SUSAN KENYON Research and development
Full inter view - Page 3
SIMON KAYE It’s the latest thing Column - Page 5
An EXAMINER publication
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees
Company wins by cutting waste line A DEWSBURY firm has cut the amount of waste it sends to landfill by three-quarters as part of efforts to go “green” and improve efficiency. Now it is working towards “total waste elimination” by recycling all its media materials. Parker Racor, the European filter division of control technologies specialist Parker Hannifin, joined forces with the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme to reduce its waste to landfill by at least 75%. The move underlines the firm’s environmental responsibility and has helped it to improve resource efficiency and sustainability. Ros O’Connor, the firm’s environmental, safety and health coordinator, said: “This new environmental initiative goes hand in hand with Parker Racor’s desire to be at the forefront of being environmentally friendly and – just as importantly – safe manufacturing processes. “Indeed, the programme will see the company saving 40 tonnes of “virgin” material, as well as cutting CO2
emissions by 103 tonnes.” In particular, the company was keen to source a re-processor for certain kinds of waste created in the manufacturing process. These concertina-type components used in vehicle fuel filters are unsuitable for conventional recycling because of their composition. Historically, they had to be sent to landfill, but the company had been working to find a solution more appropriate to its forward-looking waste policy. NISP analysed processes at Parker Racor to identify a specialist processor in Yorkshire. The materials are now compacted and converted by the processor into compost and other useful by-products aimed at the farming market. The move enables a massive 40 tonnes of waste material to be diverted from landfill every year. Ros said: “As a key local employer, we are totally committed to the environment and our goal is to achieve maximum sustainability across all our
Experian Corpfin on behalf of insolvency trade body R3. Eleven deals in Yorkshire during the second half of 2010 involved companies acquired out of administration or other formal insolvency procedures. That equates to one in 11 of all mergers and acquisitions. There were 19 such deals during the first six months of
Building an innings A FIRM providing surface cooling and heating systems for the construction industry is set to bowl over delegates at a major event. Skelmanthorpe-based Velta is staging a forum for professionals involved in sustainable design and building at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.
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■ WASTE NOT: Pictured with their RoSPA award are (from left) Helen Thompson, Philip Speight, Ros O'Connor and Brian Hall, of filter systems specialist Parker Racor
manufacturing processes. “This is a first step towards zero media waste and only one of the many initiatives that we are carrying out to care for our environment and our local community.” Parker Hannifin is the world’s leading manufacturer of motion and
control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered products for a wide variety of mobile, industrial and aerospace markets. The company employs about 55,000 people in 46 countries around the world.
Fewer buyers for Yorkshire’s troubled firms FEWER insolvent companies in Yorkshire found buyers during the second half of 2010, a survey has revealed. But they continued to account for a “significant” proportion of all merger and acquisition activity in the region, according to the research carried out by business information group
last year, or one in seven of all acquisitions. Andrew Walker, Yorkshire regional chairman for R3, said: “Insolvent deals have been running at high levels since mid-2008 when the economic problems began to set in. “The numbers peaked between mid-2009 and the
middle of last year and have since fallen back to the levels of early 2009. Buyers who have the money have been taking the opportunity to pick up businesses and assets during the downturn while values remain low. “The fall in distressed deals in the past six months may reflect the fact there have been
fewer insolvencies and therefore fewer distressed businesses coming on the market. “However, potential buyers should be aware that in the run-up to recovery there is still a window of opportunity to acquire businesses that are potentially profitable but in need of some tender loving care.”
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Mind your language SIX language lecturers who took voluntary redundancy have joined forces to run English classes for people such as migrant workers and home students.
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Solicitors for business inYorkshire www.chadwicklawrence.co.uk Huddersfield | Wakefield | Halifax | Leeds
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Moss Bros in Hugo Boss £16.5m deal MENSWEAR chain Moss Bros has announced the sale of its 15 Hugo Boss stores in a move ending a 16-year franchise deal with the fashion giant. Moss Bros will sell the outlets back to Hugo Boss for £16.5 million, helping finance turnaround plans for its core business. The group, which has 155 stores in the UK and Ireland, including one in New Street, Huddersfield, added that ongoing cost cutting efforts were paying off as it confirmed second half trading held up well despite the pre-Christmas snow disruption. Like-for-like sales rose 7% in the 26 weeks to January 29 – a slight slowdown on the 8.3% reported in
early December. Moss Bros said it wants to use the Hugo Boss money to revamp core stores and finance new initiatives, such as the roll out of its Moss Bespoke tailoring service. It will also invest cash in its online offering and said the deal will mean it can operate debt free. Moss Bros, which also trades as Savoy Taylors Guild and Cecil Gee, has operated Hugo Boss stores under franchise since 1995. But it said it will continue to maintain a wholesale relationship with Hugo Boss after the store sale and stock the label in certain Moss Bros and Cecil Gee stores. Brian Brick, chief executive of M o s s B ro s, s a i d : “ T h i s i s a transformational deal for Moss Bros
Housing market hopes BELLWAY offered some hope from the fragile housing market after it said buyer activity had been “encouraging” so far this year. The housebuilder reserved judgement on the all-important spring selling season, but was upbeat over site visitor numbers and reservations in January after a snow-hit end to 2010. It completed 3.8% more sales in the half-year to January 31 than a year earlier, at 2,332. And the company also revealed that average selling prices rose around 8% to £168,000. Bellway said much of the price increase came from a shift from flats
to traditional two-storey home sales, although it was also helped by greater market stability than last year. There have been fears for the housing market in 2011 once public spending cuts start to bite. Some leading economists are predicting falls of up to 10% during the course of the year.. Halifax offered some relief last week when it said prices rose 0.8% in January, but this was seen largely as a bounce-back after a 1.3% drop in December’s snow. Bellway said: “The number of visitors and subsequent reservations since the beginning of January has been encouraging”.
and absolutely in line with our recently developed strategy of focusing on growing our own brands. “Having restored the quality of the product offering of the core Moss Bros business and established a strong momentum in positive like-for-like sales, this transaction will give us the opportunity to focus exc l u s ive ly o n i nve s t i n g a n d developing the brands which we own, from a position of operational and financial strength.” The group posted interim pre-tax losses of £3.3 million – more than the £3 million a year earlier – but launched a cost saving drive in the third quarter to return it to the black.
