ALISON FEARNS Building up a business
Full inter view - Page 3
JULIE SYKES Advice to jobhunters Stor y - Page 5
An EXAMINER publication
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees
Firm takes export route to Sweden A COMPANY in Huddersfield is driving ahead after notching up its first export success. Shepley-based camper van conversion specialist Wellhouse Leisure has completed the sale of its award-winn i n g H y u n d a i c a m p e r va n t o Sweden. Managing director David Elliott said: “We have been working with a number of Hyundai dealers and head offices around the world. “This is great news for all of us and shows that you can export in the UK motorhome industry.” Wellhouse – with help from government export support body UK Trade & Investments – worked with a Swedish dealer for several months as the conversion had to be reversed for the left-hand drive market. Said Mr Elliott: “The Hyundai conversion we build has been well-received all over the world. “We have had enquiries from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. “To get the first export under our belt is fantastic.” The first camper van was delivered
to Andres Nielson, chairman of the Hyundai dealers’ association of Sweden. The vehicle will be used as a hire vehicle. But Mr Elliott said: “If all goes well, Sweden are talking of ordering between 50 and 100 campers a year. “With worldwide interest, we expect turnover and the number of campers we build to almost double in 2012. “We have already started to give our website a worldwide feel by having the homepage in 10 different languages. But the vans all sport the new Wellhouse logo and ‘Made in Huddersfield’ badge.” The export win follows a year of success for Wellhouse Leisure. The firm was a double winner in the 2010 Examiner Business Awards. The company was winner of the Kirklees Council Make it Huddersfield Award while Mr Elliott was named Fantastic Media Young Business Person of the Year. The firm’s Hyundai i800 campervan also won the Motor Caravan Award at the 2012 Caravan Industry Awards while the conversion gained full approval from the UK trade organisa-
Warming to China A COMPANY in Huddersfield is proving hot stuff. Fired up Corporation Ltd was named winner of the Rising Stars category in the Cathay Pacific China Business Awards 2011 – a contest to reward UK firms making inroads in China and Hong Kong. Fired Up was recognised for its success in setting up a 300,000sq ft factory in Zhongshan, China, to complement production from its 100,000sq ft site at Longroyd Bridge.
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■ VAN MAN: David Elliott (right), of Wellhouse Leisure, with Andres Nielson, chairman of the Hyundai dealers association of Sweden, and the first camper van to be exported by Wellhouse to the country
tion, the National Caravan Council. And Wellhouse Leisure also achieved ISO 9001 accreditation for its manufacturing processes.
A keen camper van fan, Mr Elliott set up Deepcar Motorhomes with his father in 1995 before launching Wellhouse Leisure in 2002.
Overseas markets ‘vital’ to region’s economy A LEADING trade expert is calling for Kirklees firms to make 2012 the year for exporting – and enter a competition that can help turn ideas for international success into reality. The initiative, run by UK Trade & Investment in partnership with HSBC and PwC, aims to encourage more regional businesses to pursue overseas growth by offering a tailored package of support to the company with the best new export idea. The overall winner for Yorkshire and the Humber will get travel grants to global destinations of their choice – an opportunity to develop contacts, build relationships and kickstart expansion in markets where there is a clear demand for their skills, products or services. Also on offer is access to a range of international resources and research and
dedicated guidance from UKTI, PwC and HSBC. Small and medium-sized businesses have until the end of the month to submit their entry. Shortlisted companies will be invited to present their big export idea to a live audience of business leaders and a judging panel, which will select the winning idea. Mark Robson, UKTI international trade director for Yorkshire and Humber, said: “Future prosperity in this region will not come from domestic markets alone. “Across the world, there are markets that are showing strong, long-term growth and we want to ensure local firms are not just trading abroad but thriving there. “I am determined to drive up exports in 2012 and the number of exporters in the region as it’s the only way for the economy to grow.
“There is demand all around the world for products and services from across Yorkshire and the Humber, but too many of our smaller firms are missing out on these opportunities.” Arif Ahmad, PwC private business partner for Yorkshire, said: “Exports are critical to lifting the UK out of the economic slump and creating jobs. “By increasing the volume of UK exports by about a quarter, we would expect to add about £36bn to the economy.” David Beaty, HSBC regional commercial director for the North of England, said: “Recent HSBC research suggests that UK trade volumes will increase by 60% by 2025 – and SMEs will have a critical role in supporting and driving that growth.” Go tot www.ukti.gov.uk/exportingfor growthprize
■ DETERMINED: Mark Robson, director of UK Trade & Investments
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Making room A FIRM of architects has created more office space in Huddersfield. Aedas Architects Ltd has reached agreement with landlord RO Properties to release a further floor for refurbishment at NU House in Market Street. Aedas will surrender part of the third floor and take on a new 10-year lease on 8,400sq ft of space on the fourth floor.
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Financial woes hit summer bookings S T RU G G L I N G t o u r o p e r at o r Thomas Cook has reportedly suffered a near-33% slump in summer bookings as its financial woes deter already cash-strapped holidaymakers. According to a leisure industry monitor, Thomas Cook saw bookings decline by as much as a third in the two weeks to January 13 – a key period for tour operators when some 15% of summer bookings are taken. The decline is more than double the industry average of a 15% drop and nearly three times the 11% fall at Thomson Holidays owner TUI Travel. Thomas Cook, the UK’s second biggest travel company, came close to collapse in November after dire trading forced it to turn to its banks for more financial help, prompting fears it was on the brink of collapse. Some analysts have attributed the
recent weak performance, which saw a 45% drop in online sales, to the damage the cash crisis caused to the company’s reputation, as well as ongoing problems of low consumer confidence. Wyn Ellis, analyst at Numis, told a national newspaper that hoteliers were concerned about the outlook for the 170-year-old travel company. Thomas Cook’s share price has plunged by 91% in the last year as it issued a number of profit warnings and saw the exit of its chief executive, Manny Fontenla-Novoa. Shares closed 5% lower yesterday – down by 0.8p at 14.3p. Rival TUI Travel was 3.6p lower at 193.2p. Thomas Cook, which has 1,300 shops – including ones at New Street and High Street in Huddersfield – has set out a turnaround plan for the UK business to focus on fewer and better quality hotels and drive up more online
Home Plus stores ‘face the axe’ SUPERMARKET giant Tesco is understood to be close to winding up its stand-alone furnishing chain Home Plus as it regroups and focuses on its core grocery business. The grocer, which has 2,700 stores in the UK, is keen to exit leases it holds on all 13 of its Home Plus stores following weak sales at the out-of-town warehouse-style outlets, according to newspaper reports. Tesco and its property adviser Morgan Williams have been reviewing the Home Plus stores for six months, while two of the branches in Telford, in Shropshire and Staines,
in Surrey, are already being formally marketed. Tesco saw billions of pounds wiped from its shares earlier this month after the supermarket admitted that its £500m price cut campaign had failed to bring in enough customers. Chief executive Philip Clarke has pledged to lead a change in the company’s expansion strategy, with less focus on massive out-of-town stores, and said it would move faster to restore the company’s sales growth at home. Tesco first opened Home Plus, which focuses on furniture and soft furnishings, at retail parks in 2005.
