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PROPERTY

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JULY/AUGUST 2008 ISSUE 03

CITY SAVIOUR

HOTSHOTS

P R O F I L E

R E V E A L E D

Grosvenor’s Rod Holmes

Liverpool’s top corporate lawyers

FULL GUIDE TO THE

LDP BUSINESS

HUB

EXCLUSIVE:

Green light on

Park

Daresbury digital breakthrough could be a goldmine

Marconi site ready to rise again...

WEALTH MANAGEMENT HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR MILLIONS


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Liverpool’s No.1 law firm has moved to the city’s No.1 spot...

Hill Dickinson is Liverpool’s largest law firm, and growth and development of our national and international offices continues to be driven from our main base here in Liverpool. We are extremely proud of our local roots, and through our pioneering partnership as official lawyers and first official partner to Liverpool 08, we hope to create a formidable inheritance for Liverpool that is second to none. We have committed our future in the city through investment in landmark new premises situated at the heart of the city’s new commercial district befitting a top UK law firm. Liverpool’s No.1 law firm: now at No.1 St. Paul’s Square, Liverpool L3 9SJ Tel: 0151 600 8000 Fax: 0151 600 8001 Web: www.hilldickinson.com L I V E R P O O L

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P I R A E U S , G R E E C E


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Editor’s Comment Bill Gleeson on high hopes for Merseyside’s hi-tech sector

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Daresbury reveals digital storage breakthrough Rod Holmes - Grosvenor

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Corporate Deals All the key transactions

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The Big Feature

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How I launched my own business

Science and innovation in the spotlight Hotelier Simon Matthews-Williams

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International Trade Selling gizmos to the Japanese

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Legal Sector Who are the city’s top corporate lawyers?

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Commercial Property Hotels defy the slowdown

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How Green Is Your Business Benson Signs shows the way

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Economic Review Focus on Sefton

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Wealth Management How to take care of your millions

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Ask the Expert Creative Industries

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Management & Recruitment

Showcasing our best design talent

Andy Bounds on getting your point across

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The Networker Carolyn Hughes business social diary Keep Fit Jane Woodhead puts you through your paces

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Corporate Entertainment Go to the races in style

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The List

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Business Lunch

Important dates for your diary Great value at Etsu

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Top Tipple Japanese cocktails

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Executive Motors Waxing lyrical on the Lexus

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Style Agenda Looking good for summer

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Business Travel Fireworks in Valencia

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Notworker Laura Doyle on doing deals over dinner


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EDITOR’S LETTER

www.ldpbusiness.co.uk

LDP

BUSINESS EDITOR

Bill Gleeson billgleeson@dailypost.co.uk

“The ambition of creating thousands of new jobs at the former Marconi site is a big one. Its success is vital to the future of Merseyside.”

DEPUTY BUSINESS EDITOR

Tony McDonough tonymcdonough@dailypost.co.uk

BUSINESS FEATURES EDITOR

Barry Turnbull barry.turnbull@liverpool.com WRITERS

Alistair Houghton alistairhoughton@dailypost.co.uk

Alex Turner alex.turner@liverpool.com SENIOR ART EDITOR

Rick Cooke DESIGN

Colin Harrison Tracy Smith Charlie Hearnshaw Matthew Barnes PICTURE EDITOR

Richard Williams CONSUMER MARKETING

Judi Knight COMMERCIAL MARKETING

Litza Gorman ADVERTISEMENT DIRECTOR

Debbie McGraw SALES MANAGER

THE commercial exploitation of scientifiic breakthroughs and technological and business innovations has underpinned the North West’s economic and business success for centuries. Whether its the use of steam driven machinery in transport and manufacturing at the time of the industrial revolution, the chemistry methods that gave life to the massive Ineos Chlor plant at Runcorn at the start of the last century, the invention of new glass manufacturing processes in St Helens during the 1960s or the aerospace innovations that still take place at BAE Systems in Lancashire, the region has thrived on the back of work carried out boffins in laboraties. In the past, Merseyside has been home to its own high-tech businesses. Its been through many guises, but what was most recently called the Marconi plant at Edge Lane was the best example, until, of course, it closed a few years ago. Its death was slow and painful. The Edge Lane plant’s days were numbered long before the dotcom bust of the early part of the present decade delivered the final blow. When the fateful last day came, the region’s economic planners announced their determination to keep high technology

production and research and development at the site. As well as huge traditions, the facilities at Edge Lane are impressive. Dozens of high quality buildings form a superb campus environment, which, along with the nearby Wavertree Technology Park and land that used to house a bus depot, has now been incorporated into the the recently launched Liverpool Innovation Park. Work has started to add to those facilities and numerous small and medium sized technology tenants are in situ at the existing premises. Yet a recent visit to the site suggests that much of it remains empty. The ambition of creating thousands of new jobs at the former Marconi site is a big one. Its success is vital to the future of Merseyside. Without it, the sub-region miss out on a sector that is vital for any economy with has an eye to the future. Our main feature in this edition of LDP Business sets out in detail the scale of that ambition, looks at examples of businesses that are thriving there and highlights the challenges that remain in the way of its fulfilment.

Frank Notton ACCOUNT MANAGERS

Richard Mingham 0151 472 2369 Trudie Arlett 0151 472 2476 PHOTOGRAPHY

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“People here are very passionate. It is people that matter more than bricks and mortar”

QUOTE

ROD HOLMES, LIVERPOOL ONE PROJECT DIRECTOR

OF THE MONTH

NEW GENERATION OF DIGITAL PLAYERS COULD STORE MILLIONS OF TUNES BY BARRY TURNBULL

Scientists make musical breakthrough synchrotron light source (SRS), the team of scientists in collaboration with Glasgow University formed a totally new type of molecular switch using nanoparticles, paving the way for a new generation of devices and applications. The switching ability is controlled by taking these nanoparticles, a millionth of a millimetre in size, and placing them onto a gold or carbon surface, bridging the gap between traditional semi-conductor based devices and components for nanoscale plastic electronics fingertips. Scientists have developed a way of dramatically increasing the memory on iPods and other gadgets while retaining their small size. Future devices could store 150,000 times the amount of current models, according to researchers. Professor Lee Cronin, of Glasgow University, said: “What we have done is find a way to potentially increase the data storage capabilities in a radical way. ● BIG FEATURE - focus on Merseyside’s science and technology sector - pages 22-33.

IBM IN THE RACE TOO

company’s research centre in San Jose, California, said that devices which use the new technology would require much less power, would run on a single battery charge for “weeks at a time”, and would last

Scientists at IBM also say they have developed a new type of digital storage which would enable a device such as an MP3 player to store about half

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Scientists at Daresbury could be sitting on a commercial goldmine after figuring out how to store millions of songs on portable digital music players. They have found a way of increasing the capacity of digital players like iPods and MP3s up to a staggering 1m megabytes - compared with the current maximum of 3.3 gigabytes. In theory it means a single device could hold 300m tunes. Work is also being carried out to discover what other applications the breakthrough could have with the general realisation that silicon chips technology needs to move on. The laboratory’s Dr Vin Dhanak said: “This research shows the potential there is for your future iPod to have hundreds of thousands times more capacity to store music and video than is currently possible.” But he added that his team now faced the challenge of resolving “fabrication issues”. As the demand for the miniaturisation of gadgets meets with the quest for infinitely larger memories, the critical limitations are those posed by the traditional silicon chip. Using X-rays at the Daresbury Laboratory’s

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a million songs - or 3,500 films - and cost far less to produce. In a paper published in the current issue of Science, a team at the

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for decades. The research work follows the inevitable conclusion that the silicon chip will eventually be replaced. It could take 10 years before products are on the shelves though.


