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FTSE 100

JENNY CLAYTON Word power in Lindley

+6.96 5606.72

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RICHARD SHARP Glad to be back! Repor t - Page 5

An EXAMINER publication

KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees

£750,000 support for winning team

AN award-winning businessman has secured six-figure funding to strengthen his company’s position in the field of online accounting software. Matt Holmes, managing director of Longwoood-based Liquid Accounts has attracted equity investment of more than £750,000. The cash injection comes with the sale of an 18% stake in the business to a syndicate of leading business angels and a further 12% being match-funded by the Government’s flagship fund for women-led businesses, The Aspire Fund. This support was attracted by Lisa Kendrick – one of Liquid’s founders and owners. The investment will help the company open up new routes to market, allow it to focus on developing its sales and marketing activity and fully exploit the growing demand for cost-effective and time saving online accounting applications among small and medium sized businesses. The private investors – three of whom

join the Liquid Accounts board – bring with them a wealth of expertise and experience in accounting and the running of software and web technology companies. Liquid Accounts, which was co-founded by Lisa, Matt and Jon Wright, has a rapidly expanding customer base and an established bank of reputable accountancy firms which use the Liquid Accounts system to improve service to their clients. Richard Doyle, a technology entrepreneur and investor who now chairs the company, said: “I was introduced to the team at Liquid Accounts through my work with Connect Yorkshire and they immediately impressed me. Since conception in 2005, Liquid has developed a superb, extensive, yet easy to use ‘on-line’ accounting solution with 3,438 programmes and over 1m lines of code. Pre-investment, the team has attracted hundreds of customers and more than 150 accountancy and bookkeeping practices.

It has also won several high profile awards. The accolades include Matt winning the award for Young Business Personality of the Year at the 2009 Examiner Business Awards. Said Matt: “We are delighted to have been able to attract investment in such challenging economic times. We believe that this is testament to the quality of our software and the unique team behind it. “Our focus will be on building relationships with young, ambitious accountancy firms looking for ways to grow their practices and offer a better service to their clients. We will also work with strategic partners to offer the benefits of Liquid direct to their customers at an affordable price.” Commenting on the investment for Capital For Enterprise Ltd, Melanie Perkins, of the Aspire Fund, said: “Liquid Accounts is an outstanding example of technology revolutionising the business landscape. We are delighted to support the team as they continue to grow the company.”

tralian offices and one in Singapore. The move represents SLR’s first acquisition in the southern hemisphere and is the company’s sixth in 18 months. It follows the acquisition of UK ecology firm Andrew McCarthy Associates just weeks ago. David Richards, chief executive of SLR, said: “This acquisition represents a further milestone in SLR’s approach of supplementing strong

organic growth with the acquisition of high calibre companies to strengthen and extend our technical and geographic coverage. “It will significantly expand our international footprint and deliver an increasing range of services to clients in our core business sectors.” One of Heggies’ high-profile projects in recent years has been enhancements to Sydney Harbour Bridge. Heggies’ work on this Australian

National accolade A MENTAL health organisation with operations in Batley has been hailed as one of the UK’s top companies – after completing an awards hat-trick. Community Links has been recognised by Best Companies for its “outstanding” staff motivation and engagement.

● Full story - Page 4

■ MONEY MAN: Matt Holmes, managing director of Liquid Accounts

Aussie deal bridges a worldwide gap A COMPANY with offices in Huddersfield has completed a key takeover Down Under. Environmental services firm SLR Consulting, which has a regional office at Wakefield Road, Denby Dale, has acquired Heggies Pty Ltd, a leading Australian provider of environmental consulting services. Formed in 1978 by managing director Richard Heggie, the firm employs 130 people across eight Aus-


icon has included reducing noise and vibration as well as monitoring emissions and air quality during bridge maintenance work. SLR Consulting has more than 700 employees working from 23 offices in the UK and Ireland and 26 in the USA and Canada. It has blue chip customers in energy, waste management, planning and development, manufacturing, mining and financial sectors.

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Safety sessions A HAULAGE firm is teaching youngsters a lesson in safety. Bedford Transport has provided Brownhill Infants School with a transport and safety booklet from the Children’s Safety Education Foundation.

● Full story - Page 8

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Bovis sets sights on building up land HOUSEBUILDER Bovis Homes pledged to boost its number of sales outlets after returning to profit during 2009. The improvement to £4.8m – from losses of £78.7m a year earlier – reflected efforts to conserve working capital and the absence of major land valuation write-downs compared with a year ago. Bovis said its strategy this year would see it invest in new land in order to generate “strong future returns”. The group said four sites with planning consent were acquired in the last quarter of 2009, while terms were agreed at the end of last year on a further 15 sites.

With £112m of net cash in hand at the end of last year, Bovis said it was “well positioned to increase its output capacity, as markets recover, supporting future profitable growth”. It predicted that house prices would remain volatile, but said the overall environment in 2010 should be relatively stable. At the end of last week, Bovis held 969 sales for legal completion in 2010, compared to 772 at the same point in 2009. During 2009, Bovis generated £281.5m of revenues from the legal completion of 1,803 homes. As a result of a reduction in social housing in the mix, the average sales price increased by

3% to £154,600 – although for private homes the figure was down 9% to £165,500. That was 20% lower than the 2007 average. Bovis achieved pre-exceptional profits of £7.5m against £14.4m a year earlier. The group is in a better position to buy land after renegotiating banking facilities at the end of 2009. Analysts at Investec Securities said the results appeared to be fairly upbeat. But they said they would cut full-year estimates for this year by 20% due to lower price and margin assumptions and a downgrade to volumes.