■ SLUMP: Holiday operator Thomas Cook has reportedly seen a near 33% fall in summer bookings
bookings. Thomas Cook announced last month that the New Street store is to close with the loss of nine jobs as part of plans to axe 200 travel shops across the UK. The company plans to sell £200m of its assets over the next 18 months as
part of its plans to take a chunk out of its debt mountain, which rose by 11% to £891m in the year. The group was plunged into crisis after it went back to its lenders to ask for an additional £100m lifeline – sparking fears of a collapse – but later secured £200m from its banks. Thomas Cook reported in its delayed final results that its UK business saw its underlying profits fall by 68% to £34.1m in the year after its margins slipped to just 1% and disruption from the Arab Spring cost it some £15m. The group said it started January with a “decent” mainstream order book, but given weak consumer sentiment cut its planned capacity by 8%. The 33% drop is not a cumulative booking position, Thomas Cook added. The group will publish a trading update on February 8.
£6m takeover complete THE owner of dry cleaning firm Johnsons is to spend £6m on a business that kits out workers at hotels, building sites and factories. Johnson Service Group’s Apparelmaster rental division already provides 1.3m people a week with protective overalls, including workers at Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and bread maker Warburtons. It is set to expand with the takeover of Cannon Textile Care, which is owned by OCS Group and like Apparelmaster rents and cleans workwear, as well as towels, bed sheets, table clothes and industrial mats. Cannon has depots in Gateshead
and Birmingham and laundries in Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol, Newmarket and Balham in south London. If the £6.1m deal is approved by regulators, these will be combined with Johnsons’ 20 sites across the UK. OCS, which also has a facilities management arm, will continue to run its washroom services businesses under its Cannon Hygiene brand. Chris Sander, managing director of Apparelmaster, said the business, which employs some 2,500 staff, hopes to find cost savings from the acquisition in 2013 and could not rule out future job cuts.
Page 2 Ryanair’s new route LOW-COST airline Ryanair has announced its 27th route from West Yorkshire. The carrier – which welcomed its four millionth passenger at Leeds-Bradford from Dublin last week – has unveiled the route to Reus in Spain, which will operate twice weekly from March 30. Airport commercial director Tony Hallwood said: “Reus is a great addition to our existing range of Spanish holiday destinations, offering holidaymakers easy access to the beautiful beaches of the Costa Dorada and the picturesque Catalonian town of Tarragona. “It’s also just a short distance from Spain’s top theme park and resort, PortAventura, with its four themed hotels, restaurants and kids’ clubs.”
Rising to a record CAKE and bread maker Finsbury Foods said first half sales topped £100m million for the first time. But the company warned that profit margins continued to be squeezed by high cost price inflation. The Cardiff-based company said sales in the six months to December 31 rose by 16% to £102m, but warned its second half was unlikely to see such strong growth.
SHARE PRICES NORTH AMERICAN American Express £31.82 -0.30 Gannett 988.26 +0.64 Hess Corp £39.59 +0.27 Microsoft 1902.71 -3.85 Motors Liquidation 48.13 Wal-Mart Stores £38.97 -0.18 AEROSPACE & DEFENCE Avon Rbbr 314 -21/2 BAE Systems 3221/2 +83/4 Rolls-Royce 753 +171/2 AIM Brady Plc 811/2 +1/4 Dawson Intl 13/8 1 Man Brnze 28 /2 AUTOMOBILES & PARTS GKN 2143/8 +23/4 BANKS Barclays 2225/8 HSBC 5447/8 +25/8 Lloyds Banking Gp 325/8 -1/8 Ryl Scotland 281/8 +3/4 Stan Chart 1580 +15 BEVERAGES Diageo 13871/2 -51/2 SABMiller £237/8 +5/8 CHEMICALS Croda 1939 +2 Elementis 98 151 +5/8 Johnsn Mat £203/4 CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS Balfour Beatty 2857/8 -11/2
1965/8 +5/8 ELECTRICITY Drax Gp 510 -22 Intl Power 3201/4 +11/4 SSE 1236 -15 ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Laird 1651/2 +2 EQUITY INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS Alliance Trust 3601/4 +13/4 FIXED LINE TELECOM SERVICES BT Grp 2061/4 +3/4 Cable & Wireless 417/8 +11/8 Comm Cable & Wireless 237/8 +6 Wwide 7 Colt Group 92 /8 -1/4 KCOM 681/4 +1/2 Talktalk Telecom 1237/8 FOOD & DRUG RETAILERS Morrison W 2963/4 +3 Sainsbury 2901/2 -1/8 Tesco 335 +6 FOOD PRODUCERS AB Food 1160 +6 Tate Lyle 6651/2 -91/2 Unilever £205/8 +1/8 GAS, WATER & MULTIUTILITIES Centrica 2823/8 -7/8 National Grid 614 -41/2 Pennon Grp 683 -10 Severn 1517 -15 United Utils 594 -51/2 Costain
GENERAL FINANCIAL 3i Group 1871/4 +3/4 ICAP 3391/2 +33/4 1 London StockExch 899 /2 +191/2 Man Group 1191/8 -21/8 Provident Financial 980 -19 Schroders 1487 +26 Schroders NV 1219 +17 GENERAL INDUSTRIALS Cooksn Grp 572 +11/2 REXAM 3791/2 +1 1 Smiths Grp 996 /2 +7 GENERAL RETAILERS Ashley L 211/8 Carphone Whse 3133/4 -11 Dixons Retail 145/8 +11/8 3 Home Retail 100 /8 -1/8 Inchcape 3431/8 -7/8 Kingfisher 2581/8 -21/4 3 M&S 332 /8 -21/4 Mothercare 1961/2 -61/2 Next £261/8 -3/8 WH Smith 533 -3 HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Smith Nph 6131/2 +5 HOUSEHOLD GOODS Aga Rangemaster 801/4 -21/4 Barrat Dev 1103/8 -11/4 1 Persimmon 524 /2 +31/2 5 Reckitt Benckiser £33 /8 -1/2 Taylor Wimpey 425/8 +5/8 INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING IMI 855 -221/2
