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6056.4 ▲ 70.7

THE FTSE 100 Index pushed to a new 2½-year high yesterday, buoyed by reports that Europe’s bail-out fund may be enlarged. The Footsie rallied more than 1%, or 70.7 points, to 6056.4, as banking and mining stocks recovered from Monday’s losses. The market was boosted by talk that finance ministers had agreed to pump extra money into the European Stability Fund, at a meeting in Brussels.


Rapid improvement in retailer’s prospects by Alex Turner


DO-IT-YOURSELF retailer Rapid Hardware expects to return to profitability this year, after enduring a difficult period while it relocated to the former George Henry Lee store, LDP Business can reveal. Its final full year at its Renshaw Street home had seen a huge fall in sales and a pre-tax loss of £1.46m. But its accounts for the year to January, 2010, show that it cut its losses by nearly £1m, to £484,000, despite sales slipping a further £590,000 to

£7.45m. Six years earlier, it recorded sales of nearly £20m. The improved performance has resulted in Rapid Hardware’s auditors, Bootle accountants SB&P, not repeating its concerns about the retailer’s ability to continue trading without the support of its parent company. The financial year saw seven months’ trading at Renshaw Street and five months at Basnett Street, with the move seeing an improvement in gross margin. Since relocating in August, 2009, Rapid Hardware has grown sales and continued improvements in its margins, which it believes will result in a

profitable performance in the company’s 40th year. It was founded by Hugh Doherty in 1971 and is now led by his son, Martin, who is managing director. In the company’s accounts, the directors said: “During the transition period, there were sales of certain stock lines at clearance prices to allow the company to de-stock out-of-date and aged lines, with the ultimate aim being to open up in the new location with up-to-date, good quality merchandise and enhanced ranges aimed at attracting an additional market. “The final five months of the trading year took place in the new store. It was


the trade during this period that contributed in the main to the increased gross margin.” That improvement saw its gross margin rebound from 26%, back to its 2008 level of 37%. The relocation, which was the product of four years’ planning, involved costs which have weighed on the balance sheet – although John Lewis left behind fixtures and fittings worth £250,000, which Rapid Hardware plans to formally value and add to its fixed assets in the current financial year.

Life science firms vital to city’s future – Liverpool Science Park chief executive Chris Musson

Gill joins board at relaunched lobby group

Picture: ANDREW TEEBAY/ at180111escience-2


Science Park opens five new labs LIVERPOOL Science Park (LSP) is gearing up to open new commercial laboratories in the heart of the city, in a bid to attract more hi-tech firms. The £660,000 project has created a suite of five laboratories which include 300sq ft of office “spin-off ” space to collate data. They occupy the ground floor of LSP’s £6m IC2 building, which was opened 18 months ago at the top of Brownlow Hill. LSP chief executive Chris Musson said: “It’s no good attracting life science companies if there is nowhere for them to go once they arrive here. But they are vital to the city’s future.”

FORMER Liverpool Vision chief executive Jim Gill has joined Professional Liverpool. PAGE 2

Star supplier AGILYSYS is supplying chef Michel Roux Jnr’s London restaurant. PAGE 4

Embassy call SMALL firms have been urged to exploit Liverpool’s London office. PAGE 7



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We all feel anger towards bankers, but Cameron is right to say revenge is not the way forward businessbeat/


TOP FIVE 1 Liverpool stars in What Car? 2 Electric car demand boosts plant 3 International honour for Sentric 4 City hotels see improvements 5 Stagecoach invests £52m in fleet

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Retailer expands at city store CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The more positive outlook has enabled Rapid to progress with expansion of its floor space, adding another 60,000 sq ft to its existing 100,000 sq ft. It said that it continues to “monitor and review” its costs – in the last two years it has reduced both its wage bill and its stock levels by £1m – as it responds to the “extremely challenging market place”. Rapid Hardware’s parent company, Rapid Group Holdings, completed a refinancing last year which removed the retailer’s £3.2m overdraft. The refinancing followed a reorganisation of the group’s property portfolio. It sold properties in Renshaw Street, Bold Street, St Luke’s Place and other city centre locations, while it paid £4.5m for a 250-year lease for its current store. However, negotiations are continuing over a contingent liability, estimated to be in the region of £100,000, for the Bold Street property.



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Gill ‘coup’ for relaunched Professional Liverpool by Alex Turner


CITY-BASED lobby group Professional Liverpool (PL) has launched its latest incarnation as it looks to establish itself as an independent, privately-funded voice of the sector. It ends months of uncertainty about its future after the Northwest Development Agency cut its £200,000-a-year grant, which resulted in the departure of chief executive Mark Chadwick. PL has appointed former Liverpool Vision chief executive Jim Gill to its board, although it has no plans to have a full-time figurehead, and has begun a partnership with the University of Liverpool. That will see PL help to develop talent in the region through collaboration with the University on the management development programme, LEAD. But it is the short-term boon of having an 80-strong paid membership, which it aims to increase to more than 100 in the next year, which has secured the organisation’s future – although PL declined to say how much had been committed. Stephen Burrows, chairman of PL, said: “Self-sufficiency from membership fees has always been the long term objective for PL and we are confident that we have a strong and stable platform from which to continue to grow and expand. “We count some of the city’s largest professional firms and notable individuals among our members. “The fact that these organisations are putting their money towards the continued growth and success of the city region’s professional services offering is a tangible marker of the belief in the sustainability and long-term goals of PL. “The appointment of Jim Gill is a real coup and we are set to gain a great deal of insight and strategic direction through his involvement.”

Some of Professional Liverpool’s board members: back row, John Hall (adviser), Stuart Keppie and Steve Stuart; front row, James Keaton (adviser), Bill Doherty, Jim Gill and Stephen Burrows PL was founded in 2001 but Mr Chadwick became the organisation’s first chief executive when he started work in April, 2008.It extended its remit to include attracting inward investment and promoting the city’s offering nationally and internationally. Although PL will still look to raise the profile of the financial and professional services sector in the Liverpool city region, its ambitions have been scaled back.

Its immediate plans include “driving involvement” in the Liverpool city region’s Local Enterprise Partnership, the publication in February of the Commercial Office Market Review and the “No Cannes Do” lunch coinciding with MIPIM – a networking opportunity for those not attending the property exhibition in the French resort. PL’s nine-strong board will be presenting detailed plans to its members next month.

The University tie-up will see PL identify 25 candidates within its membership and offer a 20-week programme in conjunction with the University’s Management School to help develop their skills. Mr Burrows said: “The partnership with the University and continually expanding membership base all continue to boost the overall offering to the professional community in the city.”


Firms would pay for fairer tax

Sales growth

SOME small firm owners are willing to pay more tax if it meant the Government simplified the UK tax system. Research by Cheshire-based small firms lobby group, the Forum of Private Business (FPB), found that 57% of busi-

LUXURY goods group Burberry revealed another bigger-than-expected surge in sales yesterday. The company, which is famous for its red, black and camel tartan design, reported continued strength in the UK and rising demand from Chinese consumers as group-wide retail sales for the last quarter jumped 36%.

ness owners would pay more to effect change, providing the system led to greater rewards. And 50% said they would be prepared to pay more under a simplified system if that system cut down on tax avoidance among their competitors.

Tax avoidance is typically carried out by bigger businesses with the resources to exploit geographic loopholes. Phil Orford, FPB chief executive, said: “We desperately need reforms that incentivise small business growth.”


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business




‘My directors look after today and I look after tomorrow’ Alistair Houghton meets PAUL KENNEDY, chief executive of CEL Group IN PAUL KENNEDY’S office, classical music acts as a soundtrack to a tale of business success with a big heart. Kennedy leads Cheshire-based CEL Group, a business which offers services from training to public sector procurement and international money transfers. He led a management buyout (MBO) in 2008 and has since seen CEL double in size. Now he wants it to grow still further by working with public sector bodies looking to cope with the cuts – and he is on the hunt for more investment to help him. Kennedy says he wants to help the public sector work more efficiently, whether by helping diverse organisations work together or by helping them buy goods more cheaply. As we spoke in his Birchwood office, where classical music including Pachelbel’s Canon played in the background, Kennedy sang the praises of private sector support for public services. “I describe CEL as a private organisation with a social purpose,” he said. “It’s in our DNA. “This business is about delivering more for less. We’re perfectly placed to help deliver what I’m passionate about – doing everything we can behind the scenes to protect frontline services. There’s so much potential to make public service organisations more efficient. It’s not always about headcount reduction.” CEL Group is split into three divisions – CEL Public Services, CEL Procurement, and CEL Transact. CEL Public Services delivers services, such as work-based training, for public sector bodies. It acts as the national body co-ordinating the work of 230 Home Improvement Agencies. Kennedy said: “These organisations help elderly and vulnerable people stay in their own homes as long as possible, rather than going into social care. We help them share best practice. “These are not-for-profit organisations. But, in the changing world of the voluntary and community sector, they will have to become more commercial and operate like businesses.” CEL has also teamed up with charities Age UK and Community Service Volunteers on a project to help elderly and vulnerable people switch from analogue to digital television. For Kennedy, Digital Outreach is a case study for David Cameron’s much-vaunted Big Society, as it shows how a private sector and a voluntary sector organisation can pool their skills to make a difference. CEL Procurement provides procurement services for public sector bodies and quangos across the UK. It handles products and services worth more than £100m every year. Its Partnership for Housing brand is a buying consortium for 90% of the UK’s housing associations, while Independent Healthcare Procure-

Paul Kennedy – looking for private equity investment ment carries out similar work for care homes and hospices. CEL Transact provides payment services to help people transfer money across international borders. Its Uni-Pay system, run with banking partner HSBC, provides a secure system for international students to pay fees through their local banking system in their local currency. Kennedy, originally from Scotland Road, in Liverpool, moved to Runcorn as a child. He chose not to go to university and, after a year as a sports journalist, moved into the Civil Service. He focused on “market testing” – testing the efficiency of public services by seeing how they compared to private sector offerings. Ten years later, he was headhunted by the public sector procurement division of Hays. After seven years at Hays, he joined Sheffield-based training and welfare-to-work specialist A4E. “For the first time in my career, I found myself working for an organisation that made a profit but also made a difference,” he said. “That sparked something in me.” In 2006, he left to become managing director of IT firm Redstone Converged Solutions, leading a turnaround that took it back into the black. But, in 2008, he was approached by a headhunter – his former employer Hays – to join CEL. “What interested me was that the owners were looking to exit the business,” he said. “I had worked really hard making lots of money for other

people – and it was time to see if I could do the same for myself.” He and partner Mohammed Ramzan completed their MBO in October that year – a great achievement at the height of the credit crunch. “The papers went out to HSBC the day Lehman Brothers went pop,” said Kennedy. “I was in New York that day. My business partner phoned me and said ‘you’ll never guess what’s happened’. I said ‘I know, because I’m right outside their building’.” Since then, CEL’s turnover has more than doubled to £7.5m. The company moved from Glossop to Birchwood, while headcount has doubled to 90. Kennedy has enjoyed the challenge of running his own firm – though he admitted it was tough at first.

