Page 1

M O N T H LY R E G I O N A L B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E

LDP

Don’t miss the ultimate sporting and social event of the year With packages from £155 per person, make sure you celebrate the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National in style in one of our restaurants or private boxes.

BUSINESS

F R I DAY 8th LADIES’ DAY

S AT U R DAY 9th A P R I L 2 011 GRAND N AT I O N A L DAY

Book now and win an iPad! Make a hospitality booking before Friday 17th December and not only beat theVAT rise but be automatically entered into our free prize draw to win an iPad! Visit aintree.co.uk/winanipad for further details

48

Six-page special on the air travel sector

w w w . l d p b u s i n e s s . c o . u k December 2010

T H U R S DAY 7th LIVERPOOL DAY

Terms & Conditions apply.

Budget airlines face turbulence

Keeping it in the family

Father and son ensuring a sparkling future for Boodles

● Decent bet: Sportech has Tote in sights ● Big footsteps: Shoe firm crosses the Atlantic ● On track: High hopes for electrification 1


Try us, see how we feel

We take a softer, more touchy-feely approach when it comes to tax and accounts. Lewis’s Grotto in Rapid – OPEN NOW – on 4th floor

Real reindeers outside Clayton Square City’s biggest international Christmas market

Real ice rink at Williamson Square from December to January Free parking at council car parks

Every night is late night shopping

12 days of Christmas £3,000 prize

Visit our office, and see what we mean.

0151 285 3660

Entertainment Alive After Five on Thursdays Snowglobe and more at Metquarter

Cobhams Ltd 73 Liverpool Road, Crosby, Merseyside L23 5SE

citycentralbid.com 2

Listen to

Tax Consultants and Accountants

T: +44(0) 0151 285 3660 F: +(0) 0151 285 3661 E: pcobham@cobhams.co.uk W: www.cobhams.co.uk

47


SOCIAL DIARY THE NETWORKER

SPONSORED BY MATCHDAY HOSPITALITY AT EVERTON

INSIDE

0151 530 5300

4

NEWS

Centre’s trio of lettings

9

LDP

19

BUSINESS

EDITOR Bill Gleeson 0151 472 2319

9 BIG FEATURE

bill.gleeson@liverpool.com

Future of the budget airlines

DEPUTY BUSINESS EDITOR Tony McDonough 0151 330 4918

18 COMMERCIAL PROPERTY New start for the Albany

tony.mcdonough @liverpool.com

19

BUSINESS WRITERS Alistair Houghton

BIG INTERVIEW

Nicholas and Jody Wainwright

alistair.houghton @liverpool.com

24 Models welcome Boodles’ guests to the 2010 Christmas party, on the platform at Lime Street Station, Liverpool

Peter Elson

peter.elson @liverpool.com

PROFESSIONAL SECTORS Tom Ledson, Adam Tilston, Ben Spencer and marketing agent David Beattie at DaDaFest 2010, in the Bluecoat

27 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Focus on Knowsley

CAROLYN HUGHES

Neil Hodgson

Firms miss out on public work

neil.hodgson @liverpool.com

Alex Turner

27

alex.turner@liverpool.com

HEAD OF IMAGES Barrie Mills

32

MARKETING EXECUTIVE Cath Reeves 0151 285 8428

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Boost for stem cell firm

34

ADVERTISEMENT DIRECTOR Debbie McGraw

INTERNATIONAL TRADE Hotter Shoes goes Stateside

Boodles’ managing director, Nicholas Wainwright, with Kathryn Hodson at the party

STYLISH jewellers Boodles hosted their 2010 Christmas Party in the decadent surroundings of the Orient Express Northern Belle last week. A Champagne reception on the platform at Lime Street station, complete with band, was followed by a sumptuous three-course dinner and fine wines onboard the opulent historic train. The event also showcased some of Boodles’ most glamorous and dazzling collections. ■ THE Closet, the celebrity dress hire operation owned by Hollyoaks actresses Jennifer Metcalfe, Claire

Cooper and Leah Hackett, hosted an evening of indulgence at Malmaison to celebrate the exciting new partnerships with ArtDeco cosmetics and Nook & Willow luxury leather accessories. ■ THE Bluecoat was the venue last week for Europe’s biggest deaf and disability arts festival, DaDaFest 2010. Over 200 people turned out to mark the festival’s 10th anniversary, welcoming artists and performers from around the world, celebrating the festival’s achievements to date and marking the opening of the latest three-week event.

36

ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER Jackie McMahon 0151 330 5077

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

Big savings for Liverpool Direct

38 TRANSPORT

A tale of two cities

40

32

EDUCATION

Value of the sporting economy

BUSINESS LUNCH

Hickory’s Smokehouse, in Chester

43

TELEPHONE 0151 227 2000

THE LIST

44

FAX 0151 330 4942

THE NETWORKER

Alistair Houghton picks up a gong

Michelle and Gary Dean enjoying the fun at Boodles’ 2010 Christmas party

Melinda Tatler at the Boodles party, with actor Hugh Bonneville, who has appeared in Downton Abbey and Notting Hill

46

COPYRIGHT

46 SOCIAL DIARY

Kristina Maguire, Rebecca Fisher and Sharon Simons, from the Malmaison, at the Closet event

Leah Hackett, from The Closet, with model Olivia Johnson-Aley & Becci Francis, from The Closet, at the Malmaison event

LDP Business is printed monthly and distributed with the Liverpool Daily Post. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publisher.

36

Carolyn Hughes out on the town

IT’S been a bad few weeks for Ireland. After two decades of relentless economic growth, the Emerald Isle has come back down to earth with a bump. Ireland’s growth rates throughout the nineties and much of the noughties was so strong that it overtook the UK’s economic output per capita. It wasn’t a long way from catching up with the US when the credit crunch struck. This era of growth transformed a country that, in the 1970s and 1980s was, arguably, not a properly developed first world economy. Despite the fast pace of growth since then, Ireland suffered a much worse recession than

PHOTOGRAPHY Trinity Mirror PUBLISHED BY Trinity Mirror NW2, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB.

42

The chief executive of DaDaFest 2010, Ruth Gould, with the 2010 DaDaFest competition winner, Christie Peto, at the Bluecoat festival

ADVERTISEMENT SALES Julie Cowley 0151 472 2311 Neil Johnson 0151 472 2705

EDITOR’S LETTER Britain – and ours was bad enough. These swings in Ireland’s fortunes are not without their impact locally. As David Cameron rightly pointed out when agreeing to a direct aid package for the country, Britain does more than twice the trade with Ireland that we do with China. A lot of that trade passes through Liverpool. While things look dreadfully bad at the moment, I’m convinced

Ireland will be back on the front foot again shortly. While banking madness and ill-judged property investment lie behind the current troubles, there are plenty of other fundamental factors that stoked Ireland’s rise that will remain in place in the future. Ireland has an enterprising culture and a highlyeducated, Englishspeaking population, and it is part of the biggest free trade area in the world. It may well be that membership of the eurozone exacerbated Ireland’s problems. The

eurozone’s low interest rates may have over-stimulated the commercial and residential property market in Dublin and elsewhere. Certainly one of the country’s principal banks, Anglo Irish Bank, was lending to developers like there was no tomorrow. One question is: Will the contagion spread? And will the more than 100bn euros lent to Greece and tens of billions more to Ireland mean Europe won’t have enough reserves left to bail out any more struggling countries? Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates

says his country needs no bail-out, and hopes that emergency funding for Ireland will end uncertainty and contagion in financial markets. But merely making the assertion will make the markets anxious. Judging by reactions, the markets are split between those who think the deal reduces the risks and those who think the fact that Ireland followed Greece in requesting a bail-out in relatively short succession is a bad sign. One thing is for sure: Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Britain and many others have rediscovered their faith in fiscal prudence.

BILL GLEESON 3


NEWS

Conference puts Sunflowers in the spotlight

Kerrin McPhie with Sharon Vanloo, of NCRI, and Joan Elam, from Sunflowers

THE BT Convention Centre has launched an initiative that enables charities to partner with conference organisers coming to the city. Aigburth-based cancer charity Sunflowers was involved in the first partnership when the National Cancer Research Institute’s annual conference came to Liverpool earlier this month. Kerrin MacPhie, head of sales at the BT Convention Centre, said: “We have been working towards creating this

Wayfarers bucks the trend with trio of lets OUTHPORT’S Wayfarers Shopping Arcade claims to be bucking the depressed retail trend after securing deals for three tenants to move to larger units. Vintage Home, Sweet Memories and Rohan are all expanding at the centre after seeing an increase in sales. Wayfarers, famed for its Victorian architecture, first opened its doors in Lord Street in 1898. It comprises 35 units, 31 of which are occupied. Of the four unoccupied, one is the subject of negotiations and two are being used by charities in the run-up to Christmas. In August, Wayfarers signed up beauty salon De Lovely. Centre manager Yvonne Burns said: “Wayfarers has an ongoing appeal to shoppers because of our wide variety of outlets, and it is clear that quality retail locations are still sought after in this economic climate. “It is great news for Southport that the arcade is bucking the national trend.” Despite the tough economic climate, the centre has maintained consistently high occupancy levels over the past two years, and 10 of its retailers have been established in the arcade for 10 or more years. Martin Connolly, partner at commercial property specialists the Antony Hill Partnership, which acts as agents for the property, praised the performance of the arcade during the recession. He said: “It’s not all doom and gloom up North, so let’s not talk ourselves back into a recession. “It’s tough out there, but I feel that the success we have had with the Wayfarers Shopping Arcade shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

S

4

Festive entertainment

partnership approach with our event organisers and our local community for some time, and we are committed to ensuring that our community benefits further. “We are keen to work towards a network of contacts across the third sector to match the needs of our conference clients and ensure we continue to give something back to our local communities.” Sunflowers showcased its Feel Good Factor scheme to cancer specialists from across the UK.

Wayfarers Shopping Arcade manager, Yvonne Burns

Matchdays at Goodison Park are the place to be this Christmas

Charles Dunstone speaking in Liverpool

Trust crucial for business starts CARPHONE Warehouse managing director Charles Dunstone has lauded the success of the Prince’s Trust’s business start-up schemes and stressed its importance in the years ahead. Speaking at a meeting of the North West Leadership Group in Liverpool, Mr Dunstone said: “The Prince’s Trust has a higher business success rate after three years than the banks – and the Trust only gives grants to people who have been turned down by the banks. “The Prince’s Trust is about funding people who have never been given a break and giving them a chance to show what they can do. “The figures about youth unemployment are terrifying. We have to find a way to

harness the talent that exists within those people.” Mr Dunstone set up Carphone Warehouse in 1989, aged 24, after working as a computer salesman before he moved into mobile phones. His career began while on a gap year before starting a business degree at the University of Liverpool, but he never started his studies. The North West Leadership Group brings together successful business people from the region to provide support to and develop opportunities for disadvantaged young people. Martin Ainscough, chairman of Ainscough Group, has just begun his two-year stint as the leadership group’s chairman.

The festive season gives you the chance to take a break from the day-to-day and let your hair down with people who have contributed to your business over the last year. This could involve thanking clients and suppliers or rewarding colleagues and staff. And this year, there is no better place to do it than at Goodison Park on a matchday.

at Goodison Park, luxury Directors‘ Box stadium seats and a visit from the Man of the Match at the end of the game. The Blues 100 provides the flexibility of a cash-bar with prices starting from just £175+VAT per person. The 1878 Suite includes complimentary drinks with waitress service and starts at £225+VAT per person.

The 1878 Suite and Blues 100 Suite are available on a match-by-match basis and offer a choice of hospitality packages to suite most needs and budgets. Both offer fantastic hospitality in the heart of the Main Stand

And while the pre-match hospitality can rival anything offered in the city, it is the chance to take in a Premier League match in the unique atmosphere that makes entertaining at Goodison Park so special.

Festive Season Fixtures: Wigan athletic Saturday 11 December 3pm Birmingham City Sunday 26 December 3pm tottenham Hotspur Wednesday 5 January 8pm For details of the packages available in the Blues 100, 1878 Suite or any of the other superb Executive Lounges at Everton, please call a member of the Corporate Sales team on 0151 530 5300 or visit evertonfc.com/hospitality For more information call 0151 530 5300 or email corporatesales@evertonfc.com 45


THE NETWORKER

SPONSORED BY MATCHDAY HOSPITALITY AT EVERTON 0151 530 5300

ALISTAIR HOUGHTON . . . . in which we mingle with chieftains, ministers and multinational teddies over Brie and strawberry sarnies INNISH may be one of the most complicated languages on earth, but even through layers of cases and conjugations the sound of networking is all too familiar. Not long after my Brussels trip, that I described last month, I had the chance to explore more European networking on a visit to Finland. I joined Steve Smith, of Liverpool Vision, on his trip to Helsinki to find two Finnish companies to speak at hi-tech pitching battle Liverpool Software City. My base for the day was the headquarters of Finnvera, the Finnish state venture capital company. It was, as you’d expect from a Scandinavian finance house, a discreetly elegant building in a prime location, near Helsinki’s picturesque harbour and two cathedrals. Though quite why a limousine with “Gentlemans Club International Show” should have parked outside, I don’t know. It was there all day and was still there when I left that night. Perhaps its dancers were waiting for investment to fall into their laps. Meanwhile, Helsinki’s two cathedrals are almost a visual rival to Liverpool’s celebrated pair. Where Liverpool boasts the severe

F

Gotham Gothic of the Anglican cathedral and the angular modernity of Gibberd’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Helsinki boasts the severe gleaming white Lutheran Tuomiokirkko and the spiky brick turrets of its Russian Orthodox counterpart. But, on my visit, Helsinki boasted another phenomenon familiar to Liverpudlians – colourful painted critters. Where Liverpool has had Superlambananas and Go Penguins, Helsinki had the Buddy Bears. In the Senate Square, beneath the towering steps leading to the Tuomiokirkko, stood painted models of bears representing every country on Earth. Each bear had its hands in the air, with the bears seeming from a distance to be forming an ursine chain around the square. Some of the bears were abstract works of art, while others were more obvious. The US bear was dressed as the Statue of Liberty, while the Irish bear – a red-headed Leprechaun adorned with four-leaf clovers – was a mere Riverdance away from imploding under the weight of cliché (which, I suspect, was the idea). But there was even some virtual teddy bear peacemaking. The bears of North and South Korea stood next to each other, holding hands. Perhaps it’s too much to hope that colourful bear statues could

symbolise an end to one of the bitterest political divides on earth. But here’s hoping. Anyway, I couldn’t wander Helsinki for long. Back to the Finnvera cellars I went to meet Steve before the start of the day’s main event – the pitching session. I watched with interest as the audience shuffled in. As you’d expect at any hi-tech event anywhere in the world, there was a mix of smart suits and jean-and-T-shirt combos. And, of course, there was the ubiquitous Apple logo. The presentations – all in English – featured a mix of enthusiastic and inspirational Finns sharing the secrets of their success. Two companies were chosen to come to Liverpool – music software specialist Steam Republic and gaming firm Tribe Studios. Both companies had, shall we say, quirky approaches to job titles. Steam Republic is led by a cabinet – its “trade minister” Paavo Bäckman spoke in Helsinki – while Tribe is, perhaps unsurprisingly, led by “chieftain” Elina Arponen. Could this spread to Merseyside? Perhaps Big Chief Jack Stopforth could host Chamber pow-wows – and maybe Tony Caldeira could make his “Cushion King” nickname official. As I mused, delegates shuffled outside for more chat over glasses of wine and nibbles. “I love the sound of networking,” observed a happy Steve Smith – and I agreed as I dived for the Brie and strawberry sandwiches HE delight in the faces of the Helsinki winners was another reminder that awards seem like meaningless baubles – until you win one. I was reminded myself at this month’s North West Media Awards, at which I won the Business Journalist of the Year title (why thank you – why, yes, of course you can buy me a drink). The Palm House, in Sefton Park, was, as you’d expect, awash with booze and bonhomie as print, web and broadcast journalists mingled to celebrate their successes or lament their losses. Other “notable winners”, as we call them, included our sister paper the Liverpool Echo. ’Tis, of course, the season to be jolly – with a fiesta of black tie dinners and awards dos in the run-up to Christmas. So, if you’re up for the Sexiest Mungo and Shoddy Merchant of the Year title, or excitedly awaiting the results of the Most Honest Lawyer awards, we at LDP Business wish you all the best.

T

Sometimes, Clive took his ‘Big Chief’ title a little bit too far

44

Invest in the Best

Investing in an education at Merchant Taylors’ Schools is a great start to life. We have an excellent reputation for academic success and a strong history, dating back almost 400 years, of providing an outstanding education for generations of pupils. Our academic achievements are well recognised locally and nationally as is our commitment to sport and extra-curricular programmes, which allow students to truly flourish. Contact us for more information. We welcome visits all year round.

Entrance Examination Monday 31 January 2011

Senior Boys 0151 949 9333

Senior Girls 0151 932 2414

Testing and assessments available for all pupils considering entry to the Junior and Senior Schools, including the Sixth Form, for September 2011. Extensive school bus service (14 routes) available throughout the North West. Bursaries and scholarships available.

Junior Boys

0151 949 9333

Mixed Infants & Junior Girls 0151 924 1506

We are currently building a new £5.5 million state-of-the-art sports complex, ready for September 2011.

Contact us to register your place. Record A Level Results for 2010

100% Pass Rate Boys’ School 86% A*, A & B grades Girls’ School 79% A*, A & B grades

www.merchanttaylors.com The Best Education for Life

The Merchant Taylors’ Schools, Crosby: a company limited by guarantee Registered in England: Company Number: 6654276 Registered office: Liverpool Road, Crosby, Liverpool L23 0QP Registered Charity Number: 1125485

5


NEWS

SPONSORED BY MATCHDAY HOSPITALITY AT EVERTON

THE NETWORKER

0151 530 5300

THE BUSINESS LIST Friday, November 26

THE monthly Daresbury Business Breakfast brings together around 100 people working for hi-tech companies. The breakfast is at Daresbury Innovation Centre, starting from 8am. For more details, see www.daresburysic.co.uk/events

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2 LIVERPOOL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNUAL DINNER

Friday, November 26 Jon Archer, from The Little Yellow Training Company, will be discussing his Seven Steps To Success in the latest of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce’s 60 Really Useful Minutes seminars. Jon, whose background is in business consulting and competitive athletics, will speak about the critical factors in both business and personal success. It is free for Liverpool Chamber members and £5 for nonmembers, and is on from 9am-10am. Book online at liverpoolchamber.org.uk

Friday, November 26

Sportech chief executive, Ian Penrose – considering a bid for The Tote

Tote is next in sights of expanding pools and gaming group Sportech

Addition of betting business ‘would make sense’, says Mersey company’s chief executive WALTON football pools and gaming group Sportech is keen to add the Government’s Tote betting business to its expanding empire. The Wigan-based Tote organisation boasts 517 betting shops, more than 3,500 staff and a major presence on all of the 60 racecourses in Britain, as well as internet and telephone betting facilities. After previous attempts to find a buyer for the venture which was valued at £400m three years ago, the new coalition Government is determined to conclude the process after setting a December

6

10 deadline for initial bids from interested parties. Sportech, and Warringtonbased bookmaker Betfred, are understood to be early leaders in the auction. Ian Penrose, Sportech chief executive, said: “We will take a look at it. “Conceptually, it would make a lot of sense for us, as we are one of the largest Tote operators and system providers in the world.” The group revealed steady trading and further expansion in its latest update to the Stock Exchange on November 18. In the periof from July 1, the

group said it was on track and the integration of its £51.4m US acquisition, SGR (Scientific Games Racing), was going to plan. SGR has now been renamed Sportech Racing and, as part of its integration, Sportech has opened two new off-track betting sites in Connecticut, USA, taking its total of outlets to 14, with four more license permits available. The group has also signed a deal in Chile for betting systems covering racetracks, phone betting and 201 off-track betting locations. Its football pools business, which is played by more than

500,000 people each week, has been extended to Ladbrokes.com, the online platform of the worldwide betting group. A deal has also been secured to offer the football pools game in the Caribbean and South America from the second quarter of 2011. Sportech has renamed the game it acquired from the Liverpoolbased Littlewoods group – now trading as Shop Direct – the New Football Pools. But it has reached agreement with Shop Direct to extend the use of the Littlewoods brand for another five years on its online gaming products.

The update revealed that the group’s SportsHero.com joint venture in India is making progress, with more than 100,000 customers registered over the past six months. Mr Penrose said: “Sportech has made significant progress in this period. “We have continued to extend the distribution of our core products and the completion of our acquisition of SGR, following an extensive regulatory process, gives the group the platform for further developing our potential in the emerging global regulated markets.”

An online marketing masterclass is being held as part of the events happening under the umbrella of the Liverpool Design Festival. Bryan Adams, of Ph.Creative, will be looking at online marketing techniques and conversion for business – how to turn those visitors into customers. It is from 3pm-5.30pm. To reserve a place, contact Siân Peak at Ph.Creative on 0151 708 2280 or email sian@phcreative.com

Tuesday, November 30 My Networking PA’s monthly event, Teppanyaki Tuesday, is at Sakura, Exchange Flags. A drinks reception plus two courses is £15 and it is from 6pm-9pm. To book, contact Gemma Rossiter on 0151 703 2774 or email gemma.rossiter@ mynetworkingpa.com

Thursday, December 2 Open Coffee, an informal networking event, is being held

Outgoing Liverpool FC chairman Martin Broughton – guest speaker at the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce dinner OUTGOING Liverpool FC chairman Martin Broughton and Tory grandee Lord Heseltine will speak at the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner. The event is at the Arena and Convention Centre, and has the

theme of “enduring tradition, embracing growth”. Brought in to oversee the sale of Liverpool FC, Mr Broughton was thrust into the spotlight when the sale process turned hostile. It was territory he was

at Bean, in Brunswick Business Park. The free event is aimed at small business owners keen to develop contacts. It is from

already used to, having been the non-smoking chief executive and chairman of British American Tobacco, then chairman of British Airways in 2004. He also served as CBI president for two years from 2007.

Lord Heseltine has a huge past association with Merseyside. He arrived in the city in the wake the 1981 Toxteth Riots, and was instrumental in the creation of the International Garden Festival and the

10am-12pm. Call Debbie Elliott-Brown on 07776 188279 for more details.

Thursday, December 9 Liverpool Chamber of Commerce’s platform lunch will see six-minute presentations from three businesses. It is at Liverpool Marina & Harbourside Club, from 12.15pm-2.30pm and costs £25 for members and £30 for non-members. To book, call 0151 224 1860.

Thursday, December 2 Liverpool Curry Club is at Mayur Restaurant, Duke Street, from 12pm-2pm. Organised by Networking in the City, it brings together people in the construction, finance and property sectors. It costs £17.50. Call Steve Kettle on 07884 347548 to book.

Thursday, December 2

Sakura, in Exchange Flags

St Helens business people are being invited to St Helens Town Hall to meet the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens. It will include a guided tour of the

regeneration of Albert Dock. He was recently put in charge of the coalition Government’s planned £1bn regional growth fund for England’s regions, including the North West.

Friday, December 10 Bryan Adams, of Ph.Creative Town Hall by the Mayor’s Attendant and is on from 7pm-8.30pm. To book the event, which costs £11.75, visit sthelenschamber.com/events

A Christmas networking lunch with added spice is being held at The Bollywood Lounge, Grange Road West, Birkenhead. Wirral Chamber of Commerce is organising the lunch, which costs £12.50 and is from 12pm-3.30pm. Book online at www.wirralchamber.org.uk

43


THE NETWORKER

SPONSORED BY MATCHDAY HOSPITALITY AT EVERTON 0151 530 5300

BUSINESS LUNCH Alistair Houghton meets Chester Renaissance chief executive Rita Waters in Hickory’s Smokehouse ATER, there came an all-American feast in the heart of a city that could hardly be more English. But first came the appetiser – a whistlestop tour of Chester with Rita Waters, the woman charged with driving the city’s regeneration. Chester is such a historic gem and tourist hotspot that the idea it needs any kind of renaissance seems at first a little odd. But Rita, chief executive at Chester Renaissance, says the city needs to be much more than a museum piece if it is to thrive. That’s why she was so keen to drive me around the city to show off her organisation’s work and to show her passion for Chester. That included a visit to Hickory’s Smokehouse, a former riverbank pub converted – with the help of Renaissance – into an American bar and eatery. With its sports bar and barbecues, it feels a world away from Chester’s historic heart while being just yards away. But before we sat down to a tasty feast of epic proportions, it was time for a tour of the city that Rita says has got under her skin. It’s not the first time the talkative Rita has done this in recent weeks. The city recently played host to a team of consultants from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), an American think-tank which delivered a “school report” on Chester. The ULI – making its first visit to a UK city – agreed Chester had great potential but criticised its fragmented leadership and history of uncompleted regeneration plans. Rita is now determined Renaissance will get things done for Chester. She said: “ULI said we should ‘get on with it’. If this piece has a headline, I want it to be ‘Chester Renaissance is getting on with it’.” Our tour included a visit to Brook Street, in Newtown, a local shopping street between the station and the cathedral that Renaissance has helped to spruce up. Renaissance is clearly making an impact – driving past a refurbished Indian restaurant, Rita spotted to her embarrassment that her picture was prominently displayed in the window. We also drove along City Road, the main road between Chester station and the city centre. Rita believes the road can become a “beautiful boulevardstyle entrance to the

L

42

city”. Next, Rita drove through Hoole, to the back of Chester station. Renaissance is driving plans for a new commercial business district on the site, with up to 500,000s qft ofgrade A office space. “For me, this area will provide the next generation’s employment opportunities,” said Rita. “We have students at the university, and we need to be providing employment opportunities for them to stay in the city. So we need to bring in new and vibrant businesses. “We did that with Chester Business Park and we need to do it again.” Rita and I also visited the streets around the Cathedral, whose tower will soon be opened up to visitors, and St Martin’s Park, behind the bus station, where Renaissance is transforming a derelict space of land into a new park. Renaissance is even set to have its own thanksgiving service. The organisation project managed repair work on the historic church of St John the Baptist, and the Rev David Chesters is so pleased with the work that he intends to hold a service to give thanks. Finally, we looked at Chester’s amphitheatre, which was recently restored in a project led by Renaissance. By the time we finished our tour, I was in need of a good feast. And that’s certainly what Hickory’s Smokehouse delivered. It sits by the River Dee in an area of the city that Rita feels is underused by visitors and residents. That’s why her organisation supported the transformation of Hickory’s by restaurateur Neil McDonnell. As we tucked into a bowl of salted popcorn left on the table by one of the restaurant’s friendly waiters, we discussed the creation of Renaissance two years ago. It was formed alongside the local government restructure that saw the creation of Cheshire West and Chester Council. Rita said: “They needed a separate body that could sit around the table with organisations that wouldn’t previously have sat with the

The ‘Yankee barbecue’ sits at the heart of the open kitchen in Hickory’s Smokehouse, Chester public sector. We aim to add momentum and to drive regeneration initiatives that have struggled previously. “We want to deliver a city that is a destination of choice for businesses, residents, visitors and students.” Renaissance does not work on its own, but instead teams up with other public and private sector groups in the city. Its board includes representatives from Cheshire West and Chester Council, Bank of America and Grosvenor, while Rita is proud her team works with other organisations including Chester Zoo. Other projects it is involved with include the Christmas Village, a Victorian market next to Chester Castle including a big wheel, and the Rhino Mania project earlier this year which saw rhino sculptures appear throughout Chester. But our conversation was brought to a halt by the arrival of our huge Smokehouse Platter, with two hunks of ribs, two pans of meat, a bowl of chips and a bowl of coleslaw. I worried about the mess the ribs would make, but our waiter spotted my look of terror and swiftly carved the ribs for us. As we ate, we discussed the challenges the city faces, including transportation and the recession. Rita is upbeat about Chester’s

Rita Waters

prospects – its shops, for example, are seeing visitor numbers rise despite the recession. But Renaissance has its own challenges. It has funding guaranteed from CWAC and the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) until December, 2011, when Rita’s contract ends. But the end of the NWDA means much of that funding will not be renewed. Renaissance and CWAC are now in talks to see if the agency’s funding can be replaced to ensure Renaissance’s work continues. “We don’t want to lose momentum,” said Rita. That’s one thing Cestrians have seen happen before over the years – now they want to see things delivered.” Rita, who trained as an accountant, was chief executive of Weston Spirit Trading – the commercial arm of Falklands veteran Simon Weston’s Weston Spirit charity – from 2003 to 2006. Next she became chief executive of Liverpool’s city centre Business Improvement District, successfully expanding it to cover Bold Street and winning approval from traders for the scheme to continue for another five years. In December, 2008, she became Renaissance’s first chief executive. Rita is a keen scuba diver and athlete – she plans to do four triathlons next year. And, she joked, she needed to exercise after tackling our delicious but huge

lunch platter. The Memphis ribs may have been dry-rubbed but beneath the surface the meat was still juicy and tender, the meat sliding off the bone. The equally tasty Kansas City-style spare ribs came glazed in a sweet and sticky sauce, while the slices of tender “slow smoked beef brisket” came in a tangy and spicy BBQ sauce. But Rita and I agreed that the highlight of the meal was the BBQ pulled pork. The sweet and juicy shredded meat was mixed in with barbecue beans for a smoky taste explosion. Perhaps we had chosen a meal that was simply too big for a lunchtime. But in the evening, perhaps accompanied by some of the delicious Brooklyn Lager also served at Hickory’s, the platter would be a real treat for a pair of hungry carnivores. As we left, Rita said she was addicted to her job – and, even on holiday, cannot stop thinking about ways in which Chester could be improved. “I went to Dubrovnik recently,” she said. “I came back with lots of pictures of bins.”

DETAILS Hickory’s Smokehouse, The Groves, Chester CH1 1SD Tel: 01244 404000 www.hickorys.co.uk

7


EDUCATION

Eastern Airways. All inclusive travel

CHECK-IN

B AGGAGE

Weekday flights to Aberdeen and Southampton... All inclusive of baggage, 20 minute express check-in, fast track security, business lounge*, seating and inflight drinks and snacks.

fly easternairways.com *Aberdeen

8

in world sporting economy research and expertise as the sector’s value continues to expand, reports Neil Hodgson Aintree’s Grand National – ‘the biggest one-day sporting event in the world’

SNACKS & D RINKS

New recruits ‘come in at the top and are looking for levels of professionalism’ – Prof Tom Cannon, of the University of Liverpool School of Management the world, bigger than the Superbowl if you include gambling. It is a huge industry. “And it is easy to forget the reach of sport, particularly with its overlap to the university. “Cricket now has a camera in the stump, all being developed by micro technology. Goal line technology in football will come through research from a university. It could even be a spin-out company from a university.” He said both universities have the capacity to develop to exploit the sporting economy: “Between us, we’re ahead of the game of any university in the country.” Liverpool JMU’s expertise lies in sports science and how to improve the performance and the general health of both athletes and the general public. The Research Institute for Sports and Exercise Sciences (Rises) includes world-leading research groups, facilities and projects to improve the health and wellbeing of the local population.