■ STAKING A CLAIM: Bovis is planning to invest in new sites during 2010 in a bid to generate “strong future returns” following a welcome return to profits

Prudential favours early listing

Stagecoach on right lines

INSURER Prudential said it will bring forward plans to list shares in Hong Kong as it looks to widen the net for a record investor cash-call. Prudential will now seek the dual listing in Hong Kong before launching its £13.8bn rights issue, having initially planned to make the move after the fundraising. Asian investors who buy the shares will be able to take part in the share placing, which will fund the Pru’s £23.5bn takeover of AIG’s Asian business. There is expected to be strong existing appetite for shares among Asian investors, given that US insurance giant AIG had been preparing

TRANSPORT firm Stagecoach signalled an improved performance – as it said rail revenues rose in line with a slight upturn in the economy. The Perth-based company, which operates South West Trains and East Midlands Trains as well as bus services in Huddersfield, said overall profitability remained on track despite the “unusually severe” winter weather that hit revenues for December and January. Stagecoach said like-for-like revenues for its rail division – excluding its tram operations – rose by 2.1% in the 40 weeks to February 7. That compares with the 1.9% rise reported for

its AIA business for flotation before striking the deal with the Pru. The latest announcement comes amid reports of a lack of demand among Prudential’s major UK shareholders – with concerns over the size of the rights issue and the deal price. Shares in the life and pensions group plummeted by 20% last week in the wake of its AIA takeover news. But the stock has since recovered a large slice of last week’s losses. A Pru spokesman played down suggestions the Hong Kong listing has been accelerated due to problems with demand in the UK.

the six months to October. But the bus division – which operates in more than 100 towns and cities – saw comparable revenues slow to 3.4% in recent trading from 4.4% in the half-year. A spokesman for Stagecoach said that the bus arm had been the main victim of the freezing winter weather as consumers travelled less during the cold snap. But the rail division had seen improved trading as the economy got “slightly better” and the financial services sector began to recover – benefiting the firm’s commuter services.

Page 2 Direct defiance OUTDOOR retailer Blacks Leisure is ploughing on with its store expansion plans – in defiance of a potential takeover swoop by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct. Blacks said two new outlets had already opened and another three were in the pipeline as it looks to continue its turnaround strategy. Last month, Sports Direct snapped up 28.5% of Blacks and vowed to stop its rival raising money from shareholders for the enlargement. It has since confirmed it is considering a bid for the firm. But Blacks said the store roll-out was being funded by cashflow within the business after strong trading over the Christmas period. It said in the absence of a takeover offer it would continue alternative plans to raise money and was in the process of negotiating further sites for both its Blacks and Millets brands.

Bid snub SHARES in Forth Ports surged yesterday after the firm revealed a £612m takeover approach by a group of major shareholders. Forth Ports, which owns seven UK ports, including Tilbury in London, has rejected an improved £13.40p a share bid from a consortium which owns 27.4% of Forth’s shares.

SHARE PRICES NORTH AMERICAN American Express £26.39 -0.28 Gannett 1075.36 -3.98 Hess Corp £40.36 -0.46 Microsoft 1901.96 +5.48 Motors Liquidation 49.75 Wal-Mart Stores £35.90 -0.02 AEROSPACE & DEFENCE Avon Rbbr 921/2 -1 BAE Systems 3841/4 -27/8 Rolls-Royce Gp 567 -1 VT Group 6781/2 -11/2 AIM Brady Plc 65 +11/2 Dawson Intl 21/4 AUTOMOBILES & PARTS GKN 121 -1/4 BANKS Barclays 345 +35/8 HSBC 7053/4 -5 5 Lloyds Banking Gp 53 /8 -3/8 1 Ryl Scotland 39 /2 -1/2 Stan Chart 1776 +151/2 BEVERAGES Diageo 1084 +2 SABMiller 1859 -2 CHEMICALS 1 Croda 908 /2 -16 Delta 1911/4 +1/4 Elementis 98 52 -11/4 Johnsn Mat 1671 -3 CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS Balfour Beatty 2831/4 -41/4 Costain 231/2 -1/2 ELECTRICITY Drax Grp 3783/8 +17/8

Intl Power 3283/4 +35/8 Scottish & Sthrn 1135 +11 Energy ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Chloride 203 +31/8 Invensys 3347/8 +3/8 Laird 1493/8 +33/4 EQUITY INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS Alliance Trust 3313/4 +11/8 FIXED LINE TELECOM SERVICES BT Grp 120 +5/8 C&W 1391/4 +3/4 1 Colt Telecom 135 /4 -3/8 KCOM 473/4 -3/4 FOOD & DRUG RETAILERS Morrison W 305 +1 +15/8 Sainsbury 3373/8 Tesco 4401/4 +31/8 FOOD PRODUCERS AB Food 960 -1/2 Cadbury 8621/2 Nth Foods 56 -1/4 5 Tate Lyle 459 /8 +41/8 Unilever 1982 -15 -1/2 Uniq 241/4 GAS, WATER & MULTIUTILITIES Centrica 2841/2 +17/8 National Grid 6621/2 +6 Pennon Grp 527 -1 Severn 1193 +5 1 United Utils 553 /2 +2 GENERAL FINANCIAL 3i Group 273 +1/2 ICAP 3591/8 -51/8 London StockExch 7101/2 +3 +55/8 Man Group 2511/2 Provident Financial 873 -7