q&a Age: 41 Highest educational qualification: A-levels, though I’m now completing my chartered directorship qualification with the Institute of Directors Best advice received: If I’m talking, I’m telling you something I know. If I’m listening, I might learn something new. Listen before you jump in Proudest achievement: Getting a management buy-out away, smack bang in the middle of a banking crisis. Biggest regret: Not running my own business earlier in my career

“When I worked for a bigger organisation, I felt I had an umbrella,” he said. “Somebody put a certain amount of money into my bank account every month. Today that’s not the case. “I did this MBO on a Friday. Driving to the office on Monday, I had this thought thundercloud over me – every single one of my employees is relying on me to take the right decisions to enable them to pay their mortgages. That’s a really sobering thought.” Today, Kennedy works on the business’s growth strategy while his divisional MDs control the day-to-day running of the business. “My managing directors look after today and I look after tomorrow,” he said. Kennedy says the ongoing public sector cuts could lead to more opportunities for CEL as the Government looks to outsource services. He said: “We are looking at areas such as preventing reoffending. “There is a natural diversification for us into other policy areas.” Kennedy is now in talks with potential investors about his ambitious growth plans for CEL, which include acquiring rival firms. He said: “We are at the tipping point now where I’m going to consider seriously the involvement of venture capital or private equity. “I want to get this organisation to turn over £60m or £70m in the next two or three years, both organically and through acquisition.” Despite its recent successes, CEL

remains a minnow compared to outsourcing giants such as Capita. Kennedy believes smaller companies such as his can play a big role in the Big Society – if the Government will let them. He mused: “The interesting thing for us is going to be whether comments made by the Government about the SME sector delivering public services proves to be rhetoric. “There’s so much talent in the SME sector that’s missed by Government simply because we haven’t got the recognised name of a Serco or a Capita.” Kennedy is now keen to share his experiences with other business owners by becoming a non-executive director on other boards. Outside CEL, Kennedy works with charity Positive Futures, which supports young people in disadvantaged areas of north Liverpool. Back home in Frodsham, he focuses on fitness and his family. He said: “I’ve started going back to the gym – I’ve lost 2½ stones in the last six months. “Most of my weekends are spent taking my son to different parts of Cheshire for football or rugby. “My daughter and my wife have horses. We tend to split up in the day and come back in the evening.” Kennedy is a big Liverpool FC fan – as demonstrated by the signed Steven Gerrard boot framed on his office wall – but he is not a season ticket holder. “There’d be a very low return on investment on that one,” he smiled.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business Board changes at fund manager THE venture and growth capital fund manager, EV, yesterday announced that Stephen Ross has been appointed non-executive chairman. Former 3i director Mr Ross has been a non-executive director of EV since 2004. Richard Bamford, who steps down from the chair, will continue as a non-executive director. The board changes come at an important time for EV. For the first time, EV now has more than £100m of funds under management – an increase of 40% in the last 12 months and 350% over the last five years. As a result of new fundraisings and management contracts, including the North West Fund for Venture Capital and the Finance Yorkshire’s Seedcorn Fund, EV has grown its funds under management to £107m. EV now manages investments in more than 200 companies across the UK and has 21 employees, operating out of a network of five offices in the North of England and Midlands and plans to open in Liverpool and Kendal shortly. EV’s chief executive, Jonathan Diggines, said: “EV has grown substantially in recent years, investing in new and existing SMEs with potential for growth. With all the talk about the difficulties that SMEs are having gaining access to funds, EV is one of the few funds committed to investing in this vital space.”

Bank sells clinic chain A CHAIN of private rehab clinics best known for helping wean celebrities off their addictions has been sold to private equity in a deal worth up to £925m. Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland, which acquired the Priory Group in 2007, when it bought Dutch bank ABN Amro, will sell the specialist mental and healthcare firm to buyout specialist Advent International. The group has 66 sites across the UK.




Agilysys expertise on the menu at top London site by Neil Hodgson


A WARRINGTON firm has provided state-of-the-art payment and reservations technology for one of London’s latest top restaurants. Agilysys (Europe), part of US-quoted Agilysys Inc, provides electronic point of sale (EPoS) and hospitality software. It has installed its InfoGenesis tills system and ResPAK restaurant management and reservation suite to Roux at Parliament Square, the latest restaurant by Michelinstarred chef Michel Roux Jnr, who is working with Restaurant Associates, part of the Compass group. Agilysys is a supplier to Compass, and its chip and PIN technology allows diners to settle bills at the table and it is also linked to ResPAK which can be used to take a reservation, enable staff to open a drinks tab in the bar and allocate it to the table, as well as communicate restaurant orders electronically to the kitchen, while at the same time printing the information remotely. The Agilysys team also had to work to a tight six-week timescale to install the system, while at the same time configuring it to match the listed Georgian building the restaurant is located within. They worked closely with the client to respect the building’s architectural integrity, installing a wireless network that could function through thick stone walls, with low-profile wires and access points for chip and PIN. Agilysys Hospitality Solutions Group vice-president and general manager Tina Stehle said: “Our technology enables Compass to deliver outstanding service to its clients and run efficient and profitable operations. “We’re particularly proud to be

part of this prestigious new venture. And she added: “Once again, we’ve been able to demonstrate that we can provide technology that is discreet enough to blend into the background of a fine dining establishment while still providing powerful process automation.” Roux, at Parliament Square, is located within one of the most beautiful buildings in Westminster, in Grade II listed premises, with stunning views of the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. The building was designed by Liverpool-born Alfred Waterhouse, the architect of London’s iconic National History Museum, and has been furnished in a contemporary style. Restaurant Associates offers premium services covering fine dining, conferencing, functions and events and front-of-house operations. Its parent, Compass Group, generated annual revenues of more than £13.4bn in the year to September 30, 2009, from its core sectors of business and industry, defence, offshore and remote site locations, healthcare, education, sports and leisure and vending. Agilysys provides innovative IT solutions for the retail and hospitality sectors and its clients include hotels, casinos, destination resorts, cruise lines, food service operators, stadiums, arenas and conference centres. Its operating systems can be tailored to control reservations, check-in, point-of-sale and business intelligence, or provide inventory and procurement management to document management. Although based in Ohio, its main office is situated in Warrington, linked to sales and support offices through partners across Europe, South Africa and Dubai, in the Middle East.

Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jnr – power behind the new London restaurant

Carphone’s Best Buy venture offsets slower sales in Europe

Dealer plans celebrations

CARPHONE Warehouse offset slower growth in its European mobile phone arm thanks to its partnership with American electronics giant Best Buy. The UK retailer lifted its full-year earnings guidance due to expectations that a profitsharing agreement with Best Buy’s mobile phone retailing operation in the US will now generate up to £100m for the company. It said its core European operation performed well in the Christmas quarter, although like-for-like sales growth slowed to 0.7% from 2.4% in November. Carphone added that connections were down 7.1% due to

MERCEDES-BENZ, of Liverpool, is getting ready to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the co-founder of Mercedes-Benz producing the first ever motor car. The Pall Mall retailer is in the process of adding the finishing touches to its special anniversary event, which will be held from March 3 to March 6 and will pay tribute to the breakthrough of Karl Benz in creating the world’s first motor car and “Benz” in 1886 – the three-wheeled Motorwagen. Mercedes-Benz, of Liverpool, is to mark the occasion with the dealership’s official launch of the new generation CLS-Class. Entertainment is being finalised and Mercedes-Benz of Liverpool is hoping to stage a display of classic Mercedes-Benz, with the help of local enthusiasts. General manager David Savage said: “We’re proud to have a history that includes what is recognised as the very first motor car.”

the continued modest take-up of prepay smartphones and as tough conditions in a number of continental markets offset strong trading in the UK, where like-for-like sales rose 2.3%. The mobile phone retail business is now part of Best Buy Europe, which is a 50-50 joint venture with Best Buy and also features the recently-launched Big Box consumer electronics stores. A store opened in Aintree last year. Carphone said the performance of its first six big box stores reaffirmed its belief in the “substantial opportunity” that exists within the sector. The megastores have thrown

down the gauntlet to rivals such as Currys owner DSG International and Comet firm Kesa Electricals by offering US-style service and initiatives, such as a trade-in service. The online offering, branded Best Buy, launched before Christmas and has seen a strong performance to date, according to the company. Carphone’s shares rose 2% yesterday as the group said it expected earnings per share for the financial year to the end of March to be at the top end of the previously announced range. It is the second time in three months that Carphone has raised its results guidance.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business



Print specialist stays confident over full-year results SPECIALIST printer Communisis said full-year trading results should be in line with expectations, after clinching several new contracts. In an annual update for the year ended December 31, the group said both its intelligence-driven communications and specialist production and sourcing services

had achieved good momentum during the second half. The Leeds-based group, which offers a variety of print services for businesses, from mailing shots to billing, was re-appointed by the Post Office to provide a range of solutions, including IT and stationery requirements covering its 11,500 branches.

Another key deal was an exclusive partnership with business process services provider Liberata worth more than £2m a year. They will work closely with local and central government on revenue and benefits statements, payroll services and council tax billing. Both these contracts will

run for five years and complement an extension to a contract as the marketing service provider for banking giant Barclays to the end of 2015. Communisis opened a plant on Speke’s Estuary Commerce Park, in July, 2007, at a cost of £17m and employing more than 200 staff. Liverpool stockbroker Pan-

mure Gordon welcomed the update, but changed its recommendation from “buy” to “hold”. It said: “A number of longer-term agreements have been signed and suggest ongoing faith from a number of important customers. “However, it is early days to suggest progress may be above and beyond expectations.”

Cityarchitect clinches£60m ofworkin Birmingham by Peter Elson


LIVERPOOL architect FCH is increasing its profile in the Midlands, after winning three major contracts which will help transform the face of Birmingham. The total investment in the projects, including a Hilton Hotel scheme, is worth around £60m. Two of FCH’s tasks involve facelifts for a pair of vacant 1960s buildings which have long bighted the centre of Britain’s biggest provincial city. The crowning glory will be creating a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill on the 25th floor of the brand-new building, The Cube. The restaurant forms part of a £10m Indigo Hotel and luxury health spa, on the top three floors. Adam Hall, FCH managing director Adam Hall is delighted with the firm’s hat-trick in Birmingham. “To have three major schemes on the go at the same time in the Midlands is a great boost for a Liverpool practice. “It’s good to start 2011with a busy workload, not just in the Midlands but around the country. The biggest project of the three involves a £30m investment to transform Birmingham city centre’s Cumberland House, Broad Street, into a 285-bed hotel. Built as a speculative office tower in the 1960s, it was used for some time as

council offices before being vacated seven years ago. The building is being given a new fascia and a complete internal refit, and will open in the summer of 2012 as a new Hampton by Hilton Hotel. The client is Birmingham-based developers, Office Villages, with the contractors, Stockport-based Multibuild, already on site. Adam Hall, who is working on the project with colleague Sarah Harrison, said: “By the time we have finished, the building will have become an impressive landmark in the city centre. “It is a perfect location for a hotel because it is so close to everything in the city centre.” The development is taking advantage of a government scheme, known as BPRA, or Business Premises Renovation Allowance. This provides the incentive of tax breaks for the conversion of tired, vacant buildings. The incentive scheme makes the project viable, according to Adam Hall. BPRA is also being used in the planned conversion of another Birmingham city centre building, Snow Hill Plaza. It will create a 224-bedroom Holiday Inn Express, with a new-build conference and banqueting suite added to the refurbished Snow Hill Plaza. The Snow Hill scheme is a development by Sanguine Hospitality and Bruntwood, while Indigo Hotel and Hampton by Hilton will be operated by Sanguine.