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WIRRAL BASE

PILKINGTON is investing £40m in one of its St Helens sites in a move that will safeguard 230 jobs and create 20 more. The glass giant will build a £15m coating plant, which will produce Activ self cleaning glass, while £22m will be spent on repairing a float line which melts 250,000 tonnes of glass each year. The company also recently invested £7m at its Watson Street site in the town, which is now producing low iron glass for solar panels and photo-voltaic cells to convert light into electricity. Meanwhile Pilkington’s former boss Stuart Chambers has been appointed chief executive of its parent company, Nippon Sheet Glass. He becomes one of only a handful of foreigners in charge of a Japanese company.

Rescue for Ethel CLOTHING retailer Ethel Austin was rescued from administration by the former boss of clothing chain MK One. Elaine McPherson put Ethel Austin into administration last month after buying its debts from a group of banks.

German renewable energy giant Stiebel Eltron has opened a UK base in Wirral, creating 16 jobs.

www.ldpbusiness.co.uk

IN BRIEF

Glass jobs safe

NEW CONTRACTS

But she then sealed a deal to buy the Knowsley-based chain and its more than 270 stores – a move which will save 2,500 jobs. Ms McPherson said: “I’m incredibly excited to have the chance to breathe new life into Ethel Austin. Despite its obvious trading difficulties and the recent regrettable loss of jobs and store closures, Ethel Austin remains a great value brand with a strong customer base.”

Sir Terry joins business champions TESCO chief executive Sir Terry Leahy is one of six “business champions” who will sit on the board of Liverpool’s new economic development agency, Liverpool Vision. The Liverpool-born retailer will be joined by David Bundred, chairman, Business Angel Investments, John Kelly, senior executive, KPMG, Jeanette Kehoe-Perkinson, managing director of Just for People, Tony Wilson, senior partner, Hill Dickinson and Dougal Paver, managing director of Paver Smith.

Liverpool brewer Cains has secured two new contracts. The deals, with a major supermarket and a leading beer brand, could push the firm’s takeover towards £50m. The brewery is now running at around 75% of its capacity, with production up to 375,000 barrels a year. The brewer recently reported 14-month losses of £2.8m.

MSIF BOOST Merseyside special Investment Fund received £6.6m from a £500,000 investment 10 years ago in nutritional products company Vitaflo. It was the venture capital firm’s biggest-ever return.

MARK BASNETT In the last edition of LDP Business we incorrectly stated that the operations director of The Mersey Partnership was Mark Burnett. The name should have read Mark Basnett.

NEW HOTEL Birkenhead’s landmark Central Hydraulic Tower is to be turned into a £12m hotel and restaurant complex after Peel Holdings received planning permission for the project.

Cushion firm expands

Sean McGuire

Knowsley-based cushion manufacturer Caldeira says it has “huge plans” to expand into retail after it bought 14 stores out of administration. Its new subsidiary, Caldeira Retail, has bought Fabric Warehouse, which sells fabrics and homewares, after it went into administration.

In the first edition of LDP Business, we stated that St Helens Rugby League Club chairman Eamonn McManus “removed former chief executive Sean McGuire”. We would like to make it clear that Mr McGuire, a Daily Post columnist, in fact resigned and left of his own volition after four years to pursue other interests. When he left, the chairman thanked him for his efforts and real achievements, adding the club now had much stronger foundations upon which to continue its success than was the case four years earlier. M A G A Z I N E

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MCR secures city site MANCHESTER FIRM INVESTS IN LIVERPOOL PROPERTY MARKET BY TONY MCDONOUGH DESPITE the credit crunch there are signs of life in Liverpool’s property investment market with the £10.75m acquisition of a city centre office building. Manchester-based MCR Property Group (MCR) has bought No 2 Moorfields in the city’s central business district from British Land. The deal mark’s MCR’s first foray into the Liverpool city centre investment market. Located directly off Dale Street and adjacent to Moorfields railway station, the property comprises 63,494 sq ft over ground and four upper floors. It is occupied by a number of tenants including, along with Yorkshire Bank and the Secretary of State for Health. Mark Hayes, investment director at MCR Property Group, said: “As a company we are opportunistically driven and have been looking to gain a foothold in the Liverpool market for some time. “This represented an opportunity to acquire a quality building in the central business district of Liverpool, 08 M A G A Z I N E

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multi-let to predominantly institutional grade tenants. “The building offers a number of interesting asset management initiatives, which we will be looking to trigger immediately. “We see this as a long-term investment and we will be looking to upgrade accommodation and common parts over the next few years, which will enable us to move rents forward.” DDM Partners acted on behalf of MCR Property Group and CBRE represented British Land. Mark Adams, partner at DDM Partners, said: “I am extremely pleased with the outcome. This is DDM Partners’ third transaction with MCR in the last 12 months and there are many more in the pipeline. “This reflects the strength of our working relationship and the certainty of performance our client provides.” In April MCR completed the investment acquisition of a

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distribution depot in Chester in a deal worth £2.6m. Fronting Sealand Road, a retail warehouse location, the 50,911 sq ft property is occupied by Boots the Chemists on a 20-year lease. The firm’s current portfolio of property includes residential and commercial properties worth in excess of £700m with a further £300m in development. Director Aneel Mussarat has been buying, renovating and developing property since the early 1990s. Once the residential aspect was established the focus moved to commercial properties. From initially purchasing small terraced houses, one of our current projects is a 28 storey apartment block due for completion in 2009. MCR Property Group merged several individual companies under the single banner of MCR Property Group in September 2006. The company has a target to have a £1bn portfolio by 2010.


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Buy to let landlords face tax crackdown AGENCY TARGETING PROPERTY OWNERS BY TONY MCDONOUGH BUY-to-let landlords are facing a crackdown by the taxman, a leading Merseyside estate agency is warning. The Venmore Partnership says Revenue officials are using new powers in the new Finance Bill that becomes law on April 1, 2009, to specifically target landlords whom they believe to be concealing income. Since 2003, when Liverpool was awarded the title of Capital Culture 2008, the city has become a buy-to-let hot spot. In one memorable property auction at the Adelphi, hundreds of would-be investors were locked out of the sale room as the event turned into a bidding frenzy. That fervour has cooled somewhat since, particularly in recent months as the credit crunch has started to bite. However, there remains a significant number of buy-to-let landlords in Merseyside. Venmore managing partner Simon Wall said under proposals set out in 10 M A G A Z I N E

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the Finance Bill, tax inspectors could have the right to appear unannounced at the homes of those who own buyto-let property to hand out fines. The changes are due to come into force from April 1, 2009. He added: “Under the new powers inspectors will be able to levy a range of penalties on people who understate their income on a tax return. “Therefore it is absolutely vital that landlords go through their tax returns with a fine toothed comb. Landlords will be punished with fines of up to 30% of the extra tax due for ‘failing to take reasonable care’ with their returns. “Meanwhile, those who knowingly understate freelance income or conceal freelance income would attract a penalty of between 70% and 100% of extra tax due.” Mr Wall said the move comes as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) takes a tougher stance on buy-to-let landlords.