Schroders 1388 -8 Schroders NV 1158 -8 GENERAL INDUSTRIALS Cooksn Grp 5041/2 -61/2 REXAM 2843/4 +1/4 Smiths Grp 1064 +4 GENERAL RETAILERS Ashley L 13 +1/8 DSG International 323/8 Home Retail 2675/8 +87/8 Inchcape 271/2 +1/4 Kingfisher 2211/8 -7/8 5 M&S 350 /8 +67/8 Mothercare 643 -2 Next 1967 +21 +21/8 WH Smith 4721/4 HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Smith Nph 696 -1/2 HOUSEHOLD GOODS Aga Rangemaster 127 -6 +21/8 Barrat Dev 1171/4 Persimmon 4333/4 +125/8 Reckitt Benckiser £351/8 Taylor Wimpey 373/8 +3/8 INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING Charter 688 +201/2 IMI 6241/2 Man Brnze 83 INDUSTRIAL METALS Ferrexpo 2955/8 -23/8 INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION BBA Aviation 171 +7/8 Forth Ports 1403 +286 LIFE INSURANCE Aviva 3923/8 +1/4 Lgl & Gen 781/4 +2

1193/8 +1/4 518 -2 1 72 /8 +33/8 2027/8 -1/8 MEDIA BSkyB 5611/2 Chrysalis 1031/4 -51/4 D Mail Tst 4563/4 -3/8 5 ITV 51 /8 -7/8 3 Johnston Press 30 /4 +3 Pearson 9981/2 +101/2 Reed Elsevier 515 +4 3 STV Group 49 /4 +13/4 1 Trinity Mirror 157 /4 +21/2 Utd Business 4937/8 -1/8 1 UTV 99 /2 +31/2 WPP 641 -41/2 Yell Group 411/8 -3/4 MINING Anglo American £265/8 Antofagasta 994 +1 BHP Billiton £223/8 +1/4 Eurasian Natural 1110 -5 Res Fresnillo 848 +11/2 Kazakhmys 1529 -17 Lonmin 1968 +5 1 Rio Tinto £37 /4 +1/4 VEDANTA £261/2 -3/8 RESOURCES Xstrata 1179 -8 MOBILE TELECOM SERVICES Inmarsat 775 +21/2 Vodafone Group 1481/8 +1/2 NONLIFE INSURANCE Admiral Grp 1247 +7 RSA Insurance Gp 1241/2 +3/4 OIL & GAS PRODUCERS Old Mutual Prudential Resolution Standard Life

Local shares Carclo Chapelthorpe Marshalls National Grid Rensburg Sheppards Weir Gp

168 143/4 843/4 6621/2 611 859

+11/2 +3 +6 +41/2 +4

FTSE closed at

5606.7 Up 6.9 BG 1184 +2 +41/4 BP 6161/4 Cairn Energy 3653/4 -1/4 Norsk Hdro 4801/4 -91/8 Royal Dutch Shell A 1885 +12 +10 Royal Dutch Shell B 18111/2 1 -1/8 Total £38 /8 Tullow Oil 1293 -2 OIL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Petrofac 1116 +44 -1/2 Wood Group 3821/2 PERSONAL GOODS Burberry 6841/2 -11/2 PHARMACEUTICALS & BIOTECHNOLOGY Astrazeneca £291/2 -3/8 Axis-Shield 377 -11 GlaxoSmithK XD 21/2 Shire 1467 -5

REAL ESTATE Brit Land 4633/4 DTZ Hldgs 82 Hamrsn 3961/2 Land Secs 6701/2 SEGRO 3381/2 SOFTWARE ETC SERVICES Autonomy Corp 1674 Dimension Data 945/8 Logica 1201/4 Misys 2435/8 Sage Group 2461/4 SUPPORT SERVICES AMEC 7681/2 Bunzl 705 Capita 7191/2 Davis Service 4087/8 Group De La Rue 938 Electrocomp 198 Experian 632 G4S 2793/4 Hays 1031/8 Homeserve 1663 Menzies J 3271/2 Rentokil 1343/8 Smiths News 1161/2 Wolseley 1602 IT HARDWARE ARM Hldgs 2301/2 Psion 891/4 Spirent Comms 1143/8 TOBACCO Br Am Tob £231/4 Imperial Tobacco £211/2 LEISURE & HOTELS Arriva 5511/2 Brit Airways 2241/4

-6 -1 -23/4 -81/2 -25/8 -4 -1/4 -13/4 -5/8 -5/8 -15 +91/2 -11/2 +17/8 +31/2 +1 +1/2 +1/4 -3/8 -7 +6 -1/4 +1/2 +2 -23/8 -3/4 -3/4

-1/8 -8 -4

Carnival Compass Grp easyJet Enterprise Inns FirstGroup Go-Ahead Greene King Intercontl Htls Ladbrokes Mitchells & Butlers Natl Express PartyGaming Rank Org Stagecoach Group TUI Travel Whitbread