Fewer firms failed in 2010 BUSINESS failures fell 12.1% in 2010, claims the latest research by information provider Equifax. This was despite a “blip” in the final quarter of the year when a number of regions saw an increase in failures which can probably be attributed to a number of companies being wound up at the end of their business year. Scotland saw the highest increase in failures, compared with the third quarter, at 32.9%. However, the North West was among a number of regions that managed to buck this trend, as the East Midlands managed to achieve a 23.4% drop in failures quarter-onquarter, followed by the North West at 7.6%, and the South West with a 2.1% fall. Equifax spokesman Neil Munroe said: “What we have seen throughout 2010 is a steady drop in the number of organisations failing. “Pay freezes and tight control on invoice payments were reported consistently throughout the year. So it appears that there has been a clear focus on cost control and cash flow management which has aided survival.” He said the fall in failures “should give business and industry a certain amount of confidence that, as long as they continue to do the things they have been doing in 2010, they should be able to survive.”


CREATIVE FCH has worked on The Cube, in Birmingham

QVC staff in £50,000 donation

Housing deals

STAFF at TV shopping channel QVC’s Knowsley site have donated more than £50,000 to The Linda McCartney Centre at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals. The donation was made up

THE North-West Division of building services engineers Shouksmiths has won eight new contracts worth a total of £1.42m, including two for affordable housing and regeneration specialist Lovell in Liverpool. The Lovell contracts, worth a total of £704,000, involve heating and plumbing at housing projects in Netherley and Kensington.

of proceeds from many employee fundraising activities at the customer operations centre, as well as proceeds from the sale of cosmetic products across its two retail stores in Warrington and Shrewsbury, and a further cor-


porate donation from QVC UK. Staff chose the centre as their charity of the year because of the crucial work it does to develop new and effective cancer treatments, and provide care and support to those fighting the disease.

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Chamber calls on firms to support graduate project by Neil Hodgson


LIVERPOOL Chamber of Commerce is urging members to dip into its “pool” of graduate skills. The organisation wants to set up work experience opportunities for talented students within the city through The Graduate Retention Programme, a scheme involving the chamber and a consortium of local universities. They offer a range of professional skills to local businesses from graduates who have undergone a programme of career planning and professional skills development. Chamber deputy chief executive, Carole Crosby, said: “This is a great opportunity for businesses in the city to benefit from a work-ready graduate or professional. “The project has two aims – to add value to the candidates who gain valuable work experience for their CV, while the employer has the benefit of work-ready and well-educated individuals.”

Candidates have a broad range of qualifications in subjects ranging from law, IT, marketing through to graphic design and criminology. They have recently completed a programme of commercial skills, focusing on subjects including time management, leadership skills, project management, networking and understanding what managers need, and a range of inter- personal skills that are potentially vital to employers. Ms Crosby said: “We will be seeking placements for graduates up until the middle of 2011, and we are confident that the city’s business community will support the programme.” The graduate retention programme is part-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund, and co-financed by the Skills Funding Agency. The scheme is part of a range of initiatives by the Chamber to foster new workplace opportunities across the city. Last year, it launched its Apprenticeship Pledge, calling on Liverpool firms to consider taking on more young talent.

Park Court



Carole Crosby and Cllr Gary Millar at the Apprenticeship Pledge event

Training awards open for entries THE call has gone out for firms to support the National Apprenticeship Awards which will culminate in London this June. Applications are now open to find England’s top apprentices and apprentice employers in the scheme run by the National Apprenticeship Service. The awards are open to all organisations that employ apprentices – and to apprentices themselves. Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes, said: “These awards offer a great platform for young people and employers to gain recognition.” ■ TO FIND out more, visit apprenticeships., or call 08000 150 600. Entries close on March 25, 2011.

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Is there nothing the big supermarket chains won’t try to sell us?

Matt Johnson AS A NATION, we appear to have a love/hate relationship with our major supermarkets. Broadly speaking, those who don’t

mind how they go about their very successful businesses applaud the choice and convenience they offer. True, they make hefty profits, and some have an issue with that, but ramping up their turnover to achieve those profits means they are also able to employ very significant numbers of people. Then there are those with a view on the relationship between planning authorities and those retailers who are always on the look-out for sites on which to develop new outlets. Then there is the topic of how some of the major players have an impact on existing retailers and traders, for whom competition in a

free market sometimes amounts to a threat. The way in which the major players have been able to diversify, offering previously unimaginable ranges and choice of goods and services, will surely form a major part of future volumes of UK business, and even social history. All of the big players in the market have moved a long way from the conventional provision of groceries and other household goods. Financial services, clothing, white goods, mobile communications, and

books – you name it and it’s almost certainly available at a store or via a store’s website, near you. And reports at the weekend suggest the supermarket giants have more targets in their sights. First to catch my eye was Sainsbury’s. Its new venture, branded Fresh Kitchen, offers hot meals, salads, coffee and sandwiches. This has become a significant sector itself. Consumers in the UK buy an estimated 2bn butties a year, worth an eye-watering £3.5bn. Between them, retailers such as

‘You name it and it will be available near you’

Boots, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s already control around 17% of the lunchtime snack market. Not surprisingly, the development is being tracked with caution by independent sandwich shops. A spokesman for the British Sandwich Association says it is a threat to individual businesses. Meanwhile, Tesco may soon start selling vehicle tyres. It will be interesting to see how these new ventures perform, and to see if they are moving too far away from their core business. ■ MATT JOHNSON is chairman of Mando Group

Small business urged to profit from city embassy by Neil Hodgson


LIVERPOOL council is urging small firms to exploit the city’s embassy, which opens in London this Friday, to grow their business. The council is working with the city’s private sector to establish a platform in the capital to declare that Liverpool is well and truly open for business. The embassy is in New Broad Street House, close to Liverpool Street and the City’s financial district. The venture is expected to cost £350,000 over three months, including £200,0000 for high-profile events including two investment open days in May, during the week of Liverpool Boat Show, when 300,000 people are expected to visit the city. Council leaders hope to cover the cost through private sector partners using the embassy to woo potential investors and partners. And council leader Cllr Joe Anderson is offering the small firms sector a new, lower cost package to enable them to take advantage of the facility. He said: “Our smaller businesses are vital to the Merseyside economy and we want to make sure they reap the rewards of our new vision for the city region – including the Liverpool Embassy. “This is a fantastic demonstration of the public sector responding to the needs of private enterprise and I want companies of all sizes to benefit from the opportunities which will be created as a result. “Our Embassy is hard evidence that the public and the private sector in Liverpool are serious about working together to attract investment and create more private sector jobs.” The Liverpool Embassy is being set up following the success of Liverpool’s presence at the World Expo, in Shanghai, last year, and will showcase the vision to continue to develop Liverpool as a business-friendly and innovative city to invest in. Businesses who have pledged support so far include the Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool, Grosvenor, The Flanagan Group, Enterprise, Downing and Sony. Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, which is partnering the council and lobby group Down-

The Liverpool Embassy is set to open in London this Friday, to sell the city on the international stage town Liverpool in Business to deliver the project, said: “We knew that businesses in the city wanted this kind of showcase – and they are now beginning to get behind us. “I urge more to do the same, because

together and only together can we make a tangible and lasting difference to Liverpool. This is an encouraging demonstration of the way the private sector is working with the public sector in Liverpool to create a city which

can beat the recession and move forward with real optimism.” The embassy is the latest initiative of the city’s One Plan, which aims to sell the city nationally and internationally.

Region among UK fraud hotspots FRAUD has grown over the past five years and is predicted to carry on rising. Accountant BDO’s Fraudtrack review shows fraud over the past five years has broken the £7bn barrier – and the North West is among the hotspots. Reported fraud in 2010 dropped to £1.4bn from £2bn the previous year, but BDO expects the reduction is temporary. It says the latest figures are skewed because large fraud trials can take more than a year to settle, so the downward trend should reverse next year. And it claims, in times of recession, whistleblowers tend to be less active as staff facing job losses become less likely to raise the alarm. Alex Marsden, North West partner at BDO, also believes fraud is out of favour with risk departments at the moment. He said: “The current flavour of the month is bribery. “Although risk and compliance departments should address both old and new risks, they face limited resources and giving equal attention to matters is problematic, often with new risks taking a lead.” The report claims that during 2010 there was £191.5m-worth of fraud reported across the North West, involving 39 cases, representing 13.74% of the UK’s total reported fraud. The North West, London and Wales were the UK’s top three fraud hotspots.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business Bill Gleeson Price rises won’t stop culture of binge drinking A BAR owner in Liverpool once described his trade as “high-volume vertical consumption”. This involves people drinking lots of booze while standing. There are no chairs or tables in the bar. Clearly, the aim is to pack in the punters and get them drunk. The consequence of high-volume vertical consumption is, of course, high-volume horizontal emission. I don’t visit Liverpool city centre’s nightspots all that often, particularly not on the big nights at the weekend. In common with many other town centres, I expect Liverpool to be dominated by drunken youths. Not my scene. Nor do I expect government measures announced yesterday, to impose a minimum price on a unit of alcohol, will have any perceptible effect on demand for high-volume vertical consumption services. Indeed, Royal Liverpool University Hospital liver specialist Professor Ian Gilmore has made his view known that the low minimum price level set by the Government will cost lives, often relatively young lives. It should, he insists, have been set much higher. One reason the low minimum price won’t have any effect is that demand for alcohol is what economists call “price inelasticity”. A rise in price won’t stop many people drinking. The Government exploits the price inelasticity of alcohol for its own ends every time it increases duties on wines, beers and spirits. It will take more than mild economic measures to change drinking habits. We could revert to more restrictive opening times to limit the damage done by drinking in pubs, but then people are free to drink at home. So what can you do? On the one hand, it seems a pity that the promotional methods of the city centre night time economy contribute to serious health problems,

but there again it’s a free world and everybody is free to follow the example of those that find other things to do with a Saturday night. TECHNOLOGY is changing our world rapidly, and not always for the good or in ways that are easy to understand, control or predict. Take the US/Israeli Stuxnet cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. In some senses, this is an ingenious alternative to the use of conventional military force. Yet, on the other hand, it is a sign of the dangers all societies face from cyber attacks, whether perpetrated by states, terrorists, criminals or obsessive geeks with nothing better to do. The cleverness of Stuxnet is hard to gauge from here. It might not have been particularly clever at all, but was nevertheless able to get around poor Iranian computer security measures. The question now is how will the Iranians respond? Clearly, they don’t have the option of attacking the US or Israel using conventional arms, so they might be tempted to retaliate in kind by visiting a software attack on the US, Israel or, perhaps, western banks. States can always talk to each other and settle their differences. Imagine, though, if a criminal gang persuaded a bank it had implanted a similar bug into its IT systems and threatened to unleash it unless money changes hand. IT’S a good thing that Professional Liverpool will continue, though in a scaled-down form. Certainly, tenacity has been shown to keep the thing going after its public funding dried up. A bit odd, though, that the people running it won’t tell us how much the new pro bono voluntary organisation has raised to fund its activities. The secrecy could well reflect touchiness about just how small the donations have been.