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“Only in February HMRC launched a campaign on landlords because it fears that many of them are not declaring income or understating it,” he said. “It believes many landlords are declaring all their mortgage payments as an expense which they set against income. But in fact they should extract all capital repayments and claim only the interest element as an expense.”

SUPPORT SERVICE ● A new support service for amateur

and first-time landlords has been set up in Merseyside. Former landlord Richard Globe, now a freelance property letting advisor, is offering free telephone advice and guidance on 2008 safety regulations for rented accommodation and other legislation. Mr Globe can be reached Monday to Friday up until 10pm on either 0151 639 6253 or 07761 813260.


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When it comes to the crunch, who is really there to support you?

MBOs

MSIF

MBIs Acquisitions Mergers

If you need finance to start, develop or buy a business and the credit crunch is affecting your ability to raise funding, we can help. The downturn in the financial market may mean that banks and other lenders are unable to provide a funding package to suit the needs of your business. Our funds however, are not affected by the current economic climate and we are actively investing in new and growing SMEs throughout the region. With funds totalling £107million, we provide loans and equity packages from £3k to £4m to new and growing businesses. All investments come with a range of benefits and business support services to maximise your chance of success. We have supported over 1100 businesses and could help you too. Whether you are a start up or existing business we can help you develop your ideas and achieve your ambitions.

Call us now on 0151 236 4040 or visit www.msif.co.uk MSIF Investing In Your Success The MSIF Group of Funds is managed by AFM which is regulated by the FSA in the course of investment business.

Start-Ups Expansions Rescues


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LDP INTERVIEW

Making our city

great

again FROM THE EAST COAST TO THE WEST VIA THREE CONTINENTS - LIVERPOOL ONE’S PROJECT DIRECTOR IS PROUD OF HIS ACHIEVEMENTS INTERVIEW TONY MCDONOUGH he next chairman of The Mersey Partnership, Rod Holmes, has had an illustrious career that will culminate at the top of one of Britain’s biggest and most prestigious property groups. It’s a career that has been shaped by the war hero grandfather he never met. As a teenager growing up in East Yorkshire, Holmes, the project director for Grosvenor’s huge Liverpool One shopping development, would pass the same group of buildings on the bus every day. “My grandad was killed in the First World War,” he said. “But before that he had been in construction and was the general foreman on those buildings that I would pass on the way to school. “My grandmother would show me the books he had used and the drawings he had made and I decided that was the industry I wanted to be part of. “Those buildings remain standing today and they are still my favourites.” Now aged 64 and on the cusp of retirement, Holmes can look back on an illustrious career in construction that would surely have made his grandfather proud.

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His CV includes a huge dam in Canada and the Sultan of Brunei’s palace, but the completion of the Liverpool One retail scheme could well be his finest achievement. Costing £1bn, it is the biggest single private sector investment Merseyside has ever seen. Set over 42 acres of Liverpool city centre, the development comprises more than 1.6m sq ft of retail and leisure space, including shops, restaurants, bars and a cinema, luxury apartments and high–grade office space. The first phase was opened at the end of May and a further spectacular launch is planned for the opening of the next major phase in September an event that coincides with Holmes’ 65th birthday and subsequent retirement. The father-of-two, himself now also a grandfather, said he will relish the extra time he will get to spend with family and friends, but he intends to remain busy. He will stay on as a consultant to Grosvenor and will continue his involvement with the arts in both Liverpool and Manchester. In the last few weeks he has also agreed to become chairman of tourism and inward investment agency


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“We wanted to change the whole centre to make the city great again. Trying to actually impose your vision onto a city can be a very dangerous thing to attempt.�

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Rod Holmes, left, with the Queen and the Duke of Westminster at Liverpool One

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The Mersey Partnership, an appointment that has been widely welcomed by the local business community which recognises that his experience and contacts will be invaluable in the new role. During his seven-year association with Liverpool he has won many admirers, even among those he has had to clash swords with to make sure Liverpool One became a reality. He demonstrates that it is possible to achieve great things in business and still maintain your integrity. The middle child of three brothers, Holmes was educated at Hull Grammar School before leaving at 18 to begin an apprenticeship in the construction industry - a job that for a short time brought him to Liverpool. He then returned to full-time education before studying for a degree at Aston University. He then studied as a postgraduate student at both the London School of Economics and the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, eventually gaining a Masters in architecture. The young Holmes headed off to Canada to become part of a team working on what was then one of the biggest construction projects in the world - the Peace River Dam. “I was assistant to the construction manager on the project,” he said. “He was about the age I am now and had worked on several big dam projects across America and he was a huge influence on me. O F

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“We were working seven days a week but it was a wonderful experience.” The young Holmes had another life-changing experience while in Canada. It was here that he met Sally-Anne, the woman who would become his wife. The couple came back to England at the end of the project but shortly afterwards relocated to South Africa, where they had their first child. Holmes was now taking on the construction of shopping centres as project engineer. While in South Africa he worked with a Scottish site agent whom he also cites as a great mentor. “We were there for three years,” he said.” We could have stayed, because we were offered some great opportunities, but the situation with apartheid was making things very difficult so we decided to come back to England.” They came back to live in Derbyshire and had their second child – and it was here that Holmes’ career went off on something of a tangent. He explained: “We took a plunge into the fashion business, making components for high fashion shoes - the kind of footwear that people like Elton John were wearing at the time. “These were the days when everybody wanted to be an entrepreneur and fashion was a big thing to get into at that time. We put all our savings into the business and it was a very tough four years. We eventually sold it to Clarks Shoes.” Following the sale, wanderlust once more took a grip on the ambitious Holmes and after spending time working in Nigeria, he relocated his family to the hugely wealthy Middle Eastern state of Qatar, where they would happily spend the next eight years. “I was recruited to be head of finance for the Ministry of Public Works,” he says. “It was a small country and I enjoyed being a big fish in a small pond. “We were overseeing the building of some very exciting projects - a lot of big infrastructure work - and we were very happy. “The hours of work in Qatar were 6am to 1pm and later in the afternoons I would then work on another project for the palace, building a very large hotel and conference centre. “It was all very hands-on and in that heat it was very hard work, but you just had to sweat it out. If you really enjoy what you are doing then you can find reserves of energy you didn’t know you had.” The family’s next move was to Copenhagen


