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5696.70 ▲ 84.44 LONDON’S top-flight shares finished wel ahead yesterday as bank stocks rose on news that France had escaped a credit rating downgrade. Ratings agency Fitch said it had no plans to slash France’s AAA rating, although the news was tempered by a warning that Italy could suffer a downgrade this month. The FTSE 100 Index closed 84.4 points or 1.5% higher at 5696.7, with Barclays up 6% or 10.2p at 188.3p, Royal Bank of Scotland ahead 1.1p at 21.1p and Lloyds 1.1p higher at 27.3p.

AIMES expands with £1.2m funds package EXCLUSIVE by Neil Hodgson LDP STAFF

LIVERPOOL broadband specialist AIMES Grid Services has secured £1.2m of investment to build the first phase of a next-generation data centre. The cloud computing services provider will develop a 35,000 sq ft 1.5 megawatt facility at its Liverpool Innovation Park based in Edge Lane which will boast an innovative cooling system that will save 3,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, catapulting the city to the forefront of energy efficient digital provision in the UK. The funding comprises £200,000 from Royal Bank of Scotland-owned


NatWest bank, £150,000 from venture capital provider Merseyside Special Investment Fund’s (MSIF) Merseyside Loan and Equity Fund, with the remainder being private investment. AIMES was set up by Prof Dennis Kehoe in 2005 as a spin out from the University of Liverpool. It began trading in 2008 and has grown rapidly, securing a range of clients including Park Group Financial Services, Novartis Vaccines, Transactis, Perkins Engines, and The Institute of Child Health and Human Time A/S (Denmark). Prof Kehoe said: “This investment will enable us to create cutting-edge cloud computing facilities. The improved infrastructure will give sig-

nificant advantages to customers including improved levels of energy efficiency, cost savings and increased resilience.” He said work on the facility will start soon and take about 16 weeks to complete. “MSIF were our preferred investor and we are delighted to have them on board. They provided a great service and the whole deal was co-ordinated extremely well with RBS who have also been terrific partners.” MSIF investment director Paul Humphray said: “AIMES is a leader in its field and plays an important role in making new technologies accessible to businesses, especially local small firms who may otherwise get left

behind. It is also ensuring that Liverpool is recognised across the UK as a centre of excellence for digital provision.” Nick Evans, NatWest relationship manager, added: “AIMES has a good track record of making investments to improve the service it can offer its clients. This is the second tranche of funding NatWest has provided to the company this year and we look forward to working with them on future projects.” AIMES is expected to reach a turnover in excess of £1m this year and this is expected to treble over the next two years. The company employs 15 staff and expects to recruit a further eight more within two years.

Monster deal for Bibby business


Recovery in market helps Langtree FESTIVAL Gardens developer Langtree Group saw sales and profits soar as the property market showed signs of recovery. PAGE 2

Typhoo stirs TEA giant Typhoo is planning to invest in its Wirral factory to help it grow again after seeing losses widen. PAGE 6

Cuts hit firms PUBLIC sector spending cuts are beginning to impact on Liverpool businesses, particularly those in the manufacturing sector, according to Liverpool Chamber. PAGE 7

The Honey Monster welcomes Bibby Distribution’s deal with its sister company, Halo Foods Group





LIVERPOOL-BASED Bibby Distribution can thank the Honey Monster for a new contract. It clinched a threeyear deal to manage logistics operations for Honey Monster (HM) Foods and Fox’s confectionery, which has now been extended to include extra transport activities for HM Foods sister company Halo Foods, out of manufacturing plants in Newport and Tywyn, Wales. Nick Abbott, Halo Foods Group divisional logistics manager, praised Bibby’s openness after inviting the firm in to explain its continuous improvement programme: “What a novelty from a supplier; the confidence to be transparent in how cost efficiencies are recognised and implemented by onsite staff .”



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TOP FIVE 1 Easyjet numbers grow 2 BBC shines a light 3 Starbucks builds loyalty 4 Growth for Glen Dimplex 5 Tulip jobs at riskin Wirral

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NW sees private equity upturn THE overall value of North West private equity buy-outs has increased over five-fold, to £1.75bn in 2011, according to new data. The report shows the North West region performed strongly compared to the national private equity buyout landscape, seeing a 44% increase in the number of deals – 26 in 2011 compared to 18 in 2010 – and a 10% increase in transaction values between 2010 and 2011, from £1.59bn to £1.75bn. The research was carried out by the Centre for Management Buyout Research, sponsored by Equistone Partners Europe (previously Barclays Private Equity) and Ernst & Young. Steve O’Hare, partner at Equistone Partners Europe in the North, said: “Despite continued difficult trading conditions and uncertainty in the eurozone, private equity activity in the North West remained buoyant. The number of deals in the lower-mid market demonstrates the strength of SMEs.”



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Sales and profits rocket at rugby stadium developer EXCLUSIVE by Alistair Houghton


FESTIVAL Gardens developer Langtree Group saw sales and profits soar as the property market showed signs of recovery. Langtree, which also built Langtree Park stadium for St Helens rugby league club, reported pre-tax profits of £8.9m for the year to last June – up from £1.5m the previous year. Accounts newly filed at Companies House show turnover rose from £15.1m to £54.7m as developments neared completion and occupancy rose across its estate. The group said it would consider making more acquisitions to ready it for growth once the property market recovered. But chairman Bill Ainscough said the business would take a cautious approach to growth as business confidence remained fragile. He said: “We are in a sound financial position to continue to focus on growing our property portfolio where opportunities arise and furthering our development positions in line with the market to create value in future years. “Also, we will continue to secure new opportunities where they will fit well into the business and where we can add value.” He added: “While speculative development activity has been significantly curtailed in the short term, we have been actively progressing schemes up to the point of delivery in readiness for the market to return.” Langtree, which is based in Newton-le-Willows, owns and manages 4m sq ft of commercial property across the North and the Midlands. It has more than 1,000 tenants with a total rent roll of £15m. Occupancy levels over the year rose from 81% to 83%. The Festival Gardens site will open to the public early this year. The opening was delayed after main contractor Mayfield Construction folded last year. Langtree completed work on its St Helens stadium development after the

Langtree Park, the new home of St Helens Rugby club, was built by Langtree Group year end, in October last year. During the year, the firm bought the 120,000 sq ft Warrington Central Trading Estate and St James Business Centre, also in Warrington. In December, 2010, Langtree set up a joint venture with the Science and Technology Facilities Council and Halton Borough Council to run Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus. Two existing office buildings totalling 60,000 sqft, as well as development land, were transferred into the joint venture. In May, 2011, a 35,000 sq ft serviced office block, Vanguard House, was completed and added to the joint venture.

In August, 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron named Daresbury as an Enterprise Zone, meaning it will benefit from streamlined planning regulations and tax benefits. Langtree said: “The existing space at the site is already well occupied by a large number of collaborating SME businesses dedicated towards the science and technology sectors. In addition, the new space at Vanguard House already has encouraging levels of interest.” Langtree has three other joint venture businesses with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which Mr Ainscough said were an “increas-


ingly important part” of his business. Its Network Space joint venture has 735,000sqft of office and industrial space under management. Occupancy at PxP West Midlands, stayed at 92%. In August, after the year end, it completed a 35,000sqft speculative workspace scheme in Bromsgrove. And Langtree’s Onsite North East joint venture secured Enterprise Zone status for sites at Tees Valley. Langtree has also entered a joint arrangement with Oldham Borough Council to develop land in the Hollinhead area, around Junction 22 of the M60.

PlumbNation on track to record 30% surge in sales A MERSEYSIDE online plumbing and heating business is on track to record sales of £16m – an increase of more than 30% on last year. Wirral-based PlumbNation says demand among customers for new boilers, radiators

and underfloor heating had resulted in “exceptional” sales growth. It said that it was also seeing a surge in interest among customers wanting to give their kitchens and bathrooms a fresh new look.

Last year, the company, which employs 14 people at its Bromborough base, increased sales by 60% to £11.8m. Royden Evans, PlumbNation’s managing director, said: “We have continued to sell big numbers of boilers and rad-

iators because we are able to provide customers with all of the leading brand names at the best possible prices. “However, we have also seen significant growth in the number of people wanting to install underfloor heating sys-

tems and from consumers keen to give their bathrooms and kitchens an overhaul. The quality and range of products available means that people can shop around to find a modern, contemporary look without breaking the bank.”


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One man and his dog see cause for optimism amid the gloom

Peter Taaffe with ‘labradoodle’ Emer, who has become a regular fixture in the office Picture: GAVIN TRAFFORD/ gav060112petertaaffe-4

Tony McDonough meets PETER TAAFFE, managing partner of BWMacfarlane TWO things you don’t expect when you walk into a city centre accountancy office – a silver disc of a pop classic on display, and an enthusiastic greeting from a dog. Both are on offer when you arrive at the sixth-floor base of BWMacfarlane, a firm formed in February last year from two existing Liverpool practices. The silver disc is of All Together Now – a hit for Merseyside band, The Farm – and the dog is a beautiful three-year-old “labradoodle” by the name of Emer. Emer is the regular workplace companion of BWMacfarlane managing partner, Peter Taaffe. Taaffe, a youthful 54, heads up the firm which was formed from the merger of the practice he formerly headed – Bresnan Walsh– and Macfarlane & Co. The enlarged business employs 40 people and is run by seven partners, including Taaffe. It is based in Castle Chambers. “There were a couple of reasons for the merger,” he said. “Firstly, I knew the people at Macfarlane well, having worked for them about 20 years ago when they were part of Deloitte. “Secondly, both firms were very similar – a similar style of working and a similar client base. “We both believed that a merger

would give us more opportunities to grow and to look after larger clients. “Everyone gets on very well. The approaches of the two previous businesses were also very similar – very much the feel of family firms. “That is particularly true in the way we treat our staff and in how we deal with our clients. “When clients come in, they find it relaxed and informal while still being professional. “It has been a very easy merger.” Charities make up around 30% of the firm’s client’s base – there are around 140 on the books, ranging from religious organisations to those involved in medical research. Small and medium-sized firms also make up a significant percentage of the client base and the firm also represents a number of wealthy individuals. Taaffe added: “The charity connection goes back to the 1930s when one of the founders of Bresnan Walsh, Eddie Bresnan, did a lot of work for