INDUSTRIAL METALS Ferrexpo 3381/4 +71/4 INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION BBA Aviation 1913/4 -1/4 LIFE INSURANCE Aviva 3573/8 +61/2 Lgl & Gen 1175/8 +3/4 Old Mutual 1483/4 +15/8 1 Prudential 716 /2 +221/2 Resolution 2703/8 -3/8 Standard Life 2191/4 +55/8 MEDIA BSkyB 680 +81/2 D Mail Tst 442 +67/8 ITV 763/8 +7/8 1 Johnston Press 6 /8 +1/8 Pearson 1236 +3 +61/2 Reed Elsevier 5371/2 STV Group 98 -4 Trinity Mirror 48 +11/2 Utd Business 550 +71/2 UTV 1097/8 +11/8 1 WPP 757 /2 +121/2 5 Yell Group 5 /8 +3/8 MINING Anglo American £267/8 +1/4 Antofagasta 1359 +21 5 BHP Billiton £21 /8 +3/8 Eurasian Natural 733 -51/2 Res Fresnillo 1784 +59 Kazakhmys 1133 +10 Lonmin 1048 +16 Rio Tinto £373/8 +1/2
Local shares Carclo Marshalls National Grid Weir Gp
308 951/4 614 1884
-11/8 -41/2 -70
FTSE closed at
5782.56 Up 54.01 VEDANTA 1178 +32 RESOURCES Xstrata 10891/2 +111/2 MOBILE TELECOM SERVICES Inmarsat 4111/2 +77/8 Vodafone Group 1787/8 +13/4 NONLIFE INSURANCE Admiral Grp 9031/2 +15 RSA Insurance Gp 1087/8 +3/4 OIL & GAS PRODUCERS BG 1449 -8 BP 4763/4 +91/4 1 Cairn Energy 292 /4 +15/8 Royal Dutch Shell A £231/8 +5/8 Royal Dutch Shell B £24 +3/4
Total £331/2 +1/8 Tullow Oil 1382 +21 OIL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES AMEC 1004 +14 Petrofac 1454 +14 Wood Gp(J) 658 -1/2 PERSONAL GOODS Burberry Gp 1341 -14 PHARMACEUTICALS & BIOTECHNOLOGY Astrazeneca £303/4 +3/8 GlaxoSmithK 31/2 1 Shire £21 /4 REAL ESTATE Brit Land 4965/8 +3/4 Captl Shop Cent 3327/8 +23/4 Hamrsn 389 -13/8 Land Secs 6911/2 +1/2 3 SEGRO 219 /4 +3/8 SOFTWARE ETC SERVICES Invensys 2003/4 +1/4 Logica 813/4 +21/8 Misys 310 Sage Group 3101/8 +51/4 SUPPORT SERVICES Berendsen 454 +4 Bunzl 8631/2 -2 1 Capita 650 /2 +11/2 De La Rue 962 +8 Electrocomp 2187/8 +27/8 Experian 8861/2 -4 G4S 2717/8 +1/2 Hays 721/2 +3/8 Homeserve 3081/8 -17/8
Menzies J 532 Rentokil 751/4 Smiths News 87 Wolseley £223/8 IT HARDWARE ARM Hldgs 5901/2 Psion 453/4 Spirent Comms 1221/4 TOBACCO Br Am Tob £291/2 Imperial Tobacco £223/8 LEISURE & HOTELS Bwin.Party Digital 1581/2 Carnival 1979 Compass Grp 6151/2 easyJet 4143/8 Enterprise Inns 343/4 FirstGroup 3063/4 Go-Ahead Gp 1287 Greene King 5131/2 Intercontl Htls 1338 Intl Cons Airlines 1711/8 Gp Ladbrokes 1401/4 Mitchells & Butlers 2661/8 Natl Express 2235/8 Rank Org 1291/2 Stagecoach Group 2791/8 TUI Travel 1931/4 Whitbread 1682 INDEX FTSE 100 5782.56 INDEX FTSE 250 10867.56
+2 +1/4 +1
+15 -3/4 -31/8 +1/4 -1/8 -3/4 -10 +2 -81/8 -3/4 +31/4 -33 +11/2 +21 +31/2 +1/4 -43/8 -5/8 +11/2 +5/8 -35/8 +19 +54.01 +41.63
TOURIST RATES Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia...................... 1.40 dollars Bangladesh................. 123.45 taka Brazil.............................. 2.44 reals Canada....................... 1.50 dollars China ............................. 8.79 yuan Czech Republic ...... 28.12 korunas Denmark....................... 8.52 krone Euro............................... 1.15 euro Hong Kong................ 11.44 dollars Hungary................... 328.09 forints India.......................... 68.78 rupees Japan........................... 113.92 yen Mexico ....................... 18.21 pesos New Zealand .............. 1.79 dollars Norway ......................... 8.80 krone Pakistan.................. 131.85 rupees Philippines ................. 57.53 pesos South Africa.................. 11.53 rand South Korea.............. 1533.00 won Sri Lanka ................ 166.94 rupees Sweden....................... 10.09 krona Switzerland.................. 1.39 francs Taiwan ...................... 40.64 dollars Turkey....................... 2.67 new lira USA ............................ 1.48 dollars
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Make room for the kids! BUILDINGS hold a special a proper business plan. I had to interest for Alison Fearns. demonstrate to him that it was The Stocksmoor viable because the decision to businesswoman – who liked leave a relatively safe job with nothing better than playing with regular pay would impact the Lego and her brother’s Meccano whole family.” set as a girl – went on to enjoy a Alison applied the same successful career in architecture project management principles and design before working in she had used at the council to local government. draw up her business plan, Now she is building up her own cashflow forecasts, budget and business – and relishing the supplier lists. chance to put the skills she She also used her experience honed in her previous career to in the property field to find use in an entirely new suitable premises. A light and environment. airy unit at Springfield Mill met the requirements for Alison set up Kids Bedroom reasonably-priced Boutique Ltd only last summer accommodation which was and moved into premises at well-connected to the public Springfield Mill, Denby Dale, in transport system, close to the October. The business brings motorway, offered free parking together everything needed to for customers and already furnish or makeover a child’s provided a home to bedroom – with colourful complementary businesses. collections of beds and chairs, Says Alison: “Being in an old rugs, light shades, pillows, duvets mill building is ‘classic’ and play equipment. Huddersfield – making use of an The idea was sown when Alison’s daughter Lucy was ready old building which has been part