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LDP INTERVIEW where Holmes became the managing director of a Danish construction group. He travelled to different parts of the world for five years overseeing various projects. These included work on the Sultan of Brunei’s palace. He says: “I was travelling all over the world with a couple of dozen Danish tradesmen. It was a very interesting time, but probably not the ideal life for a family man.” In 1987 Holmes got into property development as operations director for the MAB Group, working in London and Europe. Until that point he had always worked for contractors and he says the 12 years he spent with MAB taught him a lot about property development. He finally arrived at Grosvenor, the development company owned by the Duke of Westminster, in 1999. The firm was already on the shortlist to redevelop the Paradise Street area of Liverpool, the project that would later become Liverpool One. “We saw the opportunity in Liverpool,” he said. “But it was a gamble. Having lived and worked in many other cities I could see how far behind other places, both in Europe and the UK, Liverpool had fallen. “At that point we didn’t think we would be doing the project on our own. We believed we would be working with a number of other developers.” Having secured the status of preferred developer, Grosvenor and Liverpool City Council then faced another big hurdle. Wellknown Liverpool property developer Bill Davies had an option to build his own development on the site and, although the city felt his plan was not workable, he was determined to see it happen and a court battle ensued. Davies was finally defeated in January 2003, much to the relief of all concerned. Holmes added: “The Walton challenge was frustrating but we always got on well with Bill Davies and his business partner, Sue Sadler. “In fact I think we made the effort to get on with everyone, including people like Quiggins (a group of traders who had to make way for Liverpool One) and the Quakers (formerly based in Paradise Street). Whatever the issue, things were always very civilised.” Holmes insists there has always been almost universal agreement that the project is right for the city. Even those they had disputes with saw the importance of Liverpool One

“People here are very passionate and I think it is people that are the key they matter more than bricks and concrete”

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to Merseyside’s economic recovery. Holmes explained: “I have compared the project to the formation of a galaxy. You start with a very bright spot in the centre and it grows outwards. “The idea came from Mike Storey (former council leader) who saw that real regeneration would have to come from the centre. We’d seen the changes that had come from people like Michael Heseltine to the waterfront that had not made enough of a difference - the city was still losing ground. “We signed up to the idea quite early on,” he said. “I suppose you could say it was pretty arrogant. We wanted to change the whole centre to make the city great again. Trying to actually impose your vision onto a city can be a very dangerous thing to attempt.” Holmes will take over as chairman of The Mersey Partnership in October when the current chairman, Roy Morris, stands down. He said: “I wanted to stay involved here even after Liverpool One was completed because I have forged so many special friendships and I also bring a lot of experience in attracting investment. “I think the key to Liverpool’s future progress is being part of the wider city region and I think TMP is going to play a vital role in that.” Holmes will not stay idle when he retires in September. He will spend more time with his wife, children Alice and Joe, and his grandchildren, and indulge his passions for painting and poetry, but he will remain active in his professional life. As well as remaining as a consultant to Grosvenor he will also continue his trustee roles for the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres in Liverpool and at Manchester’s Lowry Centre. With Liverpool One now in its final stages, Holmes is certainly ending his construction career on a high. He said: “There is still a great deal to do on the project but I get a real buzz when I walk across the site. “Getting feedback from everybody in the city has been vital to its success and we have made sure we have always listened to as many people as possible. “People here are very passionate and I think it is people that are the key - they matter more than bricks and concrete. We have built a fantastic team of people here on this project and I am very proud of all of them.” T H E

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SPONSORED BY

CORPORATE DEALS

Vitaflo managing director Tony Partington

MSIF gains £6.6m MERSEYSIDE Special Investment Fund has seen its biggest-ever return from an investment after the £16m refinancing of nutritional products company Vitaflo. The venture capital firm will receive £6.6m in proceeds from a company it originally backed with £500,000 10 years ago. As part of the re-financing deal, MSIF’s Venture Fund will inject £3m back into Vitaflo. The transaction also includes a funding package from Clydesdale Bank and Vitaflo directors’ personal resources and will allow for the exit of nonmanagement shareholders.

As well as its biggest ever return on an investment, the deal also provides MSIF with its largest single investment. Venture Fund portfolio director Jerry Mobbs said: “We recognised the quality in Vitaflo right from the start and its progress has been a huge success story for the company and MSIF. “Vitaflo’s growth has been exceptional and we expect this to continue.” Vitaflo has developed a range of nutritional products to manage metabolic diseases and diseaserelated malnutrition. It is one of the global market leaders in its industry and sells products to

SHOPPING DEAL A JOINT venture formed by two Merseyside property companies has bought a Cheshire shopping centre in a £6m deal. Three60Austin was formed by the Ethel Austin Property Group and Plus Housing Group. Its deal to buy the Eddisbury Square Shopping Centre in Frodsham was backed by the Royal Bank of Scotland. 1960s-built Eddisbury Square is the 16

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patients via the NHS and wholesalers in the UK, and through distributors overseas. The business is run by directors Tony Partington, Bill MacNab and Maura O’Donnell and employs 41 staff. Turnover now stands at £11m. Mr Partington said: “Vitaflo is a great success story for Merseyside.” Legal advisors involved in the transaction were Paul Rimmer, James Kerrigan and Andrew Noon at DLA, who acted for MSIF, and Kieran Donovan at DWF who acted for the management. Financial due diligence was undertaken by KPMG. main shopping centre in Frodsham and consists of two-storey retail units arranged in terraces around a central car park area and occupiers include Boots Opticians, Just Go Travel, Sayers and Oddbins. Andrew Lovelady, financial director for Ethel Austin Property Group, said: “We are looking at the possibility of creating a residential scheme on the site and look forward to working with the Plus Group as they have considerable expertise in this area.”


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experienced people count in corporate finance A corporate finance transaction can be a defining moment for a client. It is an opportunity to achieve significant corporate and personal goals and therefore it is essential

Dermot Garvey dgarvey@chadwickllp.co.uk

you get expert advice helping to maximise the benefits of what may be a once in a lifetime transaction. Our experienced Corporate Finance team is headed up by Dermot Garvey and includes partners Kevin Simmons and

Kevin Simmons ksimmons@chadwickllp.co.uk

Mike Hodges. The team has a wealth of knowledge in the financial aspects for MBO's, MBI's, acquisitions, due diligence, and pre-sale assessments and reports. Contact the team to see how Chadwick’s experience in

Mike Hodges mhodges@chadwickllp.co.uk

Corporate Finance can count for you.

Liverpool: 0151 236 6262 Manchester: 0161 832 6088 www.chadwickllp.co.uk


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SPONSORED BY

CORPORATE DEALS

Speedy Partnership NEWTON-le-Willows group Speedy Hire has bought construction firm Carillion’s accommodation business for £11m. Carillion’s three UK depots and 23 employees will join Speedy Hire’s existing accommodation division Speedy Space. The deal is part of a five-year strategic partnering agreement between the two companies aimed at reinforcing Speedy’s position as Carillion’s preferred supplier.

Steve Corcoran

Speedy Hire chief executive Steve Corcoran said: “The entering into of a long-term strategic partnering agreement will enable both companies to maximise supply chain opportunities following Carillion’s recent acquisition of Alfred McAlpine.” Chris Dyson, Carillion’s building procurement director, said: “Speedy Hire is one of our key suppliers and this agreement will bring significant benefits to Carillion as we continue to develop and grow our business.”