Countdown to High hopes are riding on the first Liverpool Boat Show – so is it still on track? Peter Elson reports THERE’S just over three months to go before the first-ever Liverpool Boat Show (LBS) opens, and the senior management team is looking suitably stressed. “We’re broadly where we should be,” soothes Rob Mackenzie, LBS chief executive officer and operations manager. “All licensing agreements with bodies such as Liverpool City Council, Gower Street Estates, British Waterways and Pearl are in place and working well. “A major legacy will be the £750,000 permanent pontoons now being installed ahead of schedule by British Waterways and Blue Point Marine Services.” Besides the prestige, it is claimed the show will pump £30m into the local economy. The website is now open for ticketing and the big marketing push will start next week for the show, which runs from April 29 – May 8. Somewhat awkwardly, the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton falls on the show’s opening day, but will be shown on a giant screen. The event will hit the deck running as Europe’s largest boat show on its first outing – overtaking London, Southampton, Paris and Dusseldorf. The show innovatively combines a large, outdoor free show open to the public, with the main marina and gated areas requiring a ticket or wristband costing £12-£15 a day for adults. “It’s a radically different business model to mesh together paying visitors with those who just want a free look,” said Mr Mackenzie. Between 300,000-400,000 visitors are expected, compared to, say, Dusseldorf ’s 220,000 visitors. Crucially for Liverpool, it is hoped these visitors will include around 100,000 serious enthusiasts who are the real key to the show’s success. These are the people with money in their pockets who will make it worthwhile for the top-end boat builders to attend now and in future years. They will be among the elite wristband visitors with access to the premier areas. LBS achieved what is necessary to attract these high spenders, by signing four global luxury motor yacht brand leaders: Fairline, Princess Motor Yachts, Sealine and Sunseeker. Once these are onboard, the rest of the industry feels obliged to follow them to an event. “Around 50% of these boat owners live north of Birmingham, so the top boat builders realise they want to be in Liverpool,” said Mr Mackenzie. “And only 5% of these northern boat owners ever attend the London or Southampton shows.” David Lewis, Sunseeker London chief executive, said: “There’s a lot of wealth and experience in northern England, so Liverpool appeals to us. “Late April is a good time for a boat show. By then, wealthy clients are back from the Caribbean or ski-ing and we can bring them here, whereas they’d miss the London show.” Chris Cleverly, Princess Motor Yacht Sales managing director, said: “We used to have an office in Cheshire and we

An artist’s impression of the Liverpool Boat Show site in full swing, with a regatta in the River Mersey should come back. We will go to Liverpool to sell boats, as it is an excellent early year opportunity.” Mr Mackenzie said: “I’ve never experienced before the tremendous support we’ve had from local businesses and organisations. “Coutts, Barclays Wealth, Grosvenor, Credit Suisse, Boodles are all sponsors and make our job easier by bringing their clients with them. “We’ve never had an ounce of this co-operation in London. “Everyone’s saying this is good for Liverpool and asking how they can help.” Heathcotes signed a £300,000 contract for the show’s catering. “It’s a first-time event, so there are mistakes to be corrected and problems to be solved,” admitted Mr Mackenzie. “But I want to underline the team is enjoying it. We’re passionate about delivering a top event. “It’s more than just a boat show, it’s about getting a vast number of people here to enjoy themselves.” James Gower, LBS event director, whose idea the show originally was, said:

‘Boat builders want to be in Liverpool’

“The plan is for the Liverpool Boat Show to carry on for many years. “The new pontoons in Albert Dock are over-engineered for extra buoyancy and longevity to provide 280 berths. “They are 4m wide, instead of the 2m wide ones they replaced, to deal with the biggest crowds. “Southampton Boat Show started 40 years ago with 12 boats in a makeshift ex-Army marquee. It now attracts 100,000 visitors and is worth £50m to the local economy. “We hope Liverpool Boat Show will initially be worth about £30m to the local economy and be one of Europe’s best. “The setting, among the UK’s largest group of Grade I-listed buildings, ensures it will become one of the best-loved and most popular boat shows anywhere. “It’s a fantastic canvas, which contrasts with the soulless exhibition hall shows of Paris and Dusseldorf. “When we first started working on this event, in 2006, there was no Liverpool Arena & Convention Centre, no Capital of Culture and the hotels were just not there. That’s all changed.” There will be around 250 landside-based exhibitors, including electronic firms, component suppliers and


Wednesday, January 19, 2011 IN ASSOCIATION WITH

the big feature


o city Boat Show

Rob Mackenzie, Liverpool Boat Show managing director, takes the helm at the Albert Dock site

New events company was set up to run boat show holiday companies. The Guinness Bar, a once popular fixture of London Boat Shows, has signed an exclusive contract with LBS. “We’re trying to create something animated with character that’s not sterile, but has high water interactivity,” said Mr Mackenzie. “There will be an Aqua Theatre, water taxis and major regattas on the river both weekends organised by Royal Liverpool Yacht Club and kindred clubs. “We’ll have boating masterclasses, have-a-go kayaking, tall ships, heritage feature boats, canal narrow boats, historic boat parades and a marine literary festival. “Now the Leeds and Liverpool Canal link terminus is at Canning Dock, I think attending the Boat Show for the waterways community will be a very popular and romantic notion. “We’ve even integrated the Comedy Festival into the event. Our mobile music barge for 30 – 40 bands will be a huge hit. “The highly experienced Bernard Davis, who has organised Liverpool Shanty Festivals, has done a great job

putting this together.” Liverpool Cruise Terminal will also be utilised for tall ships and two warships that will be open to the public. Jo Cardew, marketing manager, said: “We’re reaching out to 1.2m boating enthusiasts through every media means. “This includes newsletters, advertising, affiliated clubs, the traditional specialist, local and national press and latest digital methods through Twitter and dedicated e-shots. “The main campaign should reach 35m people, including London press and Tube adverts.” Other key local partners include Ryanair, Easyjet, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Merseytravel, The Mersey Partnership and Visit Liverpool who will provide a joint promotional message. Liverpool One will display a branded boat and the M62 Rocket flyover will be adorned with a light display. “We’ve got the necessary critical mass of exhibitors,” said Mr Mackenzie. “As Jack Nicklaus used to say, ‘We’re coming down the 18th with a chance to win’.”

‘Show could be worth £30m to economy’

MARITIME Industry Events was started two years ago specifically to run the Liverpool Boat Show (LBS). It now has 15 staff based in Camden, London, but the management team visits Liverpool every week. Rob Mackenzie, LBS chief executive and operations director, formerly ran the British International Motor Show. James Gower, LBS marketing director, held similar posts with the London and Southampton Boat Shows. LBS organising partners have run the Liverpool Tall Ships Races and Liverpool International Festival of the Sea. The electrical site has been completed and the structural surveys for the temporary structures, marquees and seating are finished. The first draft of the event management plan was published last week. Confirmed exhibitors are already ordering their services. Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, LBS chairman and acclaimed round-the-world yachtsman, said: “This will be a big event.

“The Irish Sea area has been ignored for far too long as a location for this kind of show. “We’re at a stage where exhibitors can’t afford not to be here.” Cllr Joe Anderson, Liverpool City Council leader and a keen supporter of everything maritime, said: “This will be a fantastic event. “We have 28,000 people employed in the maritime sector in the Liverpool city region, so it’s a great place for the show to be.” Rod Holmes, The Mersey Partnership (TMP) chairman, agreed, saying: “Our maritime industries are a transformation sector and we employ more people in it than they do in London.” Also, this event crosses over into another of the four TMP transformational sectors, tourism and culture and is valued at £30m for the local economy. Judith Feather, Liverpool City Council head of events, said: “We have a great reputation now for hosting big events, especially maritime ones, and this fits in very well.”

private business

Organic growth at paper factory

THE rising cost of its raw materials caused corrugated cardboard box manufacturer TRM Packaging to endure paper-thin margins while enjoying strong organic sales growth. The firm, which employs 230 people at its Burscough factory, uses 40,000 tonnes of paper a year producing more than 600,000 boxes every day for the giants of the food sector. Paper prices rose 60% during its financial year, to August, 2010, and the company was unable to “recover the full impact of the increases from customers”. However, it is working with its customers to restore margins through supply chain initiatives and higher box prices in the first half of 2011. It also believes that the improvement in the value of sterling should make the UK more attractive to overseas suppliers, which will help to stabilise prices. Sales rose 12% to £27.6m – and it is looking to grow its turnover by up to 50% in the next three years – although its pre-tax profits fell 70% to £141,000. Managing director Trevor Maund, who bought the company in 2001, remains committed to a strategy of investing while the economy remains difficult so that it has the capacity to grow when the upturn comes. In August, it installed a £2.2m addition to its corrugator, which itself cost £6m, in the second phase of a £12m investment plan. This incurred an exceptional cost of £233,000. Backing for the expansion has come from the commercial banking team at HSBC, in Liverpool, which is providing a £4.5m equipment finance facility and a £6m invoice finance facility. It also received £1.2m from the Northwest Development Agency through its Grants for Business Investment scheme. ALEX TURNER


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business briefing Ashtead bows out of joint bid for Lavendon CONSTRUCTION equipment rental company Ashtead and Belgian firm TVH have abandoned their joint bid to buy equipment hire group Lavendon. They will not make a further bid after their offer was rejected as undervaluing the company. Ashtead’s UK arm, A-Plant, employs 90 people in Warrington.

Brewer toasts UK growth BREWER SABMiller reported continuing strong growth in the UK in the third quarter of 2010. The group, which brews Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Miller, reported that lager and soft drinks volumes were up 3% and 5% respectively across its global operations.