£26 4995/8 4331/2 1091/2 3621/4 1430 427 959 1461/4 2823/4 2207/8 3223/8 1121/8 1801/8 2847/8 1485

+1/8 -23/8 -31/8 +3/4 -63/4 +10 -83/8 -21/2 -5/8 -61/2 +23/4 +1/2 -11/4 -3/4 -11/4 -1

FTSE 100

INDEX 5606.72


FTSE 250

INDEX 9786.39


TOURIST RATES Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia...................... 1.58 dollars Bangladesh................... 99.12 taka Brazil.............................. 2.41 reals Canada....................... 1.48 dollars China ............................. 9.26 yuan Czech Republic ...... 26.11 korunas Denmark....................... 7.86 krone Euro............................... 1.06 euro Hong Kong................ 11.18 dollars Hungary................... 263.88 forints India.......................... 60.71 rupees Japan........................... 130.59 yen Mexico ....................... 17.05 pesos New Zealand .............. 2.01 dollars Norway ......................... 8.50 krone Pakistan.................. 121.06 rupees Philippines ................. 59.55 pesos South Africa................. 10.46 rand South Korea.............. 1497.00 won Sri Lanka ................ 163.51 rupees Sweden....................... 10.26 krona Switzerland.................. 1.54 francs Taiwan ...................... 42.20 dollars Turkey....................... 2.19 new lira USA ............................ 1.45 dollars

KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS A LOVE of writing looked like putting Jenny Clayton on course for a career in journalism – until she realised she was “too emotional” to handle the tragic stories that might come her way as a newspaper reporter.. But Jenny, who was a strong competitor in karate and retains an interest in martial arts, has displayed the combative spirit to become a success in the world of public relations. “Originally I wanted to be an English teacher because I loved English and I loved writing,” she says. “When we were given a sentence from which to create a story at School, I could fill a whole exercise book. My stories had chapters! “When I did my A-levels, I wanted to go to Trinity and All Saints’ College in Horsforth to study English. But there were only a few places at that college and they tended to go to mature students.” Instead, Jenny took a one-year journalism course at Sheffield, learning shorthand, journalism law and developing her writing skills. However, Jenny says: “I quickly realised I probably wasn’t cut out for it when it came to covering tragic stories. “I would have liked to gone into magazine journalism and feature writing, but at that time I would have had to go to London – and I am a Yorkshire girl at heart.” Jenny landed a job in the PR department of a big advertising agency, which enabled her to use her writing skills and took her in a different direction. She worked for national agencies including Butler Group and Charles Walls in Leeds before launching the PR department at Heckmondwike-based design agency Bluedoor. That gave her an insight into marketing and advertising in a wider form – and eventually led to her forming Point2pr and five years working in association with designer Mike McGowan. “After having my own business for nine years I did go back to working for an agency for six months,” says Jenny. “But I quickly realised I much preferred working for myself. “The way I work means that clients don’t have to use a big agency. I offer PR and marketing and draw on the resources of trusted people in areas like website design and photography.”


Jenny’s on the write lines! Clients include Brockholes-based property development company Conroy Brook, which has benefited from maintaining a strong marketing presence during the recession. Another client, Milnsbridge-based wool import and export business World of Wool has used Jenny’s skills to build up an online business supplying wool to the hobby market at home and overseas. Says Jenny: “I have had clients who have followed me as I moved from agency to agency and into self-employment. “The key is to build and maintain relationships.” Jenny has joined regional businesswomen’s

■ PEN POWER: Jenny enjoys using her writing skills

networking group Forward Ladies, which she values for providing “networking in a social environment” as much as its potential as a source of leads. “A lot of the members are independent businesswomen,” says Jenny. “At Forward Ladies events you can meet like-minded people. “Sometimes, you feel isolated when you are working for yourself. “We are on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A big part of my job with clients is monitoring online forums to see what is being said about clients. “Social networking sites are becoming very influential. People use them to give a glowing testimonial about a product or service – or to say something negative about them! “It is such a viral form of communication and damage can be done very quickly. I have to be able to step in to deal with it.” Jenny says the social networking phenomenon highlights the increasing role of technology in business. “There is so much more being done online – from buying or selling your house to changing your supplier. “It is where people start doing their research when looking for organisations to do business with. “Being online is all about customer service, image

and making the connection between the two – and the public. “People want to know the faces behind the names – especially during the recession when building trust is all important.” Jenny relies on technology, too. She works from home in Lindley, but tries to maintain “office hours” and avoid distractions. “If I am going to be working from home, I start the day at 8 or 8.30 and work until 5,” she says. “I allow myself an hour at lunch time and that’s when I go into the kitchen or watch television for half-an-hour. “The room I use as an office has a sliding door. I can shut work out quite easily during the week, but at the weekend I find myself wandering in there to answer emails. “If something’s urgent, I don’t ignore it. When the red light on my Blackberry is flashing I have to see who’s contacting me.” Jenny is a member at Total Fitness and enjoys keeping fit by carrying out martial arts moves to music. She says: “I did karate for a long time and was

Page 3 Jenny Clayton Role: Director Age: 37 Family: Single Holidays: Cyprus and Whitby Car: Fiat Panda First job: Silver service waitress at Hilton Hotel, Leeds Best thing about job: The diversity Worst thing about job: Book-keeping Business tip: Learn how to prioritise and delegate

one fight away from making the British squad – but my opponent was too good! “I don’t compete now, but I work out to Taebo – a mix of taekwondo and boxing – as well as other martial arts.” Jenny admits to being “Miss Organised”. She says: “I make a list of everything I have to do during the day and tick them off as I go. It gives me a sense of satisfaction as I work my way down the list.”