Dougal Paver

MORE TO COME The team at Sterling

BUILDING A BRIGHT FUTURE A WIRRAL scaffolding business has undergone a £1m management buyout. Sterling Scaffolding, of Birkenhead, supplies scaffolding to customers in the new housing market with clients including Redrow and Countryside Properties. Robin Smith, Sterling’s manager for 20 years, takes over the business as managing director. The £1m funding package includes £350k from Merseyside Special Investment Fund’s Mezzanine Fund, management investment and invoice discounting facilities. 18

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Sterling was set up in 1987 and employs 23 staff. Turnover this year is expected to reach £2m. Mr Smith said: “My sons both work in the scaffolding industry and I decided I wanted to make an investment for the family. They will be joining the company soon and we are looking forward to the future.” Legal advisors involved in the transaction were Andrew O’Mahony of Brabners Chaffe Street (MSIF) and Andrew Whittingham-Jones of Guy Williams Layton (the management). Financial due diligence was conducted by Langtons.

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LIVERPOOL PR firm Paver Smith says it expects to seal another acquisition within months after sealing the takeover of rival Factory Communications. The Factory deal will increase Paver Smith’s turnover to £2.4m and its workforce to 32, while bringing clients such as Heathcotes, ACC Liverpool and energy giant E.on to its business. Factory was set up in June, 2006, by former Liverpool Echo deputy editor Jon Brown. Paver Smith managing director Dougal Paver has now confirmed he is in talks with other agencies. He said: “We are in early talks with three other agencies that each bring something very different to the table, and hope we can conclude at least one further acquisition by the autumn.”


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Energise your

business

The Royal Bank of Scotland can offer the breadth of service and business insight that could help energise your business. You’ll find it energising to speak to someone who has local experience of your sector and who takes the time to understand your specific business issues before making tailored recommendations that could improve your business prospects.

Energise your business today by calling Barry Roberts

Bill Doherty

Regional Director, Corporate Banking, Liverpool

Director, Commercial Banking, Liverpool

0151 242 1983

0151 242 5476

barry.roberts@rbs.co.uk

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www.rbs.co.uk

Make it happen The Royal Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. 90312. Registered office: 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2YB


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SPONSORED BY

CORPORATE DEALS

Barry Roberts, left, and Bill Doherty of RBS

Dermot Garvey

Market Defies Crunch THE credit crunch is slowing down the deals sector but there are still many opportunities in the market – that’s the message from leading North West professionals. Law firm DLA Piper in Liverpool has just advised the Merseyside Special Investment Fund’s Venture Fund on a package to refinance Liverpool-based nutritional products company, Vitaflo. Paul Rimmer, the corporate partner who lead the deal team, said: “The market is now slower than at this stage in 2007. “This is partly a reflection of the fact that a number of deals were completed earlier in the year than would otherwise have been the case because of the April tax changes but also because of the prevailing economic climate. “That said, good businesses continue to be bought and sold – such as Vitaflo – and there is still bank finance available albeit against what would generally appear to be a slightly more cautious lending approach. 20 M A G A Z I N E

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“DLA Piper has itself continued to have a very strong performance in terms of the number of completed deals this year and remains optimistic that Liverpool’s deal flow will be stronger than other regional centres because of the positive influences of Capital of Culture and Liverpool One.” Barry Roberts, regional corporate director for Royal Bank of Scotland in Liverpool, said his customers were facing pressure from high fuel and raw material costs. But he said his bank was very much “open for business” when it came to deals and said the market was very much still active. “From our perspective at RBS we are not under any pressure whatsoever to restrict our lending,” he said. “We are looking at the way we structure the price of our facilities this year.” Dermot Garvey, partner and head of corporate finance at Liverpool-based accountants Chadwick LLP, said: “In 2007, in spite of the weak US dollar, North American purchasers were

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active in the market seeking to either consolidate or create operational European units focused on the UK and there was lots of activity from mainland European companies. “This begs the question of whether being outside the Euro does hinder us. “Somewhat bizarrely, the US has also been a major influence in a less positive fashion. The sub-prime fiasco has without doubt affected banks’ credit attitudes and impaired the ability of quoted companies to do business where shares have suffered in the widespread market. “These features will influence the market over the next 18 months but to what extent cannot be predicted with ease as government will try to counteract these negative factors with continuing economic stimuli via infrastructure projects. “The uncertainties of the debt and public markets will create profitable private equity opportunities and distressed debt situations that forward thinkers will be able to exploit.”


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ADVERTISING FEATURE

New look centre helps North West research and development The Centre for Materials Discovery (CMD) is championing the rollout of High Throughput (HT) technologies across multiple industrial sectors within Merseyside and the North West of England. Headed by Professor Andrew Cooper, the facilities became operational in 2007, designed from inception specifically for industrial collaboration and collocation. Having established a generic core HT technologies capability and through application of these technologies, CMD seeks to discover innovative materials for high-value industrial applications for a plethora of industrial sectors. By removing the following barriers: • Limited infrastructure • Access to equipment • Lack of know-how • Limited trained personnel CMD is able to offer a range of business and research services designed to provide businesses across the region the opportunity to enhance existing inhouse research and development (R&D) programmes, through the optimisation of existing products, or assist in the fabrication of new materials. Scientific Solutions The newly refurbished CMD facility boasts 11 Laboratories, 10 Offices, an IT suite, conference amenities and meeting rooms. A team of scientists and business professionals is available to help clients identify, nurture and perform to completion R&D programmes in material synthesis, characterisation and formulation to assist early discovery, material optimisation and commercial exploitation. The main reconfigurable open-plan laboratory houses a wide portfolio of HT instrumentation. State-of-the-art robotic synthesis, formulation and liquid handling platforms compliment

an extensive range of analytical facilities. A suite of automated synthesis and formulation robots are installed alongside microwave reactors and some more traditional thermal synthesis equipment. A dedicated microscopy suite fitted-out with a Field-Emission Scanning Electron Microscope and sample preparation facilities is also housed within the Centre. HT methods of analysis and characterisation help keep pace with the multitude of samples and materials. The Centre is ideally located on the University of Liverpool city campus, adjacent to the Department of Chemistry, providing easy access to the community of research intensive scientists with wide ranging expertise and know-how. Key services include: • Contract research - whereby the CMD team work on behalf of clients to discover and optimise materials, utilising proprietary technology methods and a team of specialists with expert knowledge in the design of experiments and automated processes to accelerate materials discovery. • Collaborative research - by partnering with CMD, clients can leverage the industry-level investments in the CMD laboratories, equipment, software and tools to improve their R&D capability and laboratory throughput. • ‘Hotdesking’ - whereby client employees leverage access to the CMD, its equipment and are supported from its Senior Experimental Officers for fixed-term periods. • Bespoke training in HT methodology and practice through on-site, industrially focused, workshops and client-specific courses for employees. • Consultancy - access CMD’s expert support and scientific knowledge • Licensing of Intellectual Property developed by the CMD team