■ ‘TRANSFORMATIONAL DEAL’: Chief executive Brian Brick (S)
Shopping rush is boost SHOPPERS eager to hit the high street after being trapped at home by the snow helped retail sales bounce back in January, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said today. A rush to beat the VAT hike on January 4 and the allure of clearance sales boosted non-food sales at the start of the month, but they eased back as consumer caution took hold, the BRC said. Like-for-like retail sales were up 2.3% year-on-year in January, the BRC said, the strongest growth since March last year and an improvement on the 0.3%
year-on-year decline seen in snow-struck December. UK retailers had a torrid festive season as Arctic conditions gripped the country, with big players such as Next and HMV reporting a slump in sales. But the BRC’s January retail sales monitor does not give a complete picture as it compares with a feeble, snow-hit performance last year. Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: “Growth this January was driven by a relatively short but strong burst of non-food buying early in the month.”
Page 2 Developing the future REGENERATION specialist St Modwen said the residential land market had started to recover as it recorded its first full-year profit in three years. The firm, which specialises in town centre redevelopment and bringing former-industrial sites back to life, posted pre-tax profits of £37.5 million in the year to November 30, compared to losses of £119.4 million the previous year. The last time it posted pre-tax profits was in the year to November 2007, before the financial crisis sent the property market into freefall.
Gambling on a deal INTERNET gambling firm 888 Holdings said takeover talks with Ladbrokes were still ongoing as it bolstered its negotiating position with strong final-quarter sales. The company, which offers casino, poker and sport betting, said an announcement regarding a potential deal with Ladbrokes would be made when appropriate following reports that discussions had hit difficulties over the tabled price. 888 posted an 18% increase in operating income to £44m.
SHARE PRICES NORTH AMERICAN American Express £27.86 +0.67 Gannett 1137.38+103.62 Hess Corp £51.76 +0.67 Microsoft 1752.30 +29.16 Motors Liquidation 46.54 Wal-Mart Stores £34.73 -0.04 AEROSPACE & DEFENCE Avon Rbbr 235 BAE Systems 3411/4 +41/4 Rolls-Royce Gp 6451/2 +2 AIM Brady Plc 79 +11/2 Dawson Intl 11/2 Man Brnze 38 +1 AUTOMOBILES & PARTS GKN 1991/4 +11/2 BANKS Barclays 3123/4 +45/8 HSBC 706 -1/2 5 Lloyds Banking Gp 64 /8 +7/8 1 Ryl Scotland 44 /4 +1/2 Stan Chart 1694 +2 BEVERAGES Diageo 1248 +14 SABMiller £207/8 +1/8 CHEMICALS Croda 1511 +19 Elementis 98 1313/4 +1 Johnsn Mat 1974 +4 CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS Balfour Beatty 3485/8 +75/8 Costain 219 -1/2 ELECTRICITY
Drax Gp 3995/8 +31/4 Intl Power 425 -2 Scottish & Sthrn 1169 +3 Energy ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Laird 1747/8 +41/2 EQUITY INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS Alliance Trust 3683/4 +17/8 FIXED LINE TELECOM SERVICES BT Grp 1843/4 -3 Cable & Wireless 481/2 +1/4 Comm Cable & Wireless 751/4 -1 Wwide 1 Colt Group 150 /2 +1/2 KCOM 58 +1/4 Talktalk Telecom 158 -1 FOOD & DRUG RETAILERS Morrison W 2771/2 -13/8 Sainsbury 3901/8 +3/8 1 Tesco 402 /8 -3/8 FOOD PRODUCERS AB Food 1063 -6 Nth Foods 743/4 Tate Lyle 578 +41/2 Unilever 1833 +2 Uniq 53/8 GAS, WATER & MULTIUTILITIES Centrica 3305/8 +21/2 National Grid 552 +21/2 Pennon Grp 6291/2 +8 Severn 1452 +12 United Utils 575 -4 GENERAL FINANCIAL 3i Group 3193/8 +61/4
ICAP 5561/2 +131/2 London StockExch 884 +61/2 Man Group 311 +75/8 Provident Financial 972 +21/2 Schroders 1865 +14 Schroders NV 1452 +14 GENERAL INDUSTRIALS Cooksn Grp 6761/2 +201/2 REXAM 3687/8 +121/4 Smiths Grp 1374 +24 GENERAL RETAILERS Ashley L 231/2 -1/2 Carphone Whse 4001/4 -13/4 3 Dixons Retail 21 /4 +3/4 Home Retail 2231/4 +13/8 Inchcape 3861/4 +61/4 Kingfisher 2533/4 -11/4 3 M&S 359 /4 +33/4 Mothercare 525 +11/2 Next 1998 +9 3 WH Smith 467 /8 +31/4 HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Smith Nph 7121/2 +101/2 HOUSEHOLD GOODS Aga Rangemaster 125 +31/4 Barrat Dev 96 +2 3 +97/8 Persimmon 430 /8 Reckitt Benckiser £343/8 -1/8 Taylor Wimpey 371/2 +1/8 INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING Charter 807 +10 +201/2 IMI 8941/2 INDUSTRIAL METALS Ferrexpo 4457/8 +63/4 INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION
BBA Aviation 2331/4 +41/4 Forth Ports 1336 -13 LIFE INSURANCE Aviva 4601/8 +37/8 Lgl & Gen 1181/4 +13/4 3 Old Mutual 131 /4 -11/4 Prudential 716 +3 -43/8 Resolution 2701/8 Standard Life 2393/8 -3/8 MEDIA BSkyB 764 +4 D Mail Tst 594 +15 ITV 823/4 -13/8 Johnston Press 103/4 +1/4 Pearson 1053 +13 Reed Elsevier 569 +14 STV Group 1241/2 -11/2 1 Trinity Mirror 82 /2 +51/4 Utd Business 7031/2 +121/2 UTV 1291/2 +1/2 1 WPP 811 /2 +18 Yell Group 101/2 +1/2 MINING Anglo American £341/8 +3/4 Antofagasta 1495 +4 BHP Billiton £253/8 +1/4 Eurasian Natural 1044 -7 Res Fresnillo 1449 +31 Kazakhmys 1631 +21 Lonmin 1834 +19 1 Rio Tinto £46 /4 +11/4 3 VEDANTA £24 /8 +1/2 RESOURCES 1 Xstrata 1467 /2 +501/2 MOBILE TELECOM SERVICES Inmarsat 688 -2