of our industrial heritage and is to move from cot to bed. “I had still providing space for difficulty in finding well-designed, businesses. I have always loved aesthetically pleasing and affordable bedroom furniture and buildings. I noticed buildings from an early age. I remember some tasteful accessories in a houses being built near to where reasonable distance and price,” we lived and the local kids used says Alison. to play on the site. I loved the “Having spent hours on the smell of sawn wood and putty! internet and travelling round the area, I kept thinking wouldn’t it be good if I could pull a range of desirable and affordable things together in one place – without having to go from place to place or spend hours on the web pulling it all together. This is the gap that I spotted.” Alison began researching her plan while still employed as a project manager working on regeneration schemes at Kirklees Council. The opportunity to turn the dream into reality came when her employer began seeking volunteers for redundancy – and Alison began to give it serious consideration. She says: “I had my own ■ ROOM TO GROW: Alison ‘Dragon’s Den’ panellist to convince – my husband Neal! He Fearns, of Kids Bedroom Boutique, Springfield Mill, Denby Dale made me sit down and work out
Page 3 Alison Fearns
“I used to draw plans of houses and play with my brother’s Meccano and my Lego. One of my grandfathers was a mining engineer and he would take me to museums or let me use his draughting equipment. He also had a set of lovely encyclopaedias and would explain interesting facts.” At school, Alison was “warned off” her preferred career of architect – but happily ignored the advice. Studying for her degree at University College London, she honed her skills in fine art and sketching and learned the disciplines of being a draughtsman during the holidays on short-term contracts for private sector firms, including structural engineers. “You had to produce accurate, neat drawings very quickly because you were working in a commercial environment,” she says. “One of my projects was to add embellishments to the basic structure of a bridge. Later, I would get small commissions, such as domestic extensions. I did a lot of work in London for a property developer who was converting large, old houses into flats.” During the recession of the 1990s, Alison decided to leave the capital and return to her home town of Barnsley. She got a job with Kirklees Council as a condition surveyor, diagnosing problems and defects in privately-owned listed buildings. She later moved into regeneration, working on projects to maintain and improve council housing stock and develop facilities including the DRAM Centre at Ridgeway, Dalton. Other projects included Orchard View respite centre at Westfields, Mirfield, and a nursery for Healey Lane J&I School in Batley. Alison has also worked on the ambitious HD One development involving Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd. While the work was rewarding, Alison has no doubt that being her own boss is better. She says:
“It concentrates all your thoughts, but in a positive way because you are thinking about developing the business, picking up ideas, becoming more observant and you are hugely motivated. “Any job with a degree of responsibility brings with it some level of stress because not everything goes to plan. With my role now, the stress is more latent. I’m asking myself will the business be successful? How is my cashflow doing? What can I do to improve sales? It is free of the burden of having to please the boss. “I’m a great believer in the idea that you only get out of something what you put in and I relate well to the idea of 100% effort gleans 100% reward. Working for myself is like the ultimate performance-related pay scheme!” Adds Alison: “I can’t force people to buy anything, but I can exercise my judgement in assessing what people will want, how products link together so customers will buy more and act as an advocate for my products and services.” Working hard to build up the business means there’s no time for Alison to pursue some of her favourite hobbies and pastimes. To complement the showroom, she is developing a website so that people can shop online if they prefer. “My focus now is on developing the website and refining systems and processes to effectively and efficiently run the business,” she says. While Alison still enjoys music and relishes time with the family, she says: “I have sacrificed employment for something more dynamic and unpredictable. I have also sacrificed my walks. Until starting this business robbed us of our Sundays, Neal and I were very keen hill walkers. I miss it most on a crisp, sunny day when I yearn to be out on the moors.”
Role: Owner Age: 48 Family: Married to Neal with daughter Lucy, six Holidays: Summer holidays in Dorset and winter holidays ski-ing in Italy Car: Volkswagen Polo – a sturdy, reliable little tank! First job: Saturday job working in a dress shop in Barnsley. My parents were keen on instilling a good work ethic in us Best thing about job: Being able to make decisions for myself. It must be a reaction to the layers of hierarchy and decision-making I experienced in my previous job! Worst thing about job: Having no time to enjoy my Sundays at the moment! Business tip: Plan rigorously and research thoroughly before setting up in business. Research your market as best you can.