JMU’s expertise dates back to 1976 when, as a polytechnic, it embarked on specialising in the science of sports. Gareth Stratton, Professor of Paediatric Exercise Science, said: “We have got a wide range of support-related degree programmes. We are the top-rated physical education teacher training institute, and the top-rated research institute in the UK, and have fantastic teaching quality scores.” JMU has forged a long-standing relationship with Everton FC across a wide spectrum, from running a range of tests on the then Goodison Park “wunderkind” Wayne Rooney to promoting health issues throughout the community via the Everton Foundation. Further, its Football Exchange BSc was the first in the world when it launched a decade ago, and many of its graduates now work in Premier League clubs and European football. The university’s studies of

children’s physical activity also led to a re-design of school playgrounds across the city to promote increased exercise levels, which has been adopted as a template internationally, including schools in France and America. A recent project, Smokefree Sports, will use junior sports and dance clubs to promote smoking prevention, while a 1997 initiative is still promoting health and fitness regimes among schoolchildren. Sportslinx – aimed at Liverpool’s next generation – has gathered lifestyle and fitness information on almost 60,000 9-12-year-old children in the fight against obesity. Prof Stratton explained: “We measure their fitness, fatness, lifestyle, etc, and also identify sporting talent and feed them into elite clubs around the city. “Liverpool does have a big problem with overweight kids, but we apply scientific work to understand the benefits of health.

Caryl Beynon, JMU’s research and analysis manager, North West Public Health Observatory, Centre for Public Health, added: “Work conducted at the Centre for Public Health shows that low physical activity levels are associated with obesity; obesity increases the likelihood of illness and early death and places a considerable burden on the healthcare services. “Encouraging people to maintain a healthy weight should be a priority for the region.” The programme is unique in the UK and has attracted interest from abroad, but is in jeopardy due to recent government funding cutbacks which have forced administrators to seek European funding to ensure its continued survival, said Prof Stratton. Another JMU initiative, Afresh – Activity and Food for Regional Economies Supporting Health – has also benefited from European financial support to develop healthy eating and physical activity throughout Liverpool and the continent.

Prof Stratton said: “We are going through a lean period due to government cuts, but hope to bring in more funding from Brussels in the future.” JMU’s experts have also worked on the Liverpool Active City programme for the past five years, and will deliver science and case studies as part of the strategy, up to 2015. Prof Stratton said that not only does the scheme aim to improve people’s health, but it can also benefit the regional economy: “Our age and mortality rate is three years less than the South East, but by being active you live longer and you spend less time off work and have fewer health problems. “At the end of the day, it’s about a functioning population and a competitive population.” But he believes it is almost impossible to quantify the benefits of the unit, saying: “There’s economic capital and social capital, and that is not measured in pounds sterling.”

41


THE BIG FEATURE

EDUCATION

Academia supports growth

Liverpool’s two main universities are building on their worldwide reputation for sport-related

T

40

old days, people who ran clubs were company secretaries. Now, the people coming in have MBAs.” Everton’s chief executive, Robert Elstone, studied economics at the University of Hull, while Liverpool’s former managing director, Christian Purslow, is a Harvard graduate. “This is the kind of person you are talking about. They come in at the top and they’re looking for levels of professionalism,” said Prof Cannon. “We have seen professionalism concerning team matters using psychologists, and that is also happening on the executive side. “And that’s all building the link with universities to create a virtuous circle to produce better and capable young people who work in our sports companies, which brings about a constant improvement.” He said most big clubs have an alumnus from the university’s MBA: “We have people at UEFA and FIFA and quite a lot in national associations.”

Former Football MBA graduate Philip Wilson has been appointed to run a football university being developed by Championship side Burnley FC. The university is also exploring links with Spanish football giant Real Madrid which runs its own Alfredo di Stefano MBA, in honour of one of its former playing greats. “It is building the global network which fits in very well with our strategy in that direction. “Rogan has established a unique position, certainly in Europe, probably worldwide.” The university’s prowess in this field continues to generate new links, including an approach from the English FA to tender for a study into the game’s administrative structure. Tender rivals include the University of Warwick, but Prof Cannon said, hopefully, Liverpool’s standing will win the day: “As Rogan pointed out in early negotiations with the FA,

who has played for Warwick?” He said the university was keen to emulate its footballing excellence in other areas: “We could widen it to other sports, like golf and tennis. Our Vice-Chancellor, Sir Howard Newby, is very committed to developing not just the football side, but the whole range of sports activities in the university.” One such area could be the horse racing and horse craft sector. A Deloitte study estimates the British horse racing industry to be worth £3.7bn, while a Gambling Commission report claims the betting industry accounts for a total of £9bn. Prof Cannon said: “The strongest area of our veterinary school is equine studies. “Obviously, horse racing is part of that, but the equine industry is huge and because we’re strong in equine studies in the university, that whole area becomes an avenue for development. “There are 5m people who participate in horse riding in the

UK. That’s as many as play football.” The university was also involved in preparing studies on the economic impact of yachting’s prestigious Americas Cup. Spain’s north-eastern port of Valencia was transformed after hosting the competition twice, boosting the city’s economy by an estimated £5bn, according to a report prepared by the university on behalf of German financial group Allianz. Following on from that, the university has been asked to prepare similar studies for the US cities of San Diego, San Francisco and Newport, in Rhode Island, US, who are considering bidding to host the race. Prof Cannon said: “People undervalue sport as an economy and they don’t appreciate the knock-on value of the sports economy. “Look at Aintree and how it is developing. “The Grand National is the biggest one-day sporting event in

On an even keel: Ryanair planes on the tarmac at Liverpool John Lennon Airport

BY BILL GLEESON

Is it time to call a halt to the frantic growth of no-frills airlines? Easyjet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou certainly thinks shareholder interests should now come before ever larger fleets.

▲ ▲

HE sporting economy is estimated to be worth £1bn to Merseyside, and our two main universities are capitalising on that with worldleading positions in the industry. Liverpool John Moores University is renowned for its expertise in sports sciences, while the University of Liverpool has forged an international standing with its Football MBA, which it is seeking to extend to other areas. Both institutions provide valuable services and research for the private and public sectors, and, with sport surpassing the leisure industry in terms of revenues, they are keen to develop their respective unique selling points even further. Prof Tom Cannon, from the University of Liverpool School of Management, says Merseyside’s heritage as an area of global sporting excellence is a key reason for its powerful economic performance. “The sporting industry is as big for the city as the Capital of Culture each year. “But it is not just about our two big football clubs. “We have the biggest horse race in the world with the Grand National. “When Tiger Woods won the Open at Hoylake, it got more global coverage than any Open in the past 20 years. There is also a resurgence of tennis, then there are our Olympians coming through – it is a major economy. “Sport is the fastest-growing industry in the world and sport is part of this city’s culture. But whereas our cultural icons, like The Beatles, leave the city, Everton, Liverpool, the Grand National, Hoylake or Haydock Park, won’t.” The university’s Football MBA, pioneered by management school senior lecturer Rogan Taylor, attracts graduates from all over the world on the back of the region’s sporting prowess. Prof Cannon said: “Recent research in India shows that the main reason students from there come to the University of Liverpool is Liverpool FC.” The annual intake of about 40 students, who must have a degree and three years’ work experience, is made up roughly of about 20% from Europe, 15% from Latin America, 5% from India, one or two from the USA, and the rest from China and Asia. Prof Cannon said: “The traditional subjects of an MBA are included, but it is all about football. “I lecture on finance and we cover human resources.” Former EnglishFA chief executive Brian Barwick is also part of the programme, and is building links with the football industry both nationally and internationally. Prof Cannon said: “It is part of the incredible move towards executisation in football. In the

Ease off the throttle

9


THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 HE no-frills segment of the European aviation market has enjoyed more than a decade of rapid and seemingly boundless

T

growth. Not even the recent credit crunch and associated recession stopped some of the major players in the market from continuing to grow their routes and top-line turnover. Recently, however, the words or actions of some of the biggest personalities in the UK no-frills industry suggest that this era of relentless growth could be coming to an end. Easyjet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou recently made public a view that he has been airing behind the scenes at Easyjet for the best part of a year. He believes that the airline should ease off the throttle when it comes to expansion, including investment in about 100 new planes. Sir Stelios told LDP Business: “I am guessing they have more than 70 aircraft on the ground this winter doing nothing. Why buy more planes if you have 70 of them that you can’t use profitably at all half the year. A third of the fleet is grounded each winter.” The implication is that the number of planes grounded during winter would rise to 170 if Easyjet were to add to its fleet. Indeed, he is so determined to have his say that in May he stepped down from the airline’s board to break ranks and campaign for changes to company strategy. He remains the publicly-quoted company’s largest shareholder. In an act of assertive shareholder activism, Sir Stelios elaborates at some length on the website of Easygroup, his personal investment vehicle. He writes: “For some time, I have firmly believed that the Easyjet management was pursuing the wrong strategy for the expansion of the business. A mere look at the share price graph over the last 10 years, practically a flatline, and zero dividends, are proof of that. How can you buy 200 aircraft with shareholders’ money and create no wealth for shareholders? “The management has been determined to continue to buy new aircraft from Airbus despite the fact that this huge expenditure is demonstrably failing to produce higher profits and therefore has created zero value for shareholders. “I have been arguing for some time that a much higher priority should be given to restoring profit margins from the current 1-3% to the more than 10% level of 10 years ago and delivering value to all shareholders. But the board has refused to take into account my recommendations, using the pretext that the rest of the shareholders want something different, and instead remains resolved to go on squandering shareholders’ funds on more expensive aircraft that will probably destroy shareholder value. “Easyjet currently has a fleet of about 189 aircraft, with outstanding orders for another 59 aircraft, which, at their open market value, will cost at least another $2bn. These new aircraft are the expensive legacy of an order signed by outgoing CEO

10

Andy Harrison and Airbus, in November, 2006, when entirely different economic circumstances prevailed. “At the time of the 2006 order with Airbus, Easyjet’s house broker, ABN Amro (now part of RBS), was forecasting a profit for 2009 of £284m, with profit growth expected to continue into 2010. Even the oil price back then was about half the recent levels. The reality is that Easyjet’s profits for the year ended September 30, 2009, the same year as the ABN AMRO forecast, were just £42.7m. In my vocabulary, Andy missed his profit targets by 80% since he bought those aircraft from Airbus in 2006! This year, profits after tax are expected by some analysts to be as low as £100m – depending on disruption to travel from the Icelandic volcano. That is well below the profits in 2006 when the order was placed, despite the fleet having grown by 80% in the same period. Normally, 80% more assets should lead to at least 80% more profits, not the other way round! “Furthermore, I believe that the board is failing to assess the purchase of these new aircraft properly. The management should measure the actual capital cost of each additional new aircraft (a number kept as a ‘secret’ from shareholders, under the terms of the deal with Airbus) against the profitability of the next new route that the company will start operating on, as a result of having one more aircraft. I believe that this analysis, had it been properly looked at by the board, would have quickly revealed that each additional aircraft progressively dilutes margins and destroys wealth. “The inescapable fact is that this airline used to make a bigger absolute profit using far fewer aircraft. The low-cost airline model is maturing, and management needs to now adopt different priorities to take the business forward. To date, Easyjet management, supported by certain other board members, have refused to do this. “Having been a member of the board and an insider, I was constantly out-voted for the last two years on this important decision on the Airbus contract by the rest of the board and the ‘typical gagging order’ was placed on me as an insider. “Since the last so-called ‘compromise’ at the annual board strategy meeting, in June, 2009, the oil price – which forms onethird of the cost base of an airline – has doubled, and the new risk of volcanic disruption has materially impacted our projected profits again. The June, 2009, compromise plan, which in any event was based on growth in numbers of seats flows – ie, the wrong KPI, rather than number of aircraft – is already too optimistic, especially with an incumbent CEO on a golden parachute and insulated from the outcome of the 2010 profits of the company. “Over the coming weeks, I will be considering if and when to requisition a general meeting, at which I shall ask shareholders to reject the management’s strategy of relentless growth in aircraft numbers and focus on profit margin increase. “In a possible shareholder vote, I may also ask shareholders to join with me in demanding that the Board seek to renegotiate the contract with Airbus to minimise

LEISURE ECONOMY

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou at the launch of the Easyjet service from Liverpool to Luton, in 1999

Ringo house ‘not important’ Far more to Liverpool city region than just The Beatles, says inward investment leader

Ryanair’s deputy chief executive, Michael Cawley, makes his point

A Ryanair jet comes in to land at Liverpool John Lennon Airport the number of aircraft which need to be acquired over the next few years, and use whatever other means possible, such as selling existing aircraft in the open market, in order to keep the number of aircraft in the fleet at about the current levels of about 190 aircraft for the next 3-4 years. I am convinced this strategy will produce higher profits in absolute terms, rather than keep increasing the fleet size for the sake of it. “Furthermore, the board has failed to create a contestable supply arrangement in the procurement of aircraft by entering into monopoly arrangements with Airbus. The shareholder vote should direct the Board to open these procurement arrangements to open and transparent competition.” His view that the low-cost market has gone beyond the point where airline operators can make an optimum profit appears to have held some sway at Easyjet’s Luton headquarters. At the time of its interim results last month, Easyjet’s

current chief executive, Carolyn McCall, revealed that she had carried out a review of the airline’s strategy. This new strategy appears to be softpedalling on the original growth plan. As well as committing now to fewer planes, the revised strategy foresees paying a dividend from 2012. Commenting on the changes, Sir Stelios now says: “The new management team has made some positive moves towards creating some real shareholder value. The decision to pay a dividend, in particular, represents a welcome change from the old regime which seemed to place the interests of suppliers above those of shareholders. “This is a good first step, but I would like to see the dividend payout ratio increased overtime to 50% of earnings per share. “Given that this company now employs approximately £4bn of capital in a fleet of 200 aircraft, I applaud the shift in focus on maximising the return on all capital employed rather than just

on equity. When one adjusts the balance sheet to take into account the ‘off balance sheet’ aircraft leases, and noting the target set by the board of 12% ROCE, it implies a profit of £480m or about three times the current level. “Let’s hope the improved execution of the business model will produce such profit levels in the next 2-3 years. “The management of easyJet also needs to carefully assess the financial viability of any fleet expansion. If the profit target per aircraft is roughly £2m, then the company should only buy more aircraft (over and above the 200) if it has identified specific new routes for these new aircraft that produce that amount of profit per aircraft. New route data should be shared with all shareholders for transparency. “I remain very concerned with the strategy of the previous management which expanded the fleet to develop summer holiday routes, leaving it with approximately 40 aircraft parked over the winter. Parked aircraft

THE planned destruction of Ringo Starr’s birthplace is not the 21st-century equivalent of demolishing the Cavern Club, claims Liverpool’s tourism chief Rod Holmes. Knocking down The Beatles’ most famous performance venue still haunts the city’s tourism chiefs as the ultimate catastrophic misjudgment of its key visitor assets. This latest assault on Beatle iconography means the Madryn Street former home of The Beatles’ most famous drummer, Ringo Starr, will be flattened in the Pathfinder urban clearance renewal programme of the Welsh Streets’ Victorian terrace housing. Mr Holmes, The Merseyside Partnership (TMP) chairman, said, even without the Ringo Starr house, “enough” original Beatle-related sites remained not to damage the city’s crucial global tourism based on the super-group. “We’re hardly ignoring the value of Beatles’ tourism,” said Mr Holmes. “We’ve unveiled a sculpture dedicated to John Lennon in Liverpool One, at a ceremony attended by Cynthia and Julian Lennon.” While Liverpool’s tourism blueprint, launched last summer, was widely ignored by the media, news of the impending demolition of Starr’s birthplace made worldwide news in a matter of hours. Yet Mr Holmes said: “We still do not have enough punters coming. “Lots of people are visiting, but we could have many more – compare that (number) with London. Everyone is looking for somewhere to go.” The Daily Post Get On Board campaign to allow cruises to start and finish from Liverpool Cruise Terminal was very important, he said. Currently cruises cannot turn around at the terminal due to its £15m EU building grant which limits use to liner visits only. “This matter should be sorted out as it is essential to have this facility,” he said. “There are more people living along the M62 corridor from Liverpool to Humberside than in the Netherlands, who should be cruising from here instead of fighting their way to Southampton. “It’s a very difficult situation with the EU grant restrictions, but it’s up to the visitor economy team leaders to decide what to do. Turnaround cruises can generate a lot of money for Liverpool, and it would be very good for our profile.” The city’s hotel occupancy was higher in summer, 2010, than in 2008, he said. “There are a lot more beds than before, but we are sustaining occupancy levels through the year and getting the yield.” Now the effects of the Capital of Culture year have faded, we must look to other events and individuals can play their part. “The Pageant of Power with racing cars on The Strand early last summer was due to one man, Guy Butler, of Grosvenor, getting things off the ground. “We’ve all got to get together and get organised and make a noise about what we can offer, every little helps. “TMP gave £2,500 to help Sefton Park Food Festival, which was a huge success, likewise with the Hope Street Feast.

A debate has raged over the future of Ringo Starr’s childhood home in Liverpool’s Dingle area “The Liverpool Boat Show was first suggested by the Albert Dock developer Arrowsmith, who made a nuisance of itself until it was set to happen. “We should be thinking as if year in year out is Capital of Culture.” The KLM Royal Dutch Airlines shuttle from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Amsterdam is hugely important. “That gives an international touch to the airport, as it opens up the world through connections. “The airport is revamping the passenger experience and we’ve got to keep raising the bar because we’re competing internationally.” Former city council leader Mike Storey’s “very clear focus on getting the city centre to work again” was “far more successful than anyone could have dreamt,” said Mr Holmes, ex-head of Grosvenor’s Liverpool One shopping centre project.

“If the heart of the city is moribund, then you don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of developing that economy and it will shrink,” he said. “Tourism is just one of the city’s saviours, as we’re not just a theme park. “We’re synonymous with The Beatles around the world, but we want to be synonymous with life sciences, nutritional science, advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, nuclear physics, automotive industries and maritime professions. “Despite our economic performance, we’ve just about kept in line with national growth, but had not caught up with other cities in the UK. “We started at such a low base, so we must move forward at a faster growth rate. “This is possible as we’ve all stopped talking about Merseyside and started talking about the Liverpool city region.”

Rod Holmes – difficult situation

39


TRANSPORT

THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES

Trains between Lime Street station and Manchester Victoria would be much quicker with electrification

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou at the launch of the Easyjet service from Liverpool to Luton, in 1999

Less than electrifying start as doubts cast cloud over NW rail improvement

Continuing uncertainty over £200m programme to upgrade Liverpool - Manchester trunk route A STATEMENT on the £200m electrification of the Liverpool & Manchester railway is expected imminently from the Government. Survey work has already started on the scheme, on what is the world’s oldest intercity railway. But Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman said she worries the statement, due several weeks ago, will be only one of “general support”. “While that would mean agreeing it would be a good thing, the reality would be another delay,” said Ms Ellman, who is chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport. “Until we get the detail, we don’t know if it is going to happen. If it is left as an open-ended statement, I shall be very concerned. “The last government did not have it in its plans. It issued a White Paper, but Liverpool and Manchester electrification was not included. “I think there has been a change of heart now, as Lord Adonis, the former Labour government transport secretary, is very keen on trains.” The £530m Northern Hub project to remove bottlenecks around Merseyside and Manchester is also under threat. There is also an issue over rolling stock, with another counter-proposal for further diesel traction, rather than electric. “When the Great Western mainline from London Paddington to Swansea is electrified, it is planned to cascade those diesel trains to Thameslink services in London,” said Ms Ellman, “Then Thameslink’s displaced diesel

38

Louise Ellman – has long championed better transport links for Liverpool trains will be brought up to the North West for use here.” However, unless the nationwide £1bn scheme to electrify more trunk routes is implemented, this will not happen either. “I believe it is essential Liverpool Lime Street - Manchester Victoria electrification goes ahead,” said Ms Ellman.

“This would include the connecting lines to Preston and Blackpool. “It would pay for itself in three years, cut journey times, raise capacity and is environmentally better.” The idea is to boost train numbers by 40%, and the scheme would also provide Liverpool with its first direct link with

Bradford and Halifax. The switch from diesel to electric traction, on the 32-mile line from Liverpool to Manchester Victoria, would be combined with other track and signalling improvements to cut minimum journey times from 44 to 30 minutes. Longer journeys to Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle would be reduced by about 40 minutes. Liverpool and Manchester intercity lines were electrified via Weaver Junction and Crewe to London in the 1964 West Coast mainline modernisation programme. But cash shortages meant the original Liverpool - Manchester trunk route was never included in this scheme, and still awaits its turn 46 years later. Under the scheme unveiled last December by Labour, three North West routes would be fitted with the UK standard catenary system of 25kV AC. But, over the last 11 months, the new coalition Government has vacillated over this £1bn plans for electrification of the UK’s railway system, promoted by Lord Adonis. Earl Attlee, speaking for government ministers, told the House of Lords last June, there were "problems" with spending money on electrifying lines, given the state of the public finances. “We are committed to High Speed 2 (the new London - northern rail route), but you will understand the problems about expenditure on electrification in the current economic climate.” Lord Attlee said the Government was seeking to implement transport savings of £682m in 2010/11.

lose money. For this reason, I welcome the renewed focus on the business traveller which should generate more consistent revenues. “Last but not least, I continue to believe that it will be in the best interests of the company to re-engage with Boeing in order to market test the price before placing any more orders from Airbus. Only by negotiating with at least two suppliers do you ensure you receive the best possible price.” While they struggle to say so in as many words, it seems that Sir Stelios’s outlook is shared by management at Easyjet’s biggest rival, Ryanair. The Irish airline’s deputy chief executive, Michael Cawley, certainly concedes that future growth won’t be as strong as in the past. He said: “I think in percentage terms it won’t. “Both ourselves and Easyjet have become much, much larger. The percentage growth next year will decline. It’s still 6%, whereas previously it was 10-20% per year.

“Britain and Ireland are much more mature low-cost markets, because they got started earlier.” But he doesn’t think growth is constrained purely by natural market maturity. Mr Cawley explains: “In Britain, it’s much slower now because of air passenger duty and conditions generally. “The market will return. “British people want to travel, and there’s an underlying demand to come to Britain – London, in particular, but also places like Edinburgh, Liverpool and elsewhere. But the problem in Britain is raised taxation, and demand reduces if there is an increase in costs. “But the problem in Britain is that raised taxation increases cost, and that reduces demand. Demand is price elastic. “That’s probably a temporary problem, though. That’s because these things move in waves. As the economy grows, the Government may relax these taxes on travel because they are not so desperate.”

Without the effects of higher taxation, Mr Cawley believes that demand would be stronger. “The scope for growth in passenger traffic is related to population. There has been stagnation for the past three to four years. There has been increased traffic in and around London Heathrow, but it has been static at Stansted and Luton. There is pent-up demand there. That will be satisfied over a period of time.” He believes the same is true at other UK regional airports. Earlier this year, Ryanair announced it was not going to place a fresh order for more Boeing aircraft, blaming the planemaker’s refusal to budge on price, though the airline has yet to receive some planes ordered in the past. “We are still buying aircraft – 45 more to come by 2013. Thereafter, though, we have no orders yet, but there may yet be. It depends on price. Boeing say they have lots of orders for that period, but we don’t think so.”

The airline’s business model requires it to buy planes as cheaply as possible. The less it pays for the planes, the less it needs to charge for tickets to make a worthwhile return on its capital investment. The ideal time to place an order is when Boeing’s factories have spare capacity. “We like to be counter-cyclical,” explains Mr Cawley. The airline has recently paid its first-ever dividend to shareholders. “If we don’t place another order, we would pay another dividend. That’s very likely to happen, but not certain.” If there are to be no more planes, then future growth would have to come from squeezing more profit out of the existing fleet. “We would have to move from less profitable airports to more profitable airports, and that means airports that are less expensive. “Liverpool is burdened by air passenger duty which adds 14-15

euros per passenger. You have to see that cost in the context of an average airfare of 45 euros. It’s a big burden. We don’t have such costs in Spain and some other countries. They don’t see airports as a burden to the environment, but that is a problem that Liverpool has.” Taxation aside, Mr Cawley says Liverpool competes well for business. “They are very attuned to our business model. They turn round our planes very quickly. They are very efficient in that regard,” he said. As for Sir Stelios’s assertion that Easyjet’s board should begin to soft-pedal on growth, Mr Cawley said: “His analysis is a function of Easyjet’s business model. They operate at relatively expensive airports and their fares are therefore higher than ours. Consequently, they are more subdued in terms of growth potential. They can’t operate at places like Limoges and Carcassonne because the fares to their airports are much lower and their costs base much higher. He has shown on a number of occasions in the past not to have a good understanding of our business model.” His views appear to have, eventually, held some sway at Easyjet. Last month, Easyjet announced it will follow Ryanair’s example by paying its first-ever dividend. It was also talking with a bit more circumspection about fleet expansion. There will be some new planes, but nothing like the 100-plus feared by Sir Stelios. Patrick Folley, technical director of aviation economics at consultancy firm Mott MacDonald, agrees with Sir Stelios’s views. He said: “The UK low-cost carrier market is mature. There’s no doubt about that.” Mr Folley pointed to a shift in the routes being offered by airlines. A few years ago, the no-frills airlines offered a lot of services to the eastern European or North African VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market. “When the economy was strong, there were a lot of migrant workers flying to and from places like Poland to see relatives. “Now Easyjet has started serving more leisure destinations, suggesting that they are moving away from the traditional low-cost market into the charter market. “It means their opportunities in their traditional markets are drying up, and they have to move elsewhere. “But APD is going to have an impact on the low-cost market. It is going to be a disincentive to leisure travellers. We have all been on cheap weekend breaks to Europe, but, with the recession and APD, more of us are now concentrating on a single main holiday in the year and cutting back on discretionary travel,” Mr Folley said. Referring to Easyjet’s decision to cut its Frankfurt fleet, Mr Folley said: “It’s going to make it really quite tricky to take up all the spare capacity that creates. “For years and years, they were able to grow their market share, but now they might need to change their business model. “As we come out of recession, we may see some initial growth as things come back in the airline market, but then we will see mature market patterns after that.”

11


THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES

VANCOUVER AIRPORT SERVICES HOW THE GROUP WENT GLOBAL

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

What does it all Tapping into a global market Can Liverpool JLA cope with any slowdown in growth

Global view: Vancouver from the air VANCOUVER Airport ● 1998 Services (VAS) was VAS and its partners win established in 1994 to concession to build, operate market the management and and transfer Chile’s largest operating techniques airport, Arturo Merino developed by Vancouver Benitez International Airport. International Airport. ● 1999 It owns or manages 19 VAS finalises a deal to airports around the world, provide management and varying from small regional operations services to airports such as Cranbrook, Providenciales International BC, to large international Airport in Providenciales, in airports such as Larnaca, the Turks & Caicos islands. Cyprus. ● 2000 VAS’s areas of expertise VAS takes over the include marketing, management and operation operations and capital of four airports in the project management. Dominican Republic. In 2009, its network of ● 2003 airports reported revenues of VAS and its local partner more than CDN$530m and clinches a contract to combined passenger traffic manage, operate and totalling more than 28.5m. develop Sangster Since its creation, VAS has International Airport in been involved in CDN$1.4bn Montego Bay, Jamaica. of capital improvements and ● 2006 has arranged CDN$4bn of The Bahamian Prime international capital Minister signs a 10-year financing. Improvements contract with VAS to include building or develop, operate and expanding 12 terminal manage Lynden Pindling buildings and managing 19 International Airport, in airport transitions from Nassau, The Bahamas. public to private ownership. VAS and its local partner VAS is owned by assume responsibility for Vancouver Airport Authority operations of Larnaca and and Citi Infrastructure Paphos International Investors. airports, in Cyprus. ● 2008 HERE is a timeline of VAS’s VAS forms a joint venture history: partnership with Citi ● 1994 Infrastructure Investors. VAS wins its first contract ● 2009 to manage Bermuda’s VAS opens new terminal at International Airport (now Larnaca International called LF Wade International Airport, Cyprus. Airport). A US$120m airport ● 1996 expansion programme is VAS signs a 40-year lease completed at Sangster with the City of Hamilton International Airport, in (Ontario, Canada) to develop, Jamaica. manage and operate John C ● 2010 Munro Hamilton VAS breaks into the UK International Airport. market with the acquisition ● 1997 of a 65% stake in Peel VAS is awarded contracts Airports, which owns to manage four more Liverpool John Lennon airports in Canada. Airport.