Local shares Carclo Marshalls National Grid Weir Gp
315 117 552 1600
+17 +2 +21/2 +24
FTSE closed at
6051.03 Up 53.65
Vodafone Group 1771/2 NONLIFE INSURANCE Admiral Grp 1719 RSA Insurance Gp 1381/2 OIL & GAS PRODUCERS BG 1440 BP 4811/2 Cairn Energy 4353/8 Royal Dutch Shell A £213/4 Royal Dutch Shell B £213/4 Total £365/8 Tullow Oil 1417 OIL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES
-2 +16 +11/8 +11 +51/4 +91/8 +1/8 +1/4 +17
AMEC 1228 +19 Petrofac 1550 1 Wood Group 582 /2 +51/2 PERSONAL GOODS Burberry Gp 1169 +33 PHARMACEUTICALS & BIOTECHNOLOGY Astrazeneca £295/8 +1/4 Axis-Shield 3033/4 +33/4 GlaxoSmithK 18 Shire 1661 +21 REAL ESTATE Brit Land 5261/2 +31/2 Captl Shop Cent 3757/8 +3/4 DTZ Hldgs 42 +1 Hamrsn 435 +3/4 Land Secs 6861/2 -1/2 SEGRO 3185/8 +15/8 SOFTWARE ETC SERVICES Autonomy Corp 1547 -4 Invensys 337 +71/4 Logica 1437/8 +6 +95/8 Misys 3491/4 Sage Group 2991/4 +31/4 SUPPORT SERVICES Berendsen 4477/8 +157/8 Bunzl 779 +11 Capita 672 +251/2 De La Rue 7101/2 Electrocomp 2673/4 +71/4 Experian 7901/2 +9 +21/4 G4S 2661/8 Hays 1253/4 +23/4 Homeserve 4491/4 +7 Menzies J 4461/4 +1/4 Rentokil 103 +11/8 Smiths News 941/2 -2 Wolseley £223/8 +3/8
IT HARDWARE ARM Hldgs Psion Spirent Comms
611 92 156
+23 +1 +35/8
TOBACCO Br Am Tob Imperial Tobacco
LEISURE & HOTELS Carnival Compass Grp easyJet Enterprise Inns FirstGroup Go-Ahead Gp Greene King Intercontl Htls Intl Cons Airlines Gp Ladbrokes Mitchells & Butlers Natl Express PartyGaming Rank Org Stagecoach Group TUI Travel Whitbread
£291/4 556 395 1061/4 374 1262 4753/4 1368 266
+5/8 -1/2 +95/8 +31/4 +23/4 +11 +17/8 +29 +73/8
1353/4 3485/8 2511/8 1853/8 1293/4 2203/4 245 1773
+1/8 +21/2 +31/4 +23/8 +31/8 +3/4 +4 +14
Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia...................... 1.51 dollars Bangladesh................. 108.31 taka Brazil.............................. 2.42 reals Canada....................... 1.52 dollars China ............................. 9.46 yuan Czech Republic ...... 26.20 korunas Denmark....................... 8.44 krone Euro............................... 1.13 euro Hong Kong................ 11.93 dollars Hungary................... 285.59 forints India.......................... 64.84 rupees Japan........................... 126.79 yen Mexico ....................... 17.23 pesos New Zealand .............. 1.95 dollars Norway ......................... 8.89 krone Pakistan.................. 130.03 rupees Philippines ................. 60.33 pesos South Africa................. 10.90 rand South Korea.............. 1558.00 won Sri Lanka ................ 169.03 rupees Sweden......................... 9.99 krona Switzerland.................. 1.47 francs Taiwan ...................... 40.94 dollars Turkey....................... 2.44 new lira USA ............................ 1.54 dollars
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS KNOWLEDGE is power, so they say. And Susan Kenyon, director of market research specialists Ask Insight, knows the value of providing good quality information to clients in the business world. Susan established the company in 1997. Since then, Ask Insight, based at Huddersfield’s Media Centre, has become one of Yorkshire’s leading independent suppliers of strategic marketing and marketing to clients in the public and private sectors in the UK and overseas. It has carried out detailed studies for clients including Kirklees College, Barnsley Development Agency, the NHS, housing trusts, a major north-west food wholesaler and charitable organisations. Among major contracts, Ask Insight has carried out detailed mapping of the creative and digital sector across West and South Yorkshire, building on work conducted last year for Calderdale Council. It has developed a benchmarking programme to provide higher and further education colleges with information drawn from “stakeholders” including academic and non-academic staff, students, local employers and suppliers. It has also researched housing needs for Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust and South Staffordshire Housing Trust as well as a research roadshow involving 500 members of the public for the NHS in north-east England. Susan brings a wealth of experience to her role at Ask Insight – although her career path differs substantially from her earliest ambitions to be a radiographer. Dewsbury-born Susan, who attended Whitcliffe Mount Grammar School, says: “I was very poorly when I was young and spent a lot of time in hospital. “The doctors thought I had polio. It turned out to be rheumatoid arthritis, but the staff in the radiography department were so lovely, I just wanted to get a job working with them!” Her first job was in administration at a commercial vehicle company in Gomersal. Susan went on to work as PA to the boss of a hi-fi business before wanderlust took her to Europe – where she spent six months in Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Holland selling magazine subscriptions. After marrying, she decided to settle back in Yorkshire and got a job in retailing, becoming a store manager for 10 years. “I loved it,” says Susan. “I worked at stores in Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.” When the couple’s daughter Lucy was born, Susan spent four years at home before returning to the world of work at Bradford College and later