Experian boost CREDIT information provider Experian reported a 4% sales increase in the UK and Ireland in the final quarter of 2010. Sales were up 12% across its global operations in the period.

Betting loss SPREAD betting firm IG Group said it made a £69.1m pre-tax loss in the six months to the end of November.

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Inflation rise puts pressure on Bank to lift interest rate by Jamie Grierson and Peter Cripps


A BIGGER-THAN-EXPECTED rise in inflation heaped more pressure on the Bank of England to increase interest rates as economists warned the cost of living is likely to continue to soar. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation rose to 3.7% last month, its highest level since April and up from 3.3% in November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Economists were expecting the rate to rise to 3.4%. Surging food costs, nudged up by the weather disruption, energy bills and petrol prices led to a month-on-month prices increase of 1% between November and December, the biggest monthly rise since records began in 1996, the ONS added yesterday. The figures will provide little cheer for homeowners as some analysts predict the Bank of England will be forced to lift interest rates as early as the summer to curb inflation. The figures also prompted a warning from union leaders that higher inflation could spark claims for pay rises in the coming months, applying further pressure on the Bank and its Governor Mervyn King to stop inflation spiralling out of control. The Bank, which is tasked with bringing inflation down to a 2% target, has resisted lifting interest rates from historic lows of 0.5% as the wider economy battles with slow growth. The rate of CPI has been above its 2% target every month since November, 2009. Policymakers at the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) believe the period of stubbornly high inflation is being caused by temporary factors. As the Chancellor’s belt-tightening austerity measures start to kick in, the Bank will be under further pressure not to throw the fragile recovery off course. Sterling was around 1% higher against the dollar as traders factored in the chances of an earlier-than-expected rise in interest rates. The rate of inflation is likely to soar past 4%, economists said, as December’s figures did not include the impact of the VAT hike from 17.5% to 20%, which came into force on January 4. Philip Shaw, chief economist at brokers Investec, said the rate of inflation could hit 4% next month and remain above target in 2012. He said: “A sustained rise in commodity prices would probably result in inflation remaining above the 2% target throughout next year as well, despite the effects of this year’s VAT hike dropping out of the calculation. “Given this background, it will become more and more difficult for the MPC to stave off a tightening in monetary policy.” Alan Clarke, economist at BNP Paribas, predicted a rate rise as early as May. He said: “It confirms my suspicion that the first rate hike will come this year, the only question is how soon. Our call is August, but clearly there is a risk it comes as soon as May.” Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global

The price of cauliflowers went up 75.6% as farmers were hit by the big freeze

Rate challenge: Bank of England Governor Mervyn King Insight, said the Bank may have to lift interest rates in the short-term to prove it is paying attention to the troubling figures. He said: “Despite the undeniably significant rise to growth coming from the fiscal tightening that is now increasingly kicking in, there is mounting pressure on the Bank of England to enact at least a token near-term interest rate hike to send out the message that it has not taken its eye off the inflation ball.” But Brian Hilliard, economist at Societe Generale, said despite the pressures, he did not expect an interest rate hike next month. He said: “The Bank of England has already predicted in the December

minutes that the inflation rate would touch 4% in the spring, so is unlikely to be bounced into a February rate increase by this data or by January’s, which should be provided to the MPC in time for that meeting.” The rise in inflation saw TUC general secretary Brendan Barber call for Chancellor George Osborne to reconsider the VAT hike. He said: “Fuelling inflation with a VAT hike will hit workers in their wage packets and shopping receipts. This tax rise is bad for working families and damaging for the economy, too.” The rise was driven by a 1.6% increase in the price of food, the highest rise for a November to Decem-

ber period, and a 3.6% surge in transport costs, the highest monthly increase on record. The big freeze pushed up the price of vegetables in December as supplies were choked by disruption to distribution channels and crop damage. The ONS said cauliflowers were particularly badly hit by the Arctic weather, which caused a shortage that led to a 75.6% rise in prices. There were price hikes across most bread and cereals, aggravated by the wildfires that wrecked Russia’s harvest and caused the country to impose an export ban. The price rises brought in by utility companies also started to feed through to consumers in December, with gas particularly badly affected, pushing up the cost of housing and household services by 1.4%. Five of the “big six” energy firms – Scottish & Southern, Scottish Power, British Gas, npower and E.ON – have all unveiled bill hikes in the last two months. Petrol prices also continued to rise to £1.22 per litre, the ONS said. Air fares were up by 41.8% between November and December, compared with a 41.7% rise in the same period a year ago. But there was downward pressure on pricing from clothing and footwear, where prices fell by a higher-than-average 1.9%, as the havoc caused by the snow forced retailers to compete for sales.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business



Santander has work to do, admits new chief executive SANTANDER’S new UK chief executive, Ana Patricia Botin, admitted yesterday the bank had “a lot of work to do” to improve service standards after recent shocking figures on customer complaints. In her inaugural public appearance in the UK, Ms Botin told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that improving customer service

was one of her priorities since taking on the top job. Ms Botin – the UK’s first female bank boss – was grilled by MPs after recent data from the Financial Services Authority showed Santander had the highest number of customer complaints of any British bank. Santander, which employs more than 2,000 people at its commercial

banking arm in Bootle, was also named as the worst bank for customer satisfaction in a recent Which? poll. Santander’s service levels are said to have suffered as the bank seeks to integrate the Alliance & Leicester and Abbey brands, snapped up as part of aggressive expansion moves in recent years. The bank notched up

216,158 complaints in the first six months of 2010 – the most of any banking brand – according to the FSA. Ms Botin told MPs the bank’s service was “beginning to improve” by addressing underlying issues such as systems and processes, while also hiring 1,000 new staff to handle complaints. Ms Botin was the latest

British bank chief to face MPs on the cross-party committee as part of its hearing on competition in the retail banking sector. She confirmed Santander was still in discussions with the Government over lending commitments, after it was revealed last week to have pulled out of collective industry talks on bonuses, dubbed Project Merlin.

Barclays hit as FSA hands out record retail fine by Nicky Burridge


BARCLAYS was yesterday fined £7.7m and will have to pay out up to £60m in compensation for investment advice failings. The fine, which is the largest yet levied by the Financial Services Authority for retail failings, comes after the group failed to ensure two investment funds it sold to more than 12,000 people were suitable for them. The regulator said that, despite the fact Barclays had identified potentially unsuitable sales were taking place as early as June, 2008, it failed to take appropriate and timely action to rectify the situation. Between June, 2006, and November, 2008, Barclays sold Aviva’s Global Balanced Income Fund and Global Cautious Income Fund to 12,331 people, who collectively invested a total of £692m. But the group failed to ensure the funds were suitable for customers, taking into account their investment objectives, financial situation and investment knowledge, despite the fact that most of them were either retired or approaching retirement. It also failed to ensure that sales staff understood the risks associated with the funds, or that brochures and other documents given to customers clearly explained them and were not misleading. The FSA also found that Barclays

did not have adequate procedures in place for monitoring sales and responding promptly when problems were identified. It added that 1,730 of the just over 12,000 investors had complained about the advice they were given, the equivalent of around one in seven people. During the investigation, Barclays continued to carry out its own past business review on the suitability of the sales of both funds. It found that 51% of all of the Cautious fund sales and 74% of the Balanced fund sales required further consideration. The group has already paid out £17m in compensation, and the FSA estimates that up to a further £42m could be paid to customers who received unsuitable advice. Margaret Cole, the FSA’s managing director of enforcement and financial crime, said: “The FSA requires firms to have robust procedures in place to ensure any advice given to customers is suitable. “On this occasion, however, Barclays failed to do this and thousands of investors, many of whom were seeking to invest their retirement savings, have suffered. To compound matters, Barclays failed to take effective action when it detected the failings at an early stage. “Because of this, and given Barclays’ position as one of the UK’s major retail banks, we view these breaches as particularly serious and fully deserving of what is a very sub-

Getting back on track: a Docklands Light Railway train passes Barclays HQ, in London Picture: ALASTAIR GRANT stantial fine.” Barclays apologised to its customers for letting them down and said it was determined to “put things right”. Paul McNamara, managing director of insurance and investments at Barclays, said: “Barclays has worked in an open and co-operative way with the FSA from the start of the investigation through to settlement of this matter. “The FSA said that it does not consider that Barclays deliberately or

Citigroup returns to the black BANKING giant Citigroup returned to the black yesterday, after posting net income of $10.6bn (£6.6bn) in 2010. Citi, which employs 11,000 staff in the UK according to its website and owns credit card brand Egg, posted a net loss of

$1.6bn (£1bn) in 2009. The bank added that employee pay and benefit expenses were down 2% compared to the previous year, to $24.43bn (£15.3bn). Although the earnings came in under analyst expectations, the figures show Citi has

mostly recovered from the losses that drove it to seek a £28.1bn bail-out from the US government during the financial crisis. The results follow betterthan-expected figures from JP Morgan last week.

recklessly contravened regulatory requirements. “We are focused on ensuring that we identify those sales which were unsuitable, and provide appropriate compensation so that affected customers do not suffer loss. “We know that on this occasion we let our customers down and did not do all we could have done to meet the high standards that our customers expect from us, and for this we are sorry.”

Jessops upbeat CAMERA retailer Jessops signalled further progress in its recovery plan as it reported a 3% rise in like-for-like sales over Christmas. The chain, which secured its survival with a rescue deal in September, 2009, said it successfully maintained deliveries in the extreme weather.


Takeover bids for builder’s US arm HOUSEBUILDER Taylor Wimpey has confirmed takeover approaches for its US business as it seeks to offload the division and concentrate on the UK. Taylor said it was in the early stages of considering interest for the North American subsidiary, called Taylor Morrison. The group – the UK’s second largest housebuilder – wants to concentrate on its domestic UK market, where it trades as Bryant Homes, Laing Homes and George Wimpey. Yesterday’s news on the US business comes as Taylor said UK selling prices remained stable throughout the second half of 2010, leaving the average achieved across the year at £171,000 – up 7% on 2009. But the number of completions fell 2% and the group said constrained mortgage lending would continue to hold the property market back in 2011. Taylor said recent performance in the US division was expected to help pre-tax profits beat market forecasts – its second upgrade in as many months. The group, which builds houses in the UK, US and Spain and Gibraltar, has also driven more cost savings than it expected. In the UK, it slashed build costs by 10% in the first half of the year, and is now expecting to beat targets for 2011 after driving further savings in the second half.



