likely to join forces with another bidder – possibly US chocolate firm Hershey – in an effort to rival the Kraft bid.

■ CALL: Chamber policy chief Steven Leigh

Price cuts give Co-op a boost

Stores post record sales

THE Co-operative Group lifted like-for-like sales by 5% following a price-cutting salvo to compete with supermarket rivals over Christmas. The UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, with stores across the Huddersfield area and 3,000 outlets nationwide, unveiled a £200m package of price cuts and promotions over the festive period, including its first triple dividend. The Co-op said the recent overhaul of its brand and a significant increase in seasonal advertising helped it to attract more customers to both its convenience and larger stores – with champagne, meat and poultry among the best sellers.

DEPARTMENT store chain House of Fraser revealed record seasonal trading as it offered more signs that retailers enjoyed a robust Christmas. The chain, which has a store at the Kingsgate Centre in Huddersfield, followed the lead of rivals such as John Lewis and Next by posting like-for-like sales growth of 7.1% for the eight weeks to January 2. The figures included its best ever Christmas week and a Boxing Day sales jump of 27%. It also hailed a 33% rise in sales for its “House” labels, such as Linea, Kenneth Cole, New & Lingwood, Howick and Episode.

Like-for-like sales, including VAT but excluding fuel, rose by 4.8% in the 12 weeks to January 2 – with the figure 5% higher in the final three weeks. Total sales were up by 66% due to the £1.6bn acquisition of rival Somerfield. Chief executive Peter Marks said trading conditions were competitive – but that the presence of Co-op stores in local communities gave the chain an edge amid rising fuel prices and extreme weather conditions. He said the Manchester-based chain expected the economic pressures to continue until the end of 2010 or the first half of 2011.

Ferrero in loan talks

Winter warmer

Women’s fashion accessories were up 20% and men’s wear up 12% on a like-for-like basis, it added. Chief executive John King said the performance reflected ongoing efforts to improve the business, such as through store refurbishment activity and efforts to develop the popularity of the own-brand products. He added: “It was pleasing that we had our biggest ever Christmas week and Boxing Day, with some of our stores, such as Oxford Street, experiencing their strongest ever performance.” Online sales were up 91% in the eight-week period,.

OUTDOOR retailer Blacks Leisure said that it had benefited from Britain’s cold snap as it reported a hike in winter sales. Blacks, which has its own brand shops as well as the Millets chain, reported very strong Christmas trading – with like-for-like sales in the six weeks to January 7 up 15.2% on last year. The chain said it had “significantly enhanced its recovery prospects” after closing 87 of loss-making stores in the fourth quarter of 2009.

SHARE PRICES NORTH AMERICAN American Express £25.62 -0.36 Gannett 1056.35 +18.58 Hess Corp £40.32 -0.45 Microsoft 1882.97 -15.48 Motors Liquidation 46.44 Wal-Mart Stores £33.31 +0.29 AEROSPACE & DEFENCE BAE Systems 3673/8 -11/8 Rolls-Royce Gp 4985/8 -27/8 Smiths Grp 1021 +10 VT Group 518 -3 AIM Brady Plc 621/2 Dawson Intl 13/4 AUTOMOBILES & PARTS GKN 1241/4 +3/4 BANKS Barclays 317 -31/2 HSBC 730 -10 1 -3/4 Lloyds Banking Gp 56 /8 Ryl Scotland 35 -1/8 Stan Chart 1590 -34 BEVERAGES Diageo 1064 -3 SABMiller 1801 -37 CHEMICALS Croda 8351/2 +1 Delta 145 Elementis 98 55 +1/4 Johnsn Mat 1610 +9 CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS Balfour Beatty 2821/2 +55/8 Costain 251/4 ELECTRICITY 1

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Intl Power 3175/8 +25/8 Scottish & Sthrn 1175 +4 Energy ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Chloride 190 +13/4 Invensys 3211/8 -17/8 Laird 137 -1 EQUITY INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS Alliance Trust 337 +33/4 FIXED LINE TELECOM SERVICES BT Grp 1425/8 -3/8 C&W 1483/8 +7/8 1 Colt Telecom 142 /2 +1/4 KCOM 451/2 -11/4 FOOD & DRUG RETAILERS Morrison W 2901/4 +53/8 Sainsbury 328 -11/2 Tesco 4177/8 +17/8 FOOD PRODUCERS AB Food 8531/2 +31/2 Cadbury 781 +3 +11/2 Nth Foods 691/2 Tate Lyle 4123/8 +41/4 Unilever 1930 -6 Uniq 311/4 GAS, WATER & MULTIUTILITIES Centrica 2801/4 +3/4 National Grid 6551/2 -3 +1/2 Pennon Grp 5401/2 Severn 1091 +7 -11/2 United Utils 4941/2 GENERAL FINANCIAL 3i Group 2897/8 +1/4 ICAP 4507/8 -53/4 London StockExch 713 +51/2 Man Group 314 -53/4 1