All the facts and figures Dewsbury College, where she was a department manager building links between education and local businesses. The loss of her father in 1997 proved a defining moment. Says Susan: “I was 41 with a nine-year-old daughter and I decided it was time to do something for myself. “I have very strong self-belief – if you haven’t got that, who else is going to believe in you? “I got a contract to carry out some marketing for a leisure park in Minorca. That was my first assignment. I spent a week out there, sent them an invoice and got paid – and decided I wanted to do more of that!” Susan next carried out a strategic research project for a company in Cheshire and has never looked back. In 2004, she was elected as the first female to chair
■ QUESTION TIME: Susan Kenyon, of strategic market research firm Ask Insight
the Yorkshire branch of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, serving a two-year term. Says Susan: “It was challenging and enjoyable – but two years was long enough. “However, Huddersfield has a strong marketing voice in the region. “We have great designers, great creative people and great products. We also offer people who are very skilled marketers. “That is what is so great about the Media Centre – people are able to work together and collaborate. Huddersfield is a serious marketing town.” Susan continues to contribute to the industry as a visiting speaker at marketing events at Huddersfield University, by helping formulate questionnaires and by taking placements from sixth form colleges. Last year, Susan felt the business was at a crucial point. While it had survived the recession, she recognised it needed a new impetus. “We decided to grow,” she says. “We recruited a heavyweight researcher, we invested in some serious research software, we introduced new products and we started networking in London. “That cost money and effort, but we had decided we could not stay the same.” Ask Insight also took the bold decision to exhibit at the major industry show, Adtech, in London. The idea seemed daunting at first. “We were exhibiting alongside organisations like Google, Yahoo and Facebook,” says Susan. “Next to these big names with their plastic stands, we had a stand based on a country scene.
Page 3 Susan Kenyon
“We decided we were the ‘innocent’ of the research industry, so we had a field with a scarecrow to emphasise our ethos. It worked very well.” Ask Insight also showed it meant business – using its event research software system to capture masses of detail about how visitors to Adtech viewed their experience, which stands they visited and how long they stayed. “Adtech attracts 7,000 visitors a year – and we interacted with most of them using this innovative approach,” says Susan. Another Ask Insight development is Revolve, a project which uses online mapping techniques to track visitors to events such as exhibitions and trade shows or venues like museums and cinemas to provide clients with comprehensive information from the visitor’s perspective. Research supplied by Ask Insight has helped one client company win an order worth £6m while another has provided key information for a major skincare brand. Susan has now spent 10 years in retailing, 10 years in education and 13 years working for herself. “I call it a learning journey,” she says. “It is all about using that experience to advance.” Away from work, Susan keeps a horse, called Jack and has completed a 26-mile marathon by horseback for a disabled children’s charity. She has also taken part in the Race for Life for Breast Cancer. Ask Insight is also backing Huddersfield
Town’s Keep It Up campaign for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. However, horses are her passion – despite serious injuries sustained in riding accidents. “I work very hard and I always wanted a horse,” says Susan. “When I finally had some money behind me, getting a horse was my reward to myself.” Daughter Lucy also learned to ride and Susan recommends the “horsey” world as a good way to have fun and learn. “People in their 70s and 80s go riding,” she says. “For young people, riding and looking after horses helps build teamwork, social skills and communication skills. “It demands commitment and sacrifice, but I’ve never regretted it.”
Role: Director Family: Husband David and daughter Lucy Holidays: Lanzarote for a lie down! Otherwise, walking Britain’s coastal paths. I have walked more than 200 miles of the 635-mile south-west coastal paths Car: Audi Q5 “for best” and a Fiat 500 for running about First job: Office administrator Best thing about job: I get a buzz out of getting a good piece of work and doing it well Worst thing about job: The drudgery of paperwork Business tip: Be prepared to change what you are doing in response to the market.