q&a Age: 54 Highest educational qualification: Masters degree in accountancy and finance Biggest achievement in business: Running this place and helping to create a new business Best advice received: Work hard and go home with a clear conscience Main unfulfilled ambition: I would have liked to have worked abroad and learned a second language

the Catholic church. Once you get a good reputation for working in a particular sector – which we have – then more work tends to flow from that. “I would say that, because of our link with the charities, we do tend to encourage our staff to get involved in fundraising activities on a voluntary basis.” Despite the gloom-laden economic environment, Taaffe is pretty upbeat about the prospects for the firm’s clients and the wider Merseyside economy. “Having a diverse client base makes the job more interesting, and it also gives us a wider outlook on what is happening out there,” he said. “No-one is immune from the downturn and our client base in the main comprises well-run organisations, and many of them are hunkering down for the storm. “I think the economic situation is really weird at the moment. Sectors like construction have obviously been hit, but for the rest it seems to be business as usual. “The froth has obviously been blown off the lending market. In the past, many banks were lending money and were not assessing as they might have been. “However, we are finding that funding is still available for the right proposition.” Taaffe was born and brought up in Mossley Hill and attended Liverpool College.His original intention was to become a doctor – his father was a GP – but instead he ended up “falling into accountancy”. He went along to the University of Liverpool to check out the courses and found himself wandering

through the commerce department. He said: “I spoke to one of the people there and I told him I was interested in studying there. “Then he carried on walking down the corridor and I called after him and said ‘So how do I make an application?’ and he replied ‘You just did’.” Taaffe successfully completed his accountancy degree at the University of Liverpool before going on to gain a masters in accountancy and finance at Lancaster University. From then, he went on to spend three years in London with accountancy giant Deloitte, but eventually the love of his home town proved to be too strong a pull. “I enjoyed being in London but I didn’t really want to live there,” he said. “I loved Liverpool too much and I was always going to come back – I feel privileged to come from here.” So Taaffe returned to the North West, still working for Deloitte, and a little while later he worked in Manchester for two years. In 1991, he joined Bresnan Walsh in Liverpool as a partner. “I always knew I wanted to work for a small firm – it feels more real,” he added. Within a short time, the firm’s two partners retired, leaving Taaffe in charge. He says he has been overwhelmed by the scale of change in Liverpool in the 20 years since he took over. He said: “The changes to Liverpool’s landscape over that time has been phenomenal. “I envy the kids who will be working here in 20 years – I think by then it will be an even more superb place. “Confidence here is much greater now. Despite the downturn, there is

still building development going ahead in the city. “And we can see that confidence in the wider economy. People have paused to take stock – and now they are moving forward again.” Taaffe lives in Formby with his wife Christine, a district nurse. The couple have three children – Robert, 19, Fay, 17 and Harry, 14. Keeping fit is high on Taaffe’s agenda. He is a committed runner and has completed the New York, London and Liverpool marathons. Every couple of weeks, he runs into work in Liverpool from home. His canine companion, Emer, is also now a regular fixture of the BWMacfarlane office. “She doesn’t come in every day,” says Taaffe. “It is usually when everyone is out at home and there is no one to look after her. “She has been coming into the office pretty much from day one. She’ll sit in the office with me while I work and sometimes she’ll go for a wander around. “There are one or two members of staff who aren’t too keen on dogs, but even they are used to her now.” Taaffe sees further organic growth for BWMacfarlane in the future, but is keen to maintain its ethos. He said: “We are not just looking for growth for growth’s sake. “We want to grow in a planned and sustainable way – providing a personal and quality service for our clients. “My father worked as a GP in the Scotland Road area of Liverpool. “He was an old-fashioned GP in that he cared for people and he loved what he did. “That ethos has ruled my life.”


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LDP business Business urged to think global BUSINESS confidence is showing slight signs of improvement, the bi-annual Lloyds TSB Commercial Business in Britain report says. But it reveals concerns over domestic demand and expectation of falling exports in Europe, although trade with the rest of the world remains resilient. The latest report shows the North West enjoys a confidence index of 10 compared with a UK average of 8, where Yorkshire scored highest with 21, while Wales returned the lowest level of -14. Among other findings in the survey are reports of caution remaining among North West employers concerning their investment and employment intentions. Lloyds TSB Commercial regional director John Robson said: “Export markets outside Europe will be the key to growth for businesses, in what will undeniably be a tough start to the year. “It is understandable that businesses are keeping the brakes on investment, given the volatile economic climate, but in order to break the cycle of dwindling confidence leading to slower growth, it is crucial that firms in the North West do whatever they can to maximise opportunities, both at home or overseas.”

LBA winners in line for ad and mentoring support by Neil Hodgson


THREE fledgling firms will receive three months of free advertising in the Liverpool Post to boost their businesses, after succeeding in the Local Business Accelerator (LBA) campaign. They were chosen from scores of entries from across Merseyside in the national competition coordinated by the Newspaper Society to encourage growth among small and medium-sized firms by offering free advertising worth up to £15m in local newspapers across the country, and expert advice from local business mentors. Liverpool Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jack Stopforth and Prof Phil Harris, executive dean of the faculty of business, enterprise and life-long learning at the University of Chester, kindly agreed to offer their expertise as mentors. LBA is supported by Prime Minister David Cameron, CBI director-general John Cridland, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Dragons’ Den TV star Deborah Meaden. Eight entrants were shortlisted in the Merseyside region last month and three have now been chosen as the most promising candidates to deliver jobs and business growth. The successful firms are, based in Hoylake; Liverpool firm Feed it Green; and Walton’s Dance Passion Community Interest Company. is an online provider of glasses and prescription glasses which employs eight staff and is in the process of establishing a high street presence to run alongside the internet business. Feed it Green, in Hanover Street, installs solar panels for domestic properties to help families reduce their energy costs and said the advice of expert business mentors, which would

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John Cridland, director general of employers’ organisation, the CBI, backs the LBA campaign not normally have been available, will only help project the business to success. Dance Passion currently engages with more than 500 people each week, from schools to community groups and Primary Care Trusts. It aims to improve the health and

wellbeing of participants through dance and since it was established in 2010 the organisation has already raised more than £50,000 for charities, including Marie Curie, and the Liverpool-based Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and The Linda McCartney Centre.

An overall national winner in the LBA scheme, to be announced in the summer, will receive a year’s mentoring from Dragons’ Den star and LBA national ambassador Deborah Meaden, who said: “LBA is the perfect opportunity to drive your business to success.”

FPB urges reversal of plan to axe work experience

£5m available for R&D ideas

A SMALL firms lobby group has voiced its concern at Government proposals to scrap mandatory work experience for GCSE pupils. The Forum of Private Business has warned in a letter to the Department for Education that this will further reduce the number of work-ready youngsters entering the job market. And it insists the Government should be looking at expanding work experience placements, rather than ending them. Its head of campaigns, Jane Bennett, said: “We

GOVERNMENT research and development funding of up to £5m is available to encourage sustainable manufacturing and growth in the UK’s process industries. The UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board ( will award grant funding to support business-led feasibility and collaborative R&D projects that will lead to the development and commercialisation of innovative approaches to sustainable manufacturing for the process industry. The competition opens on February 27, closing on April 25, and the Technology Strategy Board will be seeking proposals for projects that will develop innovative approaches to help in sectors such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, coatings and lubricants, food and drink, oil and fuel, mining and construction materials leading to faster, more effective product design and manufacture. Phone 0300 321 4357 for further details.

believe work experience is vital in helping to prepare young people for the world of work. “There’s no better place than a proper working environment to test out a career choice, and it’s also by far the best arena for young adults to learn the skills so critical to success. “If small businesses in the private sector are to lead job creation and tackle unemployment, they need a better labour force that includes young, ambitious and talented individuals who know what it takes to thrive in

the workplace. She added: “Our training and skills panel research shows our members already believe young people in the UK are largely unprepared for the workplace. “New starters frequently arrive with few or no basic skills, and need guidance on even simple things such as appropriate dress code and punctuality – the very basics of a work ethic.” She said that research had also identified poor attitudes among youngsters as a common problem.


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Optimistic Rathbone expects results to be on target LIVERPOOL wealth investment firm Rathbone Brothers said it is cautiously optimistic about prospects for 2012, after revealing better trading during 2011. The firm, based in the Port of Liverpool Building, will release annual results for the year to December 31 on February 21 and said they are

expected to be in line with expectations. Total funds under management were 1.4% ahead at the end of the year on £15.85bn. Funds under management by Rathbone Investment Management were 1.2% better at £14.76bn, compared with a 5.6% decrease in the FTSE 100 Index over the same period.

And the underlying rate of net organic growth in funds under management in Rathbone Investment Management during the year was 5.4%, compared with 5.3% previously. The company said it was “cautiously optimistic” about the prospects for 2012 with the UK equity market ending 2011

on a more positive note, adding: “There is no doubt that the uncertainties over Europe persist, but this is balanced by indications that the economic environment is showing small signs of improvement, particularly in the USA.” Liverpool stockbroker Shore Capital announced a

“hold” recommendation on Rathbone shares, saying: “The results look robust when set against the backdrop of a volatile 12 months for equity markets which saw the asset management sector as a whole cycling against tough trading conditions. We continue to view Rathbones as a strong long-term hold.”

Wirral firm marks 500th enterprise milestone by Neil Hodgson


WALLASEY man James Hurst is the 500th entrepreneur to start his own business under a trailblazing scheme by St Helens Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber helped lead the way in delivering the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance Initiative (NEA) which aims to help up to 40,000 unemployed people across the country to become self-employed. It was introduced across Merseyside last January and rolled out across the country by the end of August. Customers are referred to the Chamber by Jobcentre Plus and they receive mentoring support from an experienced business owner, financial assistance in the form of a loan and a weekly allowance for up to six months to help new businesses get off the ground. Motorsport enthusiast James Hurst, 27, from Wallasey, received advice and support through the NEA to get his business, RPM Automotive, on Argyle Industrial Estate in Birkenhead, off the ground. He said: “I had been looking for work since graduating with a degree in Automotive Technology. “I was doing some voluntary work with a race team which gave me some valuable work experience, but was struggling to find any suitable paid work that matched my skills and experience.