Point2pr Work: Public relations and marketing Site: Lindley Phone: 01484 655233 Email:jenny@


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Hat-trick success for Batley group

A MENTAL health organisation with operations in Batley has been hailed as one of the UK’s top companies – after completing an awards hat-trick. Community Links has been recognised by Best Companies for its “outstanding” staff motivation and engagement. Based on employee feedback, Best Companies identifies some of the country’s leading workplaces and sets a benchmark for large companies, charities and independent businesses nationwide to become recognised for employee satisfaction, motivation and wellbeing. It’s the third year that Community Links has secured the national award. In a further boost for the firm, Community links has also secured a place in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Community Links is the only mental health organisation featured in the influential top 100, coming in at 67. With more than 160 employees, the charity offers a series of services to support more than 800 people across Yorkshire and the Humber with mental health problems.

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■ THRILLED: Jon Woolmore (front), chief executive of Community Links with employees and trustees

Community Links received the two-star status thanks to its focus on leadership, diversity, staff involvement and thorough training programmes tailored to individual needs. Some 75% of staff at Community Links have experience of mental ill health – and it’s this first-hand experience that helps deliver high quality services. Community Links provides cognitive-behavioural therapy, early intervention in psychosis, housing support, short and long-term hostels, dual diagnosis, alcohol services and help in deal-

ing with a wide range of mental health issues. Chief executive Jon Woolmore said: “This is the third year in a row that we’ve been awarded Best Companies accreditation and that really is down to our employees. Their commitment, energy and dedication to supporting each of our service users makes this organisation a success and we’re thrilled to be recognised for the happy workplace we have.” One worker who has thrived at Community Links is Tricia Thorpe, of Leeds. Having experienced mental health problems for more than 20 years, Tricia was a service user at Community Links. With the help of the organisation, Tricia has recovered from her illness and was appointed by the company last year to a role which would see her provide training and support for staff and other mental health service users. She said: “I used Community Links for five years and with their help and dedicated services, I was able to recover from my previous problems and now I’ve been a trustee and been able to start my very first job as consultant. I offer expertise and encouragement to inspire people to become involved in shaping the mental health services that use.” More than 1,000 organisations nationwide applied for the Best Companies accreditation – but just 140 of them received a two star status – putting Community Links as the same bracket as some of the UK’s most recognisable brands.

The tempering forge here are many analogies T that have been coined to characterise the action of

stock markets. One of the most famous and apt is Ben Graham’s description of their action as being similar to a “voting machine” in the short term, but like a “weighing machine” over the longer term. This is a very helpful way for investors to understand how the emotional component of stock-price moves can obscure true underlying value, but however severe any move may be, this is only likely to produce temporary deviations from the intrinsic value of a given investment. So, by implication, the art of investment is simply that of identifying opportunities where the “voters” have taken an overly dim view of a given situation, opening up a substantial gap between its current price and its intrinsic value – and waiting. The great economist and active investor John Maynard Keynes cast a slight dampener on this approach, which could be summed up as a long term “buy value and hold” philosophy, by observing that, however sensible, stocks can remain undervalued for extremely long periods. Why am I making these points?

CITY TALK Simon Kaye

It is because I think that there is another analogy for markets, which at times like these may be more appropriate. The analogy is that of a Tempering Forge – a mechanism by which things are stressed but yet made stronger. This is the function that it is particularly visible today in currency and sovereign debt markets. Sovereign risk has come to the fore as speculative flows have challenged the ability of the most indebted and profligate governments to repay their obligations – with Greece the first to come under scrutiny. What is happening here? In the absence of an ability to punish the currency of offending debtor countries directly (at least those that are part of the Euro) – which is the usual method of extracting revenge for such misbehaviour - this pressure

is manifest in falling government debt prices of those countries. Two factors lend some encouragement that this process is orderly, however. Firstly, debt spreads have now only re-established levels seen in the late ‘90s – hardly a sign of systemic fragmentation. Secondly, a stabilisation of the Euro, after initial weakening, suggests that Europe will find the right “price” to extract Greece from its difficulties whilst also sending a strong message that this is not a road that other Euro members should be quick to follow. Nevertheless, Europe does have a difficult balance to strike. The danger is that, with Greece as an example, financial markets “scare” European governments into a phase of “competitive deficit reduction” at a time when the economic recovery is still fragile.