Ask Insight Work: Strategic marketing and market research Site: Media Centre, Huddersfield Employees: Four Phone: 01484 437424 Email: susan@ask insight.co.uk Website: www.ask insight.co.uk
Lecturers launch business venture
A GROUP of language tutors who took voluntary redundancy have embarked on a business venture – teaching English. The six lecturers, who have amassed many years of experience teaching English, have set up Huddersfield English Language Centre to run classes for people such as migrant workers, refugees and home students. They hold weekly classes at the St Patrick’s Centre and the Brian Jackson Centre in Huddersfield to cater for preliminary, intermediate, upper intermediate, advanced and proficiency students. They are also planning a summer school for July and August. Co-founder Lyn Croft said: “There is a gap in the provision for many English learners, so we are offering friendly, flexible, affordable classes to help students learn English whatever their needs. “Classes are small and the atmosphere is both relaxed and stimulating, encouraging confident learning.” Jon Tyler, who has been teaching English for more than 20 years, has taught people in
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■ MIND YOUR LANGUAGE: Jon Tyler with colleagues (from left) June Wilson, Lyn Croft, Val McLeod and Jean Hallas, of Huddersfield English language Centre, which holds some of its courses at the St Patrick’s Centre
Eritrea and Sudan, as well as Japanese schoolchildren in Barcelona and a mixture of people in Minorca, Spain. June Wilson has worked as a language teacher since 1983, working abroad for the British Council in Mallorca and in Africa. She also has her own educational business – Bonjour/Buenos Dias – which she started in 1995. Val McLeod has taught at all levels for Skills For Life as well as in a private capacity.
Private enterprise A BUSINESS support group is urging smaller firms to consider taking out private medical insurance for their employees. The Forum of Private Business believes countless small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK could save time and money by investing in a high-quality medical insurance scheme. Providing additional healthcare cover for staff would save companies a significant amount of money by ensuring employees return to work as soon as possible after an illness or injury, the organisation said. Forum finance and administration director Nick Palin, said: “Employees often represent a business’ greatest investment, so it makes sense for business owners to optimise this investment by reducing sickness absence and increasing staff retention.”
Lyn Croft has been teaching students of all nationalities and at all levels. She has also undertaken outreach work with Asian women and summer schools to Austrian, Spanish and Italian students. Lyn is also a Cambridge assessor for Skills For Life. Jean Hallas has taught at all levels and to all nationalities, including teaching general English in Sri Lanka for two years.
Inspector calls RISKY BUSINESS Mark Dalton
T was interesting to see the IExecutive dual role of Health & Safety inspectors in a
recent intensive two-week inspection initiative. The HSE has a guidance and advisory role for businesses, but will also prosecute companies which fail to meet their legislative duties. Nearly 450 businesses were visited across West Yorkshire, all of whom had been pre-warned of the local HSE inspectors’ intentions to carry out premises inspections. The visits resulted in more than 70 businesses being issued with Improvement Notices or Prohibition Notices to make health and safety improvements. One firm in Kirklees is under further investigation and could be prosecuted as a result of the serious dangers uncovered by Inspectors. Typical uncontrolled hazards
found by the HSE inspectors included flammable liquids not being stored properly, missing or inadequate guards around machines and exposure to fumes from welding. HSE principal inspector David Green said: “We always prefer to offer guidance and advice to businesses to help them operate within the law, but we will take enforcement action when we find the health and safety of employees are being put at risk.” These inspections concentrated on premises in Bradford, C a l d e r d a l e, K i r k l e e s a n d Wakefield, but this type of focused initiative is not uncommon across the country. Wilby Risk Management provides auditing and advice services to check standards of legal compliance within a business so improvements can be implemented before an HSE Inspector calls.
Mark Dalton is associate director at Wilby Ltd
Firms look far beyond the UK COMPANY bosses are looking far beyond their UK and traditional markets to safeguard their prospects, says a major survey. The latest PwC Global CEO Survey said chief executives are focusing on developing markets and looking to innovation and the development of new products and services for future growth. Paul Nixon (pictured), senior partner at PwC in West Yorkshire, said: “UK chief executives recognise that they need to be braver and specific in their focus on new markets if they want to compete in the global environment. “Many of the UK’s traditional export markets are currently under-performing and – compared to their counterparts in other countries – UK chief executives see less opportunity for growth at home.” He said the fact that UK exports to the whole BRIC group of countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – were roughly the same as those to Ireland was not “a sustainable equation.” The survey showed that confidence levels among company bosses for the next 12 months had improved slightly compared with a year ago, but the improvement was markedly lower than the global average. But only 15% of UK CEOs believe the domestic market presents their companies with high-growth potential relative to other markets. In contrast, about half of bosses in major regions outside Europe think their domestic markets offers high potential for growth. Steve Denison, northern chairman, PwC, said: “UK CEOs remain concerned with financial stability and the tax regime but recognise that even if these issues are resolved, it will not be enough for UK plc to retain its position and profile. “Even in this challenging economic climate, Germany and the US are still seen as quality global suppliers, particularly to rapidly developing economies. “The UK needs to make sure it is on that list.” Some 20% of UK CEOs identified new geographic markets as the main opportunity to grow their business over the next 12 months – up from 14% the previous year. There is also a marked commitment to developing new products and services. UK bosses said they believe that the innovation needed to make this happen will come from inside the UK, through partnerships with others such as suppliers.