12

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

LIVERPOOL John Lennon Airport was one of the fastestgrowing regional airports in Britain and Europe during the previous decade. Since Peel Holdings acquired it from Merseyside’s local authorities in 1997, it has seen passenger traffic increase tenfold, surpassing Peel’s own original estimates. The growth was fuelled by the equally rapid rise of the low-cost airline sector. As Easyjet and Ryanair flew more people to more destinations, so JLA’s departure lounge and immigration hall filled up with travellers. What, though, does the future hold now the two airlines, JLA’s chief customers, seem to be softpedalling on future growth? If the next ten years don’t bring continuing growth in the low-cost market, how will the city’s airport earn its revenues in the future and will the so far unprofitable facility be able to make a surplus? There is also a risk that the airport’s new owner, Vancouver Airport Services, has got its timing wrong with its first foray into the UK airports market. VAS bought Liverpool JLA, together with Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield, from Peel Holdings in the summer. Craig Richmond has worked for VAS or its parent, Vancouver Airport, for the past 15 years. He moved to Britain in June to take on the job of chief executive of Peel Airports. He agrees the market is maturing but explains that, far from being a problem, could be a blessing in disguise. VAS owns 19 airports outside the UK, in North America, the Caribbean and Cyprus. Between them, they handle about 25m passengers a year, though this figure does not include Vancouver Airport itself. Nor does VAS have any previous experience of the lowcost market. “Certainly not the ultra lowcost market,” he said. By “ultra” low cost, he is referring to the very low fares seen in Europe compared to those on offer in the US. “I have seen fares for £10 here. You don’t get that in North America. If you get a fare for Can$200 you think you’ve done well. That’s because of the distances between airports. You just can’t make those sort of fares pay there.” VAS’s website makes the claim that the company invests in its facilities. Mr Richmond justifies this claim by referring to the investment VAS raised for Nassau Airport, in the Bahamas, while he was chief executive there. “In Nassau, we managed to get finance in place that did not come from the Government. “We got them Can$400m of investment from a consortium of banks. “What attracted us to Peel Airport was the way we could buy

into £15m of investment into improved retail and security areas. That brings retail at Liverpool up to world-class standards. It’s some of the best space I have seen.” While there will be some additional investment in the future, for example refurbishing toilet areas, the next big injection of money will only come once the market starts to pick up again after the recession. “We have spare capacity at the moment,” he said. “If we get enough new passengers and need more apron space or buildings, then we can find that money, but right now that’s not a problem.” Mr Richmond insists the move into the low-cost market should not prove a problem for VAS. “It is our first foray into the ultra low-cost market. “But we came into it with our eyes wide open. “We are working very closely with the low-cost carriers, and the legacy carriers like VLM. “We are in talks weekly, if not daily, with them.” As for the future, Mr Richmond says a more mature market is not

necessarily a bad thing. There may be some upsides to it. “If the market is mature, it means yields should rise. “Nothing stays the same in business. No market can have explosive growth rates forever. “The fact Easyjet is going after the business market is a sign that the market is maturing. “That should bring in people who will spend more in the airport. I’m less concerned about raw passenger numbers and more concerned about maximising voluntary spend. “We would like to be able to offer lots of different destinations, but only if they are going to be viable. “With medium-haul flights, people may spend in the shops on duty-free or sun glasses. With shorter routes, they may not do so. It’s very much a science.” He said the aim was to make as much money for the airport’s retail operations as possible by identifying those routes that were most likely to attract the biggest spenders at the airport. “Some people have criticised airports for becoming shopping malls, but that’s better than

Bootle businessman on a mission to save water, reports Martin Williams

A MERSEYSIDE businessman is attracting worldwide interest in his quest to save the planet’s “liquid gold”. Eddie Witkowski will guarantee his company, Riva Global, can reduce water wastage by at least 25% – but often ends up saving well over 50% and more for clients. With most of us using at least three times the water we actually need every day, Mr Witkowski is on a mission to save water – and money. Mr Witkowski has been busy in the last few weeks exploring potentially lucrative contracts. And customers around the world, from Europe and as far afield as Australia, are seeking consultancy advice from Riva, based at Hawthorne Road, Bootle, which distributes equipment to help customers reduce water consumption. Mr Witkowski says the company carries out full water audits for both public and private sector organisations. The audit includes shower rooms, washbasins, commercial kitchens, bars, swimming pool filtration, drinking fountains, urinal systems, toilets. He added: “We have a guarantee that we can reduce water wastage in any environment by at least 25% – often it is well over 50%. “Most water functions in this country use three times more water than necessary in order to carry out the function perfectly successfully. “We have partnered with a design company and are marketing two new valves that will be launched early 2011. “One prevents cooled water in the hot tap supply line going down the drain while we wait for the water to reach operating temperature. “This can save between 40,000 and 90,000 litres a year in a typical home, much more in larger establishments. “The other valve sits under the sink and attaches to the cold tap supply line. This provides almost instantaneous chilled water from the tap so we do not need to run the tap until it is cold enough to drink. “We are getting enormous interest worldwide regarding these valves.

Gareth Kelly, left, of Cyril Jones and Co, with Eddie Witkowski and an item of new water-efficient equipment “Australia is very interested in taking on the valves, as well as Ireland, Brazil and many UK organisations, both public and private.” Mr Witkowski is hoping to interest local authorities who need to save water and energy costs in their swimming pools, leisure centres and schools. “My background is in capital equipment and project design,” he said. “I got into this quite by chance. I was working for a Liverpool company which dealt in plastic consumables, but I felt we were missing out on a market for water conservation. “That company did not share

my vision so I decided to set up two separate companies, Plumbdrain, which was designed to bring in an income, alongside my baby which was Riva Global, which, without sounding pompous, was designed to try and educate people about water wastage. “But the interest in Riva grew enormously, much faster than we anticipated.” In his presentations to potential clients, Mr Witkowski says: “Only 1% of fresh water is usable, and more than 1bn people lack access to reliable, safe drinking water. Some experts predict that by 2015 two-thirds of the world’s people

will live in water-stressed countries. “UK water bills could soar by 27% above inflation over the next few years according to Severn Trent, one of the country’s biggest water suppliers. “In England, some 25m people live in areas where there is less water available per person than Spain or Morocco. “The average person in England and Wales uses 148 litres of water every day. “Although climate change is expected to lead to more heavy downpours, resulting in increased flooding, overall it could actually reduce the amount of water

available by 10-15% by 2050.” Helping him navigate the tricky waters of international legal contracts is Gareth Kelly, a partner with the Wrexham and Shotton law firm, Cyril Jones and Co. Mr Kelly said: “Eddie came to me because he wanted advice on various business matters, not least because of all the international interest. “Eddie is an entrepreneur and I will be getting busier the more his business ideas gain momentum. “He is in negotiations with a number of major concerns, and I will be helping and liaising with contracts.”

TNT praised for delivering emissions cuts

DELIVERY firm TNT’s Liverpool base has been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for its efforts in reducing its carbon emissions. The firm, based in Speke, launched its Planet Me programme in 2007, which encouraged employees and suppliers to reduce their energy usage, both in the

working environment and at home. TNT has made carbon reduction an intrinsic part of its business strategy, with a focus on efficiency improvements and innovation projects targeting its aircraft, fleet of vehicles and buildings. The Carbon Trust Standard is awarded to

organisations who make the extra effort in trying to cut their carbon footprint. Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard Company, said: “We congratulate TNT Liverpool on its achievement. Being a good carbon citizen isn’t just about looking good on paper.”

Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust, left, and Neil Griffiths, of TNT

37


IN ASSOCIATION WITH

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

The Liverpool Direct call centre, in Liverpool city centre

THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES

mean for Liverpool JLA? among its big no-frills airline customers?

Craig Richmond, chief executive of Peel Airports – Liverpool is a very convenient airport

Manchester Airport is Liverpool’s biggest local rival

A more Direct way to save energy

Outsourcing firm saves key customer £18,000 a month in electricity costs OUTSOURCING firm Liverpool Direct has installed new software which it claims will save its primary customer – Liverpool City Council – an estimated £18,000 a month. The firm has started using a power-reducing software program, NightWatchman. The desktop power management system has been installed by Liverpool Direct in a bid to drive down energy costs and carbon emissions while ensuring that user productivity remains unaffected. It has been rolled out across the

corporate network without the need to physically visit PCs individually. From a central point, PCs are scheduled each night to securely shut down, saving around 12 hours of unnecessary power consumption unit. During the weekends, even more power is saved. In terms of carbon emissions, the reduction of almost 1m kg of CO² equates to taking around 200 cars off the road. Paul Brant, deputy leader of Liverpool City Council, said: “This is a great initiative which is not only saving the council money

but is also better for the environment. “This will help reduce our carbon footprint and our spending and is a win-win for everyone.” Mark Orford, Liverpool Direct’s head of ICT design service, said: “The introduction of NightWatchman has enabled Liverpool Direct to offer its customers huge cost and energy savings. “In line with our ISO 14001 environmental standard, we are committed to looking at new ways and means of minimising our impact on the environment, and

this initiative falls into the part of our innovative technology strategy which has been developed to improve performance and reduce our carbon footprint, cost and power consumption.” ■ A TRAINING centre for renewable energy technologies has opened in Wirral. The Green Energy Training Centre, in Bromborough, was unveiled by Scientiam managing director Mandi O’Shea and Stiebel Eltron UK managing director Mark McManus. They were joined by Stiebel Eltron owner Dr Ulrich Stiebel

and chief executive Rudolf Sonnemann from the business’s headquarters in Germany, as well as dignitaries including Wirral South MP Alison McGovern and the Mayor of Wirral, Alan Jennings. The £280,000 centre is a partnership between Wirral-based renewable energy products manufacturer Stiebel Eltron, North West training provider Scientiam, and the Skills Funding Agency. It will offer training on key microgeneration technologies such as heat pumps and Solar Photovoltaic (PV).

Construction firm recycles its obsolete hard hats WASTE being sent to landfill is set to be reduced by construction company Morgan Sindall, by turning disused plastic hard hats into site hoardings. The company, which has its Merseyside base at Enterprise Way, Liverpool, has sent more than 4,000 old hats to a manufacturer to be moulded into the environmentally-friendly boards which will be used as

36

site hoardings. Morgan Sindall’s decision to re-use the old hats comes after the business re-branded earlier this year, following a merger of its sister design and infrastructure businesses. The formation of the new business meant that the old branded hard hats with the former company logos on needed to be replaced. Rather than disposing with the old hats, the company

joined forces with innovative plastic recycler 2K Manufacturing to turn the hats into EcoSheet boards. Brian Handcock, Morgan Sindall’s head of sustainability and environment, said: “In the past, it has been standard practice in the construction industry to send hard hats to landfill when they need to be replaced.

“As a company, we make every effort to limit the amount of waste we send to landfill, and try to reuse materials and old equipment wherever possible, so when our old branded hard hats had to be removed from service, we wanted to find a way of using them again.” Morgan Sindall has collected hard hats from offices and construction sites across the UK.

Morgan Sindall’s Brian Handcock, left, and 2K Manufacturing’s head of sales, Peter Ball

staring at blank wall. If you have a good retail offer, it’s a distraction for people who are frankly trapped in the departure lounge after passing through security,” said Mr Richmond. The strategy is already beginning to pay off. Liverpool is continuing to attract big name retailers. Recent signings include Boots and WHSmith. “We are signing contracts with world-class brands that are paying higher rents because they see the value of being here.” He says fears that low-cost passengers are not big enough spenders at the airport’s shops and catering outlets don’t bear scrutiny. “There’s been really good progress for Frankie & Benny’s. They are doing really well. Foreign exchange bureau Travelex is another recent arrival. We are getting some very competitive bids from these sorts of companies. They see the value in Liverpool,” said Mr Richmond. Referring to KLM’s four flights a day to Amsterdam, Mr Richmond says there is evidence that passengers prefer that city’s Schipol airport to London

Heathrow: “I am going to Vancouver in December, and I’m going to fly via Amsterdam. I get five to six hours back, compared to using Heathrow. It’s like getting back a day of your life. People are voting with their feet. There are other possibilities, like Frankfurt and Paris. We are actively in talks with other airlines to fly to other hubs.” Mr Richmond acknowledges that Easyjet’s decision to build its operations at Manchester amounts to a competitive threat to JLA. Manchester, after all, is bang in the middle of Liverpool’s geographic marketplace. He says the only way the airport can respond to this development is by making itself more competitive. “We want to make ourselves as attractive as possible. We are meeting with Easyjet this week to discuss what we can do to make ourselves more attractive and get more flights for Liverpool. We are in competition with Manchester for Easyjet business. There’s a lot of airports in the UK, and so there are no monopolies at the regional level. “Liverpool is a very convenient airport. It’s easier to park here

and get through check-in security. That’s why people prefer flying out of Liverpool. Manchester has a lot of charter traffic. We have the ultra low-cost airlines.” One consequence of slower growth will be that airlines will rejig their schedules so as to allow them to focus their existing fleets of planes on more profitable routes. Mr Richmond said: “We are seeing this happen already. “Ryanair has pulled a lot of capacity out of the UK and sent it to Europe because of the tax. “When you have differences in tax in countries that are not that far apart, it doesn’t matter whether it’s planes, ships, computing, they will move to the lower-cost country. “To have an increase come in when you are losing business like this, it’s adding insult to injury. It could not come in at a worse time for us. “Ryanair makes decisions very quickly. It’s a very mobile company. They make very rational decisions. They go where they can get the best margins. Right now, that’s in Spain and other countries in the EU.”

Peel airports is working to expand the retail offer in Liverpool

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO VANCOUVER? CRAIG RICHMOND appears to be right. KLM seems to have the cheapest and fastest flights for someone from Liverpool wanting to travel to Vancouver. With no direct flights from the region to Vancouver, it is necessary to change planes at a hub either in the US or Europe. Travelling out on December 15, returning on January 7, 2011, passengers can either travel from Manchester or Liverpool by KLM to Amsterdam and then

onwards to Vancouver. Departing from the North West at 1.30pm, it is possible to arrive at Vancouver at 18:25pm. The total cost of a business class return fare is £3,458 and takes 13 hours 20 minutes for the outward journey while the return journey would take 13 hours 5 minutes. Other services looked at include BA via Heathrow, AirCanada, Lufthansa via Frankfurt and Continental, stopping off in the US.

13


THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES

Don’t waste your

Easyjet planes at Liverpool John Lennon Airport – the airline last month said its underlying pre-tax profit for the year to the end of September rose to £188.3m

Could slow growth mean more profit? ‘Signs of significant improvement’ in recent results from Easyjet and Ryanair

A MATURE no-frills market may seem bad news for the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair. Yet it is also an opportunity to call a halt to the headlong rush to grab market share. If the low-cost airlines have decided that there is not so much call for more new planes as there was in the past, then financial and operational resources can be focused on improving profit. It’s early days yet, but the recent trading results of both of Liverpool John Lennon Airport’s biggest customers show some signs of significant improvement. Certainly both airlines are now for the first time choosing to pay dividends to shareholders using cash balances held on their balance sheets that would previously have been earmarked to buy planes. Publishing its full-year results

14

last month, Easyjet said its underlying pre-tax profit rose to £188.3m for the year to the end of September, up from just £43.7m a year earlier, while revenues grew 11.5% to £2.97bn. Two weeks earlier, Ryanair reported first-half profits up 17% and upgraded full-year forecasts. Easyjet’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, said the airline would pay its first-ever dividend in 2012: “The time is right to set in place a formula to trigger a dividend payment in years when the company is profitable, while at the same time ensuring that it retains a conservative capital structure,” she said. Easyjet intends to commence the payment of an annual dividend worth about 20% of pre-tax profit. The improved profits performance and news of the

dividend was welcomed by investors. “Medium-term guiding principles will be driving improvement in margins to achieve profit per seat of £5, increase the focus on business customers and the network and the planned increase in the fleet,” said Credit Agricole analyst Loic Sabatier. The carrier said it hoped to add 24 planes to its fleet to take it up to 220 aircraft by September, 2013, representing an average annual growth rate of 7% a year. After that, though, the company appears to be keeping its options open about any further plane acquisitions. “From 2013-2015, we have flexibility in our fleet plan, in that our growth can be anywhere between 4% and 8%,” said Ms McCall. “We have built that

flexibility into our strategy because no one knows what the economic outlook is going to be over next five years.” Part of the profits increase last year can be accounted for by reduced fuel costs, a highly unpredictable element in airline economics. Overall passenger growth was up 8% to reach 48.8m. Similarly, Ryanair foresees improving profit performance. The Dublin-based carrier now expects full-year net earnings to be in a range of 380m euros to 400m euros, compared with previous guidance of 350m euros to 375m euros. “The market is already at where the guidance is moving up to. I think consensus is already around about 400 (million) and I’m at 380 (million),” said Jonathan Wober, analyst at Societe Generale.

“Consensus is usually ahead of guidance, so I think the question now will be whether [with] the new guidance, if there is still headroom for consensus to go farther up.” The rosier outlook follows raised earnings expectations across the sector, with leading flag carriers Lufthansa and Air France-KLM recently citing improving revenues and robust bookings. Ryanair has exploited the recession to expand at the expense of higher-cost rivals in Europe, and the group said consumers would continue to trade down. Most of Ryanair’s growth comes from the Continent, and it is reducing capacity in recessionweary Ireland, blaming a tourist tax introduced last year as part of government austerity measures.

time

Choose Recycl ing-le the aw d Was ard wi te Man n n i n ageme g B&M Total wa ste man nt with W a a s g t e e ment so Nationw servic lution ide serv es Ltd* ice Compe : titive p

Conta Ct us: www.b

agna info@ba llandmorris.com gnalland 0808 1 morris.c 00 243 om 4

rices Improve d recycl ing rate s

* Liverpool Daily Post Business Awards - Green Business Award and Wirral Environmental Business of the Year – 2003, 2005 and 2008

35


INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Shoe firm a Hot property in US

Shoe moulds being examined at Hotter Shoes, in Skelmersdale. The company says it is committed to UK manufacturing and has invested in hi-tech equipment

Footwear company hopes to tap into American baby boomer market, reports Alistair Houghton

SHOE manufacturer Hotter Shoes is expanding into the US market. West Lancashire-based Hotter, the UK’s biggest shoe manufacturer, has built a loyal UK fanbase for its footwear – particularly among older shoppers. Now the company has launched new website hotterusa.com to dip its toe into the potentially huge American market. The company is also expanding its network of UK stores as it bids to expand its domestic audience and take its turnover past £50m. Managing director Stewart Houlgrave said: “We have a three-year plan to establish ourselves in the US market.” Hotter’s parent company, Beaconsfield Footwear, was founded in 1959 and for most of its history supplied shoes for other retailers to sell under their own brand names. But in the 1990s, under the leadership of the founder’s son,

34

Stewart Houlgrave, the company revolutionised the way it operated. It launched the Hotter Shoes brand and began selling the shoes directly to customers by mail order. The company has invested heavily in research and development, creating its own comfortable yet lightweight shoes for the over-50s market. Hotter’s Skelmersdale factory makes more than 1m pairs of shoes every year. The company employs around 420 people, with some 350 of them at the factory and call centre in Skelmersdale. Mr Houlgrave said: “The fact we manufacture in the UK is a huge deal for the business. “Our customers respond well to it. They like to see British manufacturers and British success stories.” Hotter is investing £3m in its store opening programme and hopes to open at least 25 new

stores across the UK by the end of 2012. The company already has stores in Southport, York, Chester, Bournemouth and Kendal. This year, it opened stores in Eastbourne, Bromley, Chichester, Canterbury, Norwich and Bath. The stores are designed with wood and stone fittings, with soft lighting. “It’s about creating an environment where people want to spend time,” says Houlgrave. The company has been able to invest in growth and international expansion thanks to a £21m investment by Gresham Private Equity, in 2007. Mr Houlgrave is pleased with the results of that investment, which saw Gresham take a stake in the firm. He said: “Their involvement has encouraged more discipline in the business. It’s encouraged us to put more emphasis on professional management, and on accountability in the business.”

Stewart Houlgrave, managing director of Hotter Shoes

15


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Military masks go into service

An Anglian Regiment soldier trials the new General Service Respirator, made by Scott Health & Safety, in Skelmersdale

Skelmersdale firm hails success of eight-year research programme EIGHT years of development work has culminated in Skelmersdale manufacturer Scott Health & Safety achieving the critical inservice date for its respiratory mask. A handover of the 40,000th general service respirator (GSR) to the Ministry of Defence took place at the West Lancashire headquarters to mark the achievement – which means there are sufficient numbers of the product being used by service personnel for it to be classed as “in use”. Although much of the technology is classified – all 50 people working on the GSR programme have security clearance – there is real excitement about what has been achieved. The demands on the GSR are extensive. It is, at its core, a gas mask, able to protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats. Tested just against that standard, it is said to be a world-class performer. But its use by the military means it has to be able to operate in a way that just doesn’t apply to industry, when similar masks are worn, for example, by people clearing asbestos. It must be able to function in the heat of Afghanistan as well as Arctic temperatures, and allow communication systems to be integrated. It must be comfortable for the wearer and allow them to breathe and take on fluids – and, in places like Afghanistan, the

16

drinking rate needs to be much more than a trickle. The product will be given to the first users next year, after ongoing instructor training is completed, and will be the culmination of more than a decade’s planning by the military. Rob Sutton, Scott’s engineering director responsible for military and civil defence, said the project began by the military – in the form of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) – looking at what it needed. “They identified three main points,” he said. “One, the need for high level of protection for individuals. Two, the need for better integration with all the other equipment used, and, three, having a lower user burden, so the person wearing it is as functional as possible. “The questions then asked was ‘is the aspiration in terms of protection achievable?’.” When, in 2002, the military’s requirements were put before industry, the reaction wasn’t what Dstl was looking for. “Industry laughed,” Mr Sutton said. “It was that big a step forward.” But the challenges didn’t stop Scott becoming involved, and for two years they were one of two companies selected for an assessment phase project to develop prototypes for the respirator. “We developed five prototypes and competitively evaluated them. Collectively they were the good, the bad and the ugly.

Scott Health & Safety staff present the 40,000th respirator to Air Commodore David Stubbs “We presented two prototypes, and in October, 2004, we were selected as the company to take it forward. “But they wanted us to put a quart into a pint pot, to put the best features of the two respirators into one. In the early days, we weren’t even sure this was possible.” The testing has been relentless. For example, computer simulations have used face scans of more than 1,000 people in the services to look at the pressures on each face, which also allowed Scott to check the seals remained in contact with the face. Not all the testing was about when the respirator was in use, with greater robustness added to the GSR for when it was being carried. It was also adapted for a

significantly higher temperature storage. The GSR received system acceptance in April, with its inservice date declared within a few months. That means enough product has been delivered for it to be of use to the military. Nigel Holmes, global military and civil defence director for Scott, said: “Rob and his team have done some wonderful project management and some wonderful engineering. It’s a quantum leap. “GSR has significantly added to Scott’s capabilities with new world-class production facilities, including robotics and modern infrastructure, at our Skelmersdale facility. “Some 50 jobs have been created and the technologies developed give us a significant technology

lead in the market place, and with the opportunity to embody these technologies in other respiratory protection equipment is significant. “Add to this the export opportunities we are now developing, and you can see this is a real fillip for our team.” Some of the technology involved, however, is so secret that, under the terms of the licence, the GSR can’t even be sold to some of the Nato countries. But there are some innovations that can be incorporated into other products – whether they are for firefighters or other countries’ military – while the LEAN manufacturing processes that are now in place will enable Scott to be even more competitive in the future.

33


ADVERTISEMENT

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

New boss gets her teeth into expansion plans

Stem cell researcher plans to be in 30 markets by 2013

A tooth being examined at Daresbury-based stem cell research company, BioEDEN

To advertise here contact Julie Cowley. Telephone 0151 472 2311 or email julie.cowley@liverpool.com or Neil Johnson, Telephone 0151 472 2705 or email neil.johnshon@liverpool.com

32

A STEM cell research company has boosted its management team with the appointment of a new chief executive. BioEDEN, which moved into Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus in 2006, has appointed former Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) consultant Lorna Green. Ms Green worked with BioEDEN for two years while at MSIF, which invested £350,000 into the business. Her previous roles have included marketing roles at Lancashire-based NHS supplier Vernon-Carus and at AIM-listed Healthcare Enterprise Group before she set up Medtech Consultancy, which focused on the medical and healthcare sectors. She will bring her experience with early stage high-growth businesses to the role at BioEDEN, which harvests stem cells from teeth, usually milk teeth when they fall out naturally during childhood. After the stem cells are extracted, they are stored and could then be used in the future to cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Current research suggests that stem cells collected in this way could also be used to repair and grow bone, treat liver disease and even grow new organs. BioEDEN currently has two

facilities for processing and storing stem cells, one in Daresbury and one in Texas, USA. These laboratories can process teeth sent from Europe, India, the Middle East, South Korea and Latin America. This year, it has announced agreements with partners in Spain and Greece, and has plans to be in 30 markets by 2013. Ms Green said: “I’m delighted to take on this role and I am relishing the opportunity to help the company realise its significant potential. BioEDEN has already successfully launched the service in 15 markets and we are now in the process of fundraising to finance further expansion. “We are also planning a number of strategic collaborations with key research partners, as many parents are now giving consent to donate excess cells and extra teeth for research. “We are working with Professor John Hunt at the University of Liverpool to support his grant application to fund studies into the treatment of corneal damage using cells donated by BioEDEN. It is very exciting – there are numerous possibilities for the use of stem cells in the future.” BioEDEN’s chairman, Mark Hurley, said: “We are very pleased to

BioEDEN’s new chief executive, Lorna Green have Lorna on board. Not only is she very experienced within the biotech sector, but she also has extensive knowledge of fundraising and working with businesses to reach their full commercial potential. This expertise is vital to us at this stage in our development, and we believe Lorna will really help us capitalise on the success we have had to date.”

17


COMMERCIAL PROPERTY New lease of life – the Albany Building, in Old Hall Street, Liverpool

KNOWSLEY

Your business will grow and be a success with our ‘can do’ attitude. We can offer: • A range of exciting development opportunities • Customised recruitment and training packages • Tailored business solutions • Superb strategic location, connecting your business through road, rail, air and sea • Great leisure, green spaces, sports and culture

Revived Albany’s commercial space released onto market New owner of former city centre cotton warehouse spends £1m on improvements

AROUND 18,000 sq ft of commercial space is being brought back to life at Liverpool’s Albany Building. The Grade II-listed property was acquired by Manchesterbased Infinity Asset Management in June for an undisclosed sum from administrators at Ernst & Young. The firm that had owned it previously – Albany Assets – collapsed after spending several million pounds turning it into a

18

luxury apartment complex. Infinity has spent more than £1m bringing the building back up to scratch. It will begin marketing the apartments early next year, and says it has already begun marketing the commercial space on the lower level. Previously, part of that commercial space had been occupied by the Albany Steakhouse, which had long been popular with local office workers.

Infinity partner Les Lang believes at least part of the space would be suitable for a new restaurant. He said: “Currently the space is split into two halves and it can be divided further, according to occupier requirements. “This is right in the central business district and would be suitable for a bar or restaurant, but not necessarily a place for heavy alcohol consumption. “Space could also be suitable

for a gym, a hairdressers or a coffee shop. “During the day and early evening, there is quite heavy footfall in this area.” Mr Lang said joint agents for the accommodation were Edward Symmons and Tushingham Moore. The previous owner, Albany Assets, was a company formed by Wirral businessman, Chris Nesbit. Mr Nesbit acquired the former

Cotton Warehouse for £3.2m in 2002. He refurbished it and launched the apartments onto the market with great fanfare in 2005. However, following a downturn in the residential property market, the company collapsed into administration in the summer of 2007. Infinity owns 70 of the 123 apartments in the building, which they intend to begin selling in January next year.

Whether you’re looking to relocate, expand or start up, Knowsley can deliver for you

To find out how, contact

0151 477 4000 business@knowsley.gov.uk www.knowsleybusiness.com

An exciting time for your business to invest in the North West

31


IN ASSOCIATION WITH

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT....KNOWSLEY

THE BIG INTERVIEW

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29

30

THE AFRICAN DREAM IN KNOWSLEY WHICH WILL HELP PEOPLE FAR AWAY Kathleen Galloway – hopes her business will help the less fortunate in Africa

Making oodles from Boodles BY PETER ELSON

IT IS not all big corporates providing ideas and innovation in Knowsley’s business world. There are some idiosyncratic ventures set up, such as one online by Whiston businesswoman Kathleen Galloway, who won the Knowsley Achievement Award 2009. She has started a business called African Dream to manufacturing plant. This is the huge Yorkshire Copper Tube factory, with a quarter mile-long plant in which raw copper ingots are extruded them into various sizes. Today, the 60-year-old factory is very efficient with environmental strategies for waste, carbon reduction and renewable energy. Cushion-maker extraordinaire Caldeira is another great Knowsley success story, which even in these difficult times will have a turnover of £20m this year. It employs 400 staff worldwide and sells in more than 20 countries. Having grown every year (even 2008-9), it expects to expand again over this year. Founder and UK cushion-king Tony Caldeira, chair of Liverpool Conservatives, happily praises the Labour council for help in relocating from St Helens in 2004. “When we first came and invested in the borough, we were really pleased with the assistance we got,” said Mr Caldeira, 40, managing director. “We found the council was very pro-business and keen to attract new businesses and jobs. We dealt

import artefacts and curios to the UK, and now plans to take it to the next level. Inspiration came through wanting to commemorate her husband, Kevin, who died in Cape Town three years ago. “We always had a great love for Africa, its culture, traditions and artwork,” said Mrs Galloway. “We admired the delicate skills of hand-making these with the inward investment officer, John Barry, who bent over backwards to help us and was selected by the council to have our factory opened by the Duke of York, as trade ambassador. “Knowsley Business Park is very well connected for transport with the M57 and East Lancs Road, and great to distribute our supplies to stores and retail customers. “We have Cushion Centres all over the country, supplying Next, Homebase, TKMax and BHS – all good, solid, blue-chip companies.” Caldeira is also keen to expand, and bought the Fabric Warehouse retail chain, relocating its head office from Rotherham to Knowsley. “In spite of having lost Ethel Austin’s, Knowsley has one of the best retail supply clusters in the region with companies like QVC and ourselves,” said Mr Caldeira. “Knowsley has got a lot going for it. Even in this climate, JLR, QVC and others are good expanding businesses which are exceeding their targets. “The borough is trying to regenerate itself and giving it the best shot. Unlike some councils, especially Labour ones, it doesn’t

fine products. Kevin and I always had a dream to start our own business, one which would involve us doing what we loved, as well as helping to enhance the standards of living for the African people.” Besides selling African crafts and jewellery, Mrs Galloway has also shown how even small businesses can help the less fortunate. She has been instrumental take business for granted. I can’t do anything but sing their praises. But we’ve relied on the public sector too long, not only in Knowsley, but everywhere. “With the new Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities and the rest of the business support network must find ways to boost enterprise in Knowsley and reduce local red tape to make it easy to start a business. “We need to ask: Is our borough the best place to do business? It’s so vital to deal with this situation imaginatively. “If they make the area as pro-business as possible, then there’s a better chance of getting out of the downturn as the inevitable cuts start to bite.” Caldeira is a textile text-book example of using the rising Far East challenge to positive effect. A joint-venture, Caldeira China (locally called Zhejiang Hao Sheng Textiles) was set up with a Chinese business partner, who owns 30%, and a factory opened there in 2007. “It was a defensive move because we were cushion market leaders and our volume retails

in getting her local primary school, Whiston Willis School, to twin with a school in Nairobi, Kenya. An appeal was launched to fill a truck with clothes and goods, which will be driven over to Kenya at Christmas. She is due to go back to Africa in January to re-stock, and says that she wants to open her own workshop over there. clients told us to start sourcing from China,” said Mr Caldeira. “It’s the right mix of a British designed-product made in China, a sort of half-chips, half-rice deal. In fact, China helped us break into the US market. “We now supply 20 countries from China and have set up in Fifth Avenue, New York, having signed up JC Penney and Target Corporation.” These are the world’s second and third biggest home textiles retailers after Wal-Mart,with the result that Knowsley-made cushions are sold in US malls. “China isn’t as straightforward as people assume. It has wage inflation and rising raw material costs,” said Mr Caldeira. “Everyone thought we’d close the Knowsley factory, but we’re expanding and have a new contract with Argos, the biggest cushion business in the country. “We have 50 people working in production and our head office. “We can process certain products, such as high fashion, fast orders or small orders, so we’ve gone up the value chain in Knowsley.”