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Schroders 1319 -16 Schroders NV 1053 -7 GENERAL INDUSTRIALS Avon Rbbr 99 +11/2 Cooksn Grp 470 -57/8 7 REXAM 283 /8 -3/4 GENERAL RETAILERS Ashley L 13 +1/4 DSG International 371/2 +3/4 5 Home Retail 283 /8 +43/4 Inchcape 291/4 +1/8 Kingfisher 2303/4 +51/4 M&S 375 +85/8 Mothercare 684 +9 +1/8 Next £201/2 WH Smith 4983/4 +63/4 HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Smith Nph 6411/2 +81/2 HOUSEHOLD GOODS Aga Rangemaster 124 +4 -31/4 Barrat Dev 1383/4 1 Persimmon 483 /8 -81/4 Reckitt Benckiser £321/2 3 Taylor Wimpey 42 /4 +7/8 INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING Charter 770 -161/2 IMI 563 -11/2 1 Man Brnze 112 /2 +1 INDUSTRIAL METALS Ferrexpo 2391/8 +13/4 INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION BBA Aviation 1811/8 +31/4 Forth Ports 1170 +13 LIFE INSURANCE Aviva 4043/4 -57/8 1

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1113/4 6261/2 883/4 2111/8 MEDIA BSkyB 566 Chrysalis 1113/4 D Mail Tst 4313/4 ITV 57 Johnston Press 253/4 Pearson 8721/2 Reed Elsevier 504 STV Group 543/4 Trinity Mirror 1711/2 Utd Business 4623/8 UTV 911/2 WPP 616 Yell Group 38 MINING Anglo American £281/2 Antofagasta 1020 BHP Billiton £21 Eurasian Natural 1010 Res Fresnillo 852 Kazakhmys 1492 Lonmin £215/8 Rio Tinto £361/4 VEDANTA £283/8 RESOURCES Xstrata 12241/2 MOBILE TELECOM SERVICES Inmarsat 684 Vodafone Group 1377/8 NONLIFE INSURANCE Admiral Grp 1134 RSA Insurance Gp 1243/4

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-1 -12 -1 -23/4 +4 -1/4 +3/8 -1/8 -1/4 +91/2 -2 -3/4 +25/8 -3/4 -21/4 -10 +3/8 -1/2 -4 -1/8 -24 -14 -7 +1/4 -1/8 -1/2 -22 +2 +7/8 -15 -13/4

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170 141/4 90 6551/2 602

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798

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BG 1223 +29 BP 6351/2 +133/4 Cairn Energy 3701/4 +83/8 Norsk Hdro 5543/4 +67/8 Royal Dutch Shell A 1927 +17 Royal Dutch Shell B 1853 +18 Total £415/8 +1/4 Tullow Oil 1330 +10 OIL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Petrofac 995 +11 Wood Group 3497/8 +2 PERSONAL GOODS Burberry 6001/2 +2 PHARMACEUTICALS & BIOTECHNOLOGY Astrazeneca £291/2 +1/2 3

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Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia...................... 1.64 dollars Bangladesh................. 105.13 taka Brazil.............................. 2.48 reals Canada....................... 1.58 dollars China ............................. 9.82 yuan Czech Republic ...... 26.81 korunas Denmark....................... 7.87 krone Euro............................... 1.06 euro Hong Kong................ 11.85 dollars Hungary................... 266.19 forints India.......................... 64.30 rupees Japan........................... 141.59 yen Mexico ....................... 18.08 pesos New Zealand .............. 2.03 dollars Norway ......................... 8.65 krone Pakistan.................. 128.75 rupees Philippines ................. 62.79 pesos South Africa.................. 11.05 rand South Korea.............. 1569.00 won Sri Lanka ................ 173.66 rupees Sweden....................... 10.83 krona Switzerland.................. 1.56 francs Taiwan ...................... 44.68 dollars Turkey....................... 2.29 new lira USA ............................ 1.54 dollars


KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS

profile

Julie set for her next big challenge

BUSINESSWOMAN Julie Sykes is always happy to take on a new challenge. As owner of JCS Human Resources Consultancy, she relishes the chance to help small and medium-sized firms deal with a wide range of personnel issues. Away from work, Julie has run the London Marathon four times – raising many thousands of pounds for the Anthony Nolan Trust She has also completed a 500km cycle ride through Poland as well as competing in several half-marathons. A member of the Denby Dale Travellers running club, Julie, who lives at Shepley, is now gearing up to join a group of fellow club members for a UK coast-to-coast bike ride this summer. She is also planning to climb Kilimanjaro later this year. “I try to go running two or three times a week,” she says. “But what I love is the fact that the club is really sociable. “We are all members of a running club, but that’s just the hub of a whole number of but I felt it was time for a been living here longer than I activities.” change. have in Lancashire!” One of Julie’s biggest “I started getting ready for Julie took a business challenges during the past 12 it six months before leaving studies degree at months has been to help Syngenta, having talked to Manchester Polytechnic after client companies handle their people and got their advice. leaving school, but recalls: “I staffing issues in the face of a “It was the time of the wanted to get a degree, but I deep and damaging Commonwealth Games in didn’t know what I wanted to recession. Manchester. do.” And the experience has “I left Syngenta on a Friday During her studies, she been surprisingly positive. and from the following spent 18 months working in Despite the temptation to Monday I spent four weeks several departments at axe jobs as a quick way to working as a volunteer at the Norweb Electrical in cut costs, many companies games. It was a sort of Manchester. have been doing everything sabbatical.” When she joined the possible to avoid losing staff Said Julie: “I had got my personnel department, she – opting instead for head around the fact that realised that was what she short-time working, things would be a bit quiet for wanted to do. temporary lay-offs, flexible the first few months of “I worked for Norweb as an working and changes to shift running my own business, so administrative assistant in patterns. I spent my time marketing personnel,” she says. “People have been quite and getting my name out “Later, I went to London to imaginative in finding ways to there. work for the Electricity hang on to their staff,” says “If I hadn’t done the Council and the CEGB, but I Julie. research and spoken to didn’t really take to London “They want to hold on to people for advice, I would and after about two years I their skilled workforce have found that quite scary.” returned to Manchester to because they know that is the But Julie says: “It was one work for a small private best way of being able to of the best decisions I ever sector company.” respond quickly when the made. Her experiences working recovery comes. “The bulk of my time is with a small company – as “While engineering and spent working with small and well as the much bigger construction have been quite medium-sized companies. Syngenta operation – mean badly hit, the service sector “I only have to work with Julie believes she is seems to be doing not too people I want to work with – well-placed to advise her badly.” people with the same outlook clients Looking ahead, Julie can and standards. Much of her work involves detect a turnaround in “There is also a lot of “routine” issues such as fortunes. flexibility in terms of recruitment, retirements and “As the private sector sees achieving a good work-life redundancies. activity levels improve, public balance.” But she also stresses to sector jobs will come under Julie hails from the other small company clients how it pressure as the Government side of the Pennines. pays to look after their seeks to tackle this great big She says: “I am a proud employees. deficit in its finances.” Lancastrian, although I have “Recruiting an employee is Julie set up JCS Human been made very welcome in one of the biggest Resources Consultancy more Huddersfield – and I have investments you make in than seven years ago – having worked in HR for Deighton-based chemical company Syngenta and its forerunner businesses ICI and Zeneca for 15 years. “When Syngenta was formed, it changed to being a Swiss-based company and it wasn’t my cup of tea,” says Julie. “A few colleagues had left or taken early retirement and I spoke to them about the pluses and minuses of stepping out on your own and decided, why not? “I had always enjoyed HR, ■ ADVICE: HR expert Julie Sykes

business,” she says. “If a company invests in new machinery, it makes the effort to get that investment right. “The same thinking should apply to recruitment.” “Happily, employers are becoming more ‘savvy’ when it comes to taking care of their staff. “Employees will talk about their work at the pub, so if they have a bad experience at work they will tell people

Page 3 Julie Sykes Role: HR consultant Age: 52 Family: Two childen – Jessica and Adam Holidays: California and ski-ing in Les Gets, France Car: Ford CMax First job: Saturday girl at a hair salon Best thing about job: Solving problems for people Worst thing about job: Sometimes having to work a ful day on my own Business tip: Recognise that employing people is one of the biggest investments you will make

about it,” says Julie. “When the recovery comes, they will go to work somewhere else. “More companies are getting involved in things like staff appraisals, performance management, training and development. “The idea is to get the most out of that big investment.”

HENRYK ZIENTEK

JCS Human Resources Work: HR support and advice Sites: Shepley Phone: 01484 602708 Email: julie@ jcs-hr.co.uk


local

Page 4

Academy plan to lift manufacturing

A FIRM making kitchens is going all-out to “sell” manufacturing as a career choice to young people. Dewsbury-based Rixonway is launching its Engineers of the Future Academy – inviting schools and colleges across Yorkshire to visit its factory and see its production equipment in action. The scheme aims to promote the career opportunities in manufacturing and forge relationships with potential engineers and designers of the future. The first visitors to the site, on Shaw Cross Business Park, were 14 A-level design technology students from Hornsea School in Hull. They saw the production process from the arrival of raw materials to the shipping out of finished products. Rixonway’s manufacturing facility and warehousing space has more than doubled in size during the past 10 years. Teacher Jim Calloway said: “The fact that Rixonway is launching this academy and providing hands-on

guidance for students about to embark on their careers is incredibly important for the manufacturing industry. Other organisations should take note.” He said the company’s carbon reduction processes and other environmental initiatives were particularly interesting to the visiting students. The Engineers of the Future Academy is an apprenticeship scheme that will see outstanding school or college leavers start a training programme every year. It will offer relevant skills to equip them for a long-term future at one of the most well-established manufacturing organisations. Nick Greenall, at Rixonway Kitchens, said: “Our academy will provide candidates with practical education and experience in a selection of manufacturing fields, thus p re s e n t i n g t h e m w i t h c a re e r options. “With our training and development programmes, we will remain at