Isn’t technology just wonderful? N early 2000 the technoIsteam. logy bubble ran out of
Over the next two years, the US technology index fell 83% to a level that was not even breached d u r i n g t h e m a r ke t c r a s h following Lehman’s bankruptcy. Since then, using the US sector as a proxy for the industry, profits have been growing and the valuations of the companies are now the same as the market as a whole. During the intervening 10 years, some of the seemingly pie-in-the-sky projections have evolved into products we use in our everyday life. The convergence of communications and computing is obvious to anyone who owns an iPhone, but a decade ago it was still a pipe dream. Broadband was crude and expensive, Wi-Fi was just starting up and no-one expected Apple, who were yet to launch the iPod, to be leading the pack. Having moved from initials to twee names (PDA, WAP, ADSL etc to Blackberry, Wi-Fi etc) the advent and intrusion of
CITY TALK Simon Kaye
technology into our lives has become commonplace. So, where do we go from here and what lessons can we learn? The obvious one was “Don’t believe the hype”, but being human we will again, some day. The hype will probably not be in technology, but in emerging markets, China or maybe mining and commodities. It may occur in the next two years or 10 years from now, but it will happen. The real clue will be that we have once again suspended disbelief. As for the question of whether technology stocks should form part of a conservatively run portfolio, in our opinion it
should. Laptops, mobile phones and broadband may be pretty commonplace in the developed world, but the pace of change is accelerating. The average phone user tends to swap their handset every 12 to 24 months and PCs have almost become disposable items. Growth from the developing world is burgeoning – for instance Chinese laptop demand grew by 50% in 2010. More and more, we live part of our life online via emails, Facebook, storage of our precious photos. We now publish on the web snapshots so poor, they would not have made the album. These
Simon Kaye is divisional director at Rensburg Sheppards Investment Management
are all stored out there online and we do not spare a thought as to where. H o w e v e r, s o m e w h e r e , someone is paying for those storage facilities, spending hard earned cash on buying and maintaining the hardware. Technology’s contribution to lessening environmental impact should not be ignored. As an example, LEDs could be the future for both home and commercial light fittings, saving electricity. Many companies successfully survived the bust and many others stepped in and took over the mantle of those which did not make it. These companies are now making profits from trends that 10 years ago produced nothing but hot air. They will certainly grow more quickly than the global economy, but not without some ups and downs. In time they will once again become more highly valued than the average company’s shares and reward the patient investor.
Team up to tackle tax issues
■ TAX WARNING: Matt Holmes, of Liquid Accounts
A HUDDERSFIELD firm has teamed up with a leading business organisation – to help Kirklees companies avoid a £3,000 fine from the taxman. Longwood-based accountancy s o f t wa r e s p e c i a l i s t L i q u i d Accounts and the Forum of Private Business are warning small firms to keep proper financial records or face fines. The FPB said that despite p ro m i s i n g a “ l i g h t t o u c h ” approach to mistakes made in the process of implementing the 2.5% VAT rise, Revenue & Customs planned to clamp down on firms for “significant record keeping
failures” as well as probing likely unpaid taxes. Firms are expected to keep records going back at least six years. Information including invoices, bank statements, receipts and cheque stubs will have to be supported by up-to-date accounts books and detailed analysis. Matt Holmes, managing director at Liquid Accounts and adviser to the FPB, said: “HMRC is planning to clamp down on small business tax payments and record keeping from the middle of 2011. “For many, this will represent a lengthy administrative headache.
“Obviously, entrepreneurs will want to make sure they are not caught out and hit in the pocket at a time they can least afford it, but the key is to focus on creating business intelligence that you can use to your benefit rather than just keeping records for the taxman because you have to.” Mr Holmes issued a three-point plan to help firms with better bookkeeping – to seek advice if you are struggling for time or lack the expertise; embrace mobile technologies to help keep on top of the finances; and to consider cost-effective online accounting packages.
Time to take telecoms advice on connectivity KIRKLEES firms dependent on e-commerce business risk losing up to 92% of their online trade if their internet connection and web infrastructure is slow and outdated, it is claimed. A study by telecoms provider Opal – the business-to-business arm of the TalkTalk Group – said poor web connectivity could have an adverse effect on companies during peak online sales periods such as January, bank holidays or the festive period. It said connectivity and ensuring e-commerce sites run smoothly had never been more critical for businesses – with more than 92% of internet shoppers switching to alternative brands if their websites experience technical problems. The survey found that only 25% of browsers would revisit an e-commerce site and re-attempt a failed transaction, while fewer than 9% would wait more than 15 minutes for site repairs to be conducted before looking elsewhere. Opal said the solution to this technical problem for companies of any size or sector is to simply invest in business grade broadband to greatly improve the speed, efficiency and reliability of its e-commerce function.
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Another company joins the Frontline family
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used cars and light commercial vehicles introduced by both dealers and brokers. Joining the DealTrak scheme gives Glenside the chance to connect with a vast array of dealers linked into DealTrak – allowing it to receive an unlimited number of finance proposals.
Additional benefits include joint publicity, advertising on the DealTrak websites and free attendance at all conferences and networking events held by parent company Frontline Solutions. Glenside Finance heard about DealTrak through one of its brokers who had attended the
first annual Frontline Broker Conference in 2010. Frontline Solutions managing director Andy Shuter said: “I am delighted to announce Glenside as the first finance provider to join our partner scheme. and we look forward to welcoming them into the DealTrak family.”
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS Whitegates wins national award AN estate agency in Huddersfield has won a major award. Whitegates, which has offices at Market Street in the town centre, was the gold winner of the technology and online award at the 2010 Estate Agency of the Year Awards. The competition attracted entries from estate agencies across the country representing more than 4,000 branches. Nicholas Sykes, a director at Whitegates in Huddersfield, said: “Our entry was subject to rigorous scrutiny by a panel of independent industry experts. “The whole judging process was overseen by the property ombudsman Christopher Hamer and Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Federation of Property Professionals acting as arbiter.” Judges said Whitegates’ online presence and back-office systems were designed to “complement and enhance” their service offering. It remarked on the agency’s re-designed website and its “excellent understanding and usage of social media, e-marketing, intranet and blogging”. Whitegates also won gold for the best franchise. Said Mr Sykes: “Everyone is thrilled with these awards and we’re already working on a number of things to raise the bar still further in 2011.”