“Jobcentre Plus told me about the New Enterprise Allowance and it seemed like an ideal solution. “I met with a business start-up adviser from St Helens Chamber who explained the programme and gave me some general advice about being self employed. “I was then given a dedicated business mentor who helped me with my business plan and cash flow forecasts as well as providing advice on bookkeeping and accounting.” James’s business mentor was Paul McGerty, from McLintocks Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, in Birkenhead, who said: “I found out about the NEA through an event held at Wirral Chamber of Commerce that highlighted how local businesses could get involved. “It has been very rewarding to be able to help someone else get their business off the ground. “Helping to create more businesses is also a great way of boosting the local economy here in Birkenhead, which in turn is good for our business.” Ann Holcroft, Business Start manager at St Helens Chamber, said: “We have recruited over 200 volunteer private sector mentors so far and we would like to thank them all for giving up their time to support the fledgling businesses and make the programme possible. “We are always looking for new mentors, so please do get in touch if you want to find out more about what’s involved.”

on the move GT Law ‘signs’ former striker

FORMER pro footballer Graham Shaw has been appointed to head up Merseyside based national law firm GT Law’ s new sports management division. Shaw, 44 and a qualified lawyer, has been “signed” from Stockport County, where he

Graham Shaw was chief executive. During an 11-year playing career, he made nearly 300 appearances for Stoke City, Preston North End, Plymouth Argyle and Rochdale. GT Law director Gordon Tucker said: “GT Law is already one of the leading law firms specialising in personal injury. Graham’s appointment means we can extend our friendly, jargon-free approach to sports professionals.”

Will Heath

I was struggling to find suitable paid work – James Hurst, the 500th entrepreneur to set up in business under the St Helens Chamber of Commerce scheme

Bermans team in record year

Peel in plan bid

LIVERPOOL law firm Bermans, led by head of corporate Kieran Donovan and head of property Fergal O’Cleirigh, have advised on a management buyout of Motor Fuel Group, one of the UK's largest independent petrol station

DEVELOPER Peel has submitted the planning application for the second phase of its Media City UK scheme, a mixed-use development of hotel, offices, retail, leisure, residential and parking, at Salford Quays. Bain Wright Partnership, based in Liverpool’s Colquitt Street, is acting as planning consultant on the project for Peel.

forecourt operators embracing the BP, Shell, Esso, Total and Jet brands. The deal was backed by equity provider Patron Capital and debt provider Investec Bank. The Motor Fuel Group deal




has rounded off a recordbreaking year for the corporate team at Tithebarn Street-based Bermans who, during 2011, acted on corporate transactions with an aggregate deal value in excess of £100m.

Flintshire housebuilder Redrow has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Will Heath to the new role of group development director. He will provide additional support to the senior executive team, including chairman Steve Morgan and group managing director John Tutte, as the company looks to secure new development sites across England and Wales, especially in the southern counties. He joined the business in 2009.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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Typhoo brewing plans for growth despite sales fall EXCLUSIVE by Alistair Houghton


TEA giant Typhoo is planning to invest in its Wirral factory to help it grow again, after seeing losses widen. The company, based in Moreton, reported revenues for the year to March, 2011, of £61.2m – down 9.3% on the previous year. Accounts newly filed at Companies House show pre-tax losses widened from £2.8m to £7.7m. While the recession has hit sales, the company said its core Typhoo brand was still performing strongly, while it had also launched new herbal and fruit teas. In Typhoo’s directors’ report, chief executive Keith Packer said he was optimistic about the future of the business. He said: “The business plan for 2011-12 will show considerably improved financial and operational performance. “This includes the expansion and improvement of the manufacturing operation along with strong sales and marketing to support the activation of our brand plans and to add consumer value to our product ranges at an affordable cost. “The directors are confident that this year’s business plan and the confirmed support of their parent group will allow the company to grow faster. “The above justifies the decision to continue to invest in the future of our business at a time when many businesses have been looking to rationalise their operational base.” Typhoo was part of food giant Premier Foods until, in 2005, it was bought by India’s Apeejay Surrendra Group. Mr Packer said: “The directors are confident that this business plan and the confirmed continued support of their parent group will allow the company to move into a successful year ahead.” The company employs 301 people. Its annual wage bill stood at £8.4m. As well as making its own brands, Typhoo makes tea for other companies including upmarket London store Harrods. Mr Packer said the company had made efficiency savings and introduced new products to help it cope with the effects of the recession. He

Typhoo chief executive Keith Packer – says the company is preparing for growth hailed successes including Typhoo Eco Refill, which sees teabags sold in foil pouches rather than cardboard boxes. He said: “The current recessionary conditions in the economy have driven the market towards a ‘state of two nations’, one nation gravitating to value-for-money products, the other towards higher quality and value items. “The results of the company show the impact of the current economic situation which has driven the overall




turnover slightly lower in spite of a high increase in the retailer branded business. “The company is maintaining its performance in terms of turnover, production quantity, quality, and service to the customer overcoming the impact of the slowdown in the retail market. “A large part of this ongoing sustainability has been contributed by improving the Typhoo brand’s share in key trade sectors, further international sales growth, and winning a


number of new private label supply contracts. “During the course of the year we have increased the range of products. offering many new products in black tea and fruit & herbal infusions. “Raw material inflation continues to be a challenge to all businesses. At Typhoo we are keeping pressure on reducing cost and have improved the cost base through intelligent buying and efficient production.” Typhoo exports its products to 50 countries.

Health trust gives backing to GEC LIVERPOOL Community Health (LCH), the major provider of community healthcare in Liverpool, Sefton and its neighbouring areas, has partnered with Liverpool Vision to support the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC). The GEC, being held in Liverpool from March 9-16, is set to attract leading economists and entrepreneurs from all over the world. It is the first time the conference will be held in Europe with previous host cities Kansas City in 2009, Dubai in 2010 and Shanghai in 2011.

Frances Molloy, chair of LCH, said: “We were very excited to hear that the Global Entrepreneurship Congress was not only coming to the UK this year, but to Liverpool. “At Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, we are passionate about the Liverpool city region and are proud to support the local economy while engaging with the private sector on the delivery of health care. “It was only natural for us to want to be part of such an important and worthwhile congress.” Bernie Cuthel, chief executive of LCH, added: “The healthcare

market is an ever-changing environment and it will be the dynamic organisations that thrive. “At the trust, we strongly believe in embracing new technologies and fostering creativity and innovation to maintain our position as one of the leading healthcare organisations in the region. “The GEC is promoting these same goals, and we are looking forward to being part of the congress and talking about our own experiences and also learning from others. We are delighted to be working with Liverpool Vision.”


Quilter opens N Wales office LIVERPOOL wealth manager Quilter has opened a new office in North Wales, to strengthen its investment capacity. The company previously served North Wales customers from its Liverpool office on Princes Parade, but the new office, in Llandudno Junction, will enable it to enhance service levels to clients in the area. Richard Thorn, head of the Liverpool office, will also run the North Wales office. He said: “North Wales is an important region for us and it makes sense to have an office there. We will be nearer to our clients and, with volatility in the markets set to continue in the foreseeable future, we are sure they will find our local presence reassuring.” He said demand for Quilter’s services is growing across the North West and Wales, leading to a 50% increase in its team of investment managers reporting through Liverpool over the past 12 months. He added: “Most recently, Graham Jones joined the Liverpool office and his considerable experience will help us to continue to develop our operations further.” Last January, Colin Wickens and Matthew Gilman joined the Liverpool office as investment managers and they will now be based at the new Llandudno Junction office, in North Wales, together with Philip Brown, a consultant at Quilter.



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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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A sense of history is important – but the future holds opportunities

Alex Turner THE post-Christmas period is always the time of year when people’s interest in their own heritage peaks, as the barrage of adverts for websites offering family tree researching tools that are blanketing our televisions demonstrates.

This year, my family is no exception, in part encouraged by a couple of landmark birthdays and the first of the next generation of the family having recently been born. The internet has made research like this so much easier than it used to be, and so I have been able to go from a handful of relatives to more than 200 ancestors in little more than a week. Turners and Brighouses have led to Andersons and Vickers, Langleys and Haggertys, and many more. Just as there are resemblances hidden in the family tree that have been passed down through the generations, the same is true for news-

papers. Next week’s Liverpool Post will be the first as a weekly, but I’ve no doubt it will unmistakably be related to the newspaper which was founded in 1855. It will be meeting the same demand for news that has always existed, just with an adapted business model. Newspapers are like families. Just as the son becomes the father, then the grandfather, so the young reporter becomes the news editor then the editor, looking after the family name with pride and protection

as its fortunes wax and wane. So it will always be. Families, and businesses, change – sometimes slowly, sometimes dramatically. Macbeth lamented the transitory nature of life when he said: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” But it need not be like that. The most significant way to honour the past is to create a future that will one day be worth recalling.

‘Daily Post made an indelible mark on this city’

The Daily Post made an indelible mark on this city, and the Post can, too. The future might be different in style, tone or presentation or substance, but there is no reason to think that change is for the worse. Change can open up new opportunities and help reconnect with lapsed audiences. Looking back and understanding the past is important, but it is the future that we shape for ourselves and our businesses that really counts. ■ ALEX TURNER is the general manager of financial training firm, Ambitious Minds

City centre Thomas Cook branch is best in Britain TRAVEL giant Thomas Cook has named its Lord Street branch, in Liverpool city centre, as its large store of the year for 2011. Store manager Tina Timperley was also named the chain’s manager of the year at its annual awards ceremony. Joanna Wild, managing director of sales for Thomas Cook in the UK and Ireland, said: “Tina has led the Lord Street team to deliver fantastic results this year. “Not only have they outperformed others in the large store category, the team’s approach to customer service is outstanding with the whole team committed to ensuring each and every one of their customers has a dream holiday experience.” Ms Timperley said: “I work with such a talented and supportive team and winning the manager of the year award tops off a fantastic year for our store.” Frank Meysman, new chairman of Peterboroughbased Thomas Cook, recently announced a boardroom reshuffle as he bids to revive the fortunes of the troubled business, which has debts of £891m.