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PROFESSOR ANDREW COOPER Market Applications Materials are at the core of a large number of businesses, ranging from simple plastics for packaging to hightech, engineered biocomposites. Businesses seeking to strengthen their R&D capability and gain a competitive edge can do so by accessing the CMD. It addresses the material research needs of multiple industrial sectors including, but not limited to: • Food & Beverages • Home & Personal Care • Life Sciences • Electronics and many others For further information contact The Centre for Materials Discovery, Crown Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZD. General enquires: +44(0)151 795 2300; fax: 0151 794 2316; email: Information@materialsdiscovery.com Or find out more from the website: www.materialsdiscovery.com

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

IT solutions for Merseyside WELCOME to the Science and Technology Special Feature of the LDP Business Magazine. This edition is co-sponsored by Gardner Systems, the IT Specialist based on Wavertree Technology Park. Formed in 1984, Gardner Systems has been an Intel Specialist from the outset. Since that time Gardner’s has gone through many evolutionary and revolutionary changes to become one of IBM’s main Business Partners in the United Kingdom, relying on the delivery of reliable and innovative solutions to an ever changing client and business demand. Its Wavertree Technology Park base offers facilities without equal in the NorthWest; these include an IT Solutions Development Centre; with the latest range of IBM, NetApp and Microsoft equipment for demonstration and

System solutions centre

testing, which has been sponsored by the ICT Invest Fund. Paul Stringfellow, Communications Manager, explains: “We aim to promote business growth through the use of ICT. We meet with business decision makers and they tell us the direction their company is going in and we map the technology to help them plan their next move using our expertise. We’ve helped people access everything from software to making significant IT hardware investments. “We work with a broad spread of client organisations from the very small to the very large. One of the major issues faced by all of them is that of proving complex IT solutions. Much advice is provided in theory and only becomes proven after what is often a substantial investment. Naturally this becomes a significant inhibitor to investment in new technology and working practices.” Paul continued: “Many of our clients are not technology companies and their understanding of our proposals is so much better when they actually see the equipment working. Being able to fully prove a solution before an organisation commits to it greatly reduces the risks for both us and our clients.” All of this has helped Gardner Systems plan for the future, as Frank Coward, Managing Director explains: “The success of the IT Solutions Development Centre, and the events that it has allowed us to run, has enabled us to plan a new building specifically designed around a much larger Solutions Centre and Data Centre which we are actively working on with Liverpool Vision at present, as

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Paul Stringfellow

well as IBM, NetApp and Microsoft. “Because of the involvement with IBM, NetApp and Microsoft, there is a distinct possibility that once we have built this new centre, we can encourage the likes of those manufacturers to use this as their local office. In effect, bringing back the local branch will mean Merseyside businesses can engage with these manufacturers more easily, and in turn the local Client Managers are more aware of the issues faced by organisations in this region and can assist them more proactively.” This bodes well for one of Merseyside’s more successful IT companies, who are imminently launching a new Environmental initiative called ‘Carbon Cash Back’ which enables organisations to purchase ‘Greener’ IT equipment, saving them money on their running costs, whilst also giving a percentage of the equipment cost back for Green Initiatives. To find out more, visit them at www.gardnersystems.co.uk or call them on 0151 220 5552.

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SPONSORED BY

Under the

Microscope BARRY TURNBULL ON HOW THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT IN WORLD OF SCIENCE

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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Can Marconi site rise again? INNOVATION PARK CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS IN the swinging sixties more than 15,000 people earned a crust at the Marconi telecommunications plant in Edge Lane. One day the Queen stayed for tea in the company executive penthouse. Where once there was the bustle and clack of switchgear, now silence stalks the corridors and dust gathers on the deep-pile carpets in the penthouse. The huge site has been rebranded as Liverpool Innovation Park (LIP) and Space Northwest has been given the daunting task of filling it with science and technology companies. It’s a tall order. LIP also encompasses the former Mersey Trams site next door and Wavertree Technology Park. Marconi consists of a series of buildings linked by walkways and set off with charming touches like manmade lakes and lawned gardens. At the moment 180,000 sq ft of space has been let to tenants, with organisations such as ICDC on site. But Innovation is literally the name of the game in the modern business environment and that’s what will happen here. This is the heartland of the concept but LIP is also linked to the city’s universities and Liverpool Science Park. All form an alliance with the aim of attracting inward investment and 26 M A G A Z I N E

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developing progressive business ideas. Wayne Locke, director of Space Northwest, explained: “Liverpool Innovation Park offers huge potential for industries in the knowledge and innovation sectors for two principal reasons: firstly, its excellent strategic location within the city of Liverpool and secondly because it has high capacity, resilient fibre optic connections – vital for today’s leading technological companies. “The ultimate objective is to develop a vibrant business community at the LIP, networked along the corridor into the Knowledge Quarter. Institutions and businesses at each end of the Innovation Corridor will be operated and promoted alongside each other as complementary elements. “They will offer a single innovation economy, thereby attracting further investment to the city.” There is the potential to house a business community totalling in excess of 1m sq ft of floorspace. This development is reserved for firms from high technology and innovative sectors. Importantly, LIP is being linked into the rest of Liverpool’s knowledge economy. The area around the universities, where Liverpool Science Park is based, is being branded as Liverpool Knowledge Quarter. The Quarter is then joined to the

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Innovation Park by Liverpool Innovation Corridor, which provides a two-way flow of businesses, talent, ideas and money, which will benefit research, company development, job creation and graduate retention. Liverpool Innovation Park is owned and managed by Space Northwest - a public-private partnership created by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and Ashtenne Industrial Fund. Liverpool Digital and Wavertree Technology Park already have a notable number of high technology and innovation companies. The development land on LIP has the capacity to house six new buildings totalling up to 400,000 sq ft. They are earmarked for businesses from a wide range of knowledge-based disciplines that either will conduct research or draw heavily on the fruits of research elsewhere.


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Liverpool Innovation Park

“Liverpool Innovation Park is an important development for the city. The knowledge economy is a key growth sector and it is pleasing that new high quality accommodation is being delivered to meet the demand of knowledge based companies”

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA said: “LIP will become a serious economic engine for Merseyside. Rapid and sustainable growth of the knowledge economy is crucial for the future in the region, and innovation is a key component. The agency has invested in both LIP and in Liverpool Science Park, as the two are complementary, and together they will help maximise the contribution that the universities make to our future prosperity. It is very important that Merseyside can make a strong science and innovation park offer to inward investors, and to use this to attract and retain talent.” Jim Gill, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, added: “Liverpool Innovation Park is an important development for the city. The knowledge economy is a key growth sector and it is pleasing that new high quality accommodation is being delivered to meet the demand of M A G A Z I N E

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knowledge based companies.” Space Northwest is currently marketing 230,000 sq ft of available accommodation out of a total of 410,000 sq ft of space at Liverpool Digital. Existing occupiers include Liverpool John Moores University’s International Centre for Digital Content and Aimes Grid Services. The joint venture is in the process of investing in excess of £5m in speculatively refurbishing additional accommodation, adding a café and meeting rooms, together with generally improving the frontage and image of this prestigious development. Sony, ICDC, DigitalInc, Selex Communications, Baxters Healthcare, Scientific Hospital Supplies International, Ultramedic, Gardner Systems and Human Recognition Systems are among the other occupiers already on site.