It’s a life of Champagne and diamonds for Jody Wainwright, who is being groomed to run the family jewellery business. But it was nearly so very different. ▲ ▲

pharmaceuticals. Everton Football Club have built their new training ground and youth academy on the edge of Halewood, at Finch Farm. Vertex, a leading international customer management outsourcing business with clients in the private and public sectors, won the Outstanding Contribution to the Borough of Knowsley award at the borough’s seventh Annual Business Awards. The company’s win was due to its ongoing commitment to Knowsley and the creation of hundreds of jobs in the past 12 months, with as many more part and full-time jobs to come. Located for a decade in Knowsley, Vertex has around 800 staff working from Phoenix House, Moorgate Road, Kirkby, and 60 customer management staff, besides systems and technology staff in Kings Business Park, Prescot. From these two sites, Vertex runs customer contact centres for more than 200 clients worldwide, including Tesco, HDNL (Home Delivery Network Limited), Scottish Power, National Trust, esure, Westminster City Council and United Utilities. “What I like about working for Knowsley-based businesses is that I come into contact with innovative companies and owner-managers,” said Ms Martin-Wright, who previously worked for a Liverpool law firm. “They have got great staff retention, as they have invested in employees, and therefore this benefits the borough. It makes my job in bringing businesses together to do business with each other a pleasure.” Over the last five months, the Chamber has seen membership rise from 300 to 340 members. “I’m also interested in helping companies follow the environmental agenda. We have a new Environmental Network where everything involves around a sustainable business model, but keeps an eye on the bottom line. “The Chamber must be about ensuring that businesses get best support, but there shouldn’t just be more of the same, but something different, rather than a dry standard offering. “I want to position Knowsley Chamber also as a strategic partner for the public sector and other key markets. “We’re trying to put together a package so businesses have tangible advice nearby. Everything is business-focused and we run a series of linked activities.” These include how to use social media, how to put tenders together and creating prequalification questionnaires to get competitive advantage. “The world is changing and the public sector won’t have huge contracts to give out. We’re offering a value-proposition. “Not just, say, export documentation, but human resources and health and safety and legal expenses. “We really want local businesses to grow, develop, thrive and survive. We try to spot the talented today and the way to develop them into the entrepreneurs.” Currently active in Knowsley Environmental Network is a fine example of that rare British beast, the heavy engineering and

19


IN ASSOCIATION WITH

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT....KNOWSLEY

THE BIG INTERVIEW....NICHOLAS AND JODY WAINWRIGHT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 PROFOUNDLY significant event in Liverpool’s commercial history took place on the corner of North John Street and Lord Street in 1910. Yet, in this city of avid amateur historians and heritage busy-bodies, it is one singular occurrence which is not marked by a plaque of any sort. It is, however, still well worth relating that it was on this street corner where Mr Dunthorne, of the celebrated city jewellers Boodle & Dunthorne, expired after choking on a chicken bone. Then the tragedy was compounded when Mr Boodle also passed away later that same year. But, as they say, one man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity. Into the breach came H Wainwright & Son, another wellregarded city jewellers, which bought the business and ditched their name in favour of the betterknown Boodle & Dunthorne. As a result, this famous company, known simply as Boodles since 2006, can trace its direct lineage back to being founded 1798. Meantime, the Wainwrights, with four members of the family still firmly in charge, are celebrating their centenary of ownership this year. And there is a further unexpected bonus. Nicholas Wainwright, 62, who is Boodles joint-managing director with his brother, Michael, said: “My late father, Tony Wainwright, complained that for 200 years we were in the wrong place. “Now we’re plum in the right place, as we find ourselves at a major entrance to the new Liverpool One shopping centre. “There’s been a big increase in footfall passing our front door. It couldn’t be better.” Being in the right place might have taken a long time in coming, but Boodles is the oldest surviving Liverpool jewellers and is possibly unique compared to any equivalent business outside London. Nicholas’s son Jody, 33, is a director, and the sixth generation of Wainwrights to serve in the business. Their cousin, James Amos, is a director of Boodles’ Dublin branch. The company not only retails top-end jewellery. A small of designers housed in the attic rooms above its Liverpool shop conceive the items sold at its prestigiously located shops in Knightsbridge and the Royal Exchange in the City of London. It puts this small company into direct competition with globally-famous jewellery brands such as Cartier, Tiffany and Louis Vuitton. “With nine shops, we’re not a huge corporation like the big names we directly compete with, but it means we can move very quickly,” said Jody. “We make very quick decisions, so when we like something we can just get on with it. “If one of the design team comes up with a great idea, it doesn’t have to go through layers of management, so we can have it on sale in seven weeks.” There are 45 staff in Boodles House, part of the 1820-built Clarence House block, on North

A

20

QVC’s giant Kirkby base – the plant handles 12m parcels every year

Jody Wainwright with jewellery designers Rebecca Hawkins, Lorna Shaw and Claire Fozard

Cybertill won the Small Business of the Year title at the Knowsley Business Awards in September. Pictured, from left: Knowsley Council cabinet member Cllr Dave Lonergan; Cybertil’s marketing manager Adrian Mills; and executive chairman Ian Tomlinson, with Lesley Martin-Wright, chief executive of Knowsley Chamber

Michael Straughan, of Jaguar Land Rover John Street, with a further 50 in eight other branches. It employs four full-time designers, led by Rebecca Hawkins, who beaver away beneath the eaves on the top floor of Boodles House. Surprisingly still, one of the designers, Maria Webster, remains one of the team although she emigrated with her husband to Melbourne, Australia. “Thanks to computerisation, this is perfectly feasible, as we invested in a very comprehensive – and expensive – computer system four years ago,” said Nicholas. “Because of the time difference, when our designers arrive here in the morning, Maria’s working day is over, and her designs are waiting for them on screen. “We have a fantastic design team who are crucial to our achievement. If we didn’t do our

own designs, we’d be just like any other jewellery company. “Coming from Liverpool, I want our jewellery to be the best in the world with an added value. “It is necessary for our design team to be able to push fashion forward, and at the same time carry our clientele with them. “Rebecca, who is one of the three best design managers in Britain, is very good at this and combines creativity and commercial sense which is what you need. “Although we are very much a northern company, in order to survive and prosper we have had to move to other places. “This started with our first London branch opening 25 years ago, in Knightsbridge, which put us on a higher level. But it was very difficult to begin with down there.” This is an interesting insight,

as Liverpool was in one of its darkest times in the mid-80s, yet the company did not abandon the city, or even reduce its operation. There are now five branches in London, looked after by Michael Wainwright, who operates from the capital. Boodles’ most recent venture is a shop in the capital’s superdeluxe Savoy Hotel, which has just reopened after a £200m face-lift. Personally invited by the Savoy management to be its only in-hotel shop, this incredible honour is the firm’s first such branch, and could lead to more openings in prestigious hotels. Even more excitement surrounds the Wainwrights’ visit to Hong Kong a few weeks ago, which has resulted in plans for a branch in one of the island’s premier department stores or shopping malls.

Boodles is based in one of the finest historic city centre properties. To enter, shoppers must pass beneath the shop’s pillared Regency stucco facade, but this does not lead into some stuffy old pretentious jewellery shop. Quite the contrary: the interior is very swish, cool and contemporary minimalist – there’s not a grain of musty panelling anywhere. The interior was transformed five years ago by Eva Jiricna, a UK-based Czech architect who has overhauled a handful of Boodles’ branches. Ms Jiricna has incorporated her signature eye-catching glass and brushed-steel spiral staircase, which the company wants to use in more of its shops. As you ascend, it seems to shift a little, but Nicholas is quick to reassure.

help we’ve had from Knowsley Council and Liverpool City Councils recently and earlier. “Much of our workforce lives in the area, the furthest commute from about 45 minutes away. “Halewood has a good reputation in the industry now. “We want Knowsley people working here and recruited an extra 1,500 staff. We knew we had to put thousands through to get the right 1,500 we wanted. “Some people have worked here for 30 to 40 years, and that’s about picking the right people in the first place.” Halewood is the only plant to make both the Land Rover and the Range Rover Evoque. Mr Straughan devised the means of constructing two different vehicles on the same production track. “The Range Rover is more complex than the Land Rover, as

its feature content is higher. It’s not as easy with two different products. You’ve got to get materials to the person making the car with no delays.” The supply chain is complex, but still relies on many local companies for components like seats, bumpers and door pads. “Most of the rest comes from the UK, with about 30% from overseas,” said Mr Straughan. In spite of the Far East, the UK will always be JLR’s key market, with a manufacturing base here. “Manufacturing from overseas is not a threat. I never see a day when there won’t be car making in the UK,” said Mr Straughan. “It makes sense to build cars near to where they’re sold. Economic factors like import tariffs also play a part. “For every car maker, there are huge expansion opportunities in China, but I’d say Russia and the

US are much bigger. Tata Motors really made a positive impact as a progressive owner. In the recession, there was reinvestment in product, which is the only way to get out of it. “They launched four entirely fresh vehicles so when the market picked up they were ready.” Tata kept its commitment to the Range Rover Evoque through its development stage so the model will be ready to launch next year. The large Getrag-Ford Transmissions factory (formerly Halewood Transmissions), owned 50-50 by the two companies, supplies gearboxes and associated components not only to JLR, but to other car models including the Ford Transit, Ford Fiesta and the Land Rover Defender. Halewood is also home to the Dista Factory which produces

CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

Cushion king: Tony Caldeira

KNOWING ABOUT KNOWSLEY THE metropolitan borough of Knowsley covers an area of 33 square miles. Knowsley is both an important location for employment in the Liverpool city region and a major source of workers for the area. The borough has a large industrial base, concentrated mainly at Knowsley industrial park and a number of business parks in Kirkby, Huyton, and Prescot, as well as Jaguar Land Rover, in Halewood. The current population of Knowsley stands at around

151,000, living in 61,000 households. There are 61,000 people in employment, and it is home to an estimated 3,200 businesses. Around 1,900 are VATregistered. The council has long been Labour controlled, and the Parliamentary seat is held for Labour by George Howarth. The main towns are Kirkby, Prescot, Huyton, Whiston, Halewood and Cronton. Knowsley Chamber of Commerce has 340 members.

29


IN ASSOCIATION WITH

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT....KNOWSLEY

THE BIG INTERVIEW....NICHOLAS AND JODY WAINWRIGHT

Finding the right balance between quality and value

The Wainwrights have been plying their trade in the jewellery business for 200 years

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 team and fresh-start team. The Chamber also has set up a social enterprise unit, a not-for-profit organisation which still functions as a business. “The Knowsley apprentice scheme engages with younger residents to get them into viable jobs, which is so important on so many levels.” Already, young jobless people are starting building apprenticeships in a partnership between Knowsley Council and construction company Morgan Sindall. Six apprentices will work on the major regeneration of Stockbridge Village and Park Brow Primary School project. The multi-million pound regeneration of Stockbridge Village will also create other opportunities for local people in

28

trade and labouring. “It’s so important that local people get a share of the work that’s created in their area,” said Cllr Dave Lonergan, Knowsley cabinet member for regeneration, economy and skills. The council also organised a second annual jobs fair, Backing Young Knowsley, which promoted hundreds of job opportunities for 18-24-year-olds. More than 600 people attended the event, and by its end more than 100 had secured a job. In the coming weeks, hundreds more are expected to be in employment or training. Employers attending included Manpower, QVC, and Whiston Hospital. Partners including Job Centre Plus, Knowsley Community College and Connexions provided guidance on training and education, and selfemployment.

Nick Kavanagh, Knowsley executive director for Regeneration, Economy and Skills, said: “Knowsley’s young people are the workforce of the future. It’s important we do what we can to help this group and create a dynamic, well-qualified workforce for the borough.” Ms Martin-Wright said: “It’s amazing how one bad headline seems to grow arms and legs and run everywhere, but much contradicts this bad image. “For example, within six weeks of the Ethel Austin crash here in Knowsley, 90% of its employees had found work in the borough. “This was because, within 24 hours of the company ceasing trading, agencies and employers came together to help a highlyskilled workforce which had very transferable abilities. “It was a crucial task, as it is well-proven that the longer you

leave people to flounder and start claiming Jobseeker allowances, then it is far, far harder to get them back into employment. “I think I’ve got an enviable situation with interface and support between our members and the council. I don’t think they’d do that if they were not comfortable with messaging, and the links will strengthen.” Knowsley is one of the UK’s key areas for the automotive industry, plus major logistics companies, major manufacturing (including innovative renewable and working with academia). Giant clothing retailer Matalan has also bought the ex-Galaxy factory site as an investment for its pensions scheme. Jaguar Land Rover Body & Assembly facility (JLR) was set up by Ford Motor Company in 2002 as a single entity to manage the businesses of both Jaguar

Cars, acquired in 1989, and Land Rover which was bought from BMW in 2000. The entire JLR business was then sold to Tata Motors in 2008 and now produces the Land Rover Freelander and will build the eagerly-awaited Range Rover Evoque. Production of the Jaguar X-Type (the celebrated “baby Jag”) finished last December. Mike Staughan, JLR operations director, said: “This site has a history stretching back to 1962, when Ford Halewood opened. “That means we have a heritage of car-building and a highlyskilled workforce which accounts for why we’re still here. “Last year was a very difficult time, as we were not immune to the recession, with the premier and luxury car market sales 30% down at the worst part. “We’re very appreciative of the

“Don’t worry, it can support 30 people,” he says. The redesign, replacing an interior from the 1970s, is an indication of the company’s will to survive and thrive. While old money can take reassurance from the firm’s lineage and solidity, these modern interiors instantly put at ease any Premier League member of the WAG-istocracy seeking to redistribute her partner’s footballing fortune. In fact, the Dunthorne half of the name was dropped as it sounded “too Dickensian”, said Nicholas, whereas Boodles is thought to have a more modern, slightly quirky sound to it. Between the wars, the accumulated wealth of Liverpool’s mercantile elite meant that the city could sustain 25 such family-run jewellers, said Nicholas: “Liverpool was a very

rich city and in the 19th century created new money families who had no inherited jewellery, so these firms grew to service that,” said Nicholas. “Most of them have gone, and fine family jewellers like Penlington & Batty and Oldfields, which were once synonymous with the luxury business, have disappeared forever. “We’ve been fortunate, as most family-run businesses last just three generations, but we’re still ambitious to take our company much further. But there’s still a surprising amount of proper money around here. “We’re also unusual, as a small jewellery company, to be still making our own pieces, instead of buying from wholesalers’ massproduced ranges in Venice or the Far East. “We don’t have a factory as such, but individual or small

groups of goldsmiths, say, up to five craftsmen in a workshop making jewellery exclusively for us. “They are supremely skilful and, like our designers, absolutely vital to delivering the quality that our reputation relies on.” While not the cheapest item on sale, a typically less expensive Boodles own-piece is the Velocity range 1.2 carat ring of pave diamonds, set with round brilliant-cuts, at £2,500. A more expensive item is a yellow and white diamond leaf-design ring costing £110,000. “The yellow and white diamond ring is a classy, gloriously stylish piece which we hope will appeal to women,” chuckles Nicholas, slyly adding, “well, those with kindly husbands who have won the Lottery!

CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

THERE is no getting away from the fact that jewellery is an expensive luxury item. But the important question should be: is it value for money? Nicholas Wainwright, Boodles’ joint managingdirector, said: “My father, Tony, was told by a customer, ‘We love your jewellery, but it’s a bit expensive’. “My father replied, ‘You cannot over-charge people for 200 years and stay in business’. “Boodles sells top quality and it is not cheap, but it is the best quality at sensible prices. You are getting our own-brand items from some of the world’s finest designers.” Founded in 1798, the firm was in at almost the start of Liverpool’s golden age as it surged forward to become second city of the British Empire. The Wainwright family were established as jewellers in Parker Street, Liverpool, when they bought Boodles & Dunthorne in 1910, exchanging their trading name of H Wainwright & Son to that of the new acquisition on merger. In 1926, Henry Wainwright moved the business to its present location in Clarence House, a Regency terrace on the corner of North John Street and Lord Street. It is now known as Boodles House. During the 1930s, the company supplied watches and chronographs to the Admiralty and the Air Ministry. Their premier commission for years was making the solid gold Grand National annual winners’ trophies presented at Aintree. Capt Anthony Wainwright was serving in

Burma at the end of the war when he received the news that both his father and grandfather had died. He was the first soldier to be allowed home to run the family business. Becoming one of Liverpool’s best-known business figures, the firm under Tony Wainwright’s aegis received the postwar accolade of making the octagonal silver stand for HRH Princess Elizabeth’s wedding cake. He expanded the business with new shops in Chester, in 1965, and Manchester, in 1982. His sons, Nicholas and Michael ,succeeded him in 1992, with the former responsible for the creative direction and the latter for the commercial side. They opened London stores in Regent Street, Harrods, Royal Exchange and Sloane Street. Boodles’ latest opening is the Savoy Hotel jewellery shop, London, after an invitation from its management three years ago: “We are thrilled to have opened our ninth store as the only shop in the newly-reopened and restored Savoy Hotel in London,” said Nicholas. “I suppose one of the reasons we were asked is that we are a quintessentially British company. “It was an unknown for us, but I thought this synergy is not going to damage us. It’s a very exciting new concept for the company and if successful will be repeated at other appropriate hotels in other countries. “This is the first Boodles boutique within an internationally-known five-star hotel. We expect to have a diverse clientele who will enjoy what we offer.”

21


THE BIG INTERVIEW....NICHOLAS AND JODY WAINWRIGHT

ECONOMIC

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 “We hope to sell about 15 Velocity rings over Christmas and we expect this design to be available to customers over a seven or eight-year period.” Boodles’ quality has also been recognised beyond its consumer clientele, with the Victoria & Albert Museum taking into its permanent collection an iconic £7,500 Raindance diamond and platinum ring. “It’s part of the 40-piece Raindance range and these pieces contain some of the finest diamonds you can buy. We sell around 200 rings a year across all our branches,” said Nicholas. “Liverpool has so many pluses and Liverpool One is a wonderful addition to the city, but it is still not an exclusive shopping centre. “When we have Louis Vuitton or Hermes shops, we will have arrived as a top shopping destination. To be a serious city for stylish shop-aholics, we need those brand names.” Nevertheless, Boodles anticipates its turnover for 2010 will be £43m. If achieved, this would represent a big improvement on the £36m turnover figure for 2009. Last year’s figure was £1m lower than 2008’s, suggesting the credit crunch had some effect on business. Pre-tax profit for 2009 was £4.6m, down from £5m in 2008. “Everything goes through this room, from the London shops’ milk bill to paying an order for £1.5m of diamonds last week,” said Nicholas. “Not many people do what we do in the North West, or are as ambitious as we are. We push our own brand hard. “People go to jewellers for luxury items like a Dunhill lighter or a Mont Blanc pen. Instead, we want them to buy our own brand, but that doesn’t happen easily. “We’ve got to spend money on nice brochures, promoting and entertaining customers to get people to know us and understand what we’re about. “Rather than buy an Omega watch, we want them to buy one of our own-brand pieces.” Boodles has to invest in corporate hospitality, such as shows at a leading Liverpool developer’s waterfront penthouse and hiring Orient Express’s Northern Belle luxury train. “This company’s been going for 213 years, and it’s been driven by a passion for jewellery, and we still have that passion to take it forward,” said Nicholas (whose other great passion is cricket). “We don’t want to bumble on. We know the right people and know what proper jewellery looks like and how to make it. “This is a highly competitive business and you’re only as good as you are today. Having the history behind us is great, but we only stay in business by selling what people want.” In London, Boodles is up against 20 of the best-known names in the world for jewellery. It is also unusual in being one of the few British independent companies – other firms tend to be Swiss, French, German or US corporations. Then came Dublin in 2006, which the Wainwrights wryly refer to as their “first overseas venture”, which was overseen by Jody. “It was a big learning curve, dealing with the euro, the

22

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

DEVELOPMENT

Knowsley’s time has come

Victoria Beckham with the new Range Rover Evoque at its launch in May. The vehicle will be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood plant, in Knowsley

Nicholas Wainwright closely inspects some of the store’s diamonds computer system and an entirely different culture over there,” said Jody. “You’d think coming from Liverpool there would be similarities, but I feel the only thing we have in common is the language. “It took 18 months getting to know the customers and, until the Irish economic collapse it did extremely well, better than any of our other shops. “Luckily, the Irish love spending and love our shops. We’re staying there as we do things for the long-term.” The Hong Kong venture came out of an overseas recce, in which Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia, was thought not to be what the company was looking for. “China is obviously a huge and growing market. All the big internationals are there, but it would entail a local partnership and we like doing things by ourselves,” said Nicholas.

“So going into a smart department store or mall in one of the main shopping areas seems like the best bet,” said Nicholas. “We have a concession in Harrods, in London, which is very, very good as it brings in people from, for example, Russia and the Philippines. “They don’t know us, but are reassured about our quality by being in Harrods.” Boodles enjoys £10m of annual exports, but would like to see this greatly expand. Even in these early stages of recovery, Nicholas said the shops have done very good business as Christmas approaches. “And without the Liverpool shop it wouldn’t have been as good,” he said. Whether an affinity for certain work can be passed down in the genes is an arguable point, but Jody found he had an aptitude for the jewellery business, although

he nearly found his vocation elsewhere. “Aged 19, I came home after messing around in Australia on a gap year and was looking to join the Army,” he said. “I didn’t want to come into the family business (although it was offered on a plate) as I was just not excited about jewellery. “The business was very much part of the family. Dad would arrive home from work and often open up his brief case, flourish a diamond and say, ‘How much do you think this is worth?’ “My sole contribution, initially, was to smoke out the building and set off the fire alarm while doing a holiday job.” In fact, instead of joining either Boodles or the Army, a chance visit with his sister to a church service in Oxford caused him to become a committed Christian and he went to theological college. “I became a youth pastor,

taking teenage groups on mission trips and ran youth clubs for four years,” said Jody. “Then I got to the stage when I had to consider getting ordained. It really could have gone one way or the other. “Around 10 years ago, I had breakfast with Dad at the Hyde Park Mandarin Oriental Hotel, in London, and he offered me a year’s work at our Sloane Street branch. I started off at the coalface selling jewellery for about 18 months and gradually my position in the company grew. It was invaluable experience.” To Jody’s surprise, he discovered an affinity for the jewellery business and has never looked back since. “The family all get on brilliantly as a team. We have a great shared sense of humour. I don’t think Dad and I could have an argument if we tried,” he said – and his father agrees.

Borough raises its appeal with peerless road links and a go-ahead Chamber and council THE old joke goes that Knowsley Metropolitan Borough was formed of the left-over bits eschewed by the other authorities in the 1974 local government carve-up which created Merseyside. But that’s not the view of those businesses which are located there. Quite the contrary, in fact. All those contacted for this feature provided unprompted, glowing testimonials for this forgotten borough. The two factors which are uppermost in the tick-list of appreciation are the communication links, allowing rapid road transport on trunk roads and motorways in and out of the borough.

Also, more surprisingly, is the unadulterated praise heaped on the Labour-controlled local authority for their businessfriendly attitude. Coupled with the revival of the Knowsley Chamber of Commerce under the dynamic stewardship of the recently appointed Lesley Martin-Wright, it seems to carry the kudos of being one of the best places in which to site a business, especially a manufacturing one. Knowsley comprises the major commercial centres of Kirkby, Prescot and Huyton, plus the towns of Whiston, Halewood and Cronton. It takes its name from the Earl of Derby’s gate village of Knowsley, on the edge of Knowsley Hall estate.

Its most famous businesses are Jaguar Land Rover, at Halewood, and, of course, Knowsley Safari Park, Merseyside’s most popular paid-for attraction (with 500,000 visitors a year). A newer Knowsley household name is QVC discount shopping channel’s Customer Operations Centre with warehouse, offices and call centre. Since setting up in Knowsley in 1996, its business has more than quadrupled, with more than 12m parcels despatched annually. The borough was formed out of Lancashire county, merging Huyton-with-Roby, Kirkby and Prescot urban district councils, most of Whiston and some West Lancashire rural districts.

“The reason Knowsley has a bad image is that people don’t come here unless they have to,” said Ms Martin-Wright, Chamber of Commerce chief executive, who took on the role five months ago. “The upside is that people hear what others say and we see the investment coming in. We’re currently bidding for Regional Growth Fund from the Government. “Knowsley is a very long borough, from Kirkby in the north and to Cronton in the south, so, within the Liverpool city region, the Chamber has an essential function in helping to keep it together. “It’s a thriving and vital borough, but, yes, it’s got

problems like anywhere in the UK. However, there has been a cultural shift in recent years. “There’s a lot of thinking outside of the box, as the local authority thinks strategically about what they can do, looking at best practice with private/public sector to reduce duplication. “There is still grant funding available from the council, especially to create or retain staff. “I don’t come across businesses which are critical of the council, in fact usually opposite. “We use a very holistic approach at the Chamber. We engage at every critical point, with a local business support

CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

27


26

23


PROFESSIONAL SECTORS LEGAL SERVICES

LEGALLY

SPEAKING

With Paula Milburn, Head of Family Law at Hill Dickinson LLP

Q

THERE has been much publicity around pre-nuptial agreements of late. As a business owner, should I be seriously considering such an arrangement before entering into marriage?

A

THE Supreme Court has ruled that prenuptial or premarriage agreements should have decisive status when the divorce court comes to decide how a couple's assets are divided on divorce. The Supreme Court decision means that a German heiress will get to keep her £100m and her former husband, having signed a pre-marriage agreement, has been treated by the divorce court almost as if he were a cohabitant, rather than a married man and father of two children. If there had been no agreement in place, the husband might have expected to receive at least a third of the couple's combined wealth. Instead, the first judge awarded the husband £5.6m of the wife's assets on the basis that there was a pre-marriage agreement in place, but the terms were not decisive. The wife, Katrin Radmacher, appealed and succeeded, significantly reducing the husband's award. Until the Supreme Court decision, many wealthy individuals thought that pre-marriage agreements were a waste of time and this deterred the cautious from marrying. The Radmacher decision is a welcome one for business owners and entrepreneurs. Prior to the Supreme Court decision, many entrepreneurial clients faced

the dilemma of the commitment of marriage coming at the price of having to raise funds against the value of their business interests to fund divorce settlements, even if they had set up their company prior to the marriage or transferred shareholdings into trust. Shareholders can now attempt to "ring-fence" pre-marriage acquired shareholdings by entering into pre-marriage agreements. Although these agreements are not legally binding, the divorce courts, in light of the Radmacher decision, will give greater weight to the terms of the agreement if the terms are considered to be "fair". Pre-marriage agreements can cover a range of scenarios or be limited to protecting the family shareholding or trust assets. Many business owners are keen that their children receive specialist family law advice on pre-marriage or cohabitation agreements before they start divesting themselves of shares on retirement as part of their wealth management strategy. This is a sensible approach as there is little merit in saving tax but losing hardearned assets on a child's divorce. However, it remains the case that the best way to avoid the divorce courts is by living with a partner and entering into a cohabitation agreement, rather than marrying. Marriage can carry significant tax advantages and these tax benefits have to be weighed in the balance as part of an overall wealth management strategy to keep assets within the family of origin.

‘Pre-nup agreements should now have decisive status’

24

■ CONTACT paula.milburn@ hilldickinson.com

City firms in the dark on Government work Mersey companies urged to be more aware

LIVERPOOL businesses are still missing out on potentiallylucrative public sector work because they don’t know how to find it – despite a 2008 Government review. The Glover Report on public sector procurement made a number of recommendations to make it easier for small business to win contracts from local and central government. The supply2.gov.uk website has improved the situation, but it is not comprehensive. Jim Williams, director of Liverpool-based Tender Management Consultancy, said: “In the Republic of Ireland, they have one website where every local authority tender goes on. The UK doesn’t. “It can be hard to find contracts for less than £156,000 – which is the Official Journal of the European Union threshold – people can’t find the low-value stuff. “The Glover Report said everything over £20,000 should be advertised, but not everyone follows it. “We help companies find those projects. Once they know where they are, they can start applying, and getting selected and winning. Then their foot is in the door and they can then go after the big stuff.” Mr Williams has spent more than 20 years in tendering and procurement, having worked as a managing estimator, procurement manager, head of supply chain management and project leader for major international companies in the construction sector. “I have a real passion for helping my clients win more business,” he said. “Often, public sector contracts end up being won by a firm based outside of the local area, simply because they are better at bid writing. “Local firms are losing out when they simply need to develop the skills to win public sector business. This frustrates me, as I know that a local supply chain brings greater benefits to our local economy.” He compares bidding for a tender with preparing for an exam – firstly, understanding the evaluation criteria is critical, and, secondly, it is not sufficient to have the knowledge – that knowledge has to be spelt out. He said: “A lot of companies don’t have a written methodology about how they work. We put it into writing for them. “For example, we go back and look at the jobs that companies have done in the last three years and turn four or five into case studies that look at innovation,

We have won bids in 15 different industries – Jim Williams, from Tender Management, Old Hall Street, Liverpool best practice, previous experience, and examples of where they saved the client money. “It’s about getting the information out of them and getting them to talk about it.” The tender process is highly competitive and failure, in terms of time and money, can be costly. “There are about 250,000 suppliers to the public sector. About one in 10 win, so more than 2m companies aren’t winning,” he added. “We go in to a company and do a diagnostic and rank them – do they have no knowledge or are they winning, say six out of 10, and want to win eight or more. Then we can work with them to develop their skills. “We are very selective about who and how many, rather than scatter-gunning doing six or seven at once and losing them all. “The cost of losing is huge.

Even on a small scale, it can cost £5,000 upwards to put a bid together, up to the millions for the very big contracts, like Building Schools for the Future.” Tender Management was started with a £500 start-up grant and now employs six people. It has been established for 2½ years and is based in The Plaza, in St Paul’s Square. The cuts in public sector spending are, counter-intuitively, helping the business grow. “Because of the cuts, there’s less out there, so it has worked in reverse for us – because people are coming to us,” Mr Williams said. “We have won bids in 15 different industries and we have got a 72% strike rate in winning tenders. “It’s a process. We don’t have to be industry specialists, we just have to tease out what is needed to win the bid. It’s like a poker game where the supplier has the cards.”