The team at Thomas Cook’s Lord Street branch, in Liverpool, with their award

City manufacturers now feeling chill of cutbacks by Neil Hodgson


THE effects of public sector spending cuts are beginning to impact on Liverpool businesses, particularly those in the manufacturing sector. Findings in Liverpool Chamber of Commerce’s fourth quarter economic survey paint a grim picture, worsened by fears over trading conditions and uncertainty in the eurozone. The latest report shows that,

whereas sales and orders improved significantly through 2010, there was a reduction in 2011, especially for manufacturing where the final quarter has been particularly difficult with the most of the sector reporting falling orders for the first time since the end of 2009, while, in contrast, service businesses are doing better in terms of both sales and orders. Chamber member Brian McCann, of MC Vanguard Corporate Finance, who sponsor the survey said: “For many businesses, this is the time of year when they are setting plans for the

future. Planning will be particularly difficult for our manufacturing companies present time because there are few clear trends. “Sales and orders have bumped along throughout 2011 and then turned down later in the year.” However, the service sector turned in a remarkably positive performance and ended the year with a sharp improvement in sales, orders and even cashflow with the majority of businesses also expecting a strong start to 2011. Given that many service businesses

serve a relatively local market, this provides further evidence that Merseyside continues to perform more strongly than many parts of the UK. Mr McCann added: “The service sector results do suggest that business owners are being more resourceful then ever in finding ways to trade through challenging times and the improvement in cashflow is particularly encouraging. However, the early weeks of 2012 will be very important and we hope that the optimism shown and continuing investment by these businesses will be rewarded.”

Women come to the fore in slump THE leadership style of women is more effective in the current economic conditions facing the UK, according to a study. Research by occupational psychologists Geoff Trickey and So Yi Yeung showed different styles between the male and female personality, suggesting that risk-taking is influenced by gender. Women are more than twice as likely to be wary or prudent, while men are twice as likely be to adventurous and carefree, the study among 2,000 workers in more than 20 occupations ranging from firefighting to accountancy showed. The researchers said the findings suggested that risk-taking must be a “distinctive feature” of gender, adding that it offered a likely explanation for the differences in female and male leadership styles. They added that the study provided more evidence that the typical leadership style of women is more effective in the present economic climate. Mr Trickey, of Psychological Consultancy, said: “The implication of our gender difference findings is that male/female risk type differences are genetic, having achieved a balance shaped by evolution. “It’s easy to see how the balance between prudent, cautious, long-term decision-making of females would have married up very effectively with the impulsive, carefree, adventurous approach of males.”


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LDP business Bill Gleeson The final salary pension scheme is a thing of the past THE trade union, Unite, yesterday mounted a protest outside Unilever’s headquarters at Blackfriars, in London. The protest featured actors dressed in Victorian costume pretending to be the firm’s founders, William Hesketh Lever and his brother, James Darcy Lever. The union was protesting against Unilever’s plan to replace its final salary pension scheme with a career average salary scheme. The union claims this robs workers of retirement benefits. It’s certainly true that an average salary scheme will pay less pension than a final salary scheme. On the other hand, average salary schemes reduce the scale of the employer’s financial liability to the scheme. That should make them and their workforces more competitive in the international market place. Unilever has, since its earliest days, been a paternalistic employer, seeking to look after the welfare of its staff, the Port Sunlight village being just one example of that philosophy in action. The company’s pension scheme has for a long time been another expression of the same tradition. Now all that is changing, not just at Unilever, but in most firms. Indeed, many have scrapped any type of salary-related pension scheme, replacing them instead with money purchase schemes. From the employer’s perspective, these have the advantage of not requiring an openended commitment. Such uncapped liabilities do carry the very real potential to bankrupt a businesses. The airline and automotive industry in the US were very adversely affected by an open-ended commitment to workers’ post-retirement welfare. Yet, for all the cost of company pension schemes, they have played an important role

in helping many millions of people afford a decent retirement. However, it should be remembered that generous final salary schemes were introduced when life expectancy was considerably shorter. They were designed to cover a relatively short period between retirement and death. At the same time, there are still many millions of other people who don’t have adequate pension arrangements in place. It is all the more important that this fact is addressed by policymakers, now that the days of final salary schemes are over. We can’t rely on others to provide for our futures. THE submission of a planning application for two new residential towers at Queens Dock, close to Sefton Street, represents a local milestone. Or at least, at first sight, you might think so. Clearly, the city centre residential market has stagnated since the credit crunch, with no sign yet of any type of revival either here in Liverpool or anywhere else. Unusually, the application has been submitted by South African investment bank Investec, which had a mortgage over the development and has been left with it on its hands after a number of developers collapsed. The bank now wants to recover its money. As such, this development is a bit of an aberration. It doesn’t really amount to a convincing sign that the property market is about to bounce back. In fact, you can be certain it won’t bounce back at any point during 2012. But what about 2013 or 2014? Give it a few years and these new flats may turn out to be the first to come to a renewed marketplace. At 15 and 13 storeys, these buildings will create a lot of supply to a city centre market that is full of unsold luxury flats being let out to students.

It’s not all doo

Many firms continue to thrive despite the tough economic conditions. Bill Gleeson reports TO LISTEN to some commentators, you could be forgiven for thinking the eurozone crisis is about to push Britain back into recession. However, a more objective analysis of some of the recent economic data and company results suggests that not everything is going wrong. Last week, for example, saw stronger-than-expected growth in the allimportant services sector. The service sector is the biggest segment of the UK economy and its performance in December may have saved the economy from contraction in the final quarter of 2011. The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), where a reading above 50 indicates growth, showed services rose to 54 in December, up from 52.1 the previous month. City analysts had expected the reading to fall to 51.5. It comes on top of better-than-expected performances for the manufacturing and construction sectors in December. The reading across all three sectors rose to 53.2 in December from 51.2 in November in the strongest expansion since July. Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said: “Services are likely to have expanded by around 0.3% to 0.4% in the final quarter, down from 0.7% in the third quarter but offsetting a renewed downturn in manufacturing and sluggish growth of construction to help the UK avoid a slide back into recession, at least for now.” The overall reading for the services sector was the highest since July and means it has shown growth for every month of 2011, albeit at a slower rate than normal. The latest increase was driven by a solid rise in new business, which was also at its highest level since July. The number of people employed in the sector edged slightly higher, after two months of modest falls. Alan Clarke, chief UK economist at Scotiabank, said it would be very hard for the UK economy to avoid contraction in the coming months, but the buoyancy of this week’s CIPS surveys reassured “that this will be mild and short-lived”. Construction activity in the UK grew last month, according to another survey that is closely watched by City analysts, but experts warned the wider economy was still likely to have stagnated at the end of last year. Civil engineering projects, such as the Crossrail scheme in London, recorded the fastest growth in the month, while housebuilding increased for the second month running. Commercial construction grew but at its slowest pace in a year. Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said the economy's overall performance in the final quarter of last year will depend on how well the powerhouse services sector performed. He said: “It is welcome news to see any evidence that part of the economy is growing at the moment. However, signs that construction output expanded in the fourth quarter of 2011 does not hugely dilute concern that GDP could have contracted.”

A Range Rover Evoque is driven through Dukes Dock, Liverpool, last year. The success of the vehicle helped the region’s manufacturing sector keep its head above water Picture: JAMES MALONEY New business received by UK construction companies increased for a third consecutive month in December, CIPS said, reflecting a general rise in tender opportunities and successful bids. But the growth had eased slightly on the month. The data also signalled a rise in employment in the construction sector as new orders increased, although the use of sub-contractors declined. Nor is it just national statistics and surveys that offer a glimmer of hope. There are plenty of examples of national and local businesses that remain strong. One of the best-known local examples of a thriving business is Jaguar Land Rover. The car-maker struggled for years under Ford ownership to improve sales and bring an end to hundreds of millions of pounds of losses. Now, under the ownership of India’s Tata Motors, it has gone from strength to strength. The recent launch of the Evoque means that Halewood now employs 2,500 staff who make the baby Range Rover on the same production line that makes the Freelander 2. Nor is it just JLR’s Halewood plant that is doing well. A new plant, that will

‘Services help UK avoid a slide into recession’

employ 750 staff, will be built in Staffordshire and an engine plant will be built in Wolverhampton. In the past few days, other motor manufacturers, such as Rolls-Royce, BMW and General Motors, have all reported impressive increases in sales. In particular, Rolls-Royce reported a record sales figure. The company sold 3,538 cars worldwide last year – 31% more than in 2010 and more than the previous record year of 1978 when the figure was 3,347. Professor Karel Williams, a motor industry expert at Manchester Business School, said: “Of course, not everybody is struggling. The people who have had the least hit so far are the investment bankers. “The car industry had the benefit of government loans and the scrappage scheme. Austerity has yet to kick in. The thing that is protecting the car industry from austerity now is the Asia boom. But the boom is going to turn to bust. It’s unwise to assume the boom is going to carry on for any length of time. “The problem with exporting cars is it’s either feast or famine. It is so dependent on the exchange rate.” Part of the explanation for why some


Wednesday, January 11, 2012 IN ASSOCIATION WITH

the big feature


om and gloom

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight – welcome news to see any sign that the economy is growing

Retail is still the gloomiest corner of UK’s economy firms appear to be thriving in difficult conditions is that, while weak firms are struggling and even going bust, stronger businesses are mopping up the weaker firms’ sales. Construction firm St Modwen, which is developing the Great Homer Street area of Liverpool, recently revealed that it would have better than expected trading results for 2011. Soft drinks firm Nichols last week predicted a significant increase in annual profits as sales continue to beat targets. In a trading statement up to the end of December, the Newton-le-Willows firm, which makes the iconic Vimto soft drink brand, said it has maintained the “excellent momentum” reported at the half year, with sales increasing by 18% compared with the same period in 2010. This was ahead of the group’s own expectations and was achieved against strong comparatives in the prior year and despite the continued downturn in the UK economy. Nichols’s brands have out-performed the UK soft drinks market, while its international business continues to deliver

“significant year-on-year growth”. Despite raw material costs and inflation, as well as investment in promotional activity during 2011, the group said its operating profit margin will still be maintained “as a result of ongoing productivity improvements and tight control of costs”. Another thriving firm is Knowsley-based contracting firm IQA, which broke into the regional market last year when it set up a base employing 80 staff. Business has gone so well that it is now recruiting another 40 staff locally. DW Sports, which belongs to Wigan Athletic and former JJB Sports owner Dave Whelan, is in the throes of pumping £250m into a new chain of 100 fitness clubs. Mr Whelan said: “In this climate, some might think investing like this is brave and others might say it’s stupid. But the health market is staying vibrant. “It’s happening all over the world. People realise they have to keep the body in good condition. Whether it’s the USA, Mexico or Britain, people want to live longer. Our clubs have been very popular.”