Simon Kaye is divisional director at Rensburg Sheppards Investment Management

Street guide to going green KIRKLEES businesses are being invited to take a stroll down the greenest street in Britain. Environmental advice group Envirowise has organised a virtual tour, known as Green Street, to help businesses across Yorkshire identify resource efficiency hot spots and cost saving opportunities by exploring an animated world on the web. Business owners visiting greenstreet can find the Cost Cutters Arms, the Verte Restaurant, the Green Leaves Hotel, the Water Tower office block and the Efficient Engineering Company to get simple advice on practical environmental measures. Points of interest along the virtual tour are supported by quick links to useful publications offering further free advice on tackling common resource efficiency hot spots, including ways to combat waste and practical tips for reducing water consumption and energy use. Elin Crebbin, Envirowise regional manager for Yorkshire and the Humber, said research showed that businesses believe that using fewer raw materials, generating less waste and placing a greater emphasis on energy efficiency are all likely legacies of the recent recession. Companies can visit Green Street by going to greenstreet

Celebrating differences HUDDERSFIELD is to host an awards evening for businesses across the region. The town’s university has joined forces with business support organisations ATL (Yorkshire) Ltd, Business Link Yorkshire and UK Trade & Investment to hold the annual Yorkshire Enterprise and Diversity Awards 2010. The event celebrates business success, entrepreneurship and diversity in business among small and medium-sized companies. Categories include ones for business young business, outstanding female entrepreneur, international business and diverse business. Amjad Pervez, chief executive of ATL, said: “We want to encourage all businesses throughout the region to apply for the awards. We want to promote and reward the fantastic business and enterprise opportunities that people are creating out there.” The event takes place on Thursday, March 25. Apply online at or call 0800 5875874.



Agency set for busy year A HUDDERSFIELD man is embarking on fresh challenges after bringing his business back to his hometown. Richard Sharp, who was brought up in Newsome, launched his own design agency after working for some of the industry’s biggest names. Now he has decided to move the operation from Leeds to take space at the Media Centre in Northumberland. Richard attended Newsome High School and studied art and design at Huddersfield Technical College before gaining a degree in graphic design at Coventry University. He worked for Poulters in Leeds before working in Sheffield and then joining a global agency in Manchester as creative director working for clients including Nissan, NPower and Cussons and on brands such as ghd, Carex and Imperial Leather. However, Richard decided he wanted to start an agency of his own from scratch – just as the credit crunch was starting. The Sharp Agency has landed contracts with clients including the NHS in Sheffield and the National Union of Students. For the NHS, the Sharp Agency helped members of the public to create a video at an event called The Big Health Question at Sheffield University. The event aimed to find out what people such as students, members of ethnic minorities and the elderly thought about health

■ BRAND NEW: Richard Sharp of The Sharp Agency

services in the city. On another project, the Sharp Agency rebranded an IT company using manga-style illustrations to get across the company’s success in bringing calm to a chaotic situation for its clients. The branding is used throughout the firm’s literature, including brochures and its website. When it came to re-branding an online advertising business, the Sharp Agency took the fact that the staff were really knowledgeable about their geographical area – and came up with a brand called The Local Authority. Said Richard: “I have worked in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and

Paris, but I have always loved my home town. When it came to looking at a location for the agency I could see that Huddersfield is a town going through a re-branding of its own. “It is in the middle of the ‘golden triangle’ of Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. “We decided to create a creative company in the middle of Huddersfield and the Media Centre – as a hub of creativity – is the ideal place for it.” Richard’s partners in the business are is wife Darlene and veteran “creative” Tom Wass. Darlene and Richard worked together in Sheffield when they won awards for their work on brands such as First Direct and Boddingtons. Tom founded the renowned Tequila agency, where he also worked with Richard. Said Richard: “We asked Tom to come out of semi-retirement to help us make the agency a strong business. That helped to accelerate our growth over the past 10 to 18 months.” He added: “We are now thinking about our plans for 2010. Top of the list is to have as much fun as possible! “People ought to get excited about their business again. “During the recession, people have got quite frightened and nervous. We want to help people feel excited again.”

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Boost for economy NEW business wins helped the Yorkshire economy expand at a “marked and accelerated” rate in February, says a new report. The latest regional Purchase Managers’ Index rose to 55.3 points last month from 52 points in January as firms posted an increase in orders – supported by an improvement in the weather. A higher level of sales was indicated in February – with growth of new business registered for an eighth month in a row. However, the rate of expansion was subdued, being only

modest and much lower than in recent months. Where growth was reported, companies commented on higher client activity, while manufacturers also benefited from an increase in new export sales. Job losses in the region continued to mount in February, with the latest data showing a 25th consecutive month-on-month fall in employee numbers. A combination of natural wastage and forced redundancies led to the marked and accelerated rate of job shedding.

Don’t slip up over safety ORTY people died and F £800m was lost across all industry sectors due to slips,

trips and falls at work last year. The fact that such incidents remain the most common cause of major work-related injuries has prompted the Health and Safety Executive to relaunch its Shattered Lives campaign, which was originally unveiled two years ago. Although some of the figures have improved slightly since then – the 40 deaths in 2008/09 represented a decrease of 21 on the previous year’s figure – the number of major injuries due to slips, trips and falls is continuing to rise. So has the overall cost to society – up from £700m in 2007/08. The new phase of the campaign, wh i c h i n c l u d e s a reva m p e d Shattered Lives website, features new information on how to easily and cost-effectively reduce the risk


of slips, trips and falls in the workplace, and studies of what other organisations have done to this end. The site also includes an online tool called STEP and a work-at-height access equipment toolkit (WAIT). The campaign is targeted at those sectors in which there is a high number of slips, trips and falls incidents each year, specifically: health and social care, education, food manufacturing, food retail, catering and hospitality, building and plant maintenance, and construction. The figures above highlight the

very real and serious nature of preventable slip, trip and fall incidents in the workplace. Slips, trips and falls might sound funny but they also cause many serious injuries every year The 40 deaths caused by slips, trips and falls could have been prevented by proper risk assessments and control measures. These can quite often be simple and cost effective and can help manage slip, trip and fall hazards in their workplace.