25


PROFESSIONAL SECTORS LEGAL SERVICES

LEGALLY

SPEAKING

With Paula Milburn, Head of Family Law at Hill Dickinson LLP

Q

THERE has been much publicity around pre-nuptial agreements of late. As a business owner, should I be seriously considering such an arrangement before entering into marriage?

A

THE Supreme Court has ruled that prenuptial or premarriage agreements should have decisive status when the divorce court comes to decide how a couple's assets are divided on divorce. The Supreme Court decision means that a German heiress will get to keep her £100m and her former husband, having signed a pre-marriage agreement, has been treated by the divorce court almost as if he were a cohabitant, rather than a married man and father of two children. If there had been no agreement in place, the husband might have expected to receive at least a third of the couple's combined wealth. Instead, the first judge awarded the husband £5.6m of the wife's assets on the basis that there was a pre-marriage agreement in place, but the terms were not decisive. The wife, Katrin Radmacher, appealed and succeeded, significantly reducing the husband's award. Until the Supreme Court decision, many wealthy individuals thought that pre-marriage agreements were a waste of time and this deterred the cautious from marrying. The Radmacher decision is a welcome one for business owners and entrepreneurs. Prior to the Supreme Court decision, many entrepreneurial clients faced

the dilemma of the commitment of marriage coming at the price of having to raise funds against the value of their business interests to fund divorce settlements, even if they had set up their company prior to the marriage or transferred shareholdings into trust. Shareholders can now attempt to "ring-fence" pre-marriage acquired shareholdings by entering into pre-marriage agreements. Although these agreements are not legally binding, the divorce courts, in light of the Radmacher decision, will give greater weight to the terms of the agreement if the terms are considered to be "fair". Pre-marriage agreements can cover a range of scenarios or be limited to protecting the family shareholding or trust assets. Many business owners are keen that their children receive specialist family law advice on pre-marriage or cohabitation agreements before they start divesting themselves of shares on retirement as part of their wealth management strategy. This is a sensible approach as there is little merit in saving tax but losing hardearned assets on a child's divorce. However, it remains the case that the best way to avoid the divorce courts is by living with a partner and entering into a cohabitation agreement, rather than marrying. Marriage can carry significant tax advantages and these tax benefits have to be weighed in the balance as part of an overall wealth management strategy to keep assets within the family of origin.

‘Pre-nup agreements should now have decisive status’

24

■ CONTACT paula.milburn@ hilldickinson.com

City firms in the dark on Government work Mersey companies urged to be more aware

LIVERPOOL businesses are still missing out on potentiallylucrative public sector work because they don’t know how to find it – despite a 2008 Government review. The Glover Report on public sector procurement made a number of recommendations to make it easier for small business to win contracts from local and central government. The supply2.gov.uk website has improved the situation, but it is not comprehensive. Jim Williams, director of Liverpool-based Tender Management Consultancy, said: “In the Republic of Ireland, they have one website where every local authority tender goes on. The UK doesn’t. “It can be hard to find contracts for less than £156,000 – which is the Official Journal of the European Union threshold – people can’t find the low-value stuff. “The Glover Report said everything over £20,000 should be advertised, but not everyone follows it. “We help companies find those projects. Once they know where they are, they can start applying, and getting selected and winning. Then their foot is in the door and they can then go after the big stuff.” Mr Williams has spent more than 20 years in tendering and procurement, having worked as a managing estimator, procurement manager, head of supply chain management and project leader for major international companies in the construction sector. “I have a real passion for helping my clients win more business,” he said. “Often, public sector contracts end up being won by a firm based outside of the local area, simply because they are better at bid writing. “Local firms are losing out when they simply need to develop the skills to win public sector business. This frustrates me, as I know that a local supply chain brings greater benefits to our local economy.” He compares bidding for a tender with preparing for an exam – firstly, understanding the evaluation criteria is critical, and, secondly, it is not sufficient to have the knowledge – that knowledge has to be spelt out. He said: “A lot of companies don’t have a written methodology about how they work. We put it into writing for them. “For example, we go back and look at the jobs that companies have done in the last three years and turn four or five into case studies that look at innovation,

We have won bids in 15 different industries – Jim Williams, from Tender Management, Old Hall Street, Liverpool best practice, previous experience, and examples of where they saved the client money. “It’s about getting the information out of them and getting them to talk about it.” The tender process is highly competitive and failure, in terms of time and money, can be costly. “There are about 250,000 suppliers to the public sector. About one in 10 win, so more than 2m companies aren’t winning,” he added. “We go in to a company and do a diagnostic and rank them – do they have no knowledge or are they winning, say six out of 10, and want to win eight or more. Then we can work with them to develop their skills. “We are very selective about who and how many, rather than scatter-gunning doing six or seven at once and losing them all. “The cost of losing is huge.

Even on a small scale, it can cost £5,000 upwards to put a bid together, up to the millions for the very big contracts, like Building Schools for the Future.” Tender Management was started with a £500 start-up grant and now employs six people. It has been established for 2½ years and is based in The Plaza, in St Paul’s Square. The cuts in public sector spending are, counter-intuitively, helping the business grow. “Because of the cuts, there’s less out there, so it has worked in reverse for us – because people are coming to us,” Mr Williams said. “We have won bids in 15 different industries and we have got a 72% strike rate in winning tenders. “It’s a process. We don’t have to be industry specialists, we just have to tease out what is needed to win the bid. It’s like a poker game where the supplier has the cards.”

25


26

23


THE BIG INTERVIEW....NICHOLAS AND JODY WAINWRIGHT

ECONOMIC

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 “We hope to sell about 15 Velocity rings over Christmas and we expect this design to be available to customers over a seven or eight-year period.” Boodles’ quality has also been recognised beyond its consumer clientele, with the Victoria & Albert Museum taking into its permanent collection an iconic £7,500 Raindance diamond and platinum ring. “It’s part of the 40-piece Raindance range and these pieces contain some of the finest diamonds you can buy. We sell around 200 rings a year across all our branches,” said Nicholas. “Liverpool has so many pluses and Liverpool One is a wonderful addition to the city, but it is still not an exclusive shopping centre. “When we have Louis Vuitton or Hermes shops, we will have arrived as a top shopping destination. To be a serious city for stylish shop-aholics, we need those brand names.” Nevertheless, Boodles anticipates its turnover for 2010 will be £43m. If achieved, this would represent a big improvement on the £36m turnover figure for 2009. Last year’s figure was £1m lower than 2008’s, suggesting the credit crunch had some effect on business. Pre-tax profit for 2009 was £4.6m, down from £5m in 2008. “Everything goes through this room, from the London shops’ milk bill to paying an order for £1.5m of diamonds last week,” said Nicholas. “Not many people do what we do in the North West, or are as ambitious as we are. We push our own brand hard. “People go to jewellers for luxury items like a Dunhill lighter or a Mont Blanc pen. Instead, we want them to buy our own brand, but that doesn’t happen easily. “We’ve got to spend money on nice brochures, promoting and entertaining customers to get people to know us and understand what we’re about. “Rather than buy an Omega watch, we want them to buy one of our own-brand pieces.” Boodles has to invest in corporate hospitality, such as shows at a leading Liverpool developer’s waterfront penthouse and hiring Orient Express’s Northern Belle luxury train. “This company’s been going for 213 years, and it’s been driven by a passion for jewellery, and we still have that passion to take it forward,” said Nicholas (whose other great passion is cricket). “We don’t want to bumble on. We know the right people and know what proper jewellery looks like and how to make it. “This is a highly competitive business and you’re only as good as you are today. Having the history behind us is great, but we only stay in business by selling what people want.” In London, Boodles is up against 20 of the best-known names in the world for jewellery. It is also unusual in being one of the few British independent companies – other firms tend to be Swiss, French, German or US corporations. Then came Dublin in 2006, which the Wainwrights wryly refer to as their “first overseas venture”, which was overseen by Jody. “It was a big learning curve, dealing with the euro, the

22

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

DEVELOPMENT

Knowsley’s time has come

Victoria Beckham with the new Range Rover Evoque at its launch in May. The vehicle will be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood plant, in Knowsley

Nicholas Wainwright closely inspects some of the store’s diamonds computer system and an entirely different culture over there,” said Jody. “You’d think coming from Liverpool there would be similarities, but I feel the only thing we have in common is the language. “It took 18 months getting to know the customers and, until the Irish economic collapse it did extremely well, better than any of our other shops. “Luckily, the Irish love spending and love our shops. We’re staying there as we do things for the long-term.” The Hong Kong venture came out of an overseas recce, in which Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia, was thought not to be what the company was looking for. “China is obviously a huge and growing market. All the big internationals are there, but it would entail a local partnership and we like doing things by ourselves,” said Nicholas.

“So going into a smart department store or mall in one of the main shopping areas seems like the best bet,” said Nicholas. “We have a concession in Harrods, in London, which is very, very good as it brings in people from, for example, Russia and the Philippines. “They don’t know us, but are reassured about our quality by being in Harrods.” Boodles enjoys £10m of annual exports, but would like to see this greatly expand. Even in these early stages of recovery, Nicholas said the shops have done very good business as Christmas approaches. “And without the Liverpool shop it wouldn’t have been as good,” he said. Whether an affinity for certain work can be passed down in the genes is an arguable point, but Jody found he had an aptitude for the jewellery business, although

he nearly found his vocation elsewhere. “Aged 19, I came home after messing around in Australia on a gap year and was looking to join the Army,” he said. “I didn’t want to come into the family business (although it was offered on a plate) as I was just not excited about jewellery. “The business was very much part of the family. Dad would arrive home from work and often open up his brief case, flourish a diamond and say, ‘How much do you think this is worth?’ “My sole contribution, initially, was to smoke out the building and set off the fire alarm while doing a holiday job.” In fact, instead of joining either Boodles or the Army, a chance visit with his sister to a church service in Oxford caused him to become a committed Christian and he went to theological college. “I became a youth pastor,

taking teenage groups on mission trips and ran youth clubs for four years,” said Jody. “Then I got to the stage when I had to consider getting ordained. It really could have gone one way or the other. “Around 10 years ago, I had breakfast with Dad at the Hyde Park Mandarin Oriental Hotel, in London, and he offered me a year’s work at our Sloane Street branch. I started off at the coalface selling jewellery for about 18 months and gradually my position in the company grew. It was invaluable experience.” To Jody’s surprise, he discovered an affinity for the jewellery business and has never looked back since. “The family all get on brilliantly as a team. We have a great shared sense of humour. I don’t think Dad and I could have an argument if we tried,” he said – and his father agrees.

Borough raises its appeal with peerless road links and a go-ahead Chamber and council THE old joke goes that Knowsley Metropolitan Borough was formed of the left-over bits eschewed by the other authorities in the 1974 local government carve-up which created Merseyside. But that’s not the view of those businesses which are located there. Quite the contrary, in fact. All those contacted for this feature provided unprompted, glowing testimonials for this forgotten borough. The two factors which are uppermost in the tick-list of appreciation are the communication links, allowing rapid road transport on trunk roads and motorways in and out of the borough.

Also, more surprisingly, is the unadulterated praise heaped on the Labour-controlled local authority for their businessfriendly attitude. Coupled with the revival of the Knowsley Chamber of Commerce under the dynamic stewardship of the recently appointed Lesley Martin-Wright, it seems to carry the kudos of being one of the best places in which to site a business, especially a manufacturing one. Knowsley comprises the major commercial centres of Kirkby, Prescot and Huyton, plus the towns of Whiston, Halewood and Cronton. It takes its name from the Earl of Derby’s gate village of Knowsley, on the edge of Knowsley Hall estate.

Its most famous businesses are Jaguar Land Rover, at Halewood, and, of course, Knowsley Safari Park, Merseyside’s most popular paid-for attraction (with 500,000 visitors a year). A newer Knowsley household name is QVC discount shopping channel’s Customer Operations Centre with warehouse, offices and call centre. Since setting up in Knowsley in 1996, its business has more than quadrupled, with more than 12m parcels despatched annually. The borough was formed out of Lancashire county, merging Huyton-with-Roby, Kirkby and Prescot urban district councils, most of Whiston and some West Lancashire rural districts.

“The reason Knowsley has a bad image is that people don’t come here unless they have to,” said Ms Martin-Wright, Chamber of Commerce chief executive, who took on the role five months ago. “The upside is that people hear what others say and we see the investment coming in. We’re currently bidding for Regional Growth Fund from the Government. “Knowsley is a very long borough, from Kirkby in the north and to Cronton in the south, so, within the Liverpool city region, the Chamber has an essential function in helping to keep it together. “It’s a thriving and vital borough, but, yes, it’s got

problems like anywhere in the UK. However, there has been a cultural shift in recent years. “There’s a lot of thinking outside of the box, as the local authority thinks strategically about what they can do, looking at best practice with private/public sector to reduce duplication. “There is still grant funding available from the council, especially to create or retain staff. “I don’t come across businesses which are critical of the council, in fact usually opposite. “We use a very holistic approach at the Chamber. We engage at every critical point, with a local business support

CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

27


IN ASSOCIATION WITH

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT....KNOWSLEY

THE BIG INTERVIEW....NICHOLAS AND JODY WAINWRIGHT

Finding the right balance between quality and value

The Wainwrights have been plying their trade in the jewellery business for 200 years

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 team and fresh-start team. The Chamber also has set up a social enterprise unit, a not-for-profit organisation which still functions as a business. “The Knowsley apprentice scheme engages with younger residents to get them into viable jobs, which is so important on so many levels.” Already, young jobless people are starting building apprenticeships in a partnership between Knowsley Council and construction company Morgan Sindall. Six apprentices will work on the major regeneration of Stockbridge Village and Park Brow Primary School project. The multi-million pound regeneration of Stockbridge Village will also create other opportunities for local people in

28

trade and labouring. “It’s so important that local people get a share of the work that’s created in their area,” said Cllr Dave Lonergan, Knowsley cabinet member for regeneration, economy and skills. The council also organised a second annual jobs fair, Backing Young Knowsley, which promoted hundreds of job opportunities for 18-24-year-olds. More than 600 people attended the event, and by its end more than 100 had secured a job. In the coming weeks, hundreds more are expected to be in employment or training. Employers attending included Manpower, QVC, and Whiston Hospital. Partners including Job Centre Plus, Knowsley Community College and Connexions provided guidance on training and education, and selfemployment.

Nick Kavanagh, Knowsley executive director for Regeneration, Economy and Skills, said: “Knowsley’s young people are the workforce of the future. It’s important we do what we can to help this group and create a dynamic, well-qualified workforce for the borough.” Ms Martin-Wright said: “It’s amazing how one bad headline seems to grow arms and legs and run everywhere, but much contradicts this bad image. “For example, within six weeks of the Ethel Austin crash here in Knowsley, 90% of its employees had found work in the borough. “This was because, within 24 hours of the company ceasing trading, agencies and employers came together to help a highlyskilled workforce which had very transferable abilities. “It was a crucial task, as it is well-proven that the longer you

leave people to flounder and start claiming Jobseeker allowances, then it is far, far harder to get them back into employment. “I think I’ve got an enviable situation with interface and support between our members and the council. I don’t think they’d do that if they were not comfortable with messaging, and the links will strengthen.” Knowsley is one of the UK’s key areas for the automotive industry, plus major logistics companies, major manufacturing (including innovative renewable and working with academia). Giant clothing retailer Matalan has also bought the ex-Galaxy factory site as an investment for its pensions scheme. Jaguar Land Rover Body & Assembly facility (JLR) was set up by Ford Motor Company in 2002 as a single entity to manage the businesses of both Jaguar

Cars, acquired in 1989, and Land Rover which was bought from BMW in 2000. The entire JLR business was then sold to Tata Motors in 2008 and now produces the Land Rover Freelander and will build the eagerly-awaited Range Rover Evoque. Production of the Jaguar X-Type (the celebrated “baby Jag”) finished last December. Mike Staughan, JLR operations director, said: “This site has a history stretching back to 1962, when Ford Halewood opened. “That means we have a heritage of car-building and a highlyskilled workforce which accounts for why we’re still here. “Last year was a very difficult time, as we were not immune to the recession, with the premier and luxury car market sales 30% down at the worst part. “We’re very appreciative of the

“Don’t worry, it can support 30 people,” he says. The redesign, replacing an interior from the 1970s, is an indication of the company’s will to survive and thrive. While old money can take reassurance from the firm’s lineage and solidity, these modern interiors instantly put at ease any Premier League member of the WAG-istocracy seeking to redistribute her partner’s footballing fortune. In fact, the Dunthorne half of the name was dropped as it sounded “too Dickensian”, said Nicholas, whereas Boodles is thought to have a more modern, slightly quirky sound to it. Between the wars, the accumulated wealth of Liverpool’s mercantile elite meant that the city could sustain 25 such family-run jewellers, said Nicholas: “Liverpool was a very

rich city and in the 19th century created new money families who had no inherited jewellery, so these firms grew to service that,” said Nicholas. “Most of them have gone, and fine family jewellers like Penlington & Batty and Oldfields, which were once synonymous with the luxury business, have disappeared forever. “We’ve been fortunate, as most family-run businesses last just three generations, but we’re still ambitious to take our company much further. But there’s still a surprising amount of proper money around here. “We’re also unusual, as a small jewellery company, to be still making our own pieces, instead of buying from wholesalers’ massproduced ranges in Venice or the Far East. “We don’t have a factory as such, but individual or small

groups of goldsmiths, say, up to five craftsmen in a workshop making jewellery exclusively for us. “They are supremely skilful and, like our designers, absolutely vital to delivering the quality that our reputation relies on.” While not the cheapest item on sale, a typically less expensive Boodles own-piece is the Velocity range 1.2 carat ring of pave diamonds, set with round brilliant-cuts, at £2,500. A more expensive item is a yellow and white diamond leaf-design ring costing £110,000. “The yellow and white diamond ring is a classy, gloriously stylish piece which we hope will appeal to women,” chuckles Nicholas, slyly adding, “well, those with kindly husbands who have won the Lottery!

CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

THERE is no getting away from the fact that jewellery is an expensive luxury item. But the important question should be: is it value for money? Nicholas Wainwright, Boodles’ joint managingdirector, said: “My father, Tony, was told by a customer, ‘We love your jewellery, but it’s a bit expensive’. “My father replied, ‘You cannot over-charge people for 200 years and stay in business’. “Boodles sells top quality and it is not cheap, but it is the best quality at sensible prices. You are getting our own-brand items from some of the world’s finest designers.” Founded in 1798, the firm was in at almost the start of Liverpool’s golden age as it surged forward to become second city of the British Empire. The Wainwright family were established as jewellers in Parker Street, Liverpool, when they bought Boodles & Dunthorne in 1910, exchanging their trading name of H Wainwright & Son to that of the new acquisition on merger. In 1926, Henry Wainwright moved the business to its present location in Clarence House, a Regency terrace on the corner of North John Street and Lord Street. It is now known as Boodles House. During the 1930s, the company supplied watches and chronographs to the Admiralty and the Air Ministry. Their premier commission for years was making the solid gold Grand National annual winners’ trophies presented at Aintree. Capt Anthony Wainwright was serving in

Burma at the end of the war when he received the news that both his father and grandfather had died. He was the first soldier to be allowed home to run the family business. Becoming one of Liverpool’s best-known business figures, the firm under Tony Wainwright’s aegis received the postwar accolade of making the octagonal silver stand for HRH Princess Elizabeth’s wedding cake. He expanded the business with new shops in Chester, in 1965, and Manchester, in 1982. His sons, Nicholas and Michael ,succeeded him in 1992, with the former responsible for the creative direction and the latter for the commercial side. They opened London stores in Regent Street, Harrods, Royal Exchange and Sloane Street. Boodles’ latest opening is the Savoy Hotel jewellery shop, London, after an invitation from its management three years ago: “We are thrilled to have opened our ninth store as the only shop in the newly-reopened and restored Savoy Hotel in London,” said Nicholas. “I suppose one of the reasons we were asked is that we are a quintessentially British company. “It was an unknown for us, but I thought this synergy is not going to damage us. It’s a very exciting new concept for the company and if successful will be repeated at other appropriate hotels in other countries. “This is the first Boodles boutique within an internationally-known five-star hotel. We expect to have a diverse clientele who will enjoy what we offer.”

21


IN ASSOCIATION WITH

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT....KNOWSLEY

THE BIG INTERVIEW....NICHOLAS AND JODY WAINWRIGHT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 PROFOUNDLY significant event in Liverpool’s commercial history took place on the corner of North John Street and Lord Street in 1910. Yet, in this city of avid amateur historians and heritage busy-bodies, it is one singular occurrence which is not marked by a plaque of any sort. It is, however, still well worth relating that it was on this street corner where Mr Dunthorne, of the celebrated city jewellers Boodle & Dunthorne, expired after choking on a chicken bone. Then the tragedy was compounded when Mr Boodle also passed away later that same year. But, as they say, one man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity. Into the breach came H Wainwright & Son, another wellregarded city jewellers, which bought the business and ditched their name in favour of the betterknown Boodle & Dunthorne. As a result, this famous company, known simply as Boodles since 2006, can trace its direct lineage back to being founded 1798. Meantime, the Wainwrights, with four members of the family still firmly in charge, are celebrating their centenary of ownership this year. And there is a further unexpected bonus. Nicholas Wainwright, 62, who is Boodles joint-managing director with his brother, Michael, said: “My late father, Tony Wainwright, complained that for 200 years we were in the wrong place. “Now we’re plum in the right place, as we find ourselves at a major entrance to the new Liverpool One shopping centre. “There’s been a big increase in footfall passing our front door. It couldn’t be better.” Being in the right place might have taken a long time in coming, but Boodles is the oldest surviving Liverpool jewellers and is possibly unique compared to any equivalent business outside London. Nicholas’s son Jody, 33, is a director, and the sixth generation of Wainwrights to serve in the business. Their cousin, James Amos, is a director of Boodles’ Dublin branch. The company not only retails top-end jewellery. A small of designers housed in the attic rooms above its Liverpool shop conceive the items sold at its prestigiously located shops in Knightsbridge and the Royal Exchange in the City of London. It puts this small company into direct competition with globally-famous jewellery brands such as Cartier, Tiffany and Louis Vuitton. “With nine shops, we’re not a huge corporation like the big names we directly compete with, but it means we can move very quickly,” said Jody. “We make very quick decisions, so when we like something we can just get on with it. “If one of the design team comes up with a great idea, it doesn’t have to go through layers of management, so we can have it on sale in seven weeks.” There are 45 staff in Boodles House, part of the 1820-built Clarence House block, on North

A

20

QVC’s giant Kirkby base – the plant handles 12m parcels every year

Jody Wainwright with jewellery designers Rebecca Hawkins, Lorna Shaw and Claire Fozard

Cybertill won the Small Business of the Year title at the Knowsley Business Awards in September. Pictured, from left: Knowsley Council cabinet member Cllr Dave Lonergan; Cybertil’s marketing manager Adrian Mills; and executive chairman Ian Tomlinson, with Lesley Martin-Wright, chief executive of Knowsley Chamber

Michael Straughan, of Jaguar Land Rover John Street, with a further 50 in eight other branches. It employs four full-time designers, led by Rebecca Hawkins, who beaver away beneath the eaves on the top floor of Boodles House. Surprisingly still, one of the designers, Maria Webster, remains one of the team although she emigrated with her husband to Melbourne, Australia. “Thanks to computerisation, this is perfectly feasible, as we invested in a very comprehensive – and expensive – computer system four years ago,” said Nicholas. “Because of the time difference, when our designers arrive here in the morning, Maria’s working day is over, and her designs are waiting for them on screen. “We have a fantastic design team who are crucial to our achievement. If we didn’t do our

own designs, we’d be just like any other jewellery company. “Coming from Liverpool, I want our jewellery to be the best in the world with an added value. “It is necessary for our design team to be able to push fashion forward, and at the same time carry our clientele with them. “Rebecca, who is one of the three best design managers in Britain, is very good at this and combines creativity and commercial sense which is what you need. “Although we are very much a northern company, in order to survive and prosper we have had to move to other places. “This started with our first London branch opening 25 years ago, in Knightsbridge, which put us on a higher level. But it was very difficult to begin with down there.” This is an interesting insight,

as Liverpool was in one of its darkest times in the mid-80s, yet the company did not abandon the city, or even reduce its operation. There are now five branches in London, looked after by Michael Wainwright, who operates from the capital. Boodles’ most recent venture is a shop in the capital’s superdeluxe Savoy Hotel, which has just reopened after a £200m face-lift. Personally invited by the Savoy management to be its only in-hotel shop, this incredible honour is the firm’s first such branch, and could lead to more openings in prestigious hotels. Even more excitement surrounds the Wainwrights’ visit to Hong Kong a few weeks ago, which has resulted in plans for a branch in one of the island’s premier department stores or shopping malls.

Boodles is based in one of the finest historic city centre properties. To enter, shoppers must pass beneath the shop’s pillared Regency stucco facade, but this does not lead into some stuffy old pretentious jewellery shop. Quite the contrary: the interior is very swish, cool and contemporary minimalist – there’s not a grain of musty panelling anywhere. The interior was transformed five years ago by Eva Jiricna, a UK-based Czech architect who has overhauled a handful of Boodles’ branches. Ms Jiricna has incorporated her signature eye-catching glass and brushed-steel spiral staircase, which the company wants to use in more of its shops. As you ascend, it seems to shift a little, but Nicholas is quick to reassure.

help we’ve had from Knowsley Council and Liverpool City Councils recently and earlier. “Much of our workforce lives in the area, the furthest commute from about 45 minutes away. “Halewood has a good reputation in the industry now. “We want Knowsley people working here and recruited an extra 1,500 staff. We knew we had to put thousands through to get the right 1,500 we wanted. “Some people have worked here for 30 to 40 years, and that’s about picking the right people in the first place.” Halewood is the only plant to make both the Land Rover and the Range Rover Evoque. Mr Straughan devised the means of constructing two different vehicles on the same production track. “The Range Rover is more complex than the Land Rover, as

its feature content is higher. It’s not as easy with two different products. You’ve got to get materials to the person making the car with no delays.” The supply chain is complex, but still relies on many local companies for components like seats, bumpers and door pads. “Most of the rest comes from the UK, with about 30% from overseas,” said Mr Straughan. In spite of the Far East, the UK will always be JLR’s key market, with a manufacturing base here. “Manufacturing from overseas is not a threat. I never see a day when there won’t be car making in the UK,” said Mr Straughan. “It makes sense to build cars near to where they’re sold. Economic factors like import tariffs also play a part. “For every car maker, there are huge expansion opportunities in China, but I’d say Russia and the

US are much bigger. Tata Motors really made a positive impact as a progressive owner. In the recession, there was reinvestment in product, which is the only way to get out of it. “They launched four entirely fresh vehicles so when the market picked up they were ready.” Tata kept its commitment to the Range Rover Evoque through its development stage so the model will be ready to launch next year. The large Getrag-Ford Transmissions factory (formerly Halewood Transmissions), owned 50-50 by the two companies, supplies gearboxes and associated components not only to JLR, but to other car models including the Ford Transit, Ford Fiesta and the Land Rover Defender. Halewood is also home to the Dista Factory which produces

CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

Cushion king: Tony Caldeira

KNOWING ABOUT KNOWSLEY THE metropolitan borough of Knowsley covers an area of 33 square miles. Knowsley is both an important location for employment in the Liverpool city region and a major source of workers for the area. The borough has a large industrial base, concentrated mainly at Knowsley industrial park and a number of business parks in Kirkby, Huyton, and Prescot, as well as Jaguar Land Rover, in Halewood. The current population of Knowsley stands at around

151,000, living in 61,000 households. There are 61,000 people in employment, and it is home to an estimated 3,200 businesses. Around 1,900 are VATregistered. The council has long been Labour controlled, and the Parliamentary seat is held for Labour by George Howarth. The main towns are Kirkby, Prescot, Huyton, Whiston, Halewood and Cronton. Knowsley Chamber of Commerce has 340 members.

29


IN ASSOCIATION WITH

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT....KNOWSLEY

THE BIG INTERVIEW

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29

30

THE AFRICAN DREAM IN KNOWSLEY WHICH WILL HELP PEOPLE FAR AWAY Kathleen Galloway – hopes her business will help the less fortunate in Africa

Making oodles from Boodles BY PETER ELSON

IT IS not all big corporates providing ideas and innovation in Knowsley’s business world. There are some idiosyncratic ventures set up, such as one online by Whiston businesswoman Kathleen Galloway, who won the Knowsley Achievement Award 2009. She has started a business called African Dream to manufacturing plant. This is the huge Yorkshire Copper Tube factory, with a quarter mile-long plant in which raw copper ingots are extruded them into various sizes. Today, the 60-year-old factory is very efficient with environmental strategies for waste, carbon reduction and renewable energy. Cushion-maker extraordinaire Caldeira is another great Knowsley success story, which even in these difficult times will have a turnover of £20m this year. It employs 400 staff worldwide and sells in more than 20 countries. Having grown every year (even 2008-9), it expects to expand again over this year. Founder and UK cushion-king Tony Caldeira, chair of Liverpool Conservatives, happily praises the Labour council for help in relocating from St Helens in 2004. “When we first came and invested in the borough, we were really pleased with the assistance we got,” said Mr Caldeira, 40, managing director. “We found the council was very pro-business and keen to attract new businesses and jobs. We dealt

import artefacts and curios to the UK, and now plans to take it to the next level. Inspiration came through wanting to commemorate her husband, Kevin, who died in Cape Town three years ago. “We always had a great love for Africa, its culture, traditions and artwork,” said Mrs Galloway. “We admired the delicate skills of hand-making these with the inward investment officer, John Barry, who bent over backwards to help us and was selected by the council to have our factory opened by the Duke of York, as trade ambassador. “Knowsley Business Park is very well connected for transport with the M57 and East Lancs Road, and great to distribute our supplies to stores and retail customers. “We have Cushion Centres all over the country, supplying Next, Homebase, TKMax and BHS – all good, solid, blue-chip companies.” Caldeira is also keen to expand, and bought the Fabric Warehouse retail chain, relocating its head office from Rotherham to Knowsley. “In spite of having lost Ethel Austin’s, Knowsley has one of the best retail supply clusters in the region with companies like QVC and ourselves,” said Mr Caldeira. “Knowsley has got a lot going for it. Even in this climate, JLR, QVC and others are good expanding businesses which are exceeding their targets. “The borough is trying to regenerate itself and giving it the best shot. Unlike some councils, especially Labour ones, it doesn’t

fine products. Kevin and I always had a dream to start our own business, one which would involve us doing what we loved, as well as helping to enhance the standards of living for the African people.” Besides selling African crafts and jewellery, Mrs Galloway has also shown how even small businesses can help the less fortunate. She has been instrumental take business for granted. I can’t do anything but sing their praises. But we’ve relied on the public sector too long, not only in Knowsley, but everywhere. “With the new Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities and the rest of the business support network must find ways to boost enterprise in Knowsley and reduce local red tape to make it easy to start a business. “We need to ask: Is our borough the best place to do business? It’s so vital to deal with this situation imaginatively. “If they make the area as pro-business as possible, then there’s a better chance of getting out of the downturn as the inevitable cuts start to bite.” Caldeira is a textile text-book example of using the rising Far East challenge to positive effect. A joint-venture, Caldeira China (locally called Zhejiang Hao Sheng Textiles) was set up with a Chinese business partner, who owns 30%, and a factory opened there in 2007. “It was a defensive move because we were cushion market leaders and our volume retails

in getting her local primary school, Whiston Willis School, to twin with a school in Nairobi, Kenya. An appeal was launched to fill a truck with clothes and goods, which will be driven over to Kenya at Christmas. She is due to go back to Africa in January to re-stock, and says that she wants to open her own workshop over there. clients told us to start sourcing from China,” said Mr Caldeira. “It’s the right mix of a British designed-product made in China, a sort of half-chips, half-rice deal. In fact, China helped us break into the US market. “We now supply 20 countries from China and have set up in Fifth Avenue, New York, having signed up JC Penney and Target Corporation.” These are the world’s second and third biggest home textiles retailers after Wal-Mart,with the result that Knowsley-made cushions are sold in US malls. “China isn’t as straightforward as people assume. It has wage inflation and rising raw material costs,” said Mr Caldeira. “Everyone thought we’d close the Knowsley factory, but we’re expanding and have a new contract with Argos, the biggest cushion business in the country. “We have 50 people working in production and our head office. “We can process certain products, such as high fashion, fast orders or small orders, so we’ve gone up the value chain in Knowsley.”