‘The people least hit so far are investment bankers’

IT HAS been very hard indeed, over the last 12 months, to find any glimmers of light on Britain’s high streets. The Christmas and New Year sales period is always seen as vital, but it was even more vital than normal this year. So far, however, things have not been as disastrous as many had feared. The share prices of both Marks & Spencer and Debenhams rose 2% and 8% respectively yesterday morning after the retailers published better than expected Christmas trading statements. Sales at Marks & Spencer rose 0.5% in the last 13 weeks of the year and would have been better had the company not withdrawn from technology products. Debenhams enjoyed record sales in the week before Christmas but overall sales were flat in the 18 weeks to January. City analysts had anticipated a 2% fall. There was bad news from software retailer Game, which said it was set to breach banking covenants due to poor trading over Christmas. UK retail sales values were

2.2% higher on a like-for-like basis from December 2010, when sales had fallen 0.3%, hit by snow, according to figures published by the British Retail Consortium yesterday. On a total basis, sales were up 4.1%, against a 1.5% increase in December, 2010. On both measures and excluding Easter distortions, sales performance was the best since January. Food sales growth picked up strongly and non-food also improved, but with sales often promotion-led. Clothing and footwear showed good gains on last December’s weak sales. Homewares improved but big-ticket items and furniture sales remained down on a year ago, hit by consumer caution. Internet, mail-order and phone sales growth picked up sharply from November’s low. Sales were 18.5% up on a year ago, double November’s gain but similar to the 18.0% in December 2010. The rise in internet sales help Speke-based Shop Direct, which this week reported a 9% rise in Christmas trading.

■ SALES battle: Page 10

private business Rail firm on track and still in profit

RAIL equipment provider Faiveley Transport (Birkenhead) says increased sales in its customer services arm helped it maintain levels of profitability. Accounts newly filed at Companies House show Faiveley’s turnover for the year to March, 2011, stood at £27.4m – down 6% on 2010. Pre-tax profit fell 10% to £2.4m. The business, part of the French Faiveley group, supplies and services brakes and coupling equipment for trains. It said: “Even though sales are down, the profitability percentage has remained the same as the previous year. The decrease in turnover in the year has arisen due to a reduction in original equipment (OE) sales and phasing of some customer service (CS) sales. “The year ended March, 2011, was a challenging year in a difficult external economic environment.” “The order book, as at the end of March, 2011, is at the same level as the previous year with an increase in CS orders offsetting the more variable OE orders. This is in line with our strategic objectives.” Faiveley said it was on target with plans to grow its customer services business this year. It said: “The next financial year will again provide significant challenges for us with specific focus on securing new OE orders for Faiveley to support future customer services growth and to protect current business levels.” It added: “Continued focus on internal industrial performance, efficiency and on-time delivery specifically are of particular importance to support our competitiveness as the company makes every effort to maintain and improve profitability and market share in spite of the adverse external economic conditions.” ALISTAIR HOUGHTON


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LDP business briefing Topps Tiles in first-quarter sales fall TILE and floorings retailer Topps Tiles posted a drop in sales in its first quarter as trading conditions remained tough. Topps, which has 320 stores in the UK, said like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks since October 1 fell 4.2%, which is an improved trend on the 6.9% decline in the first seven weeks of the period.

AGA expects profits rise COOKER specialist AGA Rangemaster said revenues in the year ending December 31 were down 3% to £251m. The Leamington Spa-based company said pre-tax profits are expected to be higher than the previous year after work to improve margins and control costs offset the drop in revenues.

Atkins in deal ENGINEERING consultancy Atkins has been awarded a three-year contract worth in excess of £70m by the Qatar government, including elements associated with the FIFA 2022 World Cup. The transport and infrastructure programme will see Atkins establish an office in Doha.

Winners and losers in the Christmas battle for sales by Jamie Grierson


CHRISTMAS has emerged as a divisive season for the retail sector, with some players turning in a better-than-expected performance – while others moved closer to the edge. A “dazzling” week before Christmas helped like-for-like sales rise 2.2% in the crucial month, their strongest since January, according to a key survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG. High street bellwether Marks & Spencer reported robust sales over the festive season, with its food department compensating for weaker growth in clothing and home, while Debenhams also reported a surge in trade in the final week before Christmas. But, at the other end of the spectrum, outdoor clothing group Blacks Leisure and lingerie chain La Senza were bought out of administration after weeks of dire trade and video games retailer Game warned it will breach a banking agreement after sales plunged. There had been fears that the retail sector was heading for one of its worst Christmas trading periods to date, but upbeat statements from the likes of department store John Lewis have offered some balance to the bleaker outlook at chains such as HMV. The BRC survey said sales of clothing and footwear had “a pretty spectacular month” following dire trading in the autumn’s mild weather while food sales enjoyed their strongest growth for a year on the back of special offers. But big-ticket items, including furniture and TVs, continued to suffer in December amid weak consumer confidence. However, the upbeat figures will not ease fears over the struggling sector’s


ers with promotions and 600 new product lines. But the company saw general merchandise sales drop 1.8% on a like-for-like basis as its decision to pull technology products from its shelves hit home sales. Game was the major high street cas-

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future. Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said: “Sadly, no-one expects this level of demand to be indicative of the year ahead.” M&S saw like-for-like food sales increase 3% in the 13 weeks to December 31, against City expectations of a 1.5% increase, as it pulled in custom-


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Christmas sales figures at Marks & Spencer exceeded the expectations of City analysts


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Warmer weather impacted on sales – Debenhams store in the Liverpool One development


ualty of the day after the video game retailer warned it would breach a banking covenant – a promise made to creditors to secure a loan – if current market conditions continued. The group recorded a 12.9% decline in like-for-like sales in the eight weeks to January 7 and a 10% drop in the 49 weeks to January 7, as a “double whammy” of a lack of new consoles and a squeeze in consumer spending hit the business and wider market. But Game chief executive Ian Shepherd remained confident. He said: “It’s a cyclical industry. It will return to growth as new consoles come to the market. “I’m very confident that the games industry is here to stay. “We’ve got to be realistic – we’re at a low point in the cycle that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of future growth left.” Debenhams said warmer weather throughout October and November impacted on sales until a record Christmas week left trading for the 18 weeks to January 7 level on a year ago.

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Sports Direct hits out at Blacks’ suppliers after losing out to rival SPORTS Direct said it was disappointed by the sale of Blacks Leisure to its rival, JD Sports Fashion, and accused suppliers of obstructing its own pursuit of the outdoor clothing retailer. JD Sports confirmed it

had bought Blacks Leisure’s 290 stores for £20m in a pre-pack administration deal which will protect some 3,500 jobs. But Sports Direct, founded by Newcastle United owner Mike Ash-

ley, said the deal was disappointing, given its own bid for Blacks Leisure in 2010, which was dismissed as “inadequate”. The total Blacks share value written off amounts to £52.6m. In addition, Sports

Direct said it was unable to offer a higher price for Blacks because suppliers, such as The North Face, would not return its calls to confirm whether they would continue to supply the chain under Sports Dir-

ect ownership. Sports Direct called for an Office of Fair Trading investigation into the outdoor and sports retail markets, to ensure they are operating in the best interests of the consumer.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012




Co-op expansion continues as retail chain snapped up A 200-YEAR-OLD familyowned store chain has been snapped up by the Co-op as part of the latest expansion at the UK’s fifth-biggest grocer. David Sands, which employs 700 people at 28 convenience store outlets in Fife, Kinross and Perthshire, was hailed as a major acquisition by the Co-op. The takeover for an undis-

closed sum came as the Co-op, with 2,800 stores in the UK, announced like-for-like food sales rose 3.1% in the four weeks to the end of December, including a 16.1% surge in the week before Christmas. The acquisition of David Sands will end two centuries of tradition as an independent trader. The business was founded

in the early 19th century by Joseph Hardie, a prominent local businessman and founder of the Kinross Free Church, and has remained in his family ever since. In the 1960s the Kinross store was converted to self-service and a car park was added, which in those days was seen as a major innovation, and the company

bought a second store in Glenfarg, which was eventually sold. But it was not until the last two decades that the chain’s expansion began in earnest when it acquired 26 stores, as well as a warehouse and head office in Kinross. The company prides itself on its strong relationships with local suppliers and

recently started making its own ready meals above one of its stores. The acquisition is part of the Co-op’s plans to expand its food store network by 300 sites over the next three years, taking on around 7,000 extra staff. The group grew significantly after it bought the Somerfield chain.

City fears full-year loss as fall in demand hits Flybe by Peter Cripps


A FURTHER fall in demand for domestic flights in the UK over recent months triggered a profits warning at airline Flybe yesterday. Shares in Flybe fell more than 20% after Europe’s biggest regional flier said revenues in the final three months of 2011 would be significantly lower than it had hoped, fuelling fears in the City for a full-year loss. Flybe said the UK domestic market suffered an underlying sales decline of 8% in its third quarter compared to a 6% drop in the previous half-year, with December being “particularly disappointing”. Although the Exeter-based airline grew its market share by keeping its sales and passenger numbers flat on the same period a year ago, it has been forced to scrap planned increases in margins, suggesting that profits will also be hit. It is understood that Flybe kept its prices broadly flat, despite the rising price of fuel. To add to the gloom, the group, which flies from airports including Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster, Edinburgh and East Midlands, said the conditions are expected remain “challenging” throughout its financial year to the end of March. Investec analyst Andrew Fitchie predicted Flybe will now make a loss of £8.5m in the year to March 31, compared to previous predictions of a profit of £6.4m. And he anticipates further losses of £1.3m the following year. Jim French, chairman and chief executive, said: “The UK domestic

Flybe chief executive Jim French insists it has ‘a strong future in the medium and long term’ market is clearly challenging. Under such circumstances, notwithstanding the shortfall against our revenue expectations, I believe that maintaining volumes and growing market share at the expense of planned yield

increases was the correct decision to protect the long term potential of Flybe.” He insisted Flybe has “a strong future in the medium and long term” and said its move into Europe follow-

Majestic reports booming sales WINE merchant Majestic showed its sales were back on track after customers kept their taste for quality wines over Christmas. There were concerns in October that the retailer’s success story was running out of fizz but this was dispelled as it announced store sales rose by 8.4% in the nine

weeks from November 1 to January 2. Like-for-like sales, which exclude new store space accumulated after the firm opened 13 shops in 2011, grew by 4%. Steve Lewis, chief executive at Majestic, said: “New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs have done well, as has our

offer of £5.99 for Spanish Rioja reserve. “Classic French wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Rhone were also popular, which really plays to Majestic’s strengths as 30% of what we sell is from France. “People are being more picky and selective about what they buy.