Mark Dalton is associate director at Wilby Ltd



5 Upperhead Row, Huddersfield HD1 2JL



Broker takes to the stage

Creative in the kitchen A DEWSBURY kitchens manufacturer has been praised for its work. Rixonway Kitchens, based at Shaw Cross, has been hailed by Wellington Hill Residents Association in Leeds for the donation of a kitchen which will now become a central point for community groups and education in healthy eating. Rixonway is running its Round the Kitchen Table campaign to encourage people to spend time

together without distraction such as computers, work or TV to talk with their family, friends and neighbours. The donation of a kitchen to Wellington Hill’s community centre promotes local links and education for children in preparing healthy, nutritious food. Nick Greenall, operations director at Rixonway Kitchens, said: “We are pleased to support such a worthwhile cause.”

A BUSINESS broker based in Huddersfield has been asked to give an expert opinion on business opportunities arising from the recession. Andrew Steen, 30, managing director of Redwoods Dowling Kerr, will share a platform with MP Dawn Primarolo and Alan Bentley, chief executive of the Childcare Corporation, at the National Childcare Conference in London during March. Redwoods Dowling Kerr, based at the Media Centre in Northumberland Street, has developed a reputation for the sale and brokerage of businesses throughout the UK after been established in Holmfirth more than 30 years ago. The invitation to address the conference comes from Laing & Buisson, a leading provider of data, statistical analysis and market intelligence on the UK health and commercial care and childcare sectors. The conference will focus upon business opportunities and challenges coming out of the recession as the brokerage market gears up for an



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Page 6


exciting year ahead. Said Mr Steen: “I am delighted that Laing & Buisson have chosen me as a spokesman for the industry. “Redwoods Dowling Kerr are the UK’s number one day nursery broker, so I think it is appropriate that we comment on the childcare property market, sector performance and projections going forward. “We have had an excellent 2009 and I am anticipating that 2010 will prove to be just as promising. Despite the economic climate, we are still experiencing significant growth in the levels of interest in businesses in a wide range of sectors. “This seminar will be a really good event and I am excited to be part of it, in association with such a well known and renowned information provider such as Laing & Buisson.” Redwoods Dowling Kerr acts as an agent for vendors of small to medium-sized businesses across a wide range of sectors including healthcare, childcare, retail, catering, licensed and leisure.

■ ON STAGE: Andrew Steen, 30, managing director of business brokerage Redwoods Dowling Kerr

Regional property experts achieve chartered status FORTY-SEVEN surveyors across Yorkshire have achieved the high-valued “Chartered” status with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. They have all completed the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence, which is a tough two-to-three year period of structured training that includes practical training, experience and exams leading to full membership. David Varley, RICS regional training adviser for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “These new professionals have passed the most challenging of assessments to become chartered surveyors, many of them having already completed a property-related degree.” They can now carry the letters MRICS after their name, which is the world’s leading

qualification when it comes to land, property and construction. This is maintained by RICS which, acts in the public interest, setting and regulating the highest standards of competence and integrity amongst its members. Mr Varley added: “It’s especially gratifying to see so many surveyors undertaking the APC and passing the exams in the recession.” Nationally, almost 1,000 hopefuls were entered for the most recent RICS APC – with just over 700 being successful. The pass rate of 73% compares with 63% for Yorkshire. Mr Varley said: “It is essential that chartered surveyors continually update their knowledge and skills throughout their career in order to remain competent and do their job to the very best of their ability.”

Office transaction complete NATIONAL commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton has advised Virgin Media on one of Leeds’ largest office disposals in recent years. Temple House in Seacroft was bought by Yorkshire property company Stirling Investment Properties for an undisclosed amount. Led by Adam Varley, Head of Office Agency in Leeds, the LSH team advised on all aspects of the transaction on behalf of Virgin Media, which saw the UK’s leading entertainment and communications company leaseback

46,012sq ft of the 120,801sq ft building on a 25-year term. Stirling Investment Properties plans to redevelop the upper floors of the former call centre, which totals 74,785sq ft, to provide a mixture of high quality office accommodation. Mr Varley said the commercial property sector still faced challenging conditions. But he added: “The completion of this sizeable transaction proves that there is still appetite and confidence for well-structured products.”