It’s a life of Champagne and diamonds for Jody Wainwright, who is being groomed to run the family jewellery business. But it was nearly so very different. ▲ ▲

pharmaceuticals. Everton Football Club have built their new training ground and youth academy on the edge of Halewood, at Finch Farm. Vertex, a leading international customer management outsourcing business with clients in the private and public sectors, won the Outstanding Contribution to the Borough of Knowsley award at the borough’s seventh Annual Business Awards. The company’s win was due to its ongoing commitment to Knowsley and the creation of hundreds of jobs in the past 12 months, with as many more part and full-time jobs to come. Located for a decade in Knowsley, Vertex has around 800 staff working from Phoenix House, Moorgate Road, Kirkby, and 60 customer management staff, besides systems and technology staff in Kings Business Park, Prescot. From these two sites, Vertex runs customer contact centres for more than 200 clients worldwide, including Tesco, HDNL (Home Delivery Network Limited), Scottish Power, National Trust, esure, Westminster City Council and United Utilities. “What I like about working for Knowsley-based businesses is that I come into contact with innovative companies and owner-managers,” said Ms Martin-Wright, who previously worked for a Liverpool law firm. “They have got great staff retention, as they have invested in employees, and therefore this benefits the borough. It makes my job in bringing businesses together to do business with each other a pleasure.” Over the last five months, the Chamber has seen membership rise from 300 to 340 members. “I’m also interested in helping companies follow the environmental agenda. We have a new Environmental Network where everything involves around a sustainable business model, but keeps an eye on the bottom line. “The Chamber must be about ensuring that businesses get best support, but there shouldn’t just be more of the same, but something different, rather than a dry standard offering. “I want to position Knowsley Chamber also as a strategic partner for the public sector and other key markets. “We’re trying to put together a package so businesses have tangible advice nearby. Everything is business-focused and we run a series of linked activities.” These include how to use social media, how to put tenders together and creating prequalification questionnaires to get competitive advantage. “The world is changing and the public sector won’t have huge contracts to give out. We’re offering a value-proposition. “Not just, say, export documentation, but human resources and health and safety and legal expenses. “We really want local businesses to grow, develop, thrive and survive. We try to spot the talented today and the way to develop them into the entrepreneurs.” Currently active in Knowsley Environmental Network is a fine example of that rare British beast, the heavy engineering and

19


COMMERCIAL PROPERTY New lease of life – the Albany Building, in Old Hall Street, Liverpool

KNOWSLEY

Your business will grow and be a success with our ‘can do’ attitude. We can offer: • A range of exciting development opportunities • Customised recruitment and training packages • Tailored business solutions • Superb strategic location, connecting your business through road, rail, air and sea • Great leisure, green spaces, sports and culture

Revived Albany’s commercial space released onto market New owner of former city centre cotton warehouse spends £1m on improvements

AROUND 18,000 sq ft of commercial space is being brought back to life at Liverpool’s Albany Building. The Grade II-listed property was acquired by Manchesterbased Infinity Asset Management in June for an undisclosed sum from administrators at Ernst & Young. The firm that had owned it previously – Albany Assets – collapsed after spending several million pounds turning it into a

18

luxury apartment complex. Infinity has spent more than £1m bringing the building back up to scratch. It will begin marketing the apartments early next year, and says it has already begun marketing the commercial space on the lower level. Previously, part of that commercial space had been occupied by the Albany Steakhouse, which had long been popular with local office workers.

Infinity partner Les Lang believes at least part of the space would be suitable for a new restaurant. He said: “Currently the space is split into two halves and it can be divided further, according to occupier requirements. “This is right in the central business district and would be suitable for a bar or restaurant, but not necessarily a place for heavy alcohol consumption. “Space could also be suitable

for a gym, a hairdressers or a coffee shop. “During the day and early evening, there is quite heavy footfall in this area.” Mr Lang said joint agents for the accommodation were Edward Symmons and Tushingham Moore. The previous owner, Albany Assets, was a company formed by Wirral businessman, Chris Nesbit. Mr Nesbit acquired the former

Cotton Warehouse for £3.2m in 2002. He refurbished it and launched the apartments onto the market with great fanfare in 2005. However, following a downturn in the residential property market, the company collapsed into administration in the summer of 2007. Infinity owns 70 of the 123 apartments in the building, which they intend to begin selling in January next year.

Whether you’re looking to relocate, expand or start up, Knowsley can deliver for you

To find out how, contact

0151 477 4000 business@knowsley.gov.uk www.knowsleybusiness.com

An exciting time for your business to invest in the North West

31


ADVERTISEMENT

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

New boss gets her teeth into expansion plans

Stem cell researcher plans to be in 30 markets by 2013

A tooth being examined at Daresbury-based stem cell research company, BioEDEN

To advertise here contact Julie Cowley. Telephone 0151 472 2311 or email julie.cowley@liverpool.com or Neil Johnson, Telephone 0151 472 2705 or email neil.johnshon@liverpool.com

32

A STEM cell research company has boosted its management team with the appointment of a new chief executive. BioEDEN, which moved into Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus in 2006, has appointed former Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) consultant Lorna Green. Ms Green worked with BioEDEN for two years while at MSIF, which invested £350,000 into the business. Her previous roles have included marketing roles at Lancashire-based NHS supplier Vernon-Carus and at AIM-listed Healthcare Enterprise Group before she set up Medtech Consultancy, which focused on the medical and healthcare sectors. She will bring her experience with early stage high-growth businesses to the role at BioEDEN, which harvests stem cells from teeth, usually milk teeth when they fall out naturally during childhood. After the stem cells are extracted, they are stored and could then be used in the future to cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Current research suggests that stem cells collected in this way could also be used to repair and grow bone, treat liver disease and even grow new organs. BioEDEN currently has two

facilities for processing and storing stem cells, one in Daresbury and one in Texas, USA. These laboratories can process teeth sent from Europe, India, the Middle East, South Korea and Latin America. This year, it has announced agreements with partners in Spain and Greece, and has plans to be in 30 markets by 2013. Ms Green said: “I’m delighted to take on this role and I am relishing the opportunity to help the company realise its significant potential. BioEDEN has already successfully launched the service in 15 markets and we are now in the process of fundraising to finance further expansion. “We are also planning a number of strategic collaborations with key research partners, as many parents are now giving consent to donate excess cells and extra teeth for research. “We are working with Professor John Hunt at the University of Liverpool to support his grant application to fund studies into the treatment of corneal damage using cells donated by BioEDEN. It is very exciting – there are numerous possibilities for the use of stem cells in the future.” BioEDEN’s chairman, Mark Hurley, said: “We are very pleased to

BioEDEN’s new chief executive, Lorna Green have Lorna on board. Not only is she very experienced within the biotech sector, but she also has extensive knowledge of fundraising and working with businesses to reach their full commercial potential. This expertise is vital to us at this stage in our development, and we believe Lorna will really help us capitalise on the success we have had to date.”

17


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Military masks go into service

An Anglian Regiment soldier trials the new General Service Respirator, made by Scott Health & Safety, in Skelmersdale

Skelmersdale firm hails success of eight-year research programme EIGHT years of development work has culminated in Skelmersdale manufacturer Scott Health & Safety achieving the critical inservice date for its respiratory mask. A handover of the 40,000th general service respirator (GSR) to the Ministry of Defence took place at the West Lancashire headquarters to mark the achievement – which means there are sufficient numbers of the product being used by service personnel for it to be classed as “in use”. Although much of the technology is classified – all 50 people working on the GSR programme have security clearance – there is real excitement about what has been achieved. The demands on the GSR are extensive. It is, at its core, a gas mask, able to protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats. Tested just against that standard, it is said to be a world-class performer. But its use by the military means it has to be able to operate in a way that just doesn’t apply to industry, when similar masks are worn, for example, by people clearing asbestos. It must be able to function in the heat of Afghanistan as well as Arctic temperatures, and allow communication systems to be integrated. It must be comfortable for the wearer and allow them to breathe and take on fluids – and, in places like Afghanistan, the

16

drinking rate needs to be much more than a trickle. The product will be given to the first users next year, after ongoing instructor training is completed, and will be the culmination of more than a decade’s planning by the military. Rob Sutton, Scott’s engineering director responsible for military and civil defence, said the project began by the military – in the form of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) – looking at what it needed. “They identified three main points,” he said. “One, the need for high level of protection for individuals. Two, the need for better integration with all the other equipment used, and, three, having a lower user burden, so the person wearing it is as functional as possible. “The questions then asked was ‘is the aspiration in terms of protection achievable?’.” When, in 2002, the military’s requirements were put before industry, the reaction wasn’t what Dstl was looking for. “Industry laughed,” Mr Sutton said. “It was that big a step forward.” But the challenges didn’t stop Scott becoming involved, and for two years they were one of two companies selected for an assessment phase project to develop prototypes for the respirator. “We developed five prototypes and competitively evaluated them. Collectively they were the good, the bad and the ugly.

Scott Health & Safety staff present the 40,000th respirator to Air Commodore David Stubbs “We presented two prototypes, and in October, 2004, we were selected as the company to take it forward. “But they wanted us to put a quart into a pint pot, to put the best features of the two respirators into one. In the early days, we weren’t even sure this was possible.” The testing has been relentless. For example, computer simulations have used face scans of more than 1,000 people in the services to look at the pressures on each face, which also allowed Scott to check the seals remained in contact with the face. Not all the testing was about when the respirator was in use, with greater robustness added to the GSR for when it was being carried. It was also adapted for a

significantly higher temperature storage. The GSR received system acceptance in April, with its inservice date declared within a few months. That means enough product has been delivered for it to be of use to the military. Nigel Holmes, global military and civil defence director for Scott, said: “Rob and his team have done some wonderful project management and some wonderful engineering. It’s a quantum leap. “GSR has significantly added to Scott’s capabilities with new world-class production facilities, including robotics and modern infrastructure, at our Skelmersdale facility. “Some 50 jobs have been created and the technologies developed give us a significant technology

lead in the market place, and with the opportunity to embody these technologies in other respiratory protection equipment is significant. “Add to this the export opportunities we are now developing, and you can see this is a real fillip for our team.” Some of the technology involved, however, is so secret that, under the terms of the licence, the GSR can’t even be sold to some of the Nato countries. But there are some innovations that can be incorporated into other products – whether they are for firefighters or other countries’ military – while the LEAN manufacturing processes that are now in place will enable Scott to be even more competitive in the future.

33


INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Shoe firm a Hot property in US

Shoe moulds being examined at Hotter Shoes, in Skelmersdale. The company says it is committed to UK manufacturing and has invested in hi-tech equipment

Footwear company hopes to tap into American baby boomer market, reports Alistair Houghton

SHOE manufacturer Hotter Shoes is expanding into the US market. West Lancashire-based Hotter, the UK’s biggest shoe manufacturer, has built a loyal UK fanbase for its footwear – particularly among older shoppers. Now the company has launched new website hotterusa.com to dip its toe into the potentially huge American market. The company is also expanding its network of UK stores as it bids to expand its domestic audience and take its turnover past £50m. Managing director Stewart Houlgrave said: “We have a three-year plan to establish ourselves in the US market.” Hotter’s parent company, Beaconsfield Footwear, was founded in 1959 and for most of its history supplied shoes for other retailers to sell under their own brand names. But in the 1990s, under the leadership of the founder’s son,

34

Stewart Houlgrave, the company revolutionised the way it operated. It launched the Hotter Shoes brand and began selling the shoes directly to customers by mail order. The company has invested heavily in research and development, creating its own comfortable yet lightweight shoes for the over-50s market. Hotter’s Skelmersdale factory makes more than 1m pairs of shoes every year. The company employs around 420 people, with some 350 of them at the factory and call centre in Skelmersdale. Mr Houlgrave said: “The fact we manufacture in the UK is a huge deal for the business. “Our customers respond well to it. They like to see British manufacturers and British success stories.” Hotter is investing £3m in its store opening programme and hopes to open at least 25 new

stores across the UK by the end of 2012. The company already has stores in Southport, York, Chester, Bournemouth and Kendal. This year, it opened stores in Eastbourne, Bromley, Chichester, Canterbury, Norwich and Bath. The stores are designed with wood and stone fittings, with soft lighting. “It’s about creating an environment where people want to spend time,” says Houlgrave. The company has been able to invest in growth and international expansion thanks to a £21m investment by Gresham Private Equity, in 2007. Mr Houlgrave is pleased with the results of that investment, which saw Gresham take a stake in the firm. He said: “Their involvement has encouraged more discipline in the business. It’s encouraged us to put more emphasis on professional management, and on accountability in the business.”

Stewart Houlgrave, managing director of Hotter Shoes

15


THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES

Don’t waste your

Easyjet planes at Liverpool John Lennon Airport – the airline last month said its underlying pre-tax profit for the year to the end of September rose to £188.3m

Could slow growth mean more profit? ‘Signs of significant improvement’ in recent results from Easyjet and Ryanair

A MATURE no-frills market may seem bad news for the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair. Yet it is also an opportunity to call a halt to the headlong rush to grab market share. If the low-cost airlines have decided that there is not so much call for more new planes as there was in the past, then financial and operational resources can be focused on improving profit. It’s early days yet, but the recent trading results of both of Liverpool John Lennon Airport’s biggest customers show some signs of significant improvement. Certainly both airlines are now for the first time choosing to pay dividends to shareholders using cash balances held on their balance sheets that would previously have been earmarked to buy planes. Publishing its full-year results

14

last month, Easyjet said its underlying pre-tax profit rose to £188.3m for the year to the end of September, up from just £43.7m a year earlier, while revenues grew 11.5% to £2.97bn. Two weeks earlier, Ryanair reported first-half profits up 17% and upgraded full-year forecasts. Easyjet’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, said the airline would pay its first-ever dividend in 2012: “The time is right to set in place a formula to trigger a dividend payment in years when the company is profitable, while at the same time ensuring that it retains a conservative capital structure,” she said. Easyjet intends to commence the payment of an annual dividend worth about 20% of pre-tax profit. The improved profits performance and news of the

dividend was welcomed by investors. “Medium-term guiding principles will be driving improvement in margins to achieve profit per seat of £5, increase the focus on business customers and the network and the planned increase in the fleet,” said Credit Agricole analyst Loic Sabatier. The carrier said it hoped to add 24 planes to its fleet to take it up to 220 aircraft by September, 2013, representing an average annual growth rate of 7% a year. After that, though, the company appears to be keeping its options open about any further plane acquisitions. “From 2013-2015, we have flexibility in our fleet plan, in that our growth can be anywhere between 4% and 8%,” said Ms McCall. “We have built that

flexibility into our strategy because no one knows what the economic outlook is going to be over next five years.” Part of the profits increase last year can be accounted for by reduced fuel costs, a highly unpredictable element in airline economics. Overall passenger growth was up 8% to reach 48.8m. Similarly, Ryanair foresees improving profit performance. The Dublin-based carrier now expects full-year net earnings to be in a range of 380m euros to 400m euros, compared with previous guidance of 350m euros to 375m euros. “The market is already at where the guidance is moving up to. I think consensus is already around about 400 (million) and I’m at 380 (million),” said Jonathan Wober, analyst at Societe Generale.

“Consensus is usually ahead of guidance, so I think the question now will be whether [with] the new guidance, if there is still headroom for consensus to go farther up.” The rosier outlook follows raised earnings expectations across the sector, with leading flag carriers Lufthansa and Air France-KLM recently citing improving revenues and robust bookings. Ryanair has exploited the recession to expand at the expense of higher-cost rivals in Europe, and the group said consumers would continue to trade down. Most of Ryanair’s growth comes from the Continent, and it is reducing capacity in recessionweary Ireland, blaming a tourist tax introduced last year as part of government austerity measures.

time

Choose Recycl ing-le the aw d Was ard wi te Man n n i n ageme g B&M Total wa ste man nt with W a a s g t e e ment so Nationw servic lution ide serv es Ltd* ice Compe : titive p

Conta Ct us: www.b

agna info@ba llandmorris.com gnalland 0808 1 morris.c 00 243 om 4

rices Improve d recycl ing rate s

* Liverpool Daily Post Business Awards - Green Business Award and Wirral Environmental Business of the Year – 2003, 2005 and 2008

35


IN ASSOCIATION WITH

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

The Liverpool Direct call centre, in Liverpool city centre

THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES

mean for Liverpool JLA? among its big no-frills airline customers?

Craig Richmond, chief executive of Peel Airports – Liverpool is a very convenient airport

Manchester Airport is Liverpool’s biggest local rival

A more Direct way to save energy

Outsourcing firm saves key customer £18,000 a month in electricity costs OUTSOURCING firm Liverpool Direct has installed new software which it claims will save its primary customer – Liverpool City Council – an estimated £18,000 a month. The firm has started using a power-reducing software program, NightWatchman. The desktop power management system has been installed by Liverpool Direct in a bid to drive down energy costs and carbon emissions while ensuring that user productivity remains unaffected. It has been rolled out across the

corporate network without the need to physically visit PCs individually. From a central point, PCs are scheduled each night to securely shut down, saving around 12 hours of unnecessary power consumption unit. During the weekends, even more power is saved. In terms of carbon emissions, the reduction of almost 1m kg of CO² equates to taking around 200 cars off the road. Paul Brant, deputy leader of Liverpool City Council, said: “This is a great initiative which is not only saving the council money

but is also better for the environment. “This will help reduce our carbon footprint and our spending and is a win-win for everyone.” Mark Orford, Liverpool Direct’s head of ICT design service, said: “The introduction of NightWatchman has enabled Liverpool Direct to offer its customers huge cost and energy savings. “In line with our ISO 14001 environmental standard, we are committed to looking at new ways and means of minimising our impact on the environment, and

this initiative falls into the part of our innovative technology strategy which has been developed to improve performance and reduce our carbon footprint, cost and power consumption.” ■ A TRAINING centre for renewable energy technologies has opened in Wirral. The Green Energy Training Centre, in Bromborough, was unveiled by Scientiam managing director Mandi O’Shea and Stiebel Eltron UK managing director Mark McManus. They were joined by Stiebel Eltron owner Dr Ulrich Stiebel

and chief executive Rudolf Sonnemann from the business’s headquarters in Germany, as well as dignitaries including Wirral South MP Alison McGovern and the Mayor of Wirral, Alan Jennings. The £280,000 centre is a partnership between Wirral-based renewable energy products manufacturer Stiebel Eltron, North West training provider Scientiam, and the Skills Funding Agency. It will offer training on key microgeneration technologies such as heat pumps and Solar Photovoltaic (PV).

Construction firm recycles its obsolete hard hats WASTE being sent to landfill is set to be reduced by construction company Morgan Sindall, by turning disused plastic hard hats into site hoardings. The company, which has its Merseyside base at Enterprise Way, Liverpool, has sent more than 4,000 old hats to a manufacturer to be moulded into the environmentally-friendly boards which will be used as

36

site hoardings. Morgan Sindall’s decision to re-use the old hats comes after the business re-branded earlier this year, following a merger of its sister design and infrastructure businesses. The formation of the new business meant that the old branded hard hats with the former company logos on needed to be replaced. Rather than disposing with the old hats, the company

joined forces with innovative plastic recycler 2K Manufacturing to turn the hats into EcoSheet boards. Brian Handcock, Morgan Sindall’s head of sustainability and environment, said: “In the past, it has been standard practice in the construction industry to send hard hats to landfill when they need to be replaced.

“As a company, we make every effort to limit the amount of waste we send to landfill, and try to reuse materials and old equipment wherever possible, so when our old branded hard hats had to be removed from service, we wanted to find a way of using them again.” Morgan Sindall has collected hard hats from offices and construction sites across the UK.

Morgan Sindall’s Brian Handcock, left, and 2K Manufacturing’s head of sales, Peter Ball

staring at blank wall. If you have a good retail offer, it’s a distraction for people who are frankly trapped in the departure lounge after passing through security,” said Mr Richmond. The strategy is already beginning to pay off. Liverpool is continuing to attract big name retailers. Recent signings include Boots and WHSmith. “We are signing contracts with world-class brands that are paying higher rents because they see the value of being here.” He says fears that low-cost passengers are not big enough spenders at the airport’s shops and catering outlets don’t bear scrutiny. “There’s been really good progress for Frankie & Benny’s. They are doing really well. Foreign exchange bureau Travelex is another recent arrival. We are getting some very competitive bids from these sorts of companies. They see the value in Liverpool,” said Mr Richmond. Referring to KLM’s four flights a day to Amsterdam, Mr Richmond says there is evidence that passengers prefer that city’s Schipol airport to London

Heathrow: “I am going to Vancouver in December, and I’m going to fly via Amsterdam. I get five to six hours back, compared to using Heathrow. It’s like getting back a day of your life. People are voting with their feet. There are other possibilities, like Frankfurt and Paris. We are actively in talks with other airlines to fly to other hubs.” Mr Richmond acknowledges that Easyjet’s decision to build its operations at Manchester amounts to a competitive threat to JLA. Manchester, after all, is bang in the middle of Liverpool’s geographic marketplace. He says the only way the airport can respond to this development is by making itself more competitive. “We want to make ourselves as attractive as possible. We are meeting with Easyjet this week to discuss what we can do to make ourselves more attractive and get more flights for Liverpool. We are in competition with Manchester for Easyjet business. There’s a lot of airports in the UK, and so there are no monopolies at the regional level. “Liverpool is a very convenient airport. It’s easier to park here

and get through check-in security. That’s why people prefer flying out of Liverpool. Manchester has a lot of charter traffic. We have the ultra low-cost airlines.” One consequence of slower growth will be that airlines will rejig their schedules so as to allow them to focus their existing fleets of planes on more profitable routes. Mr Richmond said: “We are seeing this happen already. “Ryanair has pulled a lot of capacity out of the UK and sent it to Europe because of the tax. “When you have differences in tax in countries that are not that far apart, it doesn’t matter whether it’s planes, ships, computing, they will move to the lower-cost country. “To have an increase come in when you are losing business like this, it’s adding insult to injury. It could not come in at a worse time for us. “Ryanair makes decisions very quickly. It’s a very mobile company. They make very rational decisions. They go where they can get the best margins. Right now, that’s in Spain and other countries in the EU.”

Peel airports is working to expand the retail offer in Liverpool

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO VANCOUVER? CRAIG RICHMOND appears to be right. KLM seems to have the cheapest and fastest flights for someone from Liverpool wanting to travel to Vancouver. With no direct flights from the region to Vancouver, it is necessary to change planes at a hub either in the US or Europe. Travelling out on December 15, returning on January 7, 2011, passengers can either travel from Manchester or Liverpool by KLM to Amsterdam and then

onwards to Vancouver. Departing from the North West at 1.30pm, it is possible to arrive at Vancouver at 18:25pm. The total cost of a business class return fare is £3,458 and takes 13 hours 20 minutes for the outward journey while the return journey would take 13 hours 5 minutes. Other services looked at include BA via Heathrow, AirCanada, Lufthansa via Frankfurt and Continental, stopping off in the US.

13


THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES

VANCOUVER AIRPORT SERVICES HOW THE GROUP WENT GLOBAL

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

What does it all Tapping into a global market Can Liverpool JLA cope with any slowdown in growth

Global view: Vancouver from the air VANCOUVER Airport ● 1998 Services (VAS) was VAS and its partners win established in 1994 to concession to build, operate market the management and and transfer Chile’s largest operating techniques airport, Arturo Merino developed by Vancouver Benitez International Airport. International Airport. ● 1999 It owns or manages 19 VAS finalises a deal to airports around the world, provide management and varying from small regional operations services to airports such as Cranbrook, Providenciales International BC, to large international Airport in Providenciales, in airports such as Larnaca, the Turks & Caicos islands. Cyprus. ● 2000 VAS’s areas of expertise VAS takes over the include marketing, management and operation operations and capital of four airports in the project management. Dominican Republic. In 2009, its network of ● 2003 airports reported revenues of VAS and its local partner more than CDN$530m and clinches a contract to combined passenger traffic manage, operate and totalling more than 28.5m. develop Sangster Since its creation, VAS has International Airport in been involved in CDN$1.4bn Montego Bay, Jamaica. of capital improvements and ● 2006 has arranged CDN$4bn of The Bahamian Prime international capital Minister signs a 10-year financing. Improvements contract with VAS to include building or develop, operate and expanding 12 terminal manage Lynden Pindling buildings and managing 19 International Airport, in airport transitions from Nassau, The Bahamas. public to private ownership. VAS and its local partner VAS is owned by assume responsibility for Vancouver Airport Authority operations of Larnaca and and Citi Infrastructure Paphos International Investors. airports, in Cyprus. ● 2008 HERE is a timeline of VAS’s VAS forms a joint venture history: partnership with Citi ● 1994 Infrastructure Investors. VAS wins its first contract ● 2009 to manage Bermuda’s VAS opens new terminal at International Airport (now Larnaca International called LF Wade International Airport, Cyprus. Airport). A US$120m airport ● 1996 expansion programme is VAS signs a 40-year lease completed at Sangster with the City of Hamilton International Airport, in (Ontario, Canada) to develop, Jamaica. manage and operate John C ● 2010 Munro Hamilton VAS breaks into the UK International Airport. market with the acquisition ● 1997 of a 65% stake in Peel VAS is awarded contracts Airports, which owns to manage four more Liverpool John Lennon airports in Canada. Airport.

12

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

LIVERPOOL John Lennon Airport was one of the fastestgrowing regional airports in Britain and Europe during the previous decade. Since Peel Holdings acquired it from Merseyside’s local authorities in 1997, it has seen passenger traffic increase tenfold, surpassing Peel’s own original estimates. The growth was fuelled by the equally rapid rise of the low-cost airline sector. As Easyjet and Ryanair flew more people to more destinations, so JLA’s departure lounge and immigration hall filled up with travellers. What, though, does the future hold now the two airlines, JLA’s chief customers, seem to be softpedalling on future growth? If the next ten years don’t bring continuing growth in the low-cost market, how will the city’s airport earn its revenues in the future and will the so far unprofitable facility be able to make a surplus? There is also a risk that the airport’s new owner, Vancouver Airport Services, has got its timing wrong with its first foray into the UK airports market. VAS bought Liverpool JLA, together with Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield, from Peel Holdings in the summer. Craig Richmond has worked for VAS or its parent, Vancouver Airport, for the past 15 years. He moved to Britain in June to take on the job of chief executive of Peel Airports. He agrees the market is maturing but explains that, far from being a problem, could be a blessing in disguise. VAS owns 19 airports outside the UK, in North America, the Caribbean and Cyprus. Between them, they handle about 25m passengers a year, though this figure does not include Vancouver Airport itself. Nor does VAS have any previous experience of the lowcost market. “Certainly not the ultra lowcost market,” he said. By “ultra” low cost, he is referring to the very low fares seen in Europe compared to those on offer in the US. “I have seen fares for £10 here. You don’t get that in North America. If you get a fare for Can$200 you think you’ve done well. That’s because of the distances between airports. You just can’t make those sort of fares pay there.” VAS’s website makes the claim that the company invests in its facilities. Mr Richmond justifies this claim by referring to the investment VAS raised for Nassau Airport, in the Bahamas, while he was chief executive there. “In Nassau, we managed to get finance in place that did not come from the Government. “We got them Can$400m of investment from a consortium of banks. “What attracted us to Peel Airport was the way we could buy

into £15m of investment into improved retail and security areas. That brings retail at Liverpool up to world-class standards. It’s some of the best space I have seen.” While there will be some additional investment in the future, for example refurbishing toilet areas, the next big injection of money will only come once the market starts to pick up again after the recession. “We have spare capacity at the moment,” he said. “If we get enough new passengers and need more apron space or buildings, then we can find that money, but right now that’s not a problem.” Mr Richmond insists the move into the low-cost market should not prove a problem for VAS. “It is our first foray into the ultra low-cost market. “But we came into it with our eyes wide open. “We are working very closely with the low-cost carriers, and the legacy carriers like VLM. “We are in talks weekly, if not daily, with them.” As for the future, Mr Richmond says a more mature market is not

necessarily a bad thing. There may be some upsides to it. “If the market is mature, it means yields should rise. “Nothing stays the same in business. No market can have explosive growth rates forever. “The fact Easyjet is going after the business market is a sign that the market is maturing. “That should bring in people who will spend more in the airport. I’m less concerned about raw passenger numbers and more concerned about maximising voluntary spend. “We would like to be able to offer lots of different destinations, but only if they are going to be viable. “With medium-haul flights, people may spend in the shops on duty-free or sun glasses. With shorter routes, they may not do so. It’s very much a science.” He said the aim was to make as much money for the airport’s retail operations as possible by identifying those routes that were most likely to attract the biggest spenders at the airport. “Some people have criticised airports for becoming shopping malls, but that’s better than

Bootle businessman on a mission to save water, reports Martin Williams

A MERSEYSIDE businessman is attracting worldwide interest in his quest to save the planet’s “liquid gold”. Eddie Witkowski will guarantee his company, Riva Global, can reduce water wastage by at least 25% – but often ends up saving well over 50% and more for clients. With most of us using at least three times the water we actually need every day, Mr Witkowski is on a mission to save water – and money. Mr Witkowski has been busy in the last few weeks exploring potentially lucrative contracts. And customers around the world, from Europe and as far afield as Australia, are seeking consultancy advice from Riva, based at Hawthorne Road, Bootle, which distributes equipment to help customers reduce water consumption. Mr Witkowski says the company carries out full water audits for both public and private sector organisations. The audit includes shower rooms, washbasins, commercial kitchens, bars, swimming pool filtration, drinking fountains, urinal systems, toilets. He added: “We have a guarantee that we can reduce water wastage in any environment by at least 25% – often it is well over 50%. “Most water functions in this country use three times more water than necessary in order to carry out the function perfectly successfully. “We have partnered with a design company and are marketing two new valves that will be launched early 2011. “One prevents cooled water in the hot tap supply line going down the drain while we wait for the water to reach operating temperature. “This can save between 40,000 and 90,000 litres a year in a typical home, much more in larger establishments. “The other valve sits under the sink and attaches to the cold tap supply line. This provides almost instantaneous chilled water from the tap so we do not need to run the tap until it is cold enough to drink. “We are getting enormous interest worldwide regarding these valves.