NHBC welcomes registrations rise SEVERE weather in December failed to dampen the spirits of housebuilders – as latest figures showed an increase in new home registrations during the final quarter of 2010. The National House-Building Council logged more than 7,385 registrations in December compared with 7,149 for the same month in 2009. That meant the total for 2010 stood about 30% up on 2009 at 115,458 compared with 88,083. However, the December, 2010 figure was down on the previous month – reflecting the impact of Christmas. Housebuilders in Yorkshire logged 1,585 new home registrations in December, 2010, against 1,343 for the same month the previous year. NHBC figures also showed that private sector registrations rose by 1% during the final quarter of last year to stand at to 18,551 compared with 18,393 for the same period last year. Public sector registrations were 13% higher at 8,711 against 7,685. Combined registrations rose by 5% to 27,262 from 26,078.
Community focus for RICS group A NEW body has been formed to examine how communities across Yorkshire can shape and manage their neighbourhoods in light of localism and the Big Society. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has set up the Land and Society Commission under the chairmanship of Trevor Beattie, a former director at the Homes and Communities Agency. The commission will lead a four-month investigation on how communities can find the best uses for land and property. It also wants to hear from people with experience in community action, the built environment and local government.
Company ready for a Lord’s test A COMPANY in Huddersfield providing surface cooling and heating systems for the construction industry is set to stage a major event. Skelmanthorpe-based Velta is following up the success of its inaugural Sustainable Design and Construction Forum at the Galpharm Stadium last September with another event this spring. The company, which linked up with Hanson Building Products, Stuarts Industrial Flooring and Creagh Concrete for last year’s event, will hold a similar in March – in London. Lord’s Cricket Ground will be the setting for Velta’s London Forum on March 24. More than 150 delegates, including consultants to engineers and architects, will attend the event, which is aimed at professionals in the commercial, residential and industrial buildings market. The event will provide building owners, m a n ag e r s, a rc h i t e c t s, c o n t r a c t o r s, consultants and property maintenance
engineers with the latest knowledge in the development of thermo-active building systems (TABS) – including renovation solutions for cooling and heating offices. Speakers will include Dr Rennie Chadwick, of VINCI Construction UK Ltd; Prof Doug King, of King Shaw Associates; David Firth, of Sir Robert McAlpine; and Prof Bjarne Olesen, of the University of Denmark. Velta’s TABS allow existing energy to be utilised to provide environmentally-friendly heating and cooling to many large development schemes. Velta managing director Gerald Kemp said: “Our first TABS event was such a success that we wanted to bring it to London. “Lords is a fantastic venue and we’re expecting delegates from across the UK as well as overseas to attend, along with some additional high profile speakers within the specialist TABS field.”
■ TALKING POINT: Dr Rennie Chadwick, managing director of VINCI Construction UK Ltd’s technology division, speaking at last year’s inaugural Velta Forum at the Galpharm Stadium
Fourth quarter sees deals fall
■ DEAL DISMAY: Graham Foxton, of Lambert Smith Hampton in Yorkshire
PROPERTY investment activity across Yorkshire took a tumble during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to a new survey. Figures from property advisers Lambert Smith Hampton showed that deals totalling £34.8m were transacted between October and December last year against a figure of £371.2mfor the previous quarter – while the total number of transactions fell by 55% to 75. The average deal price fell by almost 79% to about £464,000 – while the retail sector bore the brunt of the reduced activity, accounting for just 15% of the total transaction value compared
with 76% in the previous quarter. The largest deal to complete during the final quarter was Standard Life’s £13.8m purchase of Rockingham Street car park in S h e ff i e l d f ro m C o rdwe l l Property. Graham Foxton, surveyor with LSH’s Yorkshire agency team, said: “While these figures paint a bleak picture for the region’s investment market, activity for the whole year was down only 5.4% from 2009, demonstrating the strength of transactions in the first three quarters of the year. “Looking to 2011, with a continued improvement in occupa-
tional take-up across all sectors, the region should be well-placed to expand upon the investment activity experienced in 2010. “Early activity for the first quarter appears to be positive and there are certainly investors with an appetite to capitalise on good opportunities should good quality stock be released to the market throughout the year.” Mr Foxton said: “Although Government spending cuts are likely to hit the north hardest throughout 2011, cities such as Leeds are expected to help lead the UK to recovery, given its low vulnerability to public-sector job losses.”