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UK property sector now subject to full rigour of competition law

view point

by Pamela Jones, of Liverpool law firm, Hill Dickinson

LAST summer, I recounted Labour’s unsuccessful attempts to extend competition law to land and property. Well, the Coalition Government


has finished the job and, from April 6, all property agreements (including those already in place) will be subject to the full rigour of competition law. All agreements and restrictions in property documents are affected, including restrictive covenants limiting development or use, tenant’s covenants in leases and exclusivity covenants given by landlords. Anti-competitive agreements become void and unenforceable, with the parties facing significant fines – up to 10% of turnover – together with damages claims and the inevitable adverse publicity. The Office of Fair Trading has published draft guidance containing

useful worked examples and a self-assessment flowchart. A final version is promised before April, although the basic principles are unlikely to change. Crucially, the draft guidance is not a charter to attack every restrictive covenant and exclusivity agreement, the overwhelming majority of which will remain valid. A restriction is only prohibited if it actually affects competition within the relevant market. Residential properties will not generally be caught, nor will agree-

ments between undertakings with minimal market share, while blighting one site may be permissible if alternative sites exist or there is already healthy competition. There is even exemption for anti-competitive restrictions which benefit consumers, for example, an exclusivity agreement required to secure an anchor tenant without whom a new development would not be viable. Identifying the relevant market will frequently be problematic, as will deciding whether an anti-competitive restriction offers sufficient

‘This is not a charter to attack all restrictive covenants’

Downing unveils £40m development in Yorkshire


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consumer benefit for the exemption to apply. Clients seeking competition law compliant clauses will be disappointed, since an identically-worded restriction may be valid in one scenario but void in another. Furthermore, a perfectly valid restriction may become void at a later date if circumstances subsequently change. Despite the impression given by the guidance that only the worst excesses will actually be pursued, we must all become more circumspect in assessing the competition law implications of property transactions. Property is not exempt from competition law, and anti-competitive restrictions may be challenged.

An artist’s impression of Downing’s £40m student accommodation scheme in Leeds city centre

LIVERPOOL property developer Downing has submitted plans for a £40m student accommodation development in Leeds city centre. The scheme, designed by architects John McAslan & Partners, will create 568 student bedrooms and 4,500 sq ft of retail space across three buildings, next to the city's inner ring road. The plans include the construction of a 27,500 sq ft building and the complete refurbishment of two existing university buildings, providing an additional 210,000 sq ft of student residential space. Pedestrian access will be prioritised throughout the development. Paul Houghton, development director at Downing, said: “Leeds is one of the UK’s key university cities with a robust student market and, as we’ve seen with the success of Broadcasting Place, quality student developments are in high demand.”

Green regeneration plans for site in Ellesmere Port by Tony McDonough


EXPERTS at Colliers International have been appointed by Cheshire West and Chester Council to plan a regeneration strategy for turning land in Ellesmere Port into a green technology park. The council has tasked the commercial property agency with creating an area development framework (ADF) for land and buildings in the New Bridge Road area. The ADF will set out a vision for the development and regeneration of the 60 hectare site, identifying how it is integrated with the land use planning system and promoting the successful

delivery and implementation of the scheme. It is hoped that an anchor tenant will be in place at the new park by 2013. Andrew Delaney, lead director for the study based at the North West office of Colliers International, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to undertake this study. “There are many strengths that can be built upon as we look to develop this ADF. “Ellesmere Port has outstanding access to the motorway network and a strong tradition in the energy sector with the local presence of world class companies such as Shell and EA Technology. “In addition, there are embedded manufacturing skills and a plentiful land supply, much of which is under

council control.” Mr Delaney added that the council intended to enhance the economic prospects of Ellesmere Port by improving its appearance and public transport links and increasing the range of skills available to its workforce. Colliers will lead a multi-disciplinary team to deliver a study to help Ellesmere Port to overcome these problems. It will provide commercial development, valuation, agency and delivery advice. The Liverpool office of Urban Practitioners will give advice on master planning, ARCA will provide architectural input and the Manchester studio of consulting engineers Stockley will be responsible for advising on urban design, highways and movement, engineering and site conditions.

Tony Clark, manager for Ellesmere Port in the special projects team at Cheshire West and Cheshire Council, said: “It’s exciting times for Ellesmere Port. “The council has recently facilitated the establishment of the Ellesmere Port Development Board, led by the private sector to set the agenda for investment and development in the future. “The board will be committed to ensuring that opportunities created through its investment are shared with the local people to enable them to participate in new economic activity. “This piece of work will set out an exciting vision for an important area of the town, as Ellesmere Port embraces a new generation of energy industries.”


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business Auction house bridging the gap MERSEYSIDE property auction house Sutton Kersh has teamed up with Bridging Finance Solutions (BFS) to make funds available quickly for potential buyers at auctions. Sutton Kersh claims lack of finance from traditional lenders and a shortage of stock created an “incredibly difficult” selling environment for auction houses in 2010. James Kersh, director at Sutton Kersh, said: “With so many investors wanting to buy in the current market conditions, it is the lack of funding that is being made available to them that is preventing the market from a faster rate of recovery. “Those investors that are able to make smart purchases in the present market are set to be well rewarded in the medium to long term.”



RICS says property owners must be aware of flood risk by Tony McDonough


THE Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is warning property owners across the North West to be more aware of the risk of flooding. Due to changes in weather patterns, the RICS claims the region could face an increasing number of floods in the future, with properties not previously at risk of flooding potentially becoming vulnerable. It says that of the 28m homes in the UK, more than 5m are currently at risk, as well as more than 300,000 business premises and many more public and utility services buildings. While the chances for most of these properties of being flooded in any one year remains small, the damage and disruption caused if a flood occurs is very serious. For those which have been flooded in recent years, the potential risk of repeated future flooding is much more significant and could affect insurance premiums, the RICS says. Flooding does not just occur when rivers burst their banks. Many properties are at risk from

Advertising Feature

other causes such as flood by surface water after heavy rain, by rising groundwater, by exceptionally high tides or the bursting of water pipes or tanks inside a house. RICS North West regional board chairman, Dominic Thompson, said: “Flooding is a natural disaster which can seriously affect the value and amenity of your home or business premises, your insurance and the marketability of it. “All property owners and prospective purchasers should be aware of the potential risk for flooding of their property.” A new RICS consumer property guide to flooding – available free on the organisation’s web site at – advises property owners to undertake a more accurate assessment of the flood risk to their property. The report also advises on the risks from the different types of flooding, including local ground and surface water flooding risks, not currently included on the Environment Agency’s flood risk maps, and how flood waters may enter the property causing damage to the fabric and the Changing weather patterns could lead to more flooding contents.

Independent financial advice

Start the New Year as you mean to go on: carefully “A HAPPY New Year! But where do we start?,” asks Glyn Jones, of Vale Financial Services. He suggests a few general thoughts on things to be aware of while trying to guess what changes are afoot, and he suggests we deal with what we know first. He reports that ISAs are still available and well worth using to build up funds in a favourable tax environment. He commented: “Up to £10,200 per person every year can be squirrelled away, with up to £5,200 in cash. “Act now, and in April you can do the same again. Therefore, if you have not used your allowances for 2010, 2011, you could, within a few weeks, put £20,400 into ISAs. For couples, that equates to £40,800.” Glyn says there are sophisticated planning tools available to help you choose the investment that best matches the amount


Glyn Jones – sophisticated planning tools available of risk you are prepared to accept in order to achieve reasonable growth. Regular income plans are available which aim to provide a competitive

return while also offering the potential for the income to increase. He says the pension world is ever changing and the new regime for occu-

pational schemes is still due to arrive in 2012, although it is likely to be phased in with larger firms being the first to have to introduce ‘workplace pensions’. Glyn believes the logic is sound enough. Not enough is being saved, so employers and employees will be compelled to contribute to the employees’ pension plans. And he says there are many firms with excellent schemes in place, and there is discussion about how to preserve these beyond 2012. There could be a temptation to lower contribution levels to the minimum requirement. Glyn says at the other end of a pension’s life there looks likely to be an option to avoid buying annuity at 75 (now already increased to 77). But there are, however, strict minimum income requirements in place. He explains: “These are designed to avoid pension

funds being reduced to zero, with the attached risk of state dependency at a later date. These changes will appeal to those with reasonable guaranteed incomes and sizeable pension pots.” Glyn says tax is an important consideration in this area. He says annuities are likely to remain important for many people as they guarantee a lifetime income. “Much is made of the low rates currently on offer, but consider that it is possible to lock in a return of over 6% for life, at age 60, compared with around half that on, say, a one-year bond.” He adds: “Interest rates could increase, inflation will have an impact, but the income keeps on coming. Not necessarily a bad thing!” ■ VALE Financial Services is a member of pi Financial Services, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Independent Financial Advisers in your area Anglesey Security Financial Services

Ty Llwyd, Llanfaelog,Ty Croes, Anglesey LL63 5TY Contact: Richard Jones Email Phone: 01407 811268 Mobile: 07710 468970

Denbighshire Vale Financial Services Studio One,Town Hall, Crown Lane, Denbigh LL16 3TB Tel: 01745 814962 Fax: 01745 814446 Contact: Glyn B. Jones

Liverpool Rensburg Sheppards Investment Management

The Plaza, 100 Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3 9AB. Tel: 0151 227 2030. Fax: 0151 227 2444 Email: Website: Contact: Chris Aitken

Why choose an independent financial adviser

Because it pays to take an unbiased view

Those listed above are either an appointed representative of a network or national which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority or are directly authorised and regulated


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business Aerospace & Defence



Avon Rbbr




38834 29434 BAE Systems 36118 +1134 3663 2598 Chemring



27578 19214 Cobham



38078 25138 Meggitt




29912 19214 Hend Smllr Cos 29912


36278 267

Law Debenture36134


25034 17834 Scot Am






40978 Witan


Fixed Line Telecoms


47338 Rolls-Royce Gp 661


Index 2369.03 ▲ 8.71


7812 Senior



Automobiles & Parts Index 5349.49 ▼ 25.72 23718 102



19034 10978 BT Gp

184 xd


Cable&WComm 5014




Cable&WWwide 6978






5934 xd


Food & Drug Retailers

Banks Index 5112.56 ▲ 37.61

30614 25758 Morrison W 2414


38318 25538 Barclays





Bco Santander 734


71958 59614 HSBC



15914 2134 Ireland









3114 Ryl Scotland

1959 1403 Stan Chart



172512 +2512



385 409






1182 674

AB Foods

42712 Carrs Mill Cranswick

1304 79112 Barr (AG)


45134xd +158

40438 Britvic


3558 16 546

41038xd +478 6214 xd

Premier Foods 2034

38834 Tate Lyle


1250 1000 Diageo



1997 1688 Unilever


2306 1650 SABMiller







Forestry & Paper

Index 7032.85 ▲ 27.42

Index 5622.65 ▼ 70.01

1625 751 143



5012 Elementis

2100 1446 Johnsn Mat

1602 13838

55712 33814 Mondi +514


Construction & Materials Index 4138.07 ▼ 12.34 327

22934 Balfour Beatty 32414


18512 Costain


88812 664 -2















5512 2834 Low Bonar



1922 1116 Schroders






Kier Group

7834 Marshalls

42434 32614 Drax Gp


68712 36738 Cooksn Gp





Coral Prod

44858 28412 Intl Power



1012 338

1258 1010 Scot&Sthrn



35618 27612 Rexam 226

Electronic & Electrical


32278 Domino Ptg



378 34514

10378 Smith DS

1388 99512 Smiths Gp

Index 2919.41 ▲ 25.70

-1 +7







Oxford Inst



31114 20612 Brown (N) Group 31114



Volex Gp




Index 6090.47 ▲ 43.97 37778 29312 Alliance

37618xd +518

14012 10418 Br Assets





Candover Inv 660

22712 17118 Dunedin IncGth 21914 14012 9934 Dunedin Sml


46714 36418 Edin Invst


1112 Ashley L




Smith Nph

Barratt Dev








3655 3037 Reckitt Benck 3491


15178 9712 Redrow



2214 Taylor Wimpey 3818


Index 6808.98 ▲ 40.04 168

85312 567







38634 17334 Fenner








53012 IMI

17712 115

MS Intl

17112xd -112

2012 Renold

2025 1240 Spirax Srco

1902 1688

3142.62 ▲ 1.10%

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

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.