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the leading edge of technologies. It is a genuine opportunity for people to go as far and as fast as their abilities and ambitions allow.” He said the development of Rixonway’s academy was in line with the company’s philosophy that its 450 staff are its most important asset and a resource which must be continually invested in and cultivated for best performance. Said Mr Greenall: “Employee development and job-satisfaction are key elements of life at Rixonway and it is common for staff to stay for long periods.” The company was recently commended by The Department of Work and Pensions for its industry-leading approach to disability and employability. Rixonway was formed in 1978 and is the only UK kitchen manufacturer working solely in affordable and social housing. It manufactures 12,000 units a week and employs more than 400 people.

■ SCHOOL DAYS: Nick Greenall, of Dewsbury’s Rixonway Kitchens

First Aid advice EW changes to the first N aid training regime were introduced from October 1,

2009. Also at this time, new guidance was produced to assist employers decide on the numbers and qualifications for first aid trained staff appropriate to their workplace. This new guidance, entitled First Aid at work – Your Questions Answered – recommends that employees consider a number of issues when determining first aid staffing levels. The issues cover: ● Workplace hazards ● The number of employees on site and any staff with disabilities or specific health problems ● The history of accidents and illnesses ● Working arrangements – travelling workers, lone workers, shift patterns ● Remoteness from the emergency services ● Cover for holiday and sickness absences ● Members of the public on site These issues may lead to a requirement for additional numbers above those suggested numbers of first aid personnel to suit particular circumstances. In places such as offices and

RISKY BUSINESS Mark Dalton

shops, where there is a low safety one first aider trained in EFAW hazard and fewer than 25 people or FAW depending on the type of are employed, the guidance injuries that may occur. recommends providing at least In companies with more than one appointed person. 50 employees, it suggests at least Where there are 25 to 50 one first aider trained in FAW for employees, it recommends at at least every 50 people employed least one first aider trained in or part thereof. Emergency First Aid at Work The guidance explains: “The (EFAW). Health and Safety (First-Aid) Where there are more than 50 Regulations 1981 require you to staff, the guidance suggests at provide adequate and approprileast one first aider trained in ate first-aid equipment, facilities First Aid at Work (FAW) for and people so your employees every 100 people employed or can be given immediate help if part thereof. they are injured or taken ill at In the case of higher hazards – work.” such as light engineering, wareAs a minimum, firms should housing, work with dangerous have a suitably stocked first-aid machinery and construction, the box, an appointed person to take guidance calls for at least one charge of first-aid arrangements appointed person where there (see Q5) and information for are fewer than five employees. e m p l oye e s ab o u t f i r s t - a i d Where there are five to 50 arrangements. employees, it suggests at least

Mark Dalton is associate director at Wilby Ltd

KIRKLEES BUSIN Product placement A COLNE Valley pharmaceutical company has added to its growing collection of brands. Linthwaite-based Thornton & Ross Ltd has purchased nappy rash treatment Metanium from William Ransom & Son plc. The product is an established UK brand operating in both the prescription and over the counter sectors. The purchase includes all intellectual property, trade marks, and stocks relating to the brand. Thornton & Ross takes over the sales, distribution and marketing of the brand with immediate effect. Ransom will be forwarding details of all outstanding orders to Thornton & Ross for delivery and invoicing. Jonathan Thornton, chairman of Thornton & Ross, said that the purchase would further strengthen the company’s range of paediatric medicines, which includes head louse treatment Hedrin and Virasoothe, an innovative product for relief of the symptoms of chickenpox. Mr Thornton said: “Metanium will benefit from the company’s considerable strength and experience in the manufacture of pharmaceutical quality cream and ointment products.”

Fashion statement FEMALE entrepreneurs are opting to splash their cash on “classic” business wear, it is claimed. Business Wardrobe, the online boutique set up by three Huddersfield entrepreneurs, has noticed rising sales of items such as white shirts, grey suits and black dresses over the past few months – suggesting that customers are choosing carefully how to spend their money during the recession. Director Jane Dawson (pictured) said: “Spending hard-earned money on a wardrobe item that can be worn year round and never dates is preferable to a trend piece that will last for one season. “Instead, business women are opting for staple pieces and then using shoes, bags or jewellery to make the outfit their own, accessorising according to the season’s latest trends.” Said Jane: “It has been interesting to see how the economic climate has changed shopping habits. “Investing in classic pieces such as a beautifully tailored suit that will last for years has become the priority for business women.”