Gareth Kelly, left, of Cyril Jones and Co, with Eddie Witkowski and an item of new water-efficient equipment “Australia is very interested in taking on the valves, as well as Ireland, Brazil and many UK organisations, both public and private.” Mr Witkowski is hoping to interest local authorities who need to save water and energy costs in their swimming pools, leisure centres and schools. “My background is in capital equipment and project design,” he said. “I got into this quite by chance. I was working for a Liverpool company which dealt in plastic consumables, but I felt we were missing out on a market for water conservation. “That company did not share

my vision so I decided to set up two separate companies, Plumbdrain, which was designed to bring in an income, alongside my baby which was Riva Global, which, without sounding pompous, was designed to try and educate people about water wastage. “But the interest in Riva grew enormously, much faster than we anticipated.” In his presentations to potential clients, Mr Witkowski says: “Only 1% of fresh water is usable, and more than 1bn people lack access to reliable, safe drinking water. Some experts predict that by 2015 two-thirds of the world’s people

will live in water-stressed countries. “UK water bills could soar by 27% above inflation over the next few years according to Severn Trent, one of the country’s biggest water suppliers. “In England, some 25m people live in areas where there is less water available per person than Spain or Morocco. “The average person in England and Wales uses 148 litres of water every day. “Although climate change is expected to lead to more heavy downpours, resulting in increased flooding, overall it could actually reduce the amount of water

available by 10-15% by 2050.” Helping him navigate the tricky waters of international legal contracts is Gareth Kelly, a partner with the Wrexham and Shotton law firm, Cyril Jones and Co. Mr Kelly said: “Eddie came to me because he wanted advice on various business matters, not least because of all the international interest. “Eddie is an entrepreneur and I will be getting busier the more his business ideas gain momentum. “He is in negotiations with a number of major concerns, and I will be helping and liaising with contracts.”

TNT praised for delivering emissions cuts

DELIVERY firm TNT’s Liverpool base has been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for its efforts in reducing its carbon emissions. The firm, based in Speke, launched its Planet Me programme in 2007, which encouraged employees and suppliers to reduce their energy usage, both in the

working environment and at home. TNT has made carbon reduction an intrinsic part of its business strategy, with a focus on efficiency improvements and innovation projects targeting its aircraft, fleet of vehicles and buildings. The Carbon Trust Standard is awarded to

organisations who make the extra effort in trying to cut their carbon footprint. Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard Company, said: “We congratulate TNT Liverpool on its achievement. Being a good carbon citizen isn’t just about looking good on paper.”

Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust, left, and Neil Griffiths, of TNT

37


TRANSPORT

THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES

Trains between Lime Street station and Manchester Victoria would be much quicker with electrification

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou at the launch of the Easyjet service from Liverpool to Luton, in 1999

Less than electrifying start as doubts cast cloud over NW rail improvement

Continuing uncertainty over £200m programme to upgrade Liverpool - Manchester trunk route A STATEMENT on the £200m electrification of the Liverpool & Manchester railway is expected imminently from the Government. Survey work has already started on the scheme, on what is the world’s oldest intercity railway. But Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman said she worries the statement, due several weeks ago, will be only one of “general support”. “While that would mean agreeing it would be a good thing, the reality would be another delay,” said Ms Ellman, who is chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport. “Until we get the detail, we don’t know if it is going to happen. If it is left as an open-ended statement, I shall be very concerned. “The last government did not have it in its plans. It issued a White Paper, but Liverpool and Manchester electrification was not included. “I think there has been a change of heart now, as Lord Adonis, the former Labour government transport secretary, is very keen on trains.” The £530m Northern Hub project to remove bottlenecks around Merseyside and Manchester is also under threat. There is also an issue over rolling stock, with another counter-proposal for further diesel traction, rather than electric. “When the Great Western mainline from London Paddington to Swansea is electrified, it is planned to cascade those diesel trains to Thameslink services in London,” said Ms Ellman, “Then Thameslink’s displaced diesel

38

Louise Ellman – has long championed better transport links for Liverpool trains will be brought up to the North West for use here.” However, unless the nationwide £1bn scheme to electrify more trunk routes is implemented, this will not happen either. “I believe it is essential Liverpool Lime Street - Manchester Victoria electrification goes ahead,” said Ms Ellman.

“This would include the connecting lines to Preston and Blackpool. “It would pay for itself in three years, cut journey times, raise capacity and is environmentally better.” The idea is to boost train numbers by 40%, and the scheme would also provide Liverpool with its first direct link with

Bradford and Halifax. The switch from diesel to electric traction, on the 32-mile line from Liverpool to Manchester Victoria, would be combined with other track and signalling improvements to cut minimum journey times from 44 to 30 minutes. Longer journeys to Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle would be reduced by about 40 minutes. Liverpool and Manchester intercity lines were electrified via Weaver Junction and Crewe to London in the 1964 West Coast mainline modernisation programme. But cash shortages meant the original Liverpool - Manchester trunk route was never included in this scheme, and still awaits its turn 46 years later. Under the scheme unveiled last December by Labour, three North West routes would be fitted with the UK standard catenary system of 25kV AC. But, over the last 11 months, the new coalition Government has vacillated over this £1bn plans for electrification of the UK’s railway system, promoted by Lord Adonis. Earl Attlee, speaking for government ministers, told the House of Lords last June, there were "problems" with spending money on electrifying lines, given the state of the public finances. “We are committed to High Speed 2 (the new London - northern rail route), but you will understand the problems about expenditure on electrification in the current economic climate.” Lord Attlee said the Government was seeking to implement transport savings of £682m in 2010/11.

lose money. For this reason, I welcome the renewed focus on the business traveller which should generate more consistent revenues. “Last but not least, I continue to believe that it will be in the best interests of the company to re-engage with Boeing in order to market test the price before placing any more orders from Airbus. Only by negotiating with at least two suppliers do you ensure you receive the best possible price.” While they struggle to say so in as many words, it seems that Sir Stelios’s outlook is shared by management at Easyjet’s biggest rival, Ryanair. The Irish airline’s deputy chief executive, Michael Cawley, certainly concedes that future growth won’t be as strong as in the past. He said: “I think in percentage terms it won’t. “Both ourselves and Easyjet have become much, much larger. The percentage growth next year will decline. It’s still 6%, whereas previously it was 10-20% per year.

“Britain and Ireland are much more mature low-cost markets, because they got started earlier.” But he doesn’t think growth is constrained purely by natural market maturity. Mr Cawley explains: “In Britain, it’s much slower now because of air passenger duty and conditions generally. “The market will return. “British people want to travel, and there’s an underlying demand to come to Britain – London, in particular, but also places like Edinburgh, Liverpool and elsewhere. But the problem in Britain is raised taxation, and demand reduces if there is an increase in costs. “But the problem in Britain is that raised taxation increases cost, and that reduces demand. Demand is price elastic. “That’s probably a temporary problem, though. That’s because these things move in waves. As the economy grows, the Government may relax these taxes on travel because they are not so desperate.”

Without the effects of higher taxation, Mr Cawley believes that demand would be stronger. “The scope for growth in passenger traffic is related to population. There has been stagnation for the past three to four years. There has been increased traffic in and around London Heathrow, but it has been static at Stansted and Luton. There is pent-up demand there. That will be satisfied over a period of time.” He believes the same is true at other UK regional airports. Earlier this year, Ryanair announced it was not going to place a fresh order for more Boeing aircraft, blaming the planemaker’s refusal to budge on price, though the airline has yet to receive some planes ordered in the past. “We are still buying aircraft – 45 more to come by 2013. Thereafter, though, we have no orders yet, but there may yet be. It depends on price. Boeing say they have lots of orders for that period, but we don’t think so.”

The airline’s business model requires it to buy planes as cheaply as possible. The less it pays for the planes, the less it needs to charge for tickets to make a worthwhile return on its capital investment. The ideal time to place an order is when Boeing’s factories have spare capacity. “We like to be counter-cyclical,” explains Mr Cawley. The airline has recently paid its first-ever dividend to shareholders. “If we don’t place another order, we would pay another dividend. That’s very likely to happen, but not certain.” If there are to be no more planes, then future growth would have to come from squeezing more profit out of the existing fleet. “We would have to move from less profitable airports to more profitable airports, and that means airports that are less expensive. “Liverpool is burdened by air passenger duty which adds 14-15

euros per passenger. You have to see that cost in the context of an average airfare of 45 euros. It’s a big burden. We don’t have such costs in Spain and some other countries. They don’t see airports as a burden to the environment, but that is a problem that Liverpool has.” Taxation aside, Mr Cawley says Liverpool competes well for business. “They are very attuned to our business model. They turn round our planes very quickly. They are very efficient in that regard,” he said. As for Sir Stelios’s assertion that Easyjet’s board should begin to soft-pedal on growth, Mr Cawley said: “His analysis is a function of Easyjet’s business model. They operate at relatively expensive airports and their fares are therefore higher than ours. Consequently, they are more subdued in terms of growth potential. They can’t operate at places like Limoges and Carcassonne because the fares to their airports are much lower and their costs base much higher. He has shown on a number of occasions in the past not to have a good understanding of our business model.” His views appear to have, eventually, held some sway at Easyjet. Last month, Easyjet announced it will follow Ryanair’s example by paying its first-ever dividend. It was also talking with a bit more circumspection about fleet expansion. There will be some new planes, but nothing like the 100-plus feared by Sir Stelios. Patrick Folley, technical director of aviation economics at consultancy firm Mott MacDonald, agrees with Sir Stelios’s views. He said: “The UK low-cost carrier market is mature. There’s no doubt about that.” Mr Folley pointed to a shift in the routes being offered by airlines. A few years ago, the no-frills airlines offered a lot of services to the eastern European or North African VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market. “When the economy was strong, there were a lot of migrant workers flying to and from places like Poland to see relatives. “Now Easyjet has started serving more leisure destinations, suggesting that they are moving away from the traditional low-cost market into the charter market. “It means their opportunities in their traditional markets are drying up, and they have to move elsewhere. “But APD is going to have an impact on the low-cost market. It is going to be a disincentive to leisure travellers. We have all been on cheap weekend breaks to Europe, but, with the recession and APD, more of us are now concentrating on a single main holiday in the year and cutting back on discretionary travel,” Mr Folley said. Referring to Easyjet’s decision to cut its Frankfurt fleet, Mr Folley said: “It’s going to make it really quite tricky to take up all the spare capacity that creates. “For years and years, they were able to grow their market share, but now they might need to change their business model. “As we come out of recession, we may see some initial growth as things come back in the airline market, but then we will see mature market patterns after that.”

11


THE BIG FEATURE....AIRLINES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 HE no-frills segment of the European aviation market has enjoyed more than a decade of rapid and seemingly boundless

T

growth. Not even the recent credit crunch and associated recession stopped some of the major players in the market from continuing to grow their routes and top-line turnover. Recently, however, the words or actions of some of the biggest personalities in the UK no-frills industry suggest that this era of relentless growth could be coming to an end. Easyjet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou recently made public a view that he has been airing behind the scenes at Easyjet for the best part of a year. He believes that the airline should ease off the throttle when it comes to expansion, including investment in about 100 new planes. Sir Stelios told LDP Business: “I am guessing they have more than 70 aircraft on the ground this winter doing nothing. Why buy more planes if you have 70 of them that you can’t use profitably at all half the year. A third of the fleet is grounded each winter.” The implication is that the number of planes grounded during winter would rise to 170 if Easyjet were to add to its fleet. Indeed, he is so determined to have his say that in May he stepped down from the airline’s board to break ranks and campaign for changes to company strategy. He remains the publicly-quoted company’s largest shareholder. In an act of assertive shareholder activism, Sir Stelios elaborates at some length on the website of Easygroup, his personal investment vehicle. He writes: “For some time, I have firmly believed that the Easyjet management was pursuing the wrong strategy for the expansion of the business. A mere look at the share price graph over the last 10 years, practically a flatline, and zero dividends, are proof of that. How can you buy 200 aircraft with shareholders’ money and create no wealth for shareholders? “The management has been determined to continue to buy new aircraft from Airbus despite the fact that this huge expenditure is demonstrably failing to produce higher profits and therefore has created zero value for shareholders. “I have been arguing for some time that a much higher priority should be given to restoring profit margins from the current 1-3% to the more than 10% level of 10 years ago and delivering value to all shareholders. But the board has refused to take into account my recommendations, using the pretext that the rest of the shareholders want something different, and instead remains resolved to go on squandering shareholders’ funds on more expensive aircraft that will probably destroy shareholder value. “Easyjet currently has a fleet of about 189 aircraft, with outstanding orders for another 59 aircraft, which, at their open market value, will cost at least another $2bn. These new aircraft are the expensive legacy of an order signed by outgoing CEO

10

Andy Harrison and Airbus, in November, 2006, when entirely different economic circumstances prevailed. “At the time of the 2006 order with Airbus, Easyjet’s house broker, ABN Amro (now part of RBS), was forecasting a profit for 2009 of £284m, with profit growth expected to continue into 2010. Even the oil price back then was about half the recent levels. The reality is that Easyjet’s profits for the year ended September 30, 2009, the same year as the ABN AMRO forecast, were just £42.7m. In my vocabulary, Andy missed his profit targets by 80% since he bought those aircraft from Airbus in 2006! This year, profits after tax are expected by some analysts to be as low as £100m – depending on disruption to travel from the Icelandic volcano. That is well below the profits in 2006 when the order was placed, despite the fleet having grown by 80% in the same period. Normally, 80% more assets should lead to at least 80% more profits, not the other way round! “Furthermore, I believe that the board is failing to assess the purchase of these new aircraft properly. The management should measure the actual capital cost of each additional new aircraft (a number kept as a ‘secret’ from shareholders, under the terms of the deal with Airbus) against the profitability of the next new route that the company will start operating on, as a result of having one more aircraft. I believe that this analysis, had it been properly looked at by the board, would have quickly revealed that each additional aircraft progressively dilutes margins and destroys wealth. “The inescapable fact is that this airline used to make a bigger absolute profit using far fewer aircraft. The low-cost airline model is maturing, and management needs to now adopt different priorities to take the business forward. To date, Easyjet management, supported by certain other board members, have refused to do this. “Having been a member of the board and an insider, I was constantly out-voted for the last two years on this important decision on the Airbus contract by the rest of the board and the ‘typical gagging order’ was placed on me as an insider. “Since the last so-called ‘compromise’ at the annual board strategy meeting, in June, 2009, the oil price – which forms onethird of the cost base of an airline – has doubled, and the new risk of volcanic disruption has materially impacted our projected profits again. The June, 2009, compromise plan, which in any event was based on growth in numbers of seats flows – ie, the wrong KPI, rather than number of aircraft – is already too optimistic, especially with an incumbent CEO on a golden parachute and insulated from the outcome of the 2010 profits of the company. “Over the coming weeks, I will be considering if and when to requisition a general meeting, at which I shall ask shareholders to reject the management’s strategy of relentless growth in aircraft numbers and focus on profit margin increase. “In a possible shareholder vote, I may also ask shareholders to join with me in demanding that the Board seek to renegotiate the contract with Airbus to minimise

LEISURE ECONOMY

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou at the launch of the Easyjet service from Liverpool to Luton, in 1999

Ringo house ‘not important’ Far more to Liverpool city region than just The Beatles, says inward investment leader

Ryanair’s deputy chief executive, Michael Cawley, makes his point

A Ryanair jet comes in to land at Liverpool John Lennon Airport the number of aircraft which need to be acquired over the next few years, and use whatever other means possible, such as selling existing aircraft in the open market, in order to keep the number of aircraft in the fleet at about the current levels of about 190 aircraft for the next 3-4 years. I am convinced this strategy will produce higher profits in absolute terms, rather than keep increasing the fleet size for the sake of it. “Furthermore, the board has failed to create a contestable supply arrangement in the procurement of aircraft by entering into monopoly arrangements with Airbus. The shareholder vote should direct the Board to open these procurement arrangements to open and transparent competition.” His view that the low-cost market has gone beyond the point where airline operators can make an optimum profit appears to have held some sway at Easyjet’s Luton headquarters. At the time of its interim results last month, Easyjet’s

current chief executive, Carolyn McCall, revealed that she had carried out a review of the airline’s strategy. This new strategy appears to be softpedalling on the original growth plan. As well as committing now to fewer planes, the revised strategy foresees paying a dividend from 2012. Commenting on the changes, Sir Stelios now says: “The new management team has made some positive moves towards creating some real shareholder value. The decision to pay a dividend, in particular, represents a welcome change from the old regime which seemed to place the interests of suppliers above those of shareholders. “This is a good first step, but I would like to see the dividend payout ratio increased overtime to 50% of earnings per share. “Given that this company now employs approximately £4bn of capital in a fleet of 200 aircraft, I applaud the shift in focus on maximising the return on all capital employed rather than just

on equity. When one adjusts the balance sheet to take into account the ‘off balance sheet’ aircraft leases, and noting the target set by the board of 12% ROCE, it implies a profit of £480m or about three times the current level. “Let’s hope the improved execution of the business model will produce such profit levels in the next 2-3 years. “The management of easyJet also needs to carefully assess the financial viability of any fleet expansion. If the profit target per aircraft is roughly £2m, then the company should only buy more aircraft (over and above the 200) if it has identified specific new routes for these new aircraft that produce that amount of profit per aircraft. New route data should be shared with all shareholders for transparency. “I remain very concerned with the strategy of the previous management which expanded the fleet to develop summer holiday routes, leaving it with approximately 40 aircraft parked over the winter. Parked aircraft

THE planned destruction of Ringo Starr’s birthplace is not the 21st-century equivalent of demolishing the Cavern Club, claims Liverpool’s tourism chief Rod Holmes. Knocking down The Beatles’ most famous performance venue still haunts the city’s tourism chiefs as the ultimate catastrophic misjudgment of its key visitor assets. This latest assault on Beatle iconography means the Madryn Street former home of The Beatles’ most famous drummer, Ringo Starr, will be flattened in the Pathfinder urban clearance renewal programme of the Welsh Streets’ Victorian terrace housing. Mr Holmes, The Merseyside Partnership (TMP) chairman, said, even without the Ringo Starr house, “enough” original Beatle-related sites remained not to damage the city’s crucial global tourism based on the super-group. “We’re hardly ignoring the value of Beatles’ tourism,” said Mr Holmes. “We’ve unveiled a sculpture dedicated to John Lennon in Liverpool One, at a ceremony attended by Cynthia and Julian Lennon.” While Liverpool’s tourism blueprint, launched last summer, was widely ignored by the media, news of the impending demolition of Starr’s birthplace made worldwide news in a matter of hours. Yet Mr Holmes said: “We still do not have enough punters coming. “Lots of people are visiting, but we could have many more – compare that (number) with London. Everyone is looking for somewhere to go.” The Daily Post Get On Board campaign to allow cruises to start and finish from Liverpool Cruise Terminal was very important, he said. Currently cruises cannot turn around at the terminal due to its £15m EU building grant which limits use to liner visits only. “This matter should be sorted out as it is essential to have this facility,” he said. “There are more people living along the M62 corridor from Liverpool to Humberside than in the Netherlands, who should be cruising from here instead of fighting their way to Southampton. “It’s a very difficult situation with the EU grant restrictions, but it’s up to the visitor economy team leaders to decide what to do. Turnaround cruises can generate a lot of money for Liverpool, and it would be very good for our profile.” The city’s hotel occupancy was higher in summer, 2010, than in 2008, he said. “There are a lot more beds than before, but we are sustaining occupancy levels through the year and getting the yield.” Now the effects of the Capital of Culture year have faded, we must look to other events and individuals can play their part. “The Pageant of Power with racing cars on The Strand early last summer was due to one man, Guy Butler, of Grosvenor, getting things off the ground. “We’ve all got to get together and get organised and make a noise about what we can offer, every little helps. “TMP gave £2,500 to help Sefton Park Food Festival, which was a huge success, likewise with the Hope Street Feast.

A debate has raged over the future of Ringo Starr’s childhood home in Liverpool’s Dingle area “The Liverpool Boat Show was first suggested by the Albert Dock developer Arrowsmith, who made a nuisance of itself until it was set to happen. “We should be thinking as if year in year out is Capital of Culture.” The KLM Royal Dutch Airlines shuttle from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Amsterdam is hugely important. “That gives an international touch to the airport, as it opens up the world through connections. “The airport is revamping the passenger experience and we’ve got to keep raising the bar because we’re competing internationally.” Former city council leader Mike Storey’s “very clear focus on getting the city centre to work again” was “far more successful than anyone could have dreamt,” said Mr Holmes, ex-head of Grosvenor’s Liverpool One shopping centre project.

“If the heart of the city is moribund, then you don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of developing that economy and it will shrink,” he said. “Tourism is just one of the city’s saviours, as we’re not just a theme park. “We’re synonymous with The Beatles around the world, but we want to be synonymous with life sciences, nutritional science, advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, nuclear physics, automotive industries and maritime professions. “Despite our economic performance, we’ve just about kept in line with national growth, but had not caught up with other cities in the UK. “We started at such a low base, so we must move forward at a faster growth rate. “This is possible as we’ve all stopped talking about Merseyside and started talking about the Liverpool city region.”

Rod Holmes – difficult situation

39


THE BIG FEATURE

EDUCATION

Academia supports growth

Liverpool’s two main universities are building on their worldwide reputation for sport-related

T

40

old days, people who ran clubs were company secretaries. Now, the people coming in have MBAs.” Everton’s chief executive, Robert Elstone, studied economics at the University of Hull, while Liverpool’s former managing director, Christian Purslow, is a Harvard graduate. “This is the kind of person you are talking about. They come in at the top and they’re looking for levels of professionalism,” said Prof Cannon. “We have seen professionalism concerning team matters using psychologists, and that is also happening on the executive side. “And that’s all building the link with universities to create a virtuous circle to produce better and capable young people who work in our sports companies, which brings about a constant improvement.” He said most big clubs have an alumnus from the university’s MBA: “We have people at UEFA and FIFA and quite a lot in national associations.”

Former Football MBA graduate Philip Wilson has been appointed to run a football university being developed by Championship side Burnley FC. The university is also exploring links with Spanish football giant Real Madrid which runs its own Alfredo di Stefano MBA, in honour of one of its former playing greats. “It is building the global network which fits in very well with our strategy in that direction. “Rogan has established a unique position, certainly in Europe, probably worldwide.” The university’s prowess in this field continues to generate new links, including an approach from the English FA to tender for a study into the game’s administrative structure. Tender rivals include the University of Warwick, but Prof Cannon said, hopefully, Liverpool’s standing will win the day: “As Rogan pointed out in early negotiations with the FA,

who has played for Warwick?” He said the university was keen to emulate its footballing excellence in other areas: “We could widen it to other sports, like golf and tennis. Our Vice-Chancellor, Sir Howard Newby, is very committed to developing not just the football side, but the whole range of sports activities in the university.” One such area could be the horse racing and horse craft sector. A Deloitte study estimates the British horse racing industry to be worth £3.7bn, while a Gambling Commission report claims the betting industry accounts for a total of £9bn. Prof Cannon said: “The strongest area of our veterinary school is equine studies. “Obviously, horse racing is part of that, but the equine industry is huge and because we’re strong in equine studies in the university, that whole area becomes an avenue for development. “There are 5m people who participate in horse riding in the

UK. That’s as many as play football.” The university was also involved in preparing studies on the economic impact of yachting’s prestigious Americas Cup. Spain’s north-eastern port of Valencia was transformed after hosting the competition twice, boosting the city’s economy by an estimated £5bn, according to a report prepared by the university on behalf of German financial group Allianz. Following on from that, the university has been asked to prepare similar studies for the US cities of San Diego, San Francisco and Newport, in Rhode Island, US, who are considering bidding to host the race. Prof Cannon said: “People undervalue sport as an economy and they don’t appreciate the knock-on value of the sports economy. “Look at Aintree and how it is developing. “The Grand National is the biggest one-day sporting event in

On an even keel: Ryanair planes on the tarmac at Liverpool John Lennon Airport

BY BILL GLEESON

Is it time to call a halt to the frantic growth of no-frills airlines? Easyjet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou certainly thinks shareholder interests should now come before ever larger fleets.

▲ ▲

HE sporting economy is estimated to be worth £1bn to Merseyside, and our two main universities are capitalising on that with worldleading positions in the industry. Liverpool John Moores University is renowned for its expertise in sports sciences, while the University of Liverpool has forged an international standing with its Football MBA, which it is seeking to extend to other areas. Both institutions provide valuable services and research for the private and public sectors, and, with sport surpassing the leisure industry in terms of revenues, they are keen to develop their respective unique selling points even further. Prof Tom Cannon, from the University of Liverpool School of Management, says Merseyside’s heritage as an area of global sporting excellence is a key reason for its powerful economic performance. “The sporting industry is as big for the city as the Capital of Culture each year. “But it is not just about our two big football clubs. “We have the biggest horse race in the world with the Grand National. “When Tiger Woods won the Open at Hoylake, it got more global coverage than any Open in the past 20 years. There is also a resurgence of tennis, then there are our Olympians coming through – it is a major economy. “Sport is the fastest-growing industry in the world and sport is part of this city’s culture. But whereas our cultural icons, like The Beatles, leave the city, Everton, Liverpool, the Grand National, Hoylake or Haydock Park, won’t.” The university’s Football MBA, pioneered by management school senior lecturer Rogan Taylor, attracts graduates from all over the world on the back of the region’s sporting prowess. Prof Cannon said: “Recent research in India shows that the main reason students from there come to the University of Liverpool is Liverpool FC.” The annual intake of about 40 students, who must have a degree and three years’ work experience, is made up roughly of about 20% from Europe, 15% from Latin America, 5% from India, one or two from the USA, and the rest from China and Asia. Prof Cannon said: “The traditional subjects of an MBA are included, but it is all about football. “I lecture on finance and we cover human resources.” Former EnglishFA chief executive Brian Barwick is also part of the programme, and is building links with the football industry both nationally and internationally. Prof Cannon said: “It is part of the incredible move towards executisation in football. In the

Ease off the throttle

9


EDUCATION

Eastern Airways. All inclusive travel

CHECK-IN

B AGGAGE

Weekday flights to Aberdeen and Southampton... All inclusive of baggage, 20 minute express check-in, fast track security, business lounge*, seating and inflight drinks and snacks.

fly easternairways.com *Aberdeen

8

in world sporting economy research and expertise as the sector’s value continues to expand, reports Neil Hodgson Aintree’s Grand National – ‘the biggest one-day sporting event in the world’

SNACKS & D RINKS

New recruits ‘come in at the top and are looking for levels of professionalism’ – Prof Tom Cannon, of the University of Liverpool School of Management the world, bigger than the Superbowl if you include gambling. It is a huge industry. “And it is easy to forget the reach of sport, particularly with its overlap to the university. “Cricket now has a camera in the stump, all being developed by micro technology. Goal line technology in football will come through research from a university. It could even be a spin-out company from a university.” He said both universities have the capacity to develop to exploit the sporting economy: “Between us, we’re ahead of the game of any university in the country.” Liverpool JMU’s expertise lies in sports science and how to improve the performance and the general health of both athletes and the general public. The Research Institute for Sports and Exercise Sciences (Rises) includes world-leading research groups, facilities and projects to improve the health and wellbeing of the local population.

JMU’s expertise dates back to 1976 when, as a polytechnic, it embarked on specialising in the science of sports. Gareth Stratton, Professor of Paediatric Exercise Science, said: “We have got a wide range of support-related degree programmes. We are the top-rated physical education teacher training institute, and the top-rated research institute in the UK, and have fantastic teaching quality scores.” JMU has forged a long-standing relationship with Everton FC across a wide spectrum, from running a range of tests on the then Goodison Park “wunderkind” Wayne Rooney to promoting health issues throughout the community via the Everton Foundation. Further, its Football Exchange BSc was the first in the world when it launched a decade ago, and many of its graduates now work in Premier League clubs and European football. The university’s studies of

children’s physical activity also led to a re-design of school playgrounds across the city to promote increased exercise levels, which has been adopted as a template internationally, including schools in France and America. A recent project, Smokefree Sports, will use junior sports and dance clubs to promote smoking prevention, while a 1997 initiative is still promoting health and fitness regimes among schoolchildren. Sportslinx – aimed at Liverpool’s next generation – has gathered lifestyle and fitness information on almost 60,000 9-12-year-old children in the fight against obesity. Prof Stratton explained: “We measure their fitness, fatness, lifestyle, etc, and also identify sporting talent and feed them into elite clubs around the city. “Liverpool does have a big problem with overweight kids, but we apply scientific work to understand the benefits of health.

Caryl Beynon, JMU’s research and analysis manager, North West Public Health Observatory, Centre for Public Health, added: “Work conducted at the Centre for Public Health shows that low physical activity levels are associated with obesity; obesity increases the likelihood of illness and early death and places a considerable burden on the healthcare services. “Encouraging people to maintain a healthy weight should be a priority for the region.” The programme is unique in the UK and has attracted interest from abroad, but is in jeopardy due to recent government funding cutbacks which have forced administrators to seek European funding to ensure its continued survival, said Prof Stratton. Another JMU initiative, Afresh – Activity and Food for Regional Economies Supporting Health – has also benefited from European financial support to develop healthy eating and physical activity throughout Liverpool and the continent.