+338 +34


3612 2138 Dixons Retail 2134

Personal Goods Index 19427.67 ▲ 810.31

+5 +612





40934 Utd Business 712







57212 WPP




+3012 +42

2616 168412 BHP Billiton



1682 66912 Fresnillo



1671 965





6655 4209 Randgold Res 5150


4584 2812 Rio Tinto







UK Coal

BBA Aviation 227




17834 12912 Vodafone Gp 17834xd +334

Index 1567.31 ▲ 14.70 1693 1114 Admiral Grp


1055 728


Index 8597.66 ▲ 157.26




Index 1958.11 35314 28438 Big Yellow Gp 336 537

41814 Brit Land








Land Secs

34114 25014 SEGRO

Software & Comp Servs

12612 8512 Kewill

8734 xd






22218 Sage






AEA Tech


Standard Life 22478


215912 1554 Ryl D Shell B

93312 56012 JD Sports Fshn 91912


1388 99112 Tullow Oil








Intercontl Htls 1332



26512 Mitchells&Btlrs 35534





Punch Taverns 71


Rank Gp


-5 8

31078 18814 Restaurant Gp 31078


TUI Travel



1887 1266 Whitbread



Index 4468.57 ▲ 78.35 34618 26378 Centrica


1093 83712 Dee Valley




1446xd +30

62812 507

57012xd +712



Armour Gp


-1 4


-1 4

2534 1414 Chapelthorpe 2334 Crimson Tide 114

Monthly Inc


DAILY POST REGIONAL INDEX 1202.83 up 8.71 Price Var 5Day High Low Price Var 5Day wdff x 454 +6 -11 496 348 easyJet Adv Medical 67 -1


3034 Man Brnze







17312 12312 Redhall Gp

162 xd



4014 1112 Scapa Gp


29634 18312 Interserve

29634 +1434





29612 Menzies J







30512 15214 Northgate





Young A


1114 4



Portmeirion P 49212






514 AEA Technology

282 1226 6534 327 4112 594 634 1093

236 Albany Inv Tst 73312 AMEC 2012 Anglesey Mining 22934 Balfour Beatty 2412 Beale 42518



Compass Gp



282 1224

+212 +19


90 93312 25



57 IS Pharma 56012 JD Sports Fashion 378 JJB Sports 1534 Johnson Serv









30234 Nichols



76 NWF

3212 576




Park Gp

87 91912 412

- 12




11434 RSA Insurance


1914 Speedy Hire


3534 Sportech

Var 5Day




2914 xd





- 34

+912 +6312 -18


-18 +34

3712 7512









21 Telme Gp 3234 UK Coal 78





+2 +1012

1 78


- 18


478 Coral Prod



76212 Rathbone




83712 Dee Valley



9712 Redrow





1688 Unilever





507 Utd Utils

57012 xd





European Opps A




European Smllr Cos A -



Sterling Bd Unit Tst

- 52.03

54.36 4.40

UK Equity A




UK Equity Inc A









327.78 1.30





Far East



1.70 4.10

Inc & Gwth







North Amer Acc








Smaller Cos




US & Gen




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

FUNDS High Consols

Low Funds




£7438 Cons 4% .................£7634



£48516 Cons 212% ............ £52532





▲ 0.73%




208.70 3.31


£8134 £11134




3214 1534 Johnson Serv 3012

43412 20014 Hyder Cons



Gilt & Fixed


266.10 3.09


28312 23734 G4S


Gilt & FI

AIM Index 959.68 ▲ 1.01 614



UK Advantage Inc +634

1499 1086 Severn Utd Utils








779 xd +312


+2 +314


Index 25736.50 ▲ 423.10 1226 73312 AMEC


Holidaybreak 332

212912 +3112

Oil Equipment & Services

74612 52412 BSkyyB


170.07 4.35


-38 -12

262 xd





27912 17434 Electrocmps 572




23618 173








-1950.27 2031.53

Dawson Intl




Pacific Initial


39434 23718 Inchcape

Euro Sel Opps

Property Bonds














2025 1017 Premier

Sth East Asia





Pacific Acc






32858 21114 Resolution




22512xd +118


Spec Sits



29518 18812 Home Retail


North American Initial -237.40

44978 36014 Berendsen







Jpan Spec Sits






17014 +1118


38218xd +118


1534 7

54912 De La Rue



Ashtead Gp

61612 Bunzl



Intnl. Initial






1685 882





17678 77



-1012.17 1065.44

398 xd

46712 19012 Cape +31

Gwth & Inc Income Plus



49138 37614 Greene King




International Acc

48278 Pennon Gp


611.30 1841.00

Index-Linked Acc







36414 23014 Invensys

Amer Spec Sits American


48414 National Grid 54012xd +812

5314 3012 Emblaze



42518 Compass Gp 576





63512 Capita

55112xd +18

18414 Brit Airwys


Price Gross




49114 Mothercare


30838 190



Pratical Inv




Travel & Leisure

17134 Thomas Cook 202

2870 2157 Daejan Hldgs 2700



Index 5162.66 ▲ 40.45



42712 32338 M & S


532 xd +1112







2154 1753 Imperial Tob



27114 19812 Kingfisher

237112 +1812

16034 Stagecoach

36914 27918 Gt Portland

Cancel Fund


2521 1959 Br Am Tob


65538 30278 BP




49314 31814 Cairn Energy

Index 4196.26 ▲ 55.15

Spirent Comms

Index 27547.90 ▲ 177.13

13812 89






-1 8




10418xd +38





11718 8234 Marston’s


JJB Sports

10012 7134 Psion

16234 12234 Ladbrokes

69712 48712 Prudential




11118 6934 Lgl & Gen



2114 BATM




37234 Halfords


1332 887

40912xd +34




Index 4523.99 ▲ 51.87



53612 18812 ARM Hldgs


Support Services


1366 984

Index 724.51 ▲ 21.31

3385 2732 AstraZeneca



Index 4288.39 ▲ 38.46 +614

Tech Hardware & Equip

131812 1095 GlaxoSmthKln


13658 11434 RSA Insurance 13534

Oil & Gas Producers



Index 8729.58 ▼ 42.22

1975 1271 Autonomy Corp 1463

Life Insurance

29414 Aviva


13914 8438 Enterprise Inns 10818

Pharma & Biotechnology

Index 4083.26 ▲ 82.85

173258 128514 Marsh McL +118


1490 1042 Go-Ahead Gp 1306

Mobile Telecoms

Brit Ins Hldgs

2195 1223 Wolseley

41258 336

Index 719.25 ▲ 5.18

60612 Inmarsat


49612 34858 easyJet

Real Estate



2914 xd +114 1101

1115xd +56

8612 31

3410 2254 Anglo Amer Antofagasta

3614 1914 Speedy Hire


23434 PZ Cussons


Smiths News 10314xd

1156 59012 Burberry Gp

Index 27474.63 ▲ 380.61

1634 761

+314 +318





28918 10478

1127 66412 Travis & P





Index 2568.10 ▲ 38.25


STV Group


3153 2037 Carnival


Nonlife Insurance

Industrial Transportation




1861 73512 Weir Gp



2113 1355 Lonmin

Industrial Engineering



46058 Reed Elsevier 560



D Mail Tst





24738 114



17018 6412 Trinity Mirror


Aga Rangemstr 120

13734 70





-14 -414


27414 15934 Morgn Cru





17418 9834 Laird

Equity Inv Instruments


Index 1775.32 ▲ 23.76 20

499 xd

7712 4312 Molins

General Retailers


WH Smith


97112 +1012

Index 3253.62 ▼ 6.36





General Industrials

Electricity Index 7492.35 ▲ 70.75

1051 855



182918 98058 CRH 1383





7812 4814 ITV


Close Bros

99912 72812 Provident



Index 6652.97 ▲ 137.77


Lon Stk Exch 86812


Household Goods




2820 1652 Signet Jewelers 2670

Index 4006.91 ▲ 26.35



Share price (pence)

Jan 18, 2011




FTSE-Rebased Jul 18, 2010

FT ALL-SHARE up 34.33

13812 8734 Rentokil

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




57012 294



Health Care Equip & Serv

Index 6449.55 ▲ 20.41 340

Jan 10 - Jan 14



General Financial


Jan 3 - Jan 7

5996.21 ▲ 0.09%



2344 1817 Next


Dairy Crest

Dec 27 - Dec 31

6056.43 ▲ 1.18%



674 xd

6612 4134 Nth Foods 518




20-Day Moving Average


Food Producers




Index 5064.80 ▲ 21.73

42478 329

Index 9666.58 ▲ 134.56


45438 37712 Tesco

90712 726






FT-SE 100 INDEX up 70.73


Index 4787.44 ▲ 4.75

14938 2258 Alld Irish



Prem Farnell

30438 174

Closing Indices


14814 4438


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

Edin US Trkr Tst 64112

31614 25138 Forgn & C

Index 3553.94 ▲ 56.95


£672332 Cnv 312%.................£7118 £104 Cnv 9% 11 .............. £104












Canada Denmark





£1072132 £104916 Tr 5% 12 ............. £104916






European Union






£49732 Tr 212%................. £511732

£1181316 £1102732 Tr 9% 12 ............. £113532 -132

£9912 Tr 512% 08-12 .........£9912




£121516 £1171132 Tr 8% 13 ............ £1171132





£114332 £109332 Tr 5% 14 ............. £110732


£1121932 £106932 Tr 734% 12-15 .... £1061132


£3181332 £2911316 Tr 212% IL 16...... £3131316



£13238 Tr 834% 17.......... £1341316




............ £1361332


£67716 War Ln 312% ........ £721516


New Zealand


























new lira




United States





Tr 8% 21



Last night, the pound was worth: $1.5998 (up 0.0089)......... 1.1941 euros (down 0.0026)......... 125.40 yen (up 0.23)......... Its trade weighted index was 81.70 (unchanged) Metals in $ per troy ounce: Gold 1369.50 (up 9) ............................Silver 28.79 (up 0.60) ............................Platinum 1824 (up 21) ........................... UK base lending rate 0.5%