Page 7

Hotels group secures funding for expansion THE owners of a Huddersfield hotel have secured a multi-million funding deal for further expansion. Deckers Group, which owns the Pennine Manor Hotel at Scapegoat Hill, is keen to expand its wholesale drinks business across Yorkshire and beyond. It will also plough some of the £13m refinancing package into refurbishing its Rope and Anchor gastro-pub in Dunham Massey, which is set to open in May and create about 50 jobs. Rochdale-based Deckers has a £32m turnover and employs 370 staff. Its wholesale drinks business, which supplies other wholesalers, mainly in the north-west, makes up about a third of the turnover – but the company has plans to more than double that to £25m. The cash injection, part of which will also be used to refinance the business, has come from Lloyds TSB. Deckers finance director Victoria Brierley said: “As the economic conditions ease, we are seeing more and more

opportunities for growing the business. “We have got a lot of plans, but we are not looking to acquire any new venues at the moment. “However, if a really excellent property comes along we could talk to the bank about investing. That is the beauty of this package. It is very flexible.” Family-owned Deckers was founded by chairman and main shareholder Clifford Brierley in 1989 with a single restaurant. It now has two hotels and eight pubs and restaurants across six sites. Along with the Pennine Manor Hotel, it owns the Royal Toby Hotel and The Crimble in Rochdale; the Plough and Flail, near Knutsford and the Rope and Anchor in Dunham Massey. Lloyds relationship manager James Baron said: “The Deckers Group is an extremely well run business with a solid management team and it is great to see how they have bucked the national trend in a touch market for this sector.”

■ TOP DECKERS: James Barron (front), relationship manager with Lloyds TSB Corporatde Markets and (from left) Deckers Group chairman Cliff Brierley, managing director Max Brierley and finance director Victoria Brierley

Successful start to 2010 sale season COMMERCIAL property firm Eddisons has kicked off 2010 in fine style – with its first property auction of the year realising more than £5.5m. The two-day sale in Leeds and Manchester saw 75% of 104 of the 138 lots sold in what the agency called “a very encouraging performance.” Tony Webber, of Eddisons, said: ‘This was a very encouraging performance for our first auction of the year. ‘There was an appetite for lots in all sectors, although demand for those at the

cheaper end where external funding may not be required remained high. “Sensibly priced tenanted residential properties proved particularly popular with investors who continue to favour these as their investment vehicle of choice.” Among the highlights was the former Pudsey Grangefield Comprehensive School building which sold for £481,000. The Grade II listed building which extends to about 34,585 sq ft on a site of about 2.17 acres, had been offered

on the instructions of Leeds City Council at a guide price of £350,000 plus. Other notable lots included development land in the Rothwell area of Leeds, with outline planning permission for four mews style properties, which was also sold on behalf of Leeds City Council for £139,000 off a guide price of £125,000 plus. And the former Eggborough water treatment works at Hensall, Goole, offered at a guide price of £50,000 plus, was sold for £90,000.


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Making a good impression A COMPANY providing cladding for the construction industry has launched a new product for refurbishing properties. Meltham-based Structherm Ltd has unveiled its Multirend product, a new brick-effect render finish allowing accurate colour and texture matching to most brickwork. The new finish

complements Structherm’s existing selection of high quality Italian and traditional renders and finishes that have been used in refurbishment projects for more than 25 years. A spokesman for the firm said the system was ideal for social housing and education building refurbishment projects

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■ SCHOOL DRIVE: Batley haulage firm Bedfords Transport is providing safety booklets for pupils at Brownhill Infant School

HAULAGE firm Bedfords Transport is teaching youngsters a lesson in safety. The Batley-based company has provided sponsorship for each Year 1 pupil at Brownhill Infants School to have a transport and safety booklet f ro m t h e C h i l d re n’s Safety Education Foundation. The booklet provides parents and teachers with resources to help prevent children from making the wrong decisions, make them conscious of the dangers and risks they face day to day and gain an understanding of how to stay safe. Dave Webster, Angela C h ap p e l l a n d E dd i e Smith, of the firm, took two of Bedfords’ vehicles to the school and met the children.

This gave them the opportunity to have a thorough look around the inside and outside of the trucks and understand t h e d a n g e r s a l a rg e vehicle poses. Bedfords also provided all the children with hi-visibility reflective vests to wear on school outings. Bedfords managing director Steff Pfadenhauer explained the purpose of the school link-up. He said: “The health, well-being and safety of young people is vitally important and Bedfords is keen to continue worki n g w i t h B row n h i l l School. “Another opportunity to get together with the school will be scheduled for the coming months.”

Politician is in the fast lane! Where can I find advice on business planning?

Whatever’s on your mind, we have hundreds of FREE workshops, online resources and advisers ready to help you. ■ KEEP RIGHT: Andrew Long (left), group development director at LNT Group, with Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and the new Ginetta G40 A BATLEY-born businessman hosted a visit to his premises by Shadow Chancellor George Osborne. Lawrence Tomlinson, whose LNT Group employs almost 700 staff across the UK, gave the prominent Conservative politician a tour of the group’s companies, which include LNT Construction, new care home operator Ideal Care Homes and iconic British car marque Ginetta. Andrew Long, group development director, showed Mr Osborne the technology behind the firm’s new Ginetta G40 road and race car as well as its ground-breaking electric vehicle, the G50EV. Mr Osborne also met 10 of the group’s young apprentices, who have been appointed through the National Apprentice Service.

Mr Osborne praised the “fantastic facilities” available at LNT Group, adding: “We really need to encourage the growth of British manufacturing.” Mr Tomlinson said: “As the founder of a privately-owned corporation which exports products all over the world, I am very interested to hear Mr Osborne’s thoughts on how a Conservative government would improve the business landscape – not just within Yorkshire but on an international scale, too. “The LNT Group has bucked the recession well, but since it spans a number of sectors, I welcome any ideas as to how we can stabilise the economy and encourage UK manufacturing industries to buy within the UK. We need to start helping each other.”

Kirklees Business News, 9th March 2010  

The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees. An EXAMINER publication

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