Kids Bedroom Boutique Work: Collections of furniture and accessories for children’s bedrooms Site: Denby Dale Phone: 01484 868146 Email: alison@kidsbedroom boutique.co.uk Web:www.kidsbedroom boutique.co.uk
Independent ﬁnancial planning services for companies and individuals Eastwood & Partners (Financial Services) Ltd
Pennine House, Lowﬁelds Close, Lowﬁelds Business Park, Elland HX5 9DA 01422 377737 www.eastwoodﬁnancial.co.uk Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority
More companies getting connected MORE Huddersfield businesses are making the connection to high-speed broadband, says a survey. Figures from TalkTalk Business suggest the number of small and medium-sized firms in the town accessing high-speed business broadband and other “next generation” applications, such as cloud, has increased by 35% in the past 12 months. As a result of firms being better connected, the last year has also seen a 22% increase in the number of Huddersfield employees working for local SMEs which have high-speed broadband access – providing a shot in the arm for workforce productivity. Nationally, Salisbury saw the biggest growth in SMEs now accessing high-speed broadband – ahead of London, Hereford, Oxford and Worcester. By contrast, Sheffield, Glasgow and Wakefield saw the smallest percentage increase in SMEs accessing the network. Andy Lockwood, TalkTalk Business transformation director, said: “Despite a pessimistic economic outlook, as the UK’s largest network provider, it is encouraging to see such a significant increase in SMEs now connected to high-speed business grade broadband. “Research we conducted estimated that UK SMEs are collectively losing £357m in wasted labour costs and suffering up to 32.4m hours of internet downtime a month through a reliance on ‘domestic’ rather than ‘business grade’ broadband connectivity. “This underlines how vital it is for businesses of all sizes to be connected to a high speed network. “It’s the gateway to the latest cloud technology and being on the right network increases speed and efficiency – ensuring long term economic growth.”
Batley company takes the biscuit! YORKSHIRE’S largest hotel group and a Batley-based team of master bakers have joined forces to give guests a better class of biscuit with their morning coffee or tea. Each of the hotels in the Cedar Court Hotel Group, including one at Ainley Top, Huddersfield, will now be supplied with hand-crafted biscuits made in Yorkshire using only the finest ingredients by the bakers at The Miniature Bakery, which was founded in 2007. In a departure from the traditional choice of biscuit, The Miniature Bakery offers a “sophisticated and continental” range of quality biscuits, including All Butter Viennese, Chocolate Viennese and Macaroons. The Miniature Bakery’s biscuits were first supplied to the five-star Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa in York. They proved so popular that Cedar Court Hotels decided to roll them out across its four-star properties as well. Michael Weaver, group executive head chef of Cedar Court Hotels, said: “We wanted to be able to give our guests a more original choice and better class of
■ SWEET DEAL: Batley-based The Miniature Bakery is now supplying the Cedar Court Hotel Group
biscuit to go with their tea and coffee. “As a fellow member of deliciouslyorkshire, we were initially confident that they would be a good supplier to speak to – but the quality of their biscuits is even higher than we expected and were a real hit with guests at The Grand. “It’s good not only to be able to provide our guests with a new choice of biscuits but also to continue with our policy of working with local suppliers and using local
produce wherever we can.” Cedar Court Hotels comprises the four star Leeds/Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield/Halifax, Harrogate hotels and the five-star Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa in York, all of which are easily accessible from motorways, main roads and highways. D e l i c i o u s l yo r k s h i r e i s a not-for-profit organisation providing vital support to a diverse range of food and beverage producers, retailers and distinguished hospitality operators in Yorkshire.
Wider Wi-Fi coverage YORKSHIRE is becoming a hot-spot for Wi-Fi. Telecoms giant BT said Wi-Fi users in the region can now take advantage of more than 205,000 Wi-Fi hotspots – almost three times the number of less than two years ago. The rapidly expanding BT network – the largest in the UK – now has more than 3m UK hotspots in homes, independent businesses and city centres. Access is free to more than 5m BT Broadband customers, plus users of iPads, iPhones, iTouch, Android, Samsung and Blackberry devices and smartphones through other BT partnership agreements. The rapid expansion mirrors the rise in the use of smartphones which are quickly catching up with laptops and PCs as the consumer’s Wi-Fi device of choice. John Anderson, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire, said: “BT is already leading the charge in broadband services with the roll out of faster speeds across Yorkshire and the Humber and the rapid growth of Wi-Fi hotspots increases the ways consumers and businesses can get online. “This is fantastic news for the region and another example of
■ LAPPING IT UP: BT has increased Wi-Fi access across the Yorkshire region
major investment by BT in the country’s communications network. This huge growth in the number of hotspots takes flexible working from the home to wherever you need to be and brings the internet right to your fingertips. “Consumers are using their
devices for both work and leisure with hotspots making it possible to shop, game and enjoy a variety of applications when out and about.” Said Mr Anderson: “For small businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber, Wi-Fi is a great low or no-cost way of working remotely, staying in touch with customers, suppliers and staff and accessing real time travel information quickly from any wireless PC, tablet or smartphone.”
Valley network gets sociable
MAKING good use of social medi will be the main topic for discussion at the next meeting of the Colne Valley Business Network. Steven Bradley, of Pennine Business Partners, and Martin Tighe, of Touch Advertising, will speak of their experiences using social media for business while Lynn Bradley will give insights into the “dangers of jumping into the social media maelstrom”. Numbers are limited to 40 for the event, which takes place from 5.3 to 7.30pm next Tuesday at The Weavers in Golcar. To book, emai email@example.com or phone 01484 221646. Clr Hilary Richards, Valleys Area Committee representative, said: “The newly established Colne Valley Business Network is a major opportunity for our local businesses to learn from and support each other and drive economic growth which is more crucial than ever in volatile economic times with reduced public sector business support. “A major consideration for an effective and growing local economy is the availability of fas broadband. “The council will be working hard with the CVBN and other partners to put together proposals which we hope will encourage broadband providers to bring super fast broadband to the area.