The idea that in difficult economic times people would flock to value wines has been proven wrong and that gives us an advantage over supermarkets.” Mr Lewis said customers had left it late in the run up to the holidays but since November sales had gathered pace and boomed.

ing the acquisition of a Finnish airline was progressing well. Flybe has had a torrid time since floating at the end of 2010. Its share price is now about a sixth of its previous peak.


Goals hit by row with the taxman FIVE-A-SIDE pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres kicked new centre openings into touch yesterday as it revealed a dispute with the taxman had hit annual sales. The group, which runs 42 football centres across the UK, said that after opening a centre in Chester in March it would pause openings for a year in a bid to drive down its debt and build up cash. The announcement came as Goals reported a 2% decline in likefor-like sales in the year to December 31 as a result of the impact of a dispute over the amount of VAT paid on block bookings for five-a-side league fixtures. However, stripping out the impact of the dispute, the group saw a 1% rise in likefor-like sales in the year ending December 31, with total sales increasing by 9% to £30.3m. Goals previously had plans to open a minimum of four new sites this year. It opened new centres in Sunderland, Liverpool, Norwich and Hull last year. It now has two centres in Liverpool. The group said: “While 2011 was one of the most challenging years the consumer has faced, it looks likely that 2012 will continue in much the same vein. “However, Goals operates in a resilient market place with a favourable price point, and our market-leading position provides us with the necessary scale to cope with the challenges ahead.”



Agency fall THE number of people placed in permanent jobs by recruitment agencies fell for the third month in a row in December, according to a new report. A study by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation also showed a dip in the number of temporary and contract staff – the first reduction in over two years. Pay rates for temps fell slightly last month for the first time in a year, although pay remained broadly stable for permanent staff.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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Commercial property market poses risks and offers opportunites

view point

by Sean Beech, Deloitte North West head of real estate DELOITTE has made its predictions for the property market in 2012 against a backdrop of widespread expectation of anaemic

Changes to CBRE NW team PROPERTY agency CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) has appointed Alex Russell as associate director of office agency in its North West team. In addition, Will Kennon, formerly of office agency, will be joining CBRE Capital Markets, utilising his extensive experience within CBRE’s agency team to further strengthen the firm’s North West investment offering. Mr Russell and Mr Kennon have been responsible for some of the most notable deals of the past few years.

economic growth for the second half of 2012 after stagnation or a technical recession early in the year. Positively, 2012 is expected to provide opportunities for investors with cash, nerve and a long-term perspective. High quality safe haven assets will continue to be in high demand, especially those which can provide a positive yield. While making constructive predictions in the current market is not easy, the huge uncertainty and overbearing gloominess makes it all too easy to predict the end of the world as we know it.

However, the one thing that the past tells us is that while things may be difficult early this year, these times do pass and more often than not create significant opportunities. We cannot, however, ignore the current climate. Commercial property values are likely to fall during 2012 as secondary property is hit again by risk aversion and tenant default. Retail in particular is due to suffer with the March quarter date a likely trigger point for further retail failures. Both lenders and borrowers will see little respite

in 2012 with the year likely to see more banks withdrawing from the UK market and others reducing their balance sheets more aggressively than seen so far this cycle. Away from short-term market dynamics there are other threats to owners and managers of property. The increasing legislation heading towards property fund managers is likely to add costs at a time when fees are already under pressure and equity raising is difficult. The green agenda is becoming increasingly visible with signi-

‘We are likely to see more banks withdraw’

ficant implications for those not fully considering the planned energy performance standards. The acceleration of building obsolescence will be a key issue. The negative sentiment towards the office sector is overdone with low levels of construction, upcoming lease events in obsolete buildings and growth sectors driving opportunities for both investors and developers next year. Good new product should be able to avoid the worst of the downturn as it offers value to occupiers on a historic basis and will be in increasingly short supply as not enough new space is being built.

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Freestanding Chester City Centre Office Building 14,000 sq ft with car parking Potential for Re-Development Bobby Earl and Kevin Oxland, founders of Liverpool-based computer games developer, Spiral House

by Tony McDonough


Further information please contact Neil Dryburgh or Euan Ross at

VIDEO game developer Spiral House is expanding its space at Liverpool Innovation Park (LIP). The company, which develops interactive entertainment on all leading platforms including PC, Sony PS3/ PS Vita, Nintendo Wii/DS, Xbox 360, iPhone and tablets, has moved from its previous base in three small spaces to one larger 1,516 square foot office in Baird House. Established in 1998 by Kevin Oxland and Bobby Earl, Spiral House has grown from its early days in one of the

new business incubators to a 14-strong team all based at LIP. Kevin Oxland, owner and creative manager at the firm, which is behind popular games such as PSP Eyepet, Alone in the Dark (PC), and Silver, said: “It was the flexibility of LIP that attracted us there in the first place and the fact we were surrounded by similar companies with shared interests. “Being in a creative industry, the previous set-up, in three separate offices, didn’t work as well as us all coming together in one place to share ideas and work as a team.” Dr Mark Tock, innovation manager at LIP, added: “Flexibility is key for

growing businesses, and we work hard to make things run as smoothly as possible for tenants so they can get on with the important task of running their business. “The Park offers the ideal environment for technology-based businesses, and, thanks to projects like FibreNet, led by LIP tenant AIMES aiming to deliver super-fast broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps, the Park is rapidly establishing clusters of tech-based businesses that complement one another.” Also situated in Baird House is mobile games developer, Thumbstar Games, which recently announced it had secured significant investment.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LDP business



ResorthoteltocontinuetradingasCollierssecuressale A SOUTHPORT hotel has been bought out of administration and will continue to trade. Acting on behalf of joint administrators, Patrick Lannagan and Dermot Power, of BDO LLP, the hotels team at Colliers International, in Manchester, has secured the sale of Bold Hotel, in the seaside town. The hotel, in Lord Street, in the town centre, has been acquired by West Register (Hotels Number 1) and will continue to trade under management. The sale price has not been disclosed, but offers in the region of £1.7m were being sought for the freehold interest. Bold Hotel has 23 en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant and bar and a large function room with capacity for 250. Neil Thomson, associate director for Colliers International’s Manchester-based hotels team, said: “The hotel went into administration in October, 2011, and, after an intense marketing campaign, buyers were sought at an undisclosed figure, demonstrating that there is still an extremely active marketplace.”

Offers in the region of £1.7m were sought for the Bold Hotel, in Lord Street, Southport

Property SMEs expecting rise by Tony McDonough


SMALL property firms in the North West are expecting the value of their portfolios to rise this year, according to a new study. Property Matters, published by Lloyds TSB Commercial, reveals that, while London stands alone in terms of positive confidence levels, there are pockets of optimism in the UK regarding investment levels in a sector which has been hit hard by the recession. In the North West, property owners are preparing to invest in their residential or commercial portfolios in the next few months – a net increase in investment value of +5.92% in the region, compared to +5.07% in London and +5.99% nationally. The report looks at the confidence of SME property businesses throughout the UK in terms of sentiment (positive or negative), attitudes to investment and sources of funding. It reveals that, in the North West, even though expectations for the value of their own portfolios are positive, property business owners are far more negative about the wider UK market (net score of -1) and their own sector (-4) than in London, where businesses have a modest expectation (London +5) of improvement in sector activity. Stephen Hughes, relationship director for Lloyds TSB Commercial in the North West, said: “It has been a challenging time for SME property owners in the North West and it is understandable why they would not show a lot of confidence in the market. “But it is encouraging to see that there is a positive attitude to investment. “Even though businesses in the sector are

not expecting values to rise or the market to be particularly buoyant, they are prepared to take advantage of the investment opportunities presented by lower or static property values. “With over 50% of businesses in the North West citing bank debt as their primary source of funding, it is important that we understand the challenges they face. “Intention to invest is a positive sign but it is actual transactions in the SME property market – both residential and commercial – which will help to restore wider confidence in the region and the UK. “London’s property market is always likely to demonstrate a greater degree of confidence than a region such as the North West so it is important that, where opportunities do exist, property businesses feel they have access to finance.” Lloyds TSB Commercial says its lending growth to the property sector has risen by 9% year-on-year.

MOBILE FOR News, Sport and Business on your phone

Text LDP to 67800

Changes to rules on flues THE Wirral-based Residential Property Landlord Support Group is warning landlords across Merseyside to be aware of forthcoming changes to gas safety legislation. As from December 31 this year, it will be compulsory for all gas engineers to see and inspect flues. Should the flue not be visible, then it will be necessary to have an inspection hatch installed by this date. If there is no access, the engineer will be unable to carry out any further works to the gas boiler or issue a gas safety certificate. Richard Globe, who heads up the support group, said: “Landlords and letting agents are strongly recommended to read this information carefully.” Mr Globe can be contacted by calling 0151 639 6253.






Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LDP business Aerospace & Defence Index 3476.09 ▲ 80.60 325