NESS NEWS

local

Agency is in good health

A RECRUITMENT agency in Huddersfield has landed a contract to provide staff to the NHS. Travail Employment Group, which has offices in George Street, has been awarded a place on the Framework Agreement to supply staff non-medical and non-clinical staff to the NHS. As part of the award process, Travail had to undergo a competitive tendering process and a rigorous evaluation procedure to satisfy Buying Solutions, the executive agency of the Office of Government Commerce in the Treasury, which is managing the agreement on behalf of the NHS and other public sector bodies. Travail, which has been trading in Huddersfield for the past 15 years, provides a wide range of recruitment services, ranging from temporary, contract and permanent recruitment across all market sectors. The team in Huddersfield is led by regional directors David Barwick, Karen Barwick and Carol Mosby.

■ OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Travail Employment Group regional director David Barwick (left) with (from left) colleagues Karen Barwick, Sarah France, Isabell Dawson and Catherine Clarke

A year of contrasts AST year was a year of L bewildering – but ultimately – welcome contrasts.

The year began amidst fears that an unmanageable hole existed in the financial system and ended with the spectre of a self-reinforcing cycle of depression having receded. However, the tide of recession has left behind a complicated tangle of budgetary problems, with national debt levels rising at a pace normally associated with major wars. There is growing interest in how (and when) central banks will be able to restore normal money market conditions and interest rates and when governments will bring deficits under control. The authorities are treading a delicate path between reassuring markets about their eventual intention to restore normal policy settings while keeping the oxygen flowing to a still somewhat breathless economy. Markets have recently focused on the dollar as a potential economic weak spot. There is a prevailing assumption that US policy will remain looser than elsewhere, so investors are worried the dollar will continue to lose value. Currency markets are notoriously difficult to forecast, with currencies only linked to economic fundamentals via long and stretchy elastic. However, the anti-dollar bias is hard to square with the forecast that the US will grow faster than other developed economies in 2010.

CITY TALK Simon Kaye

This year is now very likely to see positive growth rates worldwide, after the sharp recession that bottomed in summer 2009. The consensus expects developed economies to have lame recoveries, with debt reduction and fiscal policy acting as headwinds. On this view, investors should be more selective in cyclical investments, as 2010 shapes to be a year when companies will have to deliver on investors’ hopes. Aside from the risk of a patchy recovery, the main risk is the uncertainty over how quickly central banks and governments will reverse their exceptional policy boost. Policy makers have no road map for navigating out of the current position. There is likely to be a degree of trial and error, with a risk of policy being either too loose or too tight. Good economic news may no longer be unambiguous good news for financial markets, owing to the risk of tighter liquidity. Ultimately, a sustained economic upswing would be better for equities than a market

recovery driven by limitless liquidity but the transition to an earnings-driven market may not be smooth. The authorities have a more complicated task in the coming year. 2010 will require them to avoid both inflationary and deflationary risks and decide how much austerity recovering economies will be able to bear, as a down-payment on returning the public finances to a sustainable footing. Strategically, the years ahead look likely to deliver better returns from “real” assets (such as property and equities) than cash or government bonds. In a low growth world, there is likely to be a premium on the regions and companies that are the source of the best and most reliable growth. In 2010 what you buy (stock picking) may count for more than changes in index levels. Companies that deliver should count for more than those that have risen purely on hopes of a cyclical recovery (which may disappoint in its pace).

Simon Kaye is divisional director at Rensburg Sheppards Investment Management

Page 5

Printing sector is focus for support EFFORTS are under way to promote Yorkshire’s important printing and packaging sector. Leeds-based public relations agency Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger has joined forces with Print Yorkshire to provide strategic advice for an initiative to support more than 1,000 businesses in the region, including many in Kirklees. Robert McClements, Print Yorkshire chief executive, said the skill and expertise available in the region was highlighted at the recent Print Week Awards.

Print Yorkshire supports training and development, enhances network opportunities for firms in the region, shares best practice and promotes excellence. The industry in Yorkshire makes a £1.7bn contribution to the region’s economy and provides employment for nearly 18,000 people in 1,130 firms. Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger is an award winning communications company providing consumer and business-to-business PR and sports marketing services.


ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

Open days being held this month at local schools IF you’re looking for top class education, then take a look at the excellent schools in Huddersfield and surrounding areas. With the cost of living rising, parents need to be sure that their money is being well spent. Which is why now, more so than ever, Batley Grammar School is committed to offering great Yorkshire value. From affordable uniforms, to manageable school fees, we offer quality without compromise, combining 400 years of educational wisdom with 21st century facilities and technology. We still believe small is beautiful, so our comparatively high ratio of teachers to pupils results in a personalised nurturing environment. This means our pupils – aged three to 18 – are given the individual care and attention they need to thrive. In addition to academic achievement, Batley Grammar School offers a wide range of enrichment activities, from involvement with the schools’ acclaimed music and drama productions, to the opportunity to fly, climb and canoe with the

Combined Cadet Force (CCF) – one of the largest of its kind in Yorkshire. What better investment is there in the current climate? Education – a gift for life. Rastrick Independent School offers opportunities to the wider community by offering scholarships, awards and bursaries. Rastrick is a co-educational day school from birth to 16 years offering extended facilities all the year round from 7.30 a.m. until 6.30 p.m., especially considering the needs of working parents. Caring and educating the individual, Rastrick is a family school and boasts excellent relationships with parents. Rastrick is a centre of excellence for children of all abilities; 100% pass rate five or more GCSE A*-C grades including Mathematics and English. Voted one of the Top Preparatory Schools in the Country two previous years running, In 2008, ‘The Times’ placed us 68th Nationally. We offer a full National Curriculum with excellent SATs results. We have a 15 year 100% pass rate to Grammar

Entrance Examinations - 29th & 30th January 2010 Wrenthorpe Wakefield WF2 0PD

Tel: 01924 291614 www.silcoates.org.uk

Sixth Form Information Evening - 11th February 2010

An all-round education with an academic edge

lent pupil:teacher ratio and small teaching groups for children aged three to 16 years are amongst the most important factors in promoting the happiness and success of pupils through independent education. However, as we all know, school is not just about classroom activities and parents tell us that it is the ethos of the school that attracts them. Huddersfield Grammar School offers academic, sport and music scholarships into Year 7, as well as various scholarships into Years 9 and 10, the Scholarship Entrance Examination will be held on January 30,2010. Full details of all scholarships are available from the registrar. Our next Open Day is on Saturday January 16,2010, when visitors are welcome to come and see the School and meet the pupils and teachers. Personal visits can also be arranged at other times. Please visit www.huddersfield-grammarschool.co.uk for further details. It is not surprising that academic achievement is consistently high at Silcoates School.The school provides the highest standards of learning and commitment to personally discover with an expectation of excellence from all. In addition to meeting the educational needs of pupils in the 21st Century, Silcoates has an outstanding reputation for developing the whole child. By helping them grown into ambitious, energetic and confident young adults, Silcoates equips them for life beyond school and teaches them the skills required to make a positive contribution to society. An idyllic setting and 55 acres of picturesque grounds provides a safe, secure and inspiring place to learn. There are a wide range of sports teams, clubs and activities to choose from and students work hard to achieve their goals, as much outisde the classroom as in.

Schools and excellent Ofsted and ISA Inspection reports. Annually our children excel in competitions and challenges: Speech and Drama, Dance, Singing, Music, Sports, The Mathematical Challenge and The World Class Tests are to name but a few. Examinations are taken in most extra-curricular activities, and the school does recognise and rejoice in those activities which children enjoy at home. Entrance Examination for 11+ onwards, Friday January 15, 2010. Applications for Scholarships for five – 14 year o l d s a r e w e l c o m e d . V i s i t www.rastrickschool.co.uk Please contact the headmistress for a personal visit. Telephone 01484 400344. Huddersfield Grammar School - the 2009 GCSE results for the 39 Year 11 Huddersfield Grammar School pupils were outstanding with a 97% pass rate for grades A* to C. Individual successes included Rachel Lunn who gained 10 A*s, Anumm Javed and Sam Mitchell who each gained six A*s and four A grades, and James Richards who gained seven A*s and two A grades. “These excellent achievements reflect an exemplary year’s work by the pupils and a dedicated team of staff. We are all very proud of the hard work and commitment of our young people which have led to their succ e s s e s,” s a i d Huddersfield Grammar School headteacher Mrs Janet the co-educational school for girls & boys age 3 to 16 Straughan. The security and sense of belonging which Huddersfield Grammar School can offer through an excel-

Scholarship Opportunities

At Huddersfield Grammar School we are proud of our GCSE successes. In 2009 our pupils achieved 97% pass rate A*-C with 51% of grades at A* and A. In recognition of the value that parents place on excellent GCSE preparation, we are pleased to introduce a number of Scholarship opportunities in a range of subjects, for pupils preparing to commence GCSE study. Applications are invited from students presently in Years 8 and 9 for entry into Years 9 and 10 commencing September 2010. Scholarships are also available for students presently in Year 6 for entry into Year 7 in September 2010.

You are invited to our Open Morning Saturday, 16th January 2010, 9.30am - noon

This is an ideal opportunity to visit the school, meet pupils and teachers. Tours of our facilities and full details of entry procedure will be available.