Support for growing firms
A NEW company has launched a major programme of business support events - to fill the void lef by the closure of taxpayer funded services. Business Leader Events, led by Vernon Tolson and Mike Pitts, is running workshops on subjects including social media for businesses, sales and marketing and management training. The programme will be delivered across Yorkshire including venue in Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Rotherham, York, Harrogate and Hull. The new business will also offer short course events, tailored in-house training, leadership development programmes and accredited training and will work with partners to deliver joint even and events management services Mr Tolson was formerly events manager at Business Link Yorkshire while Mr Pitts was assistant director or business support at Yorkshire Forward. Said Mr Tolson: “We are using the best presenters around to help businesses with key issues such as increasing sales, networking, using new media effectively and getting the best out of their team.
Answering call to help hospice
A CHARITY has saved tens of thousands of pounds on the installation of its phone lines. West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice recruited Golcar-based ME Consultancy Ltd to help cut telecom costs at its new hospice building in Brackenhall. Charity chief executive Peter Branson awarded ME Consultancy the contract to supply broadband to outlets owned by the charity as well as providing the telecoms requirements for the new hospice building. Because the hospice was being built in an area with no current telephone provision, the original installation costs were going to be very high – exceeding £30,000 – to cover the cost of digging up the roads and laying new cables. ME Consultancy sales development manager Paul Robertshaw said: “The hospice provides vital support to children with a life limit-
ing or life threatening condition and to their families across Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield. “Knowing that £30,000 could keep a child and their family looked after full time for over a year in the new hospice, we were determined to save them as much of that money as possible. ME Consultancy worked closely with BT Openreach to ensure that the hospice had all the services needed from the moment the building was completed – with the final installation cost below £1,500. ME Consultancy Ltd provides customers with advice on their telecoms expenditure and ways to receive the best value for money from the services required. The firm can provide a full review of voice and data spend and provide access to a wide range of products from its wholesale portfolio. It also manages a multi
■ COST CONSCIOUS: Peter Branson (left), chief executive of West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, and Paul Robertshaw, sales development manager of ME Consultancy
Enterprise award deadline looming STUDENT and graduate business owners have just days left to enter an award scheme for budding tycoons. The winner of the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards will land £50,000 to invest in their business – as well as a comprehensive mentoring prize. The final date for entries is January 30. The competition is open to businesses across England, Scotland and Wales. For details, go to www.lloydstsb.com/enterpriseawards. Applications will be judged during February. Winners in eight regions will take part in a grand final on March 13 at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Liverpool. The scheme, launched in partnership with the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs, is part of Lloyds’ drive to help the estimated 55,000 student businesses across Britain. The awards are open to entrepreneurs currently studying at universities across England, Scotland or Wales and those who have graduated within the past five years and have been trading for more than a year. All entrants will be considered for two titles – Best Start Up and Best Enterprise. Martyn Kendrick, area director for Lloyds TSB Commercial in Yorkshire, said: “Britain’s universities are home to many thousands of students who are developing the businesses of tomorrow. “We want to make sure that these talented entrepreneurs get the recognition and support they deserve.”
level billing platform covering fixed line, wholesale, data and mobile.
Vacancies unfilled MANY job vacancies are going unfilled – because applicants can’t be bothered to turn up for interviews, it is claimed. Despite latest figures showing unemployment at a 17-year high, Huddersfield-based human resources consultant Julie Sykes said a high level of “no shows” meant vacancies were going unfilled. Julie, who heads Shepley-based JCS HR, said: “My recent experience has been that anything up to 50% of interview ■ EFFORT: Julie Sykes candidates fail to turn up. This isn’t limited to any buttons and there you are, particular type of job – I you’ve applied for a job! have seen it for sales roles, “Because it’s so easy to engineering roles and apply, people can be less marketing roles amongst discerning about what they others. apply for and submit their “There are lots of CV for jobs that – if they potential reasons for this thought about it a bit more – happening, but my view is they aren’t really interested that the main one is that in most instances applying for in.“ Julie said: “A large a job requires a lot less percentage of the effort than it used to. Once candidates who do turn up your CV is written, it is just for interviews, do very little a case of pressing a few
research about the company or the role they are being interviewed for. “On more than one occasion when I have asked a candidate to tell my why they are interested in the role, I have been asked to remind them which job the interview is for – because they have applied for so many jobs that they can’t remember!” One employer who has worked with Julie said that it seemed candidates were happy with the lifestyle provided by living on benefits, weren’t really interested in any job and so didn’t turn up for interview. Said Julie: “Although redundancies and unemployment have, without doubt, increased, there are still jobs out there. “The lesson to be learned is that if someone is offered a job interview, they should be sure to do their research and turn up. The chances are that the odds of them getting the job are better than they think.”
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS Move creates more space A FIRM of architects has created more office space in Huddersfield. Aedas Architects Ltd and has reached agreement with landlord RO Properties to release a further floor for refurbishment at NU House in Market Street. Aedas will surrender part of the third and take on a new 10-year lease on 8,400sq ft of space on the fourth floor – which they already occupy –
as well as some ancillary space on the fifth floor. The switch allows RO Properties to refurbish the whole of the third floor and to provide 8,300sq ft of air-conditioned office accommodation in suites from 1,700sq ft. Last year, RO Properties refurbished the second floor – now let to Best and Igneus. It has also refurbished the reception area and communal areas.
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Building industry’s Green Deal fears THE Government’s Green Deal initiative to makes homes more energy efficient is in danger of failing at the first hurdle, warns a building industry chief. Brian Berry, a director at the Federation of Master Builders said further incentives were needed to encourage householders to take it up. Said Mr Berry: “With rising energy bills, there is an urgent need to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock as it is far less energy-efficient than that of our European neighbours. “However, householders will need to be convinced of the value of retro-fitting their home – particularly when the price is having a new charge attached to their electricity bill. “The quickest and easiest way to create consumer demand would be to reduce VAT on Green Deal improvements or reduce Stamp Duty.” Mr Berry said another concern was how local building companies will be able to access the Green Deal given that few, if any, will become recognised Green Deal Providers because of the onerous conditions attached to
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providing the finance packages. He said: “This is a lost opportunity as it is the local builder who is best-placed to advise householders about energy efficient improvements when they are carrying out other home improvements or repairs.” Mr Berry added: “The Government has rightly tacked the need to eliminate rogue traders by insisting on the need to have Green Deal accredited installers. “Local builders already have many of the key skills in place to carry out energy efficiency improvements, but now they need an operational accreditation framework that enables them to demonstrate their skills and knowledge at the standard required. “The Government’s delay in approving recognised competency schemes is not helpful and swift action is needed if the building industry is going to be ready for the launch in October. “The Green Deal has the potential to create some 65,000 new construction jobs, which is why it is so important that we have the training courses ready at the earliest possible opportunity.”