Prof Stratton said: “We are going through a lean period due to government cuts, but hope to bring in more funding from Brussels in the future.” JMU’s experts have also worked on the Liverpool Active City programme for the past five years, and will deliver science and case studies as part of the strategy, up to 2015. Prof Stratton said that not only does the scheme aim to improve people’s health, but it can also benefit the regional economy: “Our age and mortality rate is three years less than the South East, but by being active you live longer and you spend less time off work and have fewer health problems. “At the end of the day, it’s about a functioning population and a competitive population.” But he believes it is almost impossible to quantify the benefits of the unit, saying: “There’s economic capital and social capital, and that is not measured in pounds sterling.”

41


THE NETWORKER

SPONSORED BY MATCHDAY HOSPITALITY AT EVERTON 0151 530 5300

BUSINESS LUNCH Alistair Houghton meets Chester Renaissance chief executive Rita Waters in Hickory’s Smokehouse ATER, there came an all-American feast in the heart of a city that could hardly be more English. But first came the appetiser – a whistlestop tour of Chester with Rita Waters, the woman charged with driving the city’s regeneration. Chester is such a historic gem and tourist hotspot that the idea it needs any kind of renaissance seems at first a little odd. But Rita, chief executive at Chester Renaissance, says the city needs to be much more than a museum piece if it is to thrive. That’s why she was so keen to drive me around the city to show off her organisation’s work and to show her passion for Chester. That included a visit to Hickory’s Smokehouse, a former riverbank pub converted – with the help of Renaissance – into an American bar and eatery. With its sports bar and barbecues, it feels a world away from Chester’s historic heart while being just yards away. But before we sat down to a tasty feast of epic proportions, it was time for a tour of the city that Rita says has got under her skin. It’s not the first time the talkative Rita has done this in recent weeks. The city recently played host to a team of consultants from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), an American think-tank which delivered a “school report” on Chester. The ULI – making its first visit to a UK city – agreed Chester had great potential but criticised its fragmented leadership and history of uncompleted regeneration plans. Rita is now determined Renaissance will get things done for Chester. She said: “ULI said we should ‘get on with it’. If this piece has a headline, I want it to be ‘Chester Renaissance is getting on with it’.” Our tour included a visit to Brook Street, in Newtown, a local shopping street between the station and the cathedral that Renaissance has helped to spruce up. Renaissance is clearly making an impact – driving past a refurbished Indian restaurant, Rita spotted to her embarrassment that her picture was prominently displayed in the window. We also drove along City Road, the main road between Chester station and the city centre. Rita believes the road can become a “beautiful boulevardstyle entrance to the

L

42

city”. Next, Rita drove through Hoole, to the back of Chester station. Renaissance is driving plans for a new commercial business district on the site, with up to 500,000s qft ofgrade A office space. “For me, this area will provide the next generation’s employment opportunities,” said Rita. “We have students at the university, and we need to be providing employment opportunities for them to stay in the city. So we need to bring in new and vibrant businesses. “We did that with Chester Business Park and we need to do it again.” Rita and I also visited the streets around the Cathedral, whose tower will soon be opened up to visitors, and St Martin’s Park, behind the bus station, where Renaissance is transforming a derelict space of land into a new park. Renaissance is even set to have its own thanksgiving service. The organisation project managed repair work on the historic church of St John the Baptist, and the Rev David Chesters is so pleased with the work that he intends to hold a service to give thanks. Finally, we looked at Chester’s amphitheatre, which was recently restored in a project led by Renaissance. By the time we finished our tour, I was in need of a good feast. And that’s certainly what Hickory’s Smokehouse delivered. It sits by the River Dee in an area of the city that Rita feels is underused by visitors and residents. That’s why her organisation supported the transformation of Hickory’s by restaurateur Neil McDonnell. As we tucked into a bowl of salted popcorn left on the table by one of the restaurant’s friendly waiters, we discussed the creation of Renaissance two years ago. It was formed alongside the local government restructure that saw the creation of Cheshire West and Chester Council. Rita said: “They needed a separate body that could sit around the table with organisations that wouldn’t previously have sat with the

The ‘Yankee barbecue’ sits at the heart of the open kitchen in Hickory’s Smokehouse, Chester public sector. We aim to add momentum and to drive regeneration initiatives that have struggled previously. “We want to deliver a city that is a destination of choice for businesses, residents, visitors and students.” Renaissance does not work on its own, but instead teams up with other public and private sector groups in the city. Its board includes representatives from Cheshire West and Chester Council, Bank of America and Grosvenor, while Rita is proud her team works with other organisations including Chester Zoo. Other projects it is involved with include the Christmas Village, a Victorian market next to Chester Castle including a big wheel, and the Rhino Mania project earlier this year which saw rhino sculptures appear throughout Chester. But our conversation was brought to a halt by the arrival of our huge Smokehouse Platter, with two hunks of ribs, two pans of meat, a bowl of chips and a bowl of coleslaw. I worried about the mess the ribs would make, but our waiter spotted my look of terror and swiftly carved the ribs for us. As we ate, we discussed the challenges the city faces, including transportation and the recession. Rita is upbeat about Chester’s

Rita Waters

prospects – its shops, for example, are seeing visitor numbers rise despite the recession. But Renaissance has its own challenges. It has funding guaranteed from CWAC and the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) until December, 2011, when Rita’s contract ends. But the end of the NWDA means much of that funding will not be renewed. Renaissance and CWAC are now in talks to see if the agency’s funding can be replaced to ensure Renaissance’s work continues. “We don’t want to lose momentum,” said Rita. That’s one thing Cestrians have seen happen before over the years – now they want to see things delivered.” Rita, who trained as an accountant, was chief executive of Weston Spirit Trading – the commercial arm of Falklands veteran Simon Weston’s Weston Spirit charity – from 2003 to 2006. Next she became chief executive of Liverpool’s city centre Business Improvement District, successfully expanding it to cover Bold Street and winning approval from traders for the scheme to continue for another five years. In December, 2008, she became Renaissance’s first chief executive. Rita is a keen scuba diver and athlete – she plans to do four triathlons next year. And, she joked, she needed to exercise after tackling our delicious but huge

lunch platter. The Memphis ribs may have been dry-rubbed but beneath the surface the meat was still juicy and tender, the meat sliding off the bone. The equally tasty Kansas City-style spare ribs came glazed in a sweet and sticky sauce, while the slices of tender “slow smoked beef brisket” came in a tangy and spicy BBQ sauce. But Rita and I agreed that the highlight of the meal was the BBQ pulled pork. The sweet and juicy shredded meat was mixed in with barbecue beans for a smoky taste explosion. Perhaps we had chosen a meal that was simply too big for a lunchtime. But in the evening, perhaps accompanied by some of the delicious Brooklyn Lager also served at Hickory’s, the platter would be a real treat for a pair of hungry carnivores. As we left, Rita said she was addicted to her job – and, even on holiday, cannot stop thinking about ways in which Chester could be improved. “I went to Dubrovnik recently,” she said. “I came back with lots of pictures of bins.”

DETAILS Hickory’s Smokehouse, The Groves, Chester CH1 1SD Tel: 01244 404000 www.hickorys.co.uk

7


NEWS

SPONSORED BY MATCHDAY HOSPITALITY AT EVERTON

THE NETWORKER

0151 530 5300

THE BUSINESS LIST Friday, November 26

THE monthly Daresbury Business Breakfast brings together around 100 people working for hi-tech companies. The breakfast is at Daresbury Innovation Centre, starting from 8am. For more details, see www.daresburysic.co.uk/events

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2 LIVERPOOL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNUAL DINNER

Friday, November 26 Jon Archer, from The Little Yellow Training Company, will be discussing his Seven Steps To Success in the latest of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce’s 60 Really Useful Minutes seminars. Jon, whose background is in business consulting and competitive athletics, will speak about the critical factors in both business and personal success. It is free for Liverpool Chamber members and £5 for nonmembers, and is on from 9am-10am. Book online at liverpoolchamber.org.uk

Friday, November 26

Sportech chief executive, Ian Penrose – considering a bid for The Tote

Tote is next in sights of expanding pools and gaming group Sportech

Addition of betting business ‘would make sense’, says Mersey company’s chief executive WALTON football pools and gaming group Sportech is keen to add the Government’s Tote betting business to its expanding empire. The Wigan-based Tote organisation boasts 517 betting shops, more than 3,500 staff and a major presence on all of the 60 racecourses in Britain, as well as internet and telephone betting facilities. After previous attempts to find a buyer for the venture which was valued at £400m three years ago, the new coalition Government is determined to conclude the process after setting a December

6

10 deadline for initial bids from interested parties. Sportech, and Warringtonbased bookmaker Betfred, are understood to be early leaders in the auction. Ian Penrose, Sportech chief executive, said: “We will take a look at it. “Conceptually, it would make a lot of sense for us, as we are one of the largest Tote operators and system providers in the world.” The group revealed steady trading and further expansion in its latest update to the Stock Exchange on November 18. In the periof from July 1, the

group said it was on track and the integration of its £51.4m US acquisition, SGR (Scientific Games Racing), was going to plan. SGR has now been renamed Sportech Racing and, as part of its integration, Sportech has opened two new off-track betting sites in Connecticut, USA, taking its total of outlets to 14, with four more license permits available. The group has also signed a deal in Chile for betting systems covering racetracks, phone betting and 201 off-track betting locations. Its football pools business, which is played by more than

500,000 people each week, has been extended to Ladbrokes.com, the online platform of the worldwide betting group. A deal has also been secured to offer the football pools game in the Caribbean and South America from the second quarter of 2011. Sportech has renamed the game it acquired from the Liverpoolbased Littlewoods group – now trading as Shop Direct – the New Football Pools. But it has reached agreement with Shop Direct to extend the use of the Littlewoods brand for another five years on its online gaming products.

The update revealed that the group’s SportsHero.com joint venture in India is making progress, with more than 100,000 customers registered over the past six months. Mr Penrose said: “Sportech has made significant progress in this period. “We have continued to extend the distribution of our core products and the completion of our acquisition of SGR, following an extensive regulatory process, gives the group the platform for further developing our potential in the emerging global regulated markets.”

An online marketing masterclass is being held as part of the events happening under the umbrella of the Liverpool Design Festival. Bryan Adams, of Ph.Creative, will be looking at online marketing techniques and conversion for business – how to turn those visitors into customers. It is from 3pm-5.30pm. To reserve a place, contact Siân Peak at Ph.Creative on 0151 708 2280 or email sian@phcreative.com

Tuesday, November 30 My Networking PA’s monthly event, Teppanyaki Tuesday, is at Sakura, Exchange Flags. A drinks reception plus two courses is £15 and it is from 6pm-9pm. To book, contact Gemma Rossiter on 0151 703 2774 or email gemma.rossiter@ mynetworkingpa.com

Thursday, December 2 Open Coffee, an informal networking event, is being held

Outgoing Liverpool FC chairman Martin Broughton – guest speaker at the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce dinner OUTGOING Liverpool FC chairman Martin Broughton and Tory grandee Lord Heseltine will speak at the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner. The event is at the Arena and Convention Centre, and has the

theme of “enduring tradition, embracing growth”. Brought in to oversee the sale of Liverpool FC, Mr Broughton was thrust into the spotlight when the sale process turned hostile. It was territory he was

at Bean, in Brunswick Business Park. The free event is aimed at small business owners keen to develop contacts. It is from

already used to, having been the non-smoking chief executive and chairman of British American Tobacco, then chairman of British Airways in 2004. He also served as CBI president for two years from 2007.

Lord Heseltine has a huge past association with Merseyside. He arrived in the city in the wake the 1981 Toxteth Riots, and was instrumental in the creation of the International Garden Festival and the

10am-12pm. Call Debbie Elliott-Brown on 07776 188279 for more details.

Thursday, December 9 Liverpool Chamber of Commerce’s platform lunch will see six-minute presentations from three businesses. It is at Liverpool Marina & Harbourside Club, from 12.15pm-2.30pm and costs £25 for members and £30 for non-members. To book, call 0151 224 1860.

Thursday, December 2 Liverpool Curry Club is at Mayur Restaurant, Duke Street, from 12pm-2pm. Organised by Networking in the City, it brings together people in the construction, finance and property sectors. It costs £17.50. Call Steve Kettle on 07884 347548 to book.

Thursday, December 2

Sakura, in Exchange Flags

St Helens business people are being invited to St Helens Town Hall to meet the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens. It will include a guided tour of the

regeneration of Albert Dock. He was recently put in charge of the coalition Government’s planned £1bn regional growth fund for England’s regions, including the North West.

Friday, December 10 Bryan Adams, of Ph.Creative Town Hall by the Mayor’s Attendant and is on from 7pm-8.30pm. To book the event, which costs £11.75, visit sthelenschamber.com/events

A Christmas networking lunch with added spice is being held at The Bollywood Lounge, Grange Road West, Birkenhead. Wirral Chamber of Commerce is organising the lunch, which costs £12.50 and is from 12pm-3.30pm. Book online at www.wirralchamber.org.uk

43


THE NETWORKER

SPONSORED BY MATCHDAY HOSPITALITY AT EVERTON 0151 530 5300

ALISTAIR HOUGHTON . . . . in which we mingle with chieftains, ministers and multinational teddies over Brie and strawberry sarnies INNISH may be one of the most complicated languages on earth, but even through layers of cases and conjugations the sound of networking is all too familiar. Not long after my Brussels trip, that I described last month, I had the chance to explore more European networking on a visit to Finland. I joined Steve Smith, of Liverpool Vision, on his trip to Helsinki to find two Finnish companies to speak at hi-tech pitching battle Liverpool Software City. My base for the day was the headquarters of Finnvera, the Finnish state venture capital company. It was, as you’d expect from a Scandinavian finance house, a discreetly elegant building in a prime location, near Helsinki’s picturesque harbour and two cathedrals. Though quite why a limousine with “Gentlemans Club International Show” should have parked outside, I don’t know. It was there all day and was still there when I left that night. Perhaps its dancers were waiting for investment to fall into their laps. Meanwhile, Helsinki’s two cathedrals are almost a visual rival to Liverpool’s celebrated pair. Where Liverpool boasts the severe

F

Gotham Gothic of the Anglican cathedral and the angular modernity of Gibberd’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Helsinki boasts the severe gleaming white Lutheran Tuomiokirkko and the spiky brick turrets of its Russian Orthodox counterpart. But, on my visit, Helsinki boasted another phenomenon familiar to Liverpudlians – colourful painted critters. Where Liverpool has had Superlambananas and Go Penguins, Helsinki had the Buddy Bears. In the Senate Square, beneath the towering steps leading to the Tuomiokirkko, stood painted models of bears representing every country on Earth. Each bear had its hands in the air, with the bears seeming from a distance to be forming an ursine chain around the square. Some of the bears were abstract works of art, while others were more obvious. The US bear was dressed as the Statue of Liberty, while the Irish bear – a red-headed Leprechaun adorned with four-leaf clovers – was a mere Riverdance away from imploding under the weight of cliché (which, I suspect, was the idea). But there was even some virtual teddy bear peacemaking. The bears of North and South Korea stood next to each other, holding hands. Perhaps it’s too much to hope that colourful bear statues could

symbolise an end to one of the bitterest political divides on earth. But here’s hoping. Anyway, I couldn’t wander Helsinki for long. Back to the Finnvera cellars I went to meet Steve before the start of the day’s main event – the pitching session. I watched with interest as the audience shuffled in. As you’d expect at any hi-tech event anywhere in the world, there was a mix of smart suits and jean-and-T-shirt combos. And, of course, there was the ubiquitous Apple logo. The presentations – all in English – featured a mix of enthusiastic and inspirational Finns sharing the secrets of their success. Two companies were chosen to come to Liverpool – music software specialist Steam Republic and gaming firm Tribe Studios. Both companies had, shall we say, quirky approaches to job titles. Steam Republic is led by a cabinet – its “trade minister” Paavo Bäckman spoke in Helsinki – while Tribe is, perhaps unsurprisingly, led by “chieftain” Elina Arponen. Could this spread to Merseyside? Perhaps Big Chief Jack Stopforth could host Chamber pow-wows – and maybe Tony Caldeira could make his “Cushion King” nickname official. As I mused, delegates shuffled outside for more chat over glasses of wine and nibbles. “I love the sound of networking,” observed a happy Steve Smith – and I agreed as I dived for the Brie and strawberry sandwiches HE delight in the faces of the Helsinki winners was another reminder that awards seem like meaningless baubles – until you win one. I was reminded myself at this month’s North West Media Awards, at which I won the Business Journalist of the Year title (why thank you – why, yes, of course you can buy me a drink). The Palm House, in Sefton Park, was, as you’d expect, awash with booze and bonhomie as print, web and broadcast journalists mingled to celebrate their successes or lament their losses. Other “notable winners”, as we call them, included our sister paper the Liverpool Echo. ’Tis, of course, the season to be jolly – with a fiesta of black tie dinners and awards dos in the run-up to Christmas. So, if you’re up for the Sexiest Mungo and Shoddy Merchant of the Year title, or excitedly awaiting the results of the Most Honest Lawyer awards, we at LDP Business wish you all the best.

T

Sometimes, Clive took his ‘Big Chief’ title a little bit too far

44

Invest in the Best

Investing in an education at Merchant Taylors’ Schools is a great start to life. We have an excellent reputation for academic success and a strong history, dating back almost 400 years, of providing an outstanding education for generations of pupils. Our academic achievements are well recognised locally and nationally as is our commitment to sport and extra-curricular programmes, which allow students to truly flourish. Contact us for more information. We welcome visits all year round.

Entrance Examination Monday 31 January 2011

Senior Boys 0151 949 9333

Senior Girls 0151 932 2414

Testing and assessments available for all pupils considering entry to the Junior and Senior Schools, including the Sixth Form, for September 2011. Extensive school bus service (14 routes) available throughout the North West. Bursaries and scholarships available.

Junior Boys

0151 949 9333

Mixed Infants & Junior Girls 0151 924 1506

We are currently building a new £5.5 million state-of-the-art sports complex, ready for September 2011.

Contact us to register your place. Record A Level Results for 2010

100% Pass Rate Boys’ School 86% A*, A & B grades Girls’ School 79% A*, A & B grades

www.merchanttaylors.com The Best Education for Life

The Merchant Taylors’ Schools, Crosby: a company limited by guarantee Registered in England: Company Number: 6654276 Registered office: Liverpool Road, Crosby, Liverpool L23 0QP Registered Charity Number: 1125485

5


NEWS

Conference puts Sunflowers in the spotlight

Kerrin McPhie with Sharon Vanloo, of NCRI, and Joan Elam, from Sunflowers

THE BT Convention Centre has launched an initiative that enables charities to partner with conference organisers coming to the city. Aigburth-based cancer charity Sunflowers was involved in the first partnership when the National Cancer Research Institute’s annual conference came to Liverpool earlier this month. Kerrin MacPhie, head of sales at the BT Convention Centre, said: “We have been working towards creating this

Wayfarers bucks the trend with trio of lets OUTHPORT’S Wayfarers Shopping Arcade claims to be bucking the depressed retail trend after securing deals for three tenants to move to larger units. Vintage Home, Sweet Memories and Rohan are all expanding at the centre after seeing an increase in sales. Wayfarers, famed for its Victorian architecture, first opened its doors in Lord Street in 1898. It comprises 35 units, 31 of which are occupied. Of the four unoccupied, one is the subject of negotiations and two are being used by charities in the run-up to Christmas. In August, Wayfarers signed up beauty salon De Lovely. Centre manager Yvonne Burns said: “Wayfarers has an ongoing appeal to shoppers because of our wide variety of outlets, and it is clear that quality retail locations are still sought after in this economic climate. “It is great news for Southport that the arcade is bucking the national trend.” Despite the tough economic climate, the centre has maintained consistently high occupancy levels over the past two years, and 10 of its retailers have been established in the arcade for 10 or more years. Martin Connolly, partner at commercial property specialists the Antony Hill Partnership, which acts as agents for the property, praised the performance of the arcade during the recession. He said: “It’s not all doom and gloom up North, so let’s not talk ourselves back into a recession. “It’s tough out there, but I feel that the success we have had with the Wayfarers Shopping Arcade shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

S

4

Festive entertainment

partnership approach with our event organisers and our local community for some time, and we are committed to ensuring that our community benefits further. “We are keen to work towards a network of contacts across the third sector to match the needs of our conference clients and ensure we continue to give something back to our local communities.” Sunflowers showcased its Feel Good Factor scheme to cancer specialists from across the UK.

Wayfarers Shopping Arcade manager, Yvonne Burns

Matchdays at Goodison Park are the place to be this Christmas

Charles Dunstone speaking in Liverpool

Trust crucial for business starts CARPHONE Warehouse managing director Charles Dunstone has lauded the success of the Prince’s Trust’s business start-up schemes and stressed its importance in the years ahead. Speaking at a meeting of the North West Leadership Group in Liverpool, Mr Dunstone said: “The Prince’s Trust has a higher business success rate after three years than the banks – and the Trust only gives grants to people who have been turned down by the banks. “The Prince’s Trust is about funding people who have never been given a break and giving them a chance to show what they can do. “The figures about youth unemployment are terrifying. We have to find a way to

harness the talent that exists within those people.” Mr Dunstone set up Carphone Warehouse in 1989, aged 24, after working as a computer salesman before he moved into mobile phones. His career began while on a gap year before starting a business degree at the University of Liverpool, but he never started his studies. The North West Leadership Group brings together successful business people from the region to provide support to and develop opportunities for disadvantaged young people. Martin Ainscough, chairman of Ainscough Group, has just begun his two-year stint as the leadership group’s chairman.

The festive season gives you the chance to take a break from the day-to-day and let your hair down with people who have contributed to your business over the last year. This could involve thanking clients and suppliers or rewarding colleagues and staff. And this year, there is no better place to do it than at Goodison Park on a matchday.

at Goodison Park, luxury Directors‘ Box stadium seats and a visit from the Man of the Match at the end of the game. The Blues 100 provides the flexibility of a cash-bar with prices starting from just £175+VAT per person. The 1878 Suite includes complimentary drinks with waitress service and starts at £225+VAT per person.

The 1878 Suite and Blues 100 Suite are available on a match-by-match basis and offer a choice of hospitality packages to suite most needs and budgets. Both offer fantastic hospitality in the heart of the Main Stand

And while the pre-match hospitality can rival anything offered in the city, it is the chance to take in a Premier League match in the unique atmosphere that makes entertaining at Goodison Park so special.

Festive Season Fixtures: Wigan athletic Saturday 11 December 3pm Birmingham City Sunday 26 December 3pm tottenham Hotspur Wednesday 5 January 8pm For details of the packages available in the Blues 100, 1878 Suite or any of the other superb Executive Lounges at Everton, please call a member of the Corporate Sales team on 0151 530 5300 or visit evertonfc.com/hospitality For more information call 0151 530 5300 or email corporatesales@evertonfc.com 45


SOCIAL DIARY THE NETWORKER

SPONSORED BY MATCHDAY HOSPITALITY AT EVERTON

INSIDE

0151 530 5300

4

NEWS

Centre’s trio of lettings

9

LDP

19

BUSINESS

EDITOR Bill Gleeson 0151 472 2319

9 BIG FEATURE

bill.gleeson@liverpool.com

Future of the budget airlines

DEPUTY BUSINESS EDITOR Tony McDonough 0151 330 4918

18 COMMERCIAL PROPERTY New start for the Albany

tony.mcdonough @liverpool.com

19

BUSINESS WRITERS Alistair Houghton

BIG INTERVIEW

Nicholas and Jody Wainwright

alistair.houghton @liverpool.com

24 Models welcome Boodles’ guests to the 2010 Christmas party, on the platform at Lime Street Station, Liverpool

Peter Elson

peter.elson @liverpool.com

PROFESSIONAL SECTORS Tom Ledson, Adam Tilston, Ben Spencer and marketing agent David Beattie at DaDaFest 2010, in the Bluecoat

27 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Focus on Knowsley

CAROLYN HUGHES

Neil Hodgson

Firms miss out on public work

neil.hodgson @liverpool.com

Alex Turner

27

alex.turner@liverpool.com

HEAD OF IMAGES Barrie Mills

32

MARKETING EXECUTIVE Cath Reeves 0151 285 8428

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Boost for stem cell firm

34

ADVERTISEMENT DIRECTOR Debbie McGraw

INTERNATIONAL TRADE Hotter Shoes goes Stateside

Boodles’ managing director, Nicholas Wainwright, with Kathryn Hodson at the party

STYLISH jewellers Boodles hosted their 2010 Christmas Party in the decadent surroundings of the Orient Express Northern Belle last week. A Champagne reception on the platform at Lime Street station, complete with band, was followed by a sumptuous three-course dinner and fine wines onboard the opulent historic train. The event also showcased some of Boodles’ most glamorous and dazzling collections. ■ THE Closet, the celebrity dress hire operation owned by Hollyoaks actresses Jennifer Metcalfe, Claire

Cooper and Leah Hackett, hosted an evening of indulgence at Malmaison to celebrate the exciting new partnerships with ArtDeco cosmetics and Nook & Willow luxury leather accessories. ■ THE Bluecoat was the venue last week for Europe’s biggest deaf and disability arts festival, DaDaFest 2010. Over 200 people turned out to mark the festival’s 10th anniversary, welcoming artists and performers from around the world, celebrating the festival’s achievements to date and marking the opening of the latest three-week event.

36

ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER Jackie McMahon 0151 330 5077

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

Big savings for Liverpool Direct

38 TRANSPORT

A tale of two cities

40

32

EDUCATION

Value of the sporting economy

BUSINESS LUNCH

Hickory’s Smokehouse, in Chester

43

TELEPHONE 0151 227 2000

THE LIST

44

FAX 0151 330 4942

THE NETWORKER

Alistair Houghton picks up a gong

Michelle and Gary Dean enjoying the fun at Boodles’ 2010 Christmas party

Melinda Tatler at the Boodles party, with actor Hugh Bonneville, who has appeared in Downton Abbey and Notting Hill

46

COPYRIGHT

46 SOCIAL DIARY

Kristina Maguire, Rebecca Fisher and Sharon Simons, from the Malmaison, at the Closet event

Leah Hackett, from The Closet, with model Olivia Johnson-Aley & Becci Francis, from The Closet, at the Malmaison event

LDP Business is printed monthly and distributed with the Liverpool Daily Post. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publisher.

36

Carolyn Hughes out on the town

IT’S been a bad few weeks for Ireland. After two decades of relentless economic growth, the Emerald Isle has come back down to earth with a bump. Ireland’s growth rates throughout the nineties and much of the noughties was so strong that it overtook the UK’s economic output per capita. It wasn’t a long way from catching up with the US when the credit crunch struck. This era of growth transformed a country that, in the 1970s and 1980s was, arguably, not a properly developed first world economy. Despite the fast pace of growth since then, Ireland suffered a much worse recession than

PHOTOGRAPHY Trinity Mirror PUBLISHED BY Trinity Mirror NW2, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB.

42

The chief executive of DaDaFest 2010, Ruth Gould, with the 2010 DaDaFest competition winner, Christie Peto, at the Bluecoat festival

ADVERTISEMENT SALES Julie Cowley 0151 472 2311 Neil Johnson 0151 472 2705

EDITOR’S LETTER Britain – and ours was bad enough. These swings in Ireland’s fortunes are not without their impact locally. As David Cameron rightly pointed out when agreeing to a direct aid package for the country, Britain does more than twice the trade with Ireland that we do with China. A lot of that trade passes through Liverpool. While things look dreadfully bad at the moment, I’m convinced

Ireland will be back on the front foot again shortly. While banking madness and ill-judged property investment lie behind the current troubles, there are plenty of other fundamental factors that stoked Ireland’s rise that will remain in place in the future. Ireland has an enterprising culture and a highlyeducated, Englishspeaking population, and it is part of the biggest free trade area in the world. It may well be that membership of the eurozone exacerbated Ireland’s problems. The

eurozone’s low interest rates may have over-stimulated the commercial and residential property market in Dublin and elsewhere. Certainly one of the country’s principal banks, Anglo Irish Bank, was lending to developers like there was no tomorrow. One question is: Will the contagion spread? And will the more than 100bn euros lent to Greece and tens of billions more to Ireland mean Europe won’t have enough reserves left to bail out any more struggling countries? Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates

says his country needs no bail-out, and hopes that emergency funding for Ireland will end uncertainty and contagion in financial markets. But merely making the assertion will make the markets anxious. Judging by reactions, the markets are split between those who think the deal reduces the risks and those who think the fact that Ireland followed Greece in requesting a bail-out in relatively short succession is a bad sign. One thing is for sure: Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Britain and many others have rediscovered their faith in fiscal prudence.

BILL GLEESON 3


Try us, see how we feel

We take a softer, more touchy-feely approach when it comes to tax and accounts. Lewis’s Grotto in Rapid – OPEN NOW – on 4th floor

Real reindeers outside Clayton Square City’s biggest international Christmas market

Real ice rink at Williamson Square from December to January Free parking at council car parks

Every night is late night shopping

12 days of Christmas £3,000 prize

Visit our office, and see what we mean.

0151 285 3660

Entertainment Alive After Five on Thursdays Snowglobe and more at Metquarter

Cobhams Ltd 73 Liverpool Road, Crosby, Merseyside L23 5SE

citycentralbid.com 2

Listen to

Tax Consultants and Accountants

T: +44(0) 0151 285 3660 F: +(0) 0151 285 3661 E: pcobham@cobhams.co.uk W: www.cobhams.co.uk

47


M O N T H LY R E G I O N A L B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E

LDP

Don’t miss the ultimate sporting and social event of the year With packages from £155 per person, make sure you celebrate the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National in style in one of our restaurants or private boxes.

BUSINESS

F R I DAY 8th LADIES’ DAY

S AT U R DAY 9th A P R I L 2 011 GRAND N AT I O N A L DAY

Book now and win an iPad! Make a hospitality booking before Friday 17th December and not only beat theVAT rise but be automatically entered into our free prize draw to win an iPad! Visit aintree.co.uk/winanipad for further details

48

Six-page special on the air travel sector

w w w . l d p b u s i n e s s . c o . u k December 2010

T H U R S DAY 7th LIVERPOOL DAY

Terms & Conditions apply.

Budget airlines face turbulence

Keeping it in the family

Father and son ensuring a sparkling future for Boodles

● Decent bet: Sportech has Tote in sights ● Big footsteps: Shoe firm crosses the Atlantic ● On track: High hopes for electrification 1

LDP Business Magazine December 2010  

Monthly regional businees magazine from the Liverpool Daily Post.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you