Senior School Scholarship & Entrance Examination Saturday, 30th January 2010 For further details and an Application Form, please contact the Registrar on admin@huddersfield-grammarschool.co.uk or call 01484 424549 Huddersfield Grammar School | Royds Mount, Luck Lane, Marsh, Huddersfield West Yorkshire HD1 4QX | Tel: 01484 424549 | Fax: 01484 531835

Visit our website for more information: www.huddersfield-grammarschool.co.uk


KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS

Health and safety call HOUSEBUILDERS in West Yorkshire have been urged to make health and safety improvements their resolution for the new year. Companies have until Friday to enter the National House Building Council’s health and safety awards – and win recognition for good practice on the building site. The NHBC said past experience suggested that emergence from a recession was often coupled with a rise in the number of accidents on site. “While recent economic difficulties may not have completely subsided, reputation will always drive business success,” said Simon Mantle, NHBC’s manager of health and safety. “Becoming an award-winner sets a standard and increases employee morale. “ “We are keen to celebrate and reward the vast amount of good health and safety practice that is being implemented across the industry, which is why we’re making sure everyone has the chance to enter our scheme. “We want builders to view the new year as a fresh opportunity for increased success by building their reputation and receiving appreciation of their work.” Categories will cover small, medium and large building firms along with special awards for excellence and innovation in taking health and safety out to staff on-site and into the community. The awards also offer builders the chance to gain independent verification of the effectiveness of their health and safety systems by NHBC. Health and Safety Executive figures show there were 316 major accidents in the construction sector in Yorkshire last year and 3,286 such incidents across the country.

property

Page 7

Rok on track for solid progress

A PROPERTY repair and maintenance specialist with contracts in Kirklees said it was on track to meet trading expectations for 2009. Rok plc, which will unveil full year results for 2009 in March, said its response maintenance operations had continued to perform well, adding: “The market for response services is largely unaffected by the current economic climate and we are continuing to gain new customers and take an increased share of existing customers’ spend.” Rok’s planned maintenance services arm had performed in line with our expectations with margins remaining healthy. Chief executive Garvis Snook reported a “significant” order book for repair and maintenance work in the social housing sector, where Rok is working on 38 major schemes across the UK. He said Rok – which has carried out work on local schools and public buildings –had successfully integrated the plumbing, heating and electrical (PHE) businesses with further opportunities expected in 2010 for the PHE arm. But Mr Snook added: “The new build regional contracting market remains challenging and the expected cut backs in public sector capital spend will, we believe, serve to exacerbate this in 2010. “Our decision to scale back these activities in 2009 is enabling us to be more selective in the projects we undertake and – as a result – margins have held up relatively well.” Rok said social housing new build activity, where the firm is active on 35 schemes,

■ UPDATE: Rok chief executive Garvis Snook said cost control would remain a priority

recovered well after a slow start to the year assisted by the activities of the Homes and Communities Agency. Said Mr Snook: “We continue to secure a number of long term frameworks for new build social housing. “We continue to focus on reducing net debt

levels, which have improved significantly since the half year despite the change in business mix.” He said the company would also make further cuts in 2010, saying: “The new financial year will continue to be challenging for new build capital projects.”

Sector takes a positive view

Company flagging up drive for sales

EXPERTS have detected grounds for optimism in the Yorkshire commercial property market. Guy Cooke, partner at Knight Frank, said: “The recession, which gripped us all last year, created an unprecedented climate of uncertainty and 2009 was a very challenging market in the office sector. “The trend was one of consolidation with fewer companies relocating. The vacancy rate also increased as surplus space came to market, putting more downward pressure on rents. “However, the year-end take-up was encouragingly better than most had expected and the number of transactions – albeit mostly small to medium sized lettings – was a positive sign.” Looking ahead, there were some significant enquiries to be satisfied in 2010.” Mr Cooke said businesses in a financial position to move had an “excellent opportunity” to secure great value on existing sites. In some cases, rents on “peripheral” locations had fallen to levels last seen in the 1990s. Said Mr Cooke: “We believe the market will ■ OPPORTUNITIES: Guy Cooke, partner remain challenging in the short term. While with property consultancy Knight Frank sentiment is certainly improving along with He added: “We expect landlords will be more enquiry levels, the capital cost of moving is still a major burden and those landlords able to optimistic about the market in the latter half of the year.” assist tenants in this regard will succeed.”

A COMPANY supplying flagstones is targeting a 30% rise in turnover for the new year. Classical Flagstones, which is owned by Birkby-based stone paving supplier Marshalls plc, said it was gearing up to take advantage of signs of recovery in the residential and commercial property markets. Managing director Julian Palmer said the upmarket internal hard flooring company had restructured its operations “to take full advantage of increasing levels of demand” for its range of stone flooring and wall tiles. He said the company, set up 20 years ago, was extending its distribution network across the UK in response to demand from retailers. Its distribution network in northern England includes outlets at Halifax and Guiseley, Leeds. Said Mr Palmer: “The continued success of our business and the increased demand for quality hard flooring for both commercial and residential use is most definitely on the increase. “We are delighted with the roll out of the Classical Flagstones brand which is a name synonymous with quality stone flooring.