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SPONSORED BY

Cutting-edge company boss not convinced by innovation park NEIL NORMAN SCEPTICAL ABOUT SUCCESS BY BARRY TURNBULL NEIL NORMAN’S company Human Recognition Systems is pioneering biometrics in the UK. This is the business of using technology to recognise individuals by their eyes or fingerprints. And it’s going to be big, big business - turnover is projected to move from £3.2m to £60m within five years. But he’s got a problem. He doesn’t think the public sector led approach to innovation in Liverpool has been remotely successful. “The innovation park is the latest thing on top of all sorts of things like Liverpool Digital, ICDC, Digital Inc,” he said, “It’s just confusing with no clearcut strategy, changes of leadership and an inability to articulate what they are aiming at. “We need a vibrant community, a meeting of minds, places where people can interact. I haven’t been approached about moving to the innovation park and we are probably the leading edge company in Liverpool.

“Wavertree isn’t exactly a cuttingedge technology park either. When we moved here we were next to a nursing homes business and a money-lender. “I have also found the grants culture to be a real handicap to doing business. The form-filling and time taken to make decisions slows down progress. “Obviously we want a successful innovation park and we want the area to be a hub for technology companies but I have serious doubts whether it is achievable under the current circumstances. There should be much more private sector involvement.” Dr Peter Cook, who has created a spectacularly successful science park at The Heath, Runcorn, agreed: “We were involved as part of the consultation process for the innovation park. When it came to seeing the material they produced about it there was no mention of us just the usual roll-call of public sector agencies.”

LIVERPOOL INNOVATION PARK FACT FILE: • 22 acres of land • Space Northwest currently marketing 230,000 sq ft (out of 410,00 sq ft) • Potential to create 1m sq ft • Already 40 tenants and start-up companies • High capacity fibre optic network M A G A Z I N E

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From left to right: Mike Bakewell (MSIF) Janet Butler (Liverpool Ventures) John Lewis (2D Heat)

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Power to the people NEW TECHNOLOGY TO CUT HOUSEHOLD EMISSIONS BY BARRY TURNBULL EVERYDAY household tasks like boiling a kettle all contribute to our carbon footprint. But technology created by a Liverpool company can slash emissions by 50%. 2D Heat has produced a heating element that can be used in all kinds of appliances including ovens, washing machines and fridges. The new technology also simplifies the complex and energy intensive manufacturing process using a direct hot-spraying method. The company recently won Shell’s Springboard Award for the UK Central Region and was runner up in the national final, beating off competition from 130 other entrants from around the UK. 2D Heat has raised a funding package of over £400, 000 which included £150,000 from the Liverpool Seed Fund and cash from various private investors. The company, which was set up in 2004, has recently relocated its head office to Liverpool from Warrington and employs four staff. 30 M A G A Z I N E

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Managing director John Lewis said: “Our technology offers significant advantages to both manufacturers and consumers. It is energy efficient, the heat up time is similar to that in gas appliances and the small elements give a lot of flexibility in terms of design. “Also, the components used to make the product are not harmful to the environment, making it much easier to dispose of appliances at the end of their life. “There are already several blue chip companies interested in using the technology and the investment will help fund the cost of bringing the product to market. It will also be used to install a pilot line which will enable us to develop the technology for potential customers and modify specific element designs to fit their requirements. “It is quite difficult to get funding for early stage technology-based businesses but Merseyside Special Investment Fund has been very supportive and the advice from

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Liverpool Ventures has been invaluable.” Mike Bakewell, investment manager of MSIF’s £27m Liverpool Seed Fund, said: “We believe there are significant market possibilities for this technology. Its energy efficiency has advantages both for the environment and the potential cost saving to the end user.”

TUNE IN TO LIVERPOOL A TV guide to Liverpool is being created for hotel users. The International Centre for Digital Content is collaborating with media agency New Mind to develop a system that can be accessed via TV set-top boxes. The user interface will provide all kinds of what’s on information about the city and surrounding areas. If successful, the project could be rolled out across the country.


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Web wonder BARRY TURNBULL MEETS SEARCH SPECIALISTS LATITUDE GROUP “Anyone developing a website needs a return on their investment and we help them achieve that”

Rob shaw

MASTERING the arts of the internet has rocketed Latitude Group into a £40m company in just seven years. Former Liverpool pub boss Dylan Thwaites hit on the money spinning idea that businesses not only had to have a web presence, they had to let people know they were there. That bright idea has now given him a position as an adviser to Chancellor Alistair Darling. The Warrington company is now a leading online search and marketing company but plans even more growth with its new venture Latitude White. This is aimed at encouraging smaller businesses to advertise themselves online, explained managing director Rob Shaw. “Larger businesses know they need to be up there at the top of the search engine lists and we help them to do that,” he said. “However it became increasingly obvious that there is also a big market out there for small businesses who don’t know how to go about doing it. “We essentially help businesses to market themselves online through search engines. When key words are typed in the business comes up on google and pay per click is triggered when someone goes on the website. “We have tailored the service so that it is affordable and available on a monthly basis, as a small enterprise may have some trepidation about using this

method of advertising or may be a seasonal concern. “Anyone developing a website needs a return on their investment and we help them achieve that.” Latitude was formed in 2001, just as search engine marketing was coming into being, achieving turnover of £100,000 in the first year. Between October 2005 and March 2006 the workforce doubled in size, and by the end of 2006, annual turnover had grown to £31m. Latitude now employs more than 100 people, including more qualified search experts than any other online marketing services company, making it the largest agency of our type in the UK, and third-largest in the world. Online traffic has increased dramatically for clients such as Alliance & Leicester and Britannia Hotels.

FLOTATION FOR ULIVE ULive, a company based at Liverpool Science Park and set up to commercialise research from Liverpool University laboratories, based at Liverpool Science Park expects to raise £20m when it floats on the Alternative Investment Market. It will have an initial market value of £70m. The company, which will begin marketing the deal this week, is the latest in a string of public listings of university technology transfer groups in the UK. Led by chief executive Stuart Exell, ULive has exclusive rights to exploit Liverpool University’s intellectual property for 15 years. Last year, the university secured £100m in research funding.

Latitude Group Managing Director Rob Shaw 31


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SPONSORED BY

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Science Minister praises The Heath as business model for UK SCIENCE and Innovation Minister Ian Pearson has pinpointed The Heath Business and Technical Park at Runcorn as a model for similar science ventures across the UK. During a visit to the award-winning business park, the minister praised The Heath’s success in creating a cluster of scientific excellence and said that the location’s achievements deserved to be brought to the attention of a wider audience. He said: “As a government we are committed to world-class science and innovation and examples like this are exactly the sort of thing we need to be encouraging right up and down the UK.”