■ ACCESS: Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS Leader for home loans YORKSHIRE Building Society has emerged as a winner. The Bradford-based society, which has its roots in Huddersfield, achieved the most Best Buys for its mortgage products across all lenders in 2011. A round-up for 2011 from Kantar Media’s PressWatch Financial, showed the society offered 1,594 mortgage Best Buys during the year – more than 16% higher than its next nearest competitor. Yorkshire’s group direct mortgage manager, Chris Smith, said: “This ranking was achieved through our wide choice of excellent value products for all consumers, meeting as many different needs as possible. “As a mutual, we’re committed to offering our members the best possible deals and we will work hard in 2012 to continue to offer the most competitive products.” Chelsea Building Society, part of the Yorkshire Building Society group, moved up the Best Buy tables to be placed fourth in 2011 with 858 Best Buys.
Property pointers to the year ahead
■ LOOKING AHEAD: Miranda Steadman, of CBRE, says businesses should monitor changes to the planning landscape
Action needed to save pubs THE Government must act to protect community pubs, according to a new report. With the UK losing 16 pubs a week, the report from the think tank IPPR warns that more will be forced to close unless action is taken now. The report, published alongside research from the Campaign for Real Ale, calls for a radical change in Government policy as well as changes to the way the pub trade operates. It argues that the Government should reward and incentivise pubs that play a positive role in their local community. The report said that current government policies on pubs contained two major flaws – being too indiscriminate and failing to recognise the community value of local pubs. It said: “All licensed premises have to carry the burden of regulation and increased taxation, but smaller community pubs that cause so few problems of crime and disorder are least able to take on these additional costs. “Policy fails to recognise the important community functions that many pubs perform. “They are more than just businesses and pub closures can have a serious impact on the quality of local community life.” The report measured the social value – as opposed to just the
economic value – generated by a number of community pubs across the country, finding that these pubs generated between £20,000 and £120,000 of “social value” each year for their local communities. IPPR report says that pub closures have a serious impact on community life because of the role pubs play in strengthening local social networks as well as facilitating many local services, events and activities which contribute to local life. These can include hosting a range of important public services such as running post office and general stores and providing a place for local charities, sports clubs and civic groups to host meetings and activities. IPPR associate director Rick Muir said: “Government must stop using a ‘one size fits all’ approach to licensed premises which is killing off our community pubs. Instead responsible well-run community pubs should be encouraged and supported. “Our research shows community pubs aren’t just places to drink, but also places where people meet their neighbours; where local clubs hold meetings and events; and which support many important local services such as village post offices and general stores.”
KIRKLEES businesses have been urged to take heed of changes to the planning system after the controversial Localism Bill finally became law late last year. Miranda Steadman, senior planner at property agency CBRE in West Yorkshire, said: “Several changes to the planning system will occur in early 2012. “Looking firstly at The Localism Act, the introduction of Neighbourhood Planning means that local communities are immediately allowed to prepare plans relating to issues such as the provision of new homes, amenities and offices and the protection of green spaces. “This creates a whole new tier of the planning system. “However, with the Neighbourhood Planning process still in its infancy there are many questions about how this will work and for whom. “Separate to the Localism Act, but additionally from early 2012, local planning authorities will be able to
take into account ‘financial considerations’ in making decisions on applications. “These are defined as grants from the Government or sums payable to the local authority under the Community Infrastructure Levy. “The CIL allows local authorities to set their own charges on new development in their area which can be spent on local infrastructure. “Criticised by some as giving developers and local planning authorities an opportunity to buy and sell permissions, the new provisions will allow developers to make use of the New Homes Bonus, whereby local authorities will be rewarded by central Government for granting permission for new homes to help secure support for their proposals.” Ms Steadman said: “The ‘carrot’ of the New Homes Bonus will effectively replace the ‘stick’ of regionally imposed housing targets when the Regional Spatial Strategies are abolished – which is likely to be com-
pleted in spring. “Until then, developers and investors whose development proposals find support in Regional Strategies should seriously consider pushing on with application, making every effort to secure a decision before revocation. “Once revoked, there will no longer be any ‘top down’ housing requirements and these will be replaced by a ‘Duty to Co-operate’ between local authorities in plan preparation. At the moment, there is no guidance on what this actually means and how this will work.” Ms Steadman said businesses should also be aware that Budget measures and local government cuts could affect the planning agenda. She added: “In summary, 2012 brings about many changes to the planning system – and whilst these changes aim to improve the system moving forwards, many increase uncertainty whilst they are streamlined.”
Utility hold-ups adding to misery for UK’s beleaguered builders BUILDING contractors are struggling through the economic downturn with continued financial losses caused by poor-performing utility companies, according to a report by the National Federation of Builders. The NFB’s Utilities Survey 2011 found that almost three-quarters of sites run by members of the NFB are still experiencing problems and delays when seeking new connections to water, gas and electricity networks. The survey results claims that attitudes towards working with construction companies “are not significantly improved” – at a time when the sector needs all the support it can get. The NFB worked with regulators and utilities following surveys conducted in 2006 and 2008. This latest report – compiled from a site-by-site survey of members conducted in 2011 – assesses how that has worked. It said the percentage of sites that experienced problems when requesting a connection has fallen from 88% in 2008 to 73% in 2011. But it said some underlying issues have remained more or less unchanged. It found that more than 70% of contractors want a single team dealing with applications to improve communications while a similar percentage of respondents
■ FLOW CHART: Some builders have problems getting connected service that is not reliable. A quarter of respondents wanted better service levels through regulation while almost half of respondents called for greater transparency of costs. The NFB called for an end to the practice of charging in advance for statements of work to be carried out or for design studies.