■ RECOVERY: Julian Palmer, managing director of Classical Flagstones

“We will be extending the range in 2010 and the team are currently sourcing some unique and exclusive products.”


KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS Sue Cash & Jil Waddington

Ridley & Hall TWO solicitors at a Huddersfield law firm have been accepted as members of the national association Solicitors for the Elderly. Sue Cash (above, right), head of the private client team at Ridley & Hall, and Jill Waddington (also pictured, solicitor in the firm’s private client team, have joined SFE, which is an association of lawyers specialising in legal services for older people and their carers. Members of SFE have a wealth of experience within this legal area and they are required to have spent a substantial amount of time working for elderly clients. The aim of this national association is to improve the knowledge and service provided on legal issues including tax planning, wills, powers of attorney, long-term social and health care and other retirement issues. Ridley & Hall is the only practice in Huddersfield with two SFE members. Said Sue: “I have been specialising in legal services for the elderly for 15 years, and I am looking forward to continuing my development in this area so that I am able to give my clients and colleagues first class legal advice in a field of law which is constantly evolving, as the requirements of the elderly population change.”

Movers and shakers

Not everything stops for tea! A GRAPHIC design agency in the Holme Valley has opened a new office in China – with a little help from a local tea shop. Worthington Brown, which has been based in Holmfirth since 1990, opened its first China office in Hangzhou four years ago to provide graphic design, advertising and web design services for both western and Chinese businesses across Asia, America and Europe. Founder and managing director Neil Worthington said: “With our rapid growth in China over the past four years, we soon out grew our existing offices. “Our new purpose-built studio is in the heart of the world famous Hangzhou green tea region 200 miles south of Shanghai. “We thought, what’s more fitting to celebrate our opening

with a real proper cuppa and Yorkshire tradition - tea. “We approached Smythes Tea Room in Holmfirth as they are well known for their famous brew. “ We p a c k e d b o x e s o f Holmfirth Tea – complete with teapot and tea cosy – into our suit cases along with a few tins of Fox’s biscuits and sent it 7,500 miles to China . “We invited more than 50 guests – consisting of clients and staff in China– to the opening and conducted a blind tea tasting. “The clear winner was Holmfirth tea by a unanimous decision.” Worthington Brown was also supported by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Clr Judith Elliott, who took time out of a busy schedule

■ BUSINESS BREW: Neil Worthington (centre), of graphic design agency Worthington Brown, talks with the Lord Mayor of Leeds Clr Judith Elliott and deputy lord mayor Clr Andrew Barker over a cup of Holmfirth Tea

visiting Leeds’ twin city of Hangzhou to attend the opening and

Instructor who passed the test

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■ SIGNAL: Driving instructor Andy Clayton at the wheel of the car he won in a contest run by motor dealer Arnold Clark in Huddersfield

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Page 8

A DRIVING instructor has won a new car in a competition run by a Huddersfield motor dealership. Halifax man Andy Clayton, owner of the Clayton School of Motoring, won a new Renault Twingo worth £7,495 in the contest run by Arnold Clark Huddersfield, which has its showrooms at Leeds Road. The car was won during a tense and glittering grand final at the Renault and Peugeot dealership –

where competition co-sponsor Pulse Radio provided entertainment for 100 contestants and their invited guests. The promotion follows the opening of Arnold Clark’s Deighton dealership late last year. The company has created about 80 jobs by establishing the new Renault and Peugeot dealership. The showroom and three-acre site is stocked with about 300 new and used cars.

declared: “It was the best cuppa I’ve had in ages!”

Good ideas for business? GRADUATES with ideas for new businesses have been urged to attend a special event. Huddersfield University is staging an Enterprise Skills Workshop on January 21 and 22 aimed at graduates who want to pursue the route to self-employment. The course is free to unemployed graduates living in Kirklees and is funded by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward through the Kirklees Skills Investment Plan. Jacquie Asquith (pictured), the university’s graduate start-up co-ordinator, said the workshop was aimed at graduates with a business or freelance idea that could be transformed into a viable business. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a draft business plan, a clear way forward for their idea and information about the next stage support available through Business Link and other organisations. Said Jacquie: “This is an opportunity to develop your idea and vision, but also to test your skills and find out if you are really cut out for this career path. “It will provide an introduction to self-employment, business planning and a chance to work on your business plan or take part in a one-to-one sessions with the university’s business advisers.” The event also builds on the success of the university’s Business Mine, which helps students and former students realise their efforts to create thriving enterprises. The second day provides an introduction to finding out about potential customers, how to reach them and how to control your finances. For information contact Georgia Bright on 01484 472671 or email g.bright@hud.ac.uk


Kirklees Business News, 12th January 2010