Avon Rbbr



36118 24818 BAE Systems


73612 36834 Chemring



23612 16578 Cobham









55712 Rolls-Royce



Index 4587.29 ▲ 135.61 157





32334 23834 HendSmllrCos 26412




Law Debenture 340


Scot Am


40112 Witan



43914 Bco Santander 47114


73078 46312 HSBC

50434xd +1314







Lloyds Banking 2714



Ryl Scotland


20418 161




Cble&WComm 38 xd




Cble&WWwide 1718 xd






2118 143212


19912xd +318

6834 xd




Dec 19 - Dec 23






1143 940

AB Foods





Carrs Mill

810 xd



58812 Cranswick

741 xd




Dairy Crest

322 xd



Premier Foods 578

46558 28978 Britvic

33714xd +512


1428 1112 Diageo


72012 520

235412 1979 SABMiller


Tate Lyle



Forestry & Paper

Index 7051.73 ▲ 227.36

Index 5209.03 ▲ 218.66 +54

18738 10712 Elementis



2119 1523 Johnsn Mat



Construction & Materials Index 3457.80 ▲ 110.01


41312 Mondi



Index 4318.93 ▲ 45.15 332 887

16678 3i 590

17412xd -118

Close Bros



57012 31158 ICAP




1076 75612 London Stk Ex 801



3044 1936 Signet Jwlrs



52412xd -112

43334 WH Smith

Index 3390.05 ▼ 16.23 742




Aga Rngmstr




Barratt Dev



77612 54012 Bellway


35718 224

Morgn Cru

1010 60012 Oxford Inst 371





39734 22558 Bodycote 53812










4712 271212 Rio Tinto 5514


UK Coal

Index 2805.87 ▲ 35.50



31212 169

MS Intl

280 xd

71912 38914 Inmarsat




18234 155


6 400

29934 Rexam



26614 16438 Smith DS 86912

116 +13 -18 +714

20458xd +158 94312

Smiths Gp



2063 1649 Spirax Srco



2218 1375 Weir Gp



Industrial Transportation Index 2200.65 ▲ 5.53 24034 156

Index 1518.29 ▲ 24.12 16

Ashley L


BBA Aviation


Vodafone Gp

1754 787

Admiral Grp

14312 9958

12334 8934

Lgl & Gen





26912 Halfords

28912xd -512





46934 25734 Cairn Energy







24434 172



2489 189012 Ryl D Shell B

707 xd 255


Standard Life

55112 12714 Mothercare

16414xd +614


2810 1868 Next


59412 34338 D Mail Tst


61812 BSkyB


AEA Technology


23112 Albany Inv Tst


74012 AMEC 2712 Anglesey Mining 21458 Balfour Beatty 2414 Beale




1070 Dee Valley

Compass Gp

Var 5Day




301 easyJet


570 JD Sports Fashion



24812 992 +3012

+ 12





514 JJB Sports 2514 Johnson Serv


39878 707 xd 1334

Var 5Day



+7 +8312 +3


+814 -138




410 Nichols

59712 +2212 +6712



- 34


108 NWF



- 12








132712 xd +2712 +2712


31 Park Gp 977 Rathbone 10312 Redrow

Premier Oil

1251 74012 AMEC

up 18.00



+1038 +178



+22 +6


















62912 444

Brit Land



2954 2282 Daejan Hldgs




31278 Gt Portland





Land Secs

63112xd +1312



33114 195

9958 RSA Insurance



36234 18078 Invensys 108


14714 59


Smiths News

7812 xd +112



Speedy Hire

20 xd

1127 715

Travis & P

2261 1404 Wolseley





Index 756.28 ▼ 7.78


1812 Speedy Hire








7278 xd 6818




23134 Sage


ARM Hldgs









10534 Spirent Cms






Tobacco Index 34994.81 ▲ 193.69 3079 228212 Br Am Tob

302812 +1812

2444 1784 Imperial Tob


Travel & Leisure

3137 1742 Carnival 51212 Compass Gp

1435 955

Intercontl Htls




Intl Cons Airlns 14678






21558 Mitchells&Btlrs 24658




9078 xd

+38 +158

Punch Taverns 934




25478 Restaurant Gp 28814




Thomas Cook 15 15912





132712 1070 Dee Valley


64912 530

National Grid


63112xd +712

73712 58412 Pennon Gp


1600 1368 Severn




614 xd


54312 Utd Utils







Armour Gp



Crimson Tide



Dawson Intl


90612 67612 Bunzl








78612 61112 Capita





JJB Sports





De La Rue

922 xd




Johnson Serv









Man Brnze





87612xd +12







Portmeirion P




Redhall Gp


+334 +8



34114 23934 Interserve



Menzies J



13512 99

34634 19078 Northgate







20 xd


- 14

3412 Sportech



- 78


3378 Telme Gp



2812 UK Coal


-1 +12

- 12



1793 Unilever





54312 Utd Utils

614 xd





Pratical Inv












Gilt & FI


Gilt & Fixed



Monthly Inc



Europn Smllr Cos A Sterling Bd Unit Tst



- 54.29 -





299.90 1.20





Inc & Gwth








North Amer Acc








In order to give a greater range of Unit Trust information, covering a larger number of trusts, the list of funds changes each day as follows: UNIT TRUST MANAGERS DAYS PUBLISHED A to Com ................................................... Tuesday F to Inv.................................................... Wednesday JP to Pru...................................................Thursday Roy to T .........................................................Friday






Young A




£761132 Cons 4% .................£9312




Scapa Gp

Low Funds


£50 Cons 212% ..............£6434

£6712 Conversions



£69 Cnv 312%.................£8934



£50916 Tr 212% ................. £643132









£113532 £104132 Tr 9% 12............. £1041316 £1041116 £1001116 Tr 5% 12............. £1001116











European Union













56.72 3.70








250.60 5.67


New Zealand


247.30 2.78



Var 5Day





Euro Sel Opps


34534 27834 Centrica


363 xd


Index 4674.38 ▲ 37.85


Hyder Cons


UK Equity Inc A



21978 G4S












Sth East Asia




Spec Sits

-2050.32 2135.75


40234 Berendsen




Ashtead Gp


Property Bonds


2131 1389 Aggreko


Pacific Acc



MoneyBuilder Div


Index 729.99 ▲ 13.86

AEA Tech



Index 4385.10 ▲ 35.65 18





1884 1409 Whitbread





27178 13634 TUI Travel


Jpan Spec Sits


Greene King







Index-Linked Acc


20434 1014

607.40 1823.00

International Acc





32912xd -334


Amer Spec Sits American


40034 30134 FirstGroup




1598 1190 Go-Ahead Gp





15514 114


Price Gross


Enterprise Inns 2714




46034 301







Cancel Fund


Index 4303.91 ▲ 50.07

Support Services




10234 4378



Tech Hardware & Equip






Software & Comp Servs





15334 10912 Rank Gp

Big Yellow Gp

▲ 1.52%



34438 218





23014 9938

Index 24166.78 ▲ 565.18


404 xd +1014




Oil Equipment & Services

Index 4086.99 ▲ 69.76

31734xd +914


1493 94512 Tullow Oil



40214 30134 M & S


36314 BP


JD Sports



31618 22912 Resolution


6434 Adv Medical

156412 1144 BG

88 xd





1030 570






Index 8922.48 ▲ 96.03

229 xd -1112

28718 217

17834xd +158

Index 3915.42 ▲ 98.81




Oil & Gas Producers

47778 27514 Aviva





302412 +1512

Index 747.88 ▲ 4.12

Life Insurance


62 xd +518



RSA Insurance 109

Dixons Retail

42538 26858 Inchcape


3194 254312 AstraZeneca

1497 112712 GlaxoSmthKln 1420

Index 1338.81 ▲ 20.03


Home Retail

342812 +11712

Nonlife Insurance

206578 165934 Marsh McL +58


Index 4130.53 ▲ 38.00


+1 -538

Pharma & Biotechnology

Mobile Telecoms







7555 4425 Randgold Res 7220


19412 DunedinIncGth 21312


1896 941


Index 1958.11


Index 7464.32 ▲ 71.85


Real Estate



1600 1030 Burberry Gp 40214 30834 PZ Cussons




15734 11912 Dunedin Sml






3437 213812 Anglo Amer

1119 63612 IMI



1671 730

Industrial Engineering




Index 9907.69 ▼ 39.06

Index 21037.36 ▲ 686.42


Candover Inv









242 xd +378



84612 578

Brown (N) Gp

13934 109



31114 227

39234 31014 Alliance




Index 5470.98 ▲ 67.79

67912 421



Equity Inv Instruments

Br Assets


General Industrials





General Retailers


Utd Business











43414 Domino Ptg


Glencore Intl


12778 Laird

Trinity Mirror

53118 348

42212 280



2150 1296 Fresnillo






Index 2726.17 ▲ 3.28




Electronic & Electrical






STV Group

13614 10312 Redrow






1257 977


59012 46114 Reed Elsevier 168


1922 1183 Schroders

72412 39534 Cooksn Gp

Personal Goods



To assist in the analysis of the market two figures are given for each sector. Firstly an index (set at 100 on January 1 1992) to give a comparison in the performance of various market sectors. Secondly an indication of the percentage change in the price of all the securities within a sector since the previous close.

Index 20113.64 ▼ 20.34


Taylor Wimpey 3858



Those securities which have increased in value since the previous close are shown in bold type.


1571 90012 Antofagasta


s............ dealing suspended xd.............price ex-dividend xs ........ price ex-scrip issue xr ........ price ex-rights issue xc ..... ex-capital distribution xa................................ ex-all £......price value in £ sterling


263112 1667 BHP Billiton


1423 1159 SSE

1237 98412 Pearson


32114xd +918

2921.90 ▲ 1.42%




FT ALL-SHARE up 40.97







Low Bonar



16638 11034 McBride



72012xd +2512


3578 3015 Reckitt Benck






Drax Gp


Index 6559.67 ▲ 90.14


43658 27938 Intl Power

Smith Nph

Household Goods

1124 903



Health Care Equip & Serv


Index 8294.81 ▲ 66.12


Jan 10, 2012

Jul 10, 2011




Share price (pence)






12412 8314



1458 1097 Kier Group 38




General Financial

35714 21458 Balfour Beatty 27934 21312


Jan 2 - Jan 6



5524.72 ▲ 0.19%

30834 14412 Prem Farnell 10478 5814



713 xd +612

2189 1793 Unilever




Index 5638.63 ▲ 45.37


2081 1456 Croda


Food Producers

1395 1031 Barr (AG)



42334 35614 Tesco




30578xd +578


Index 10565.13 ▼ 2.68

26234 Morrison W

Dec 26 - Dec 30

5696.70 ▲ 1.50%


20-Day Moving Average


39114 26312 Sainsbury






Index 2269.30 ▲ 31.85

Index 4562.73 ▲ 1.30 +1014



Food & Drug Retailers


174412 116912 Stan Chart


FT-SE 100 INDEX up 84.44

Fixed Line Telecoms





Closing Indices


+6 +438


Keep track of all the major share moves of the day with our live FTSE ticker at



Index 3446.03 ▲ 108.35 33312 13878 Barclays


32778 26112 Forgn & C


Automobiles & Parts



66034 546



19058 13258 Senior

49214 41478 Edin Invst























new lira




United States





£1172332 £11278 Tr 8% 13................£11278 £11278


£109532 Tr 5% 14............. £1111516


£1062932 £991732 Tr 734% 12-15....... £991732


£344732 £312532 Tr 212% IL 16 .........£34318


£1411932 £1322132 Tr 834% 17 ........... £141132


£1531332 £1332732

21............. £1513132


£601532 War Ln 312%.......... £89932


Tr 8%



Last night, the pound was worth: $1.5488 (up 0.0053)........... 1.2115 euros (up 0.0003) ...........113.03 yen (up 0.16)........... Its trade weighted index was 81.50 (unchanged) Metals in $ per troy ounce: Gold 1637 (up 22) .............................Silver 29.69 (up 0.84) .............................Platinum 1462 (up 59) ............................ UK base lending rate 0.5%