brought under the financial penalty regime, so that costs incurred by companies continuing this practice may be recovered. And it sall ed for all costs be broken down to provide a more accurate understanding of the true cost of the service. The report claimed that the penalty payment regime introduced for electricity companies on October 1, 2010, was not yet widely known about by those most likely to benefit from claiming. Some 72% of respondents were not aware of compensation available to them when connections service levels were not met within a given timeframe – while 33% said they would have claimed if they had known about it. NFB chief executive Julia Evans said: “It is disappointing to see that utility providers are still not getting the message. In this tough climate, funds are stretched and unnecessary delays cost our members dear. “The economy is currently handing the construction industry its toughest challenge for decades and the last thing contractors need is to pay thousands of pounds up front for a connection to fund network development, which is then delayed by the poor performance of a utility company raking in huge profits.”
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Wilkinson Woodward CHILDCARE specialist Anna Bridson has joined law firm Wilkinson Woodward in Huddersfield as a consultant solicitor. Ms Bridson, pictured (above) with Wilkinson Woodward managing partner Maureen Cawthorn, has more than 14 years’ experience in private and local authority family and care law. Wilkinson Woodward managing partner Maureen Cawthorn said: “Whilst our practice is over 100 years old, it is important for us to provide a fresh and progressive service to all of our clients throughout Kirklees and Calderdale and beyond. To recruit a solicitor of Anna’s calibre is therefore a vital part of our continued yet considered expansion strategy.”
Cedar Court Hotel Group A NEW general manager has been appointed at the four-star Cedar Court Hotel in Huddersfield. Hayleigh Parkhurst (pictured) takes up her post with 10 years of hotel management experience, including four years as general manager at The Crown Hotel in Harrogate. She has also worked as general manager at the Old Golf House Hotel in Outlane.. Ms Parkhurst (pictured) has also managed two large-scale refurbishments, hosted major conferences and has a proven track-record of implementing strategies to increase sales. The 113-bedroom hotel at Ainley Top is part of the Cedar Court Hotel Group.
Movers and shakers
Firm is a rising star in the east
A COMPANY in Huddersfield is proving hot stuff. Fired up Corporation Ltd was named winner of the Rising Stars category in the Cathay Pacific China Business Awards 2011. The competition is designed to acknowledge and celebrate UK business dynamism and success in China and Hong Kong. One of three award categories, the Rising Stars Award acknowledges business dynamism and success by small and medium-sized enterprises operating in Hong Kong and China. Fired up was recognised for its success in setting up a 300,000sq ft factory in Zhongshan, China, to complement production from its 100,000sq ft site at St Thomas’ Road, Longroyd Bridge. The company specialises in electrical assembly, heating and cooling products with a strong focus on the home, hotel and hospitality markets. It established the factory in China in 2006. In 2010, it established a new brand – Endeva – for the domestic China market, producing small domestic appliances such as rice cookers and induction hobs. It now exports its products from two production centres to more than 40 countries. Fired Up has also championed corporate social responsibility values, which it sees being adopted by the wider business community. These include safe and secure working environments for the employees, providing a good quality of life, including free annual health checks.
■ CHINA CHOICE: Richard Kaye (centre), chief executive of Fired Up Corporation, accepts the award from Angus Barclay (centre, left), general manager Europe for Cathay Pacific, and Douglas Flint, group chairman of HSBC at the Cathay Pacific China Business Awards
The group also offers leisure facilities, encourages sport, provides an on-site canteen of a good standard and also engages the local community with English language and music studies courses. Fired Up is now aiming to increase market share in the fireplace and the international hotel supply market – as well as growing its Endeva branded range through supermarket chains, independent retailers and by selling direct to the consumer online. Chief executive Richard Kaye, who
Financial focus on Dewsbury
accepted the award at a ceremony in London, said: “After making much investment in our company both here and abroad, we’re delighted to have been awarded this prestigious accolade in recognition of our work. “China presents us with many opportunities to further secure and grow the business and we look forward to growing our Endeva branded range through various retail channels in China over the coming year.”
Propaganda BRIGHOUSE-based businessman Carl Hopkins has joined the board of directors at creative and strategic brand consultancy Propaganda. His appointment enables Propaganda founder Julian Kynaston to devote more time to developing his other business brainchild, make-up brand Illamasqua. Mr Hopkins (pictured), former chairman of advertising agency JDA, will work closely with the senior team at Leeds-based Propaganda as the agency moves into its next stage of development.
■ OPEN DAY: Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell (second right) cuts the ribbon with (from left) Simon Walker, head of home purchase plan sales at IBB; business development manager Sohaib Bin Hamid; Reed Rains director Abdul Hamid; and Imran Pasha, head of retail at IBB A NEW bank has opened its doors in West Yorkshire. The Islamic Bank of Britain plc has set up in offices shared with Reed Rains Estate Agents in Northgate. The move follows the appointment of Sohaib Hamid as dedicated business development manager for the region. The Dewsbury IBB agency is one of six to be rolled out by the bank across the UK in 2012. The agency
will serve customers across the West Yorkshire region, including Kirklees, Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield. West Yorkshire is home to one of the UK’s largest Muslim communities. The new agency provides Sharia compliant retail financial products – including home purchase plans, savings accounts, personal and business banking as well as pensions and investments products in conjunction with trusted partners.
WAXMAN Ceramics has appointed Joe Pape as managing director. Mr Pape (pictured) began work 28 years ago at Elland-based Waxman in the sample room. He held a number of posts over the years and was promoted to operations director in 1999. In the early part of Waxman’s expansion, mosaics were the primary product marketed, which led to Waxman becoming the largest UK importer. Waxman expanded into larger format tiles and formed a national distribution network with bases at Elland and Bristol. Waxman Ceramics is part of the Waxman Group of Companies, which is involved in importing and distributing fibres, solar PV, solar thermal and biomass.