Better ways to solve housing shortage TRADITIONAL building methods must make way for more cost-effective and sustainable designs if the growing housing crisis in Yorkshire is to be alleviated, said a report. The study commissioned by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said a series of low-cost housing systems could significantly ease the national housing shortage and make more affordable housing available to both local authorities and first-time buyers. It said: “By making use of off-site construction methods, recycled materials and innovative structural design, homes throughout Yorkshire and
Humberside can be constructed swiftly and cheaply with less impact on the environment. “Many of the designs can be easily segmented and extended, eliminating the need for costly renovation work and enabling them to evolve as the needs of the occupiers change.” RICS Yorkshire spokesman Atam Verdi said: “The need for more new homes in Yorkshire and Humberside is growing considerably and with construction levels across the UK still at an all time low, it’s a real issue. “The Government as well as the industry must consider more innovative solutions to help with
housing development – otherwise we will end up with even more overcrowding, undersupply and unaffordable housing. “New approaches will be part of the answer and also continue the push on higher environmental standards.” Study author Dr Chris Goodier, of Loughborough University, said: “UK housebuilding has long been associated with expensive, time consuming methods and can mean that environmental standards are difficult to maintain. “More innovative, modern off-site and modular designs are not only extremely cost effective,
but can be constructed with ease in a very short period of time. “Furthermore, many major mortgage providers are already willing to lend against these structures – which has been a problem in the past – meaning that first-time buyers could find them a highly practical way of getting onto the property ladder.” Examples include modular homes which can be priced from about £20,000. These are constructed off-site in less than 12 weeks and transported to the given location. Homes made from recycled plastic are also available.
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Movers and shakers
Motoring ahead to better health Laura Hakier & Joanne Hodgkins
Jones Homes HOUSEBUILDER Jones Homes (Northern) Ltd has made two appointments at its Cleckheaton-based regional office. Laura Hakier (left), of Fenay Bridge, joins the company in an administrative role while Joanne Hodgkins (right), of Bradford, becomes assistant PA to regional director Robert Adams. In her new role, Ms Hodgkins will provide full secretarial and administrative support to Mr Adams while Ms Hakier will take responsibility for the smooth running of reception and provide support for telephone enquiries. Ms Hodgkins previously worked in customer services before joining Jones Homes while Ms Hakier joins the regional housebuilder from university, where she gained a degree in English literature with creative writing.
A NEW health academy has opened its doors in Huddersfield. Prohms Health Academy staged at open day at its premises in the former Brook Motors premises at St Thomas’ Road, Longroyd Bridge, to demonstrate the benefits of keeping fit. Visitors were able to take up “free” health checks or attend a drop-in clinic for back, knee or shoulder pain. There were also circuit and pilates sessions as well as tours of the facilities, presentations and a drinks reception. Pictured at the open day are (from left) managing director Matt Coulson and physiotherapists Ruth Johnson and Sophie Varley. The academy was opened by Mr Coulson, who has 14 years experience in the fitness and sports industry, and Sandra Babbings. Sandra is director and owner of Prohms Occupational Health and Prohms Physiotherapy and Ergonomics. which is part of occupational health specialist business Prohms and offers services such as physiotherapy, sports massage, one-to-one exercise coaching, sports specific training and gym access.
Retail experts take a bow
ACCOUNTANCY and business services firm Grant Thornton has appointed Steve Kitching as a senior VAT manager for Yorkshire. Mr Kitching (pictured) brings with him 20 years’ experience as a senior financial accountant with the Royal Mail. He joins Grant Thornton from a Midlands-based accountancy practice and has six years experience helping businesses and entrepreneurs with VAT and Custom Duties issues and assurance advice. He began his career training with HM Revenue & Customs as a VAT inspector. His specialist areas include the retail, land, property and not-for-profit sector, in particular education and welfare.
Colin Bateson & Peter Hanson
Strategy to Succeed Ltd Two former senior Business Link advisers have launched a new venture to help West Yorkshire firms. Leeds-based Strategy To Succeed Ltd has been formed by Colin Bateson and Peter Hanson, who share more than 25 years experience in helping companies through Business Link support. Mr Bateson and Mr Hanson have advised more than 2,000 businesses during their time with Business Link in areas such as strategic planning and business growth. In their new role, they will be supported by a team of associates with expertise in areas including finance, sales and marketing, human resources, and IT.
TURNING stores into theatres could be the key to boosting retail sales, delegates to a major conference have been told. Kate Hardcastle and Richard Gomersall (both pictured), of business transformation specialist Insight with Passion, took to the stage at Interiors 2011 to deliver their innovative seminar How to Bring the Shop Floor to Life using Retail Theatre. They were invited to address delegates at Interiors 2011 – the UK’s largest and most prestigious event in the interiors industry – following their resounding success at the 2010 show. The seminar caused a stir around the exhibition as they presented to a full-house of engaged professionals. Attendees even had to watch the entire presentation from outside the
theatre due to the huge demand. The presentation provided advice on how to create Retail Theatre in-store to improve the shopping time and average spend of customers. It focused on how – by transforming the look, feel, sounds, scents and the service delivered in-store – retail businesses can transform their sales floor and ultimately, increase footfall and profit. The success of Retail Theatre is proving to be a hot topic – with TV programmes such as Channel 4’s Secret Shopper. This showed that a business using Retail Theatre to communicate to the customer in a language they understand and providing excellent service from a team of brand ambassadors could make shopping more enjoyable and increase the likelihood of customers coming back.
Finance Yorkshire FINANCE Yorkshire has appointed Heather Roxborough as investment manager. Ms Roxborough (pictured) joins the “seedcorn” team responsible for making investments of up to £780,000 in early stage, knowledge and technology start-up businesses with the best opportunity for rapid growth. She previously worked for ITI Life Sciences in Scotland, where she was responsible for making multi-million pound investments in commercially-driven research and development programmes for the medical and healthcare sectors. Ms Roxborough has also worked with global giant Unilever in the UK and America in its research and corporate ventures divisions. She said: “I am really excited about working in the Yorkshire area and look forward to speaking to a variety of businesses about how our investment can help their growth. “I will be looking to support technology-based companies across the region which have significant market potential but need financial support to turn it into a reality. “Yorkshire has a strong reputation for healthcare companies and with my experience in bio-science and high-end medical technology, I will be in a good position to identify the opportunities available.”