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business London market THE FTSE 100 Index pushed to a new 2½-year high yesterday, buoyed by reports that Europe’s bail-out fund may be enlarged. The Footsie rallied more than 1%, or 70.7 points, to 6056.4, as banking and mining stocks recovered from Monday’s losses. The market was boosted by talk that finance ministers from some of the richest nations in Europe had agreed to pump extra money into the European Stability Fund at a meeting in Brussels. The reports helped reassure investors that the eurozone would be able to deal with another debt crisis. Fears surrounding the ongoing debt woes on the Continent have troubled European markets for months, as uncertainty mounts over the future of other key economies, including Portugal and Spain. There were also successful bond auctions in Spain and Greece that added to confidence about the eurozone. Barclays, which is heavily exposed to the Iberian peninsula, moved slightly ahead by 1.2p to 307.8p, while HSBC added 5.8p at 709.3p. But Lloyds lost earlier gains, slipping 0.3p, to 67.8p. The euro strengthened on the back of the improved sentiment, and was up against the pound at 1.19. But the pound was up against the dollar at 1.60 after official figures revealed UK inflation surged to 3.7% in December. Fashion house Burberry topped the risers’ board after it delivered another forecast-beating trading update. The retailer surged more than 5%, up 56p to 1115p, after underlying revenues rose 27% in the third quarter.



market comment

Financial strengthof corporate sectoroffers besthope

A NOTABLE phenomenon, following the credit crisis, has been the financial strength of the corporate sector – with the exception of the banks – which has been in sharp contrast to the indebtedness of governments in the developed world. Companies controlled their costs going into the downturn, so that the subsequent revenue recovery has led to well above average corporate profit margins. Companies also pared back their capital expenditure in order to improved weekly jobless figures), as conserve cash, with the result that well as increase their capital expendittheir balance sheets are now very ure. strong, and returns on capital abnorThis is encouraging and mally high. important because, given American companies have consumer fragility and gov$1.9 trillion of cash while ernments unable to afford European companies have further economic stimulus, $354bn; while this must be Western economies are now viewed in relation to the unusually dependent upon longer term debt that corporthe corporate sector for ates also carry, the proportion Email us with future growth. of net debt to equity in the US your views at Another way that strong is now at a 50-year low. letters@ corporate cash positions can A source of frustration in, be deployed is through 2010 was that these healthy or write to us PO Box 48, Old acquisitions. Thomson Reuprofit margins and cash piles Hall Street, ters estimates that global did not lead to a material Liverpool mergers and acquisition increase in corporate spendL69 3EB activity in 2010 totalled $2.4 ing on capital equipment and trillion, up 23% on the year job creation. before. However, this is only just over The European sovereign debt crisis half the level of spend that was seen in alarmed corporate managers and 2007 prior to the banking crisis, desengendered fears of a double dip, and pite the fact that company valuations this delayed the investment upturn, are undemanding. despite the fact that the ratio of capital Acquisition activity therefore ought expenditure to GDP was at multi-decto grow significantly in 2011. This is ade lows in the US and Europe. positive for stock markets in the near We are now finally starting to see term – as companies pay a premium in evidence that US corporates are beginorder to secure their bid targets – ning to hire again (judging by

What do you think?

Internationally diversified corporates such as Shell are expected to help fuel growth in coming months Picture: DANNY LAWSON which should, in turn, enhance confidence about the economic outlook. However, a longer-term risk is that acquisitions could lead to job cuts as companies seek to generate cost efficiencies. As in so many other economic spheres, emerging markets are of rapidly growing importance in relation to mergers and acquisitions, both as bidders and targets, and they represented one third of global acquisition activity last year. Provided that there are no nasty surprises to derail corporate managers’ burgeoning confidence – for

example a “hard landing” in China, or failure to satisfactorily resolve European sovereign debt concerns – then the corporate sector should be a powerful engine of growth in the West for the foreseeable future. In this context, we feel that large, high-quality, globally diversified bluechip equities with strong balance sheets represent the most attractive asset class. John Haynes, Head of Research, Rensburg Sheppards

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

business diary Wednesday, January 19 Fish! Networking, the monthly Ubiquity PR initiative for corporate business and SMEs, is being held at the Mediterranean eaterie Sofrito, in Whitechapel, Liverpool. The free event is from 5.30pm-7.30pm. For

details, e-mail or telephone 0151 703 0917. Thursday, January 20 Open Coffee, a relaxed and informal business network, is taking place at Bean Coffee, Brunswick Business Park. It is free to

attend, and provides the opportunity to meet and develop new contacts with other small businesses from across Liverpool. To book, e-mail enterprise facilitator Debbie Elliott-Brown at Tuesday, January 25 St Helens Chamber is holding a free patent clinic from 9am-12pm. Free advice will be

available from experts from WP Thompson, who will provide a 30-minute consultation. See Tuesday, January 25 Liverpool Chamber of Commerce’s January platform lunch will see six-minute presentations from three businesses. It is at Liverpool Marina & Harbourside Club, Coburg

Wharf, Sefton Street, from 12.15pm-2.30pm. It costs £25 for members and £30 for non-members. To book, call 0151 224 1860. Thursday, January 27 A social media morning is being held at Liverpool Science Park from 8.30am-10am. Speakers at the event are Kathryn Corrick, of Emarketeers; Joanne Allday, of Lan-

caster-based Showing Off Academy; and Russell Gannon, of Liverpool-based online marketing and web design company, Together Online. It is at Innovation Centre 2 (ic2) in Brownlow Hill. To register, visit www. liverpool Friday, January 28 Judith O’Brien, managing director of IT

Answers, will examine online advertising and look at how you could use it to great effect within your company. It is the latest in Liverpool Chamber of Commerce’s series of 60 Really Useful Minutes seminars. It is free to members and £5 for non-members and is from 9am-10am. To book, visitliverpool


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LDP business trading gossip ■

RENSBURG Sheppards investment manager David Owen, below, took delivery this week of a 500 Abarth (a souped-up Fiat to you and me). We’re hoping it’s the same shade of white as his old Fiat 500, in which he was wont to play motorway snooker on long journeys such was its resemblance to a cueball. You know, overtake a red car, then a black car, then another red car, and so on. David confides that pinks and browns can be a bit tricky (UPS parcel vans being good for browns, hen party limos for pinks) and that he once recorded a break of almost 100 on a four-hour drive to Bournemouth. Given his job managing other people’s money, we shouldn’t really be surprised at his

powers of arithmetical concentration. But Trading Gossip can’t help thinking the radio might be a better option.

YOU wouldn’t want to have the CIA or intelligence agencies from some of the world's fiercest regimes on your back. But that, of course, is the fate of Wikileaks, whose hosting of leaked diplomatic cables and official logs from the Iraq War has caused a diplomatic storm. Wiki, by the way, is geekspeak for a website that anyone can edit, such as Wikipedia. There are many such sites about – so let's hope the world’s superspies don’t follow the lead of one visitor to Liverpool Science Park and get wobbly with their wikis. Spotting a sign for hitech company Scraperwiki, the visitor was heard to say: “Ooh, look – is this where that Wikileaks is based?” Scraperwiki, which creates software to gather data from dusty corners of the internet to make it easier to use, is unconnected with the infamous whistleblowing website. But, if they see US tanks on their lawn, they'd be well advised to scarper sharpish.


the back page


Chapter and verse on winning new business

working day

Chris Fitzgerald is a director at Chester-based insurance firm Astbury Wren. He lives in Calderstones Park, Liverpool, with his wife 5.30am: It’s an early start for me today as I’m off to my Friday morning BNI networking meeting, which starts at 6.30am. I have been in BNI for years and a member of the BNI Premier Chapter which meets near Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral for 18 months. It is a great group of people and it is an excellent opportunity to get business referrals as I get one or two each week – the most recent one was for a company with 80 haulage vehicles. 10am: I get to the office and spend about an hour checking through my emails before catching up with some of the 20 members of staff that work here as we currently have a number of exciting initiatives on the go. 11.30am: I meet with one of our clients, Crest:Plus. They are based in Chester and deal with 3,500 contractors and employees who they supply to recruitment agencies to work on shortterm assignments – mainly in the construction and rail industries. These assignments need a comprehensive package of insurances and we work with Crest:Plus to provide them with the cover they need. At any one time, they have 20 ongoing claims – mostly relating to accidents on site – and so our team are busy working on these. 1pm: I call Korec, a client based in Crosby, which supplies sophisticated GPS surveying and mapping systems. Its equipment is used on high-profile construction projects, such as the Olympics and the M25. The company has a new product which controls the operation of JCBs to both improve efficiency and reduce costs for contractors. We discuss the kind of insurance cover they will need for this range of hi-tech equipment. 1.30pm: I grab lunch at my desk but I believe it’s always important to take some kind of break, so I take 10 minutes to have a walk around the block and grab some fresh air. 2pm:I call MSB Solicitors as they want to renew their motor fleet policy which we arrange for them. We have a lot of clients based in the North West but also have clients throughout the UK stretching from

Chris Fitzgerald – getting in training for a run for Red Nose Day, in March Scotland to the south coast of England, as well as parts of Europe, so every day is varied in dealing with different clients – both in the businesses they operate and the areas they are based. 2.15pm: Head to a meeting with Langtons, a firm of chartered accountants based in Old Hall Street, about renewing their professional indemnity insurance. We work for a range of accountants, solicitors and charities, such as Age Concern . We have recently added Liverpool-based charity Nugent Care to our portfolio of clients.

4pm: Arrive back at the office to hold a conference call with a global insurance company we are working with, to offer bespoke insurance packages for companies who supply the Ministry of Defence (MoD). It is common for contractors who work with the MoD not to have comprehensive insurance, which reflects the sophisticated products they are involved with. This is potentially a huge growth area for our business, which we are looking to develop over 2011. 5pm: I put a quick call into a client

who I’m taking to the Liverpool match this weekend along with his two young sons. I’m a huge Liverpool fan and I go and see them at every opportunity. It’s the boys’ first time of going to a match so I’m hoping for an exciting game and a good atmosphere for them. 6pm: I wait for the rush-hour traffic to die down and leave the office when the roads are a bit quieter for my commute back to Liverpool. When I get home, I go for a run. In March I am doing a run for Red Nose Day, so I’m getting some early practice in after over-indulging over the festive period.

Liverpool Daily Posy Business Supplement 19.01.11  

Liverpool Daily Post monthly supplement for all Liverpool business news.

Liverpool Daily Posy Business Supplement 19.01.11  

Liverpool Daily Post monthly supplement for all Liverpool business news.