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LDP business London market BANKS helped pull the London market higher yesterday, after eurozone debt fears were eased when France escaped a credit rating downgrade. Ratings agency Fitch said it had no plans to slash France’s AAA rating, although the news was tempered by a warning that Italy could suffer a downgrade this month. The FTSE 100 Index closed 84.4 points or 1.5% higher at 5696.7, with Barclays up 6% or 10.2p at 188.3p, Royal Bank of Scotland ahead 1.1p at 21.1p, and Lloyds 1.1p higher at 27.3p. Sentiment was also helped after Greece successfully raised 1.6bn euros in the sale of 26-week Treasury bills at a lower interest rate than a similar auction last month. Weakening import data from China also served to boost the market. Heavily-weighted mining stocks soared amid mounting speculation the nation’s Central Bank would move to stimulate economic activity. Kazakhmys was the biggest riser, ahead 58p, or 6%, at 1037p, while Fresnillo was up 94p at 1732p. Other markets also made strong gains with Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac-40 both more than 2% higher. The pound was up against the dollar at 1.55 after the greenback’s value fell. Sterling was also up against the euro, at 1.21. The biggest Footsie risers were Kazakhmys, up 58p at 1037p, Fresnillo, ahead 94p at 1732p, Barclays, up 10.2p at 188.3p, and Royal Bank of Scotland, ahead 1.1p, at 21.1p. The biggest Footsie fallers were Arm Holdings, down 9p at 604p, GlaxoSmithKline, off 15p at 1420p, Morrisons, down 1.8p at 309.7p, and Aggreko, off 8p, at 2123p.



market comment

Thecurrent quartermay providea bumpyride forinvestors

ALTHOUGH it is always difficult to sum up a "general mood", I think it is fair to say that investors in stock markets are pleased to see the back of 2011. Having dined on an unremitting diet of bad news, in the form of the Arab spring pushing up oil prices, the Japanese Tsunami, the first ever downgrade of America's credit rating and an interminable game of Russian roulette being played out in the euromeasured by the Morgan Stanley zone, capital losses of just under 10% World Index, using already reported in world equities (as measured by Mornumbers) was low relative to its hisgan Stanley) for Sterling investors tory at just over 14 – the average level over the course of the year seem relsince 1995 being approximately 20. atively modest. Although there are many who As anyone who reads the say that even this level is too financial press will know, high in current circumstances however, the eurozone sover(where there is a threat of an eign debt situation remains earnings decline in the coman unresolved issue, with the ing year), such an observation potential still to precipitate a misses the point, which is that sharp correction in equity valuations at the start of last markets if, through incompetyear already reflected far Email us with ence or institutional incapacmore caution than complacyour views at ity the euro fragments, ency. This is even more the letters@ thereby globalising the, case today, with the PE ratio already inevitable European or write to us currently just under 12.5. PO Box 48, Old economic recession. However, This brings us onto a Hall Street, in contemplating the prosecond reason for share-price Liverpool spects for the coming year, we resilience over the past year, L69 3EB should also consider the reaswhich is the performance of ons for the resilience of share corporate profits (the "E" in markets hitherto. the PE ratio). In spite of the confluence The first reason is valuation. Shares of unfortunate events and some resare most vulnerable to bad news when ultant slowing in economic share owners are expecting good news. momentum, global blue-chip companThese expectations are crystallised in ies delivered solid earnings growth. the valuation that the investors are This year, only forecasters wearing the prepared to pay for shares, one measmost rose-tinted spectacles could ure of which is the price to earnings expect more of the same, but with (PE) ratio. At the start of 2011, the PE many suggesting that market levels ratio of the average world shares (as are discounting a decline, any signs

What do you think?

Arab League observers attend prayers for those killed during violence in Syria. Stability can only return to the stock markets once the Arab spring revolution is over Picture: MUZAFFAR SALMAN that this is not on the cards would be enough to confound the bears. A third reason for share price resilience last year was the dwindling of secure options for long-term investors looking to generate income. With the 10 year bonds of prime-credit governments delivering yields of little more (and often less) than 2%, dividend yields of over 3% available on the shares of many global blue-chip companies have become attractive by comparison – particularly considering their more diverse currency exposure. In sum, it is clear that we are in a

period of high risk, with the first quarter likely to present some testing moments as Europe wrestles with its structural issues, but low valuations relative to history and an attractive alternative to low yielding government bonds for longer term investors clearly both remain supportive factors. The earnings picture is more difficult to call, but investors are largely braced for the worst and would be far more surprised by good news than by bad. John Haynes, Head of Research, Investec

For all the latest local and national business news online, log on to

business diary Friday, January 13 THE latest in the “60 Really Useful Minutes” series, run by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, will focus on improving the value of a business ahead of sale and will feature Brian McCann, of Vanguard Corporate Finance.

Commencing at 9am and running until 10am, the free event takes place at the chamber’s Old Hall Street offices. Book online at uk Saturday, January 14 A NEW Year workshop

– “Reflect and Renew: Time For You” – is aimed at helping Merseyside women into business. Coaches from Appreciation Works, a social enterprise set up by Suzanne Quinney and Helen Bush, will study participants’ strengths and how they can fulfil their business and lifestyle aspirations. The workshop costs £97

per person and takes place at Liverpool Hope University, from 9.30am to 4pm. For more information, contact Suzanne Quinney on 0151-427 1146 or 07940 726067, or to book a place (limited to 16) email suzanne@ uk Tuesday, January 17 LIVERPOOL Chamber of Commerce is hosting

a “drop-in” open day featuring Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF), providing Chamber members with an opportunity to discuss potential investment opportunities. MSIF has two currently investing funds: The Merseyside Loan & Equity Fund and the Merseyside Small Loans for Business Fund.

To book a 30-minute session at the free event, which takes place between 9.30am and 4pm, please email events@liverpool Tuesday, January 17 FISH! Networking enters its fourth year in 2012 and opens the New Year with a multi-sector event for corporate and small and medium-sized

enterprise players operating within b2b and lifestyle sectors The event is being held at Hanover Street Social, Hanover Street, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. Entrance is by £10 payable on the night, but booking is required. Please contact Bethan McKenzie on 0151-703 0917 bethan@ to register.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LDP business trading gossip ■

FRAUD comes in many forms and is increasingly more subtle and sophisticated in its operation – or so it would seem. That’s unless you happen to be a celebrity with a blind spot, or a penchant, for ducks. The latest annual fraud tracker report from business experts BDO details a welcome fall in reported financial criminality during 2011. It notes several notorious North West cases throughout the year, including conventional VAT and money laundering frauds and a waste disposal scam – and then there’s the case, reported by BDO, involving “a



the back page

A little luxury before facing the kitchen heat

working day

Paul Samuel Elackman is Head Chef at Finos at the Waterfront, in Southport. The restaurant offers tapas dishes and opened its doors last year. This was his day . . . 7.30am: Wake up. Coffee. Shower. Spend a good hour getting ready and applying moisturiser that costs me a fortune every month. The little luxuries in life.

frog-obsessed woman using unwitting celebrities to run up £460,000 debt from bank loans and overdrafts”. Surely, you’d have to be really green to fall for that?

STICKING with the wildlife theme, those nice people at Deloitte propose to turn £500 into £5,000 or more in the annual Fairbridge charity event by opting for a familiar old fund-raising favourite – a plastic duck race, above. But we fear the gremlins got at their press release detailing plans for a “plastic suck” race on the canal in Liverpool city centre.



FOR the latest news from the creative sector

www. ldpcreative.

9.30am: Arrive at Finos At The Waterfront. Great location for what we are trying to do. Traditional Spanish flavours served in a contemporary style. First thing I do is attack all paperwork – it’s a great feeling when I can finish that and begin working in the kitchen. 9.50am: Check fridge temperatures. Very important – we use only the freshest ingredients and need the optimum temperatures to make that quality last. It’s just a small price to pay to create great tasting tapas. 10am: While I’m in the fridges, I check all stock and make a list of what we need. I’m going to call the suppliers next. 10.20am: Hola! I phone the suppliers. Most of our stock is imported from Spain. We have eight or nine different suppliers so it can get slightly confusing, including the fluctuation of prices, but I speak some Español after living there for some time. They know me now, so all orders get placed with no trouble. 11am: Get ready for the lunch service. All our dishes are fresh and everything is made daily. Today I’m responsible for the alioli, which is made with egg yolk, garlic, sea salt, lemon and Spanish olive oil. Delicious. I’ve got a great team of chefs so I’m happy to let them get on. They know I expect a great service. 11.35am: First order to the kitchen. The customers have taken advantage of our Sublime lunches deal – three tapas for £6.95. That’s the thing with tapas, because the portions are small there are a lot of dishes. Sometimes it feels endless. One crisp calamari, one poco chorizo, two patatas bravas, one albondigas and one padron peppers ready for service. 2.30pm: Lunch service has died down, so take the time to turn the kitchen

Paul Samuel Elackman – likes to give the restaurant a thorough clean every Saturday around in time for later. Replenish all stock and clean up. Every station has a different chef, and every chef has a chance at a different station. It’s a great system and everything works well. 3.30pm: Time to make some churros mix. The churros and chocolate sauce dip is our most popular dessert. 4.15pm: Time to get out of the building. I take a walk across the bridge and along the promenade. Being by the sea is great, good to get some fresh air. Walk back to work feeling refreshed.

4.45pm: Stock up desserts and gather the team. Check everyone is OK and that they know what they are doing and where they are meant to be. Have a bit of a joke around, I like to keep the atmosphere light and calm to allow focus. Focus equals better results.


guess they liked the look of the menu. It’s great when your customers are excited about the food. We’ve had a continual flow of orders into the kitchen all night. 10pm: Finos closes at ten during the week. I praise the team and send most of them home.

5.30pm: Set up stations and it is pretty much all go from here until we close. As head chef, I am on the pass – I organise all orders that go in and out. I also keep an eye on garnish and dessert stations. Plate it, send it.

10.30pm: I clean the store. Every Saturday we dismantle the whole kitchen and give everything a good scrub.

7pm: Table for two order 18 dishes, I

Midnight: Home. Cup of tea. Bed.

LDP Business - 11th January 2012  

16-page business news supplement from the Liverpool Daily Post