Ian Pearson with The Heath managers

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Mr Pearson’s tour of The Heath marked the latest of many high-profile visits to the business park, which has previously welcomed guests that include former and present prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, as well as Lord Heseltine and former Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury. Directors of site-owner SOG told him how they purchased the site from ICI after the chemicals giant announced the closure of its headquarters at The Heath in the late 1990s. Since establishing The Heath Business and Technical Park in 2000, SOG has generated 2,000 jobs on site and recently created its so-called Fusion Project concept, which proposes replicating its unique regeneration formula at other locations across the country. Mr Pearson said: “I have been extremely impressed by the diversity of businesses here at The Heath but also The Heath is a concept of how you can cluster together scientific excellence and you are getting businesses interacting with each other. “It’s really a story that needs a wider audience and a good example of how you’ve got a really successful scientificbased business park that could be a model for others up and down the country.” SOG managing director Dr Peter Cook said: “SOG’s success has transformed an ailing, singleoccupancy site into a thriving home for 185 resident companies employing 2,000 people. “It has been built around safeguarding the future of skilled

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personnel and adapting them commercially so their skills can be marketed on a national and international basis. The Heath’s transformation makes it a unique model that can be replicated across the UK.” As well as outlining its plans to export its expertise to other science and business parks, SOG has recently set out proposals for a major expansion of The Heath itself. The company’s plans would see the creation of 200,000 square feet of additional office and laboratory space and could enable the current workforce of 2,000 to rise to 3,000 within three years.

EXPLOITING BRIGHT IDEAS Commercialisation of academic ideas is being brought a step closer thanks to a collaboration between Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF). The partnership between the two organisations means that new financial backing is now available for LJMU projects, which show strong commercial potential. The new joint Proof of Concept Funding Programme will support the commercial development of leadingedge technologies emerging from LJMU’s extensive research portfolio. Up to £120,000 funding will be available for each project, with a maximum of £100,000 being invested by MSIF and £20,000 by LJMU. This investment will be in the form of a loan to a new spin-out company, which will be set up for each successful project.


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Photo: PurestockX.com

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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Steve Cupples, IPS managing director

IPS Secures contract to supply latest and most reliable high efficiency media filtration technology MERSEYSIDE-BASED Industrial Purification Systems (IPS), a specialist in water filtration self cleaning technology, has secured a Middle Eastern contract worth £300,000. The contract has been awarded for the re-processing of incinerator effluent being produced by one of Saudi Arabia’s major Ethylene Plants. Through the process, dirty water is treated and then released into the sea to meet exacting environmental standards. Steve Cupples, managing director of IPS, said: “This contract very much highlights the need for highly effective world-wide water and contamination control. “We can now provide technology that goes a long way towards an environmental solution and the impact that this technology will have on the re-use of process water or the use of alternative water sources such as borehole, rainwater harvesting or municipal waste water, will be huge. “This new self cleaning filtration technology is set to provide a very real solution because is will effectively remove contamination and reduce energy costs.” 34 M A G A Z I N E

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Chemistry lesson for industry NEW RESEARCH CENTRE AT UNIVERSITY CUTTING-EDGE laboratories at the University of Liverpool are giving Merseyside companies access to highlyprized chemical research facilities. The £9.6m Centre for Material Discoveries (CMD) has been established to provide a hi-tech platform for research into the chemical properties of products used in industry. Formerly, local businesses would have to send off samples to a costly laboratory and then wait for a reply. At CMD they can submit samples or work with chemists and even be trained on the expensive analysis machines. A company producing personal care products, like shampoo or gel, for instance, might want to look at ways of improving the product via laboratory analysis. In addition, the state-of-the-art robotic machinery at CMD means hundreds of tests can be carried out easily rather than relying on chemists to measure and test liquids. Dr Simon Longden, business development manager, said: “We have some real state-of-the art technology here that can be of tremendous benefit to local businesses. Also, our flexibility makes us extremely attactive. M A G A Z I N E

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“Companies can use us on a contract basis or actually come in here and work with our people and even be trained to use some of the equipment we have. “We will typically be dealing with a business that may have some research and development capability but require something more sophisticated to achieve their objectives.” CMD works across a range of industries including pharmaceuticals and food and drink. Clients include Unilever. The idea was the brainchild of director Dr Andrew Cooper who led a university initiative that was backed by the European Regional Development Fund and Northwest Development Agency.

“Companies can use us on a contract basis or actually come in here and work with our people and even be trained to use some of the equipment we have” L I V E R P O O L

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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Unilever’s Port Sunlight research centre

Comforting results for Port Sunlight RESEARCH CENTRE CLEANS UP WITH NEW LAUNDRY PRODUCT A television commercial currently running featuring some rag doll people dancing with happiness after showering with a fabric softener. It’s just a 20 second throwaway item for most viewers but it represents the culmination of three years work for one of the project teams at Unilever’s global research and development laboratories in Port Sunlight. The team delivered what consumer feedback had been telling marketeers that customers of Comfort wanted a product that made clothes smell nicer for longer. Comfort Fresh Technology is the fabric conditioner that emerged after a painstaking research process. Global technical project leader Jeremy Westwell watches the advert with satisfaction every time it comes on TV. He said: “The advert represents the end of the whole process so from that point of view it’s a satisfying achievement and the product has been well-received. You wouldn’t want to 36 M A G A Z I N E

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develop something that failed obviously.” Unilever is constantly engaged in measuring customer reaction with a view to improving existing products and developing new ones. Market research some time ago suggested that there was a demand for a softener with a longer lasting perfume. A project team of 12 was put together to explore how to go about making improvements, working with partners in a perfume house. Mr Westwell went on: “It can take some considerable time to get a product to market. Our problem was to find a way of making the perfume linger for longer.” The scientists set to work and eventually hit on the idea of perfume encapsultion. Using this method, millions of barely detectable polymers carry an aroma that is released when touched. Because there are so many, they can cling to an item of clothing for days instead of virtually

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disappearing after a wash. “Although this sort of technology has been used before, in medical industry for instance, it is the first time it has been applied in personal care products. “There is also a lot more work to be done after solving the technology problems, including market testing and looking at whether we could actually manufacture it here at Port Sunlight.”

CHATTER BOX AND THE SENSORY BOOTHS Although there are around 800 scientists working in the laboratories at Unilever R&D, the site also has other important functions in product development. Two of these are the Chatter Box and the sensory booths. The booths are the place where trained recruits gather to test the fragrance and softness of clothes. They are shut inside while different sorts of lights illuminate the cubbyhole and asked to evaluate what they find. Another part of the sophisticated


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UNILEVER CLEANS UP IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH OF NEW PRODUCTS...

FACT FILE:

market research process is The Chatterbox, which comprises of rooms set up like a private home, complete

“All our engineers and project teams come here to watch consumers and listen to what they are saying. It is a relaxed environment and gives us a good insight into how people feel as well as letting us look at body language as well as what they are saying”

with cameras, one-way mirrors and recording equipment. Consumer groups are brought in to talk about various products in the lounge as well as try laundry items out in the kitchen. Senior qualitative expert Joyce Kirkpatrick said: “Consumers are at the heart of everything we do so finding out what they really think is a very important part of the process. “All our engineers and project teams come here to watch consumers and listen to what they are saying. It is a relaxed environment and gives us a good insight into how people feel as well as letting us look at body language as well as what they are saying.” In the kitchen area there are washing machines, sinks and baths to enable consumers to practically try out products. Although observers are hidden behind one-way mirrors, Unilever emphasises that all visitors are aware of the circumstances.

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Unilever R&D Port Sunlight, Wirral is one of Unilever’s largest research and development centres. Employing over 800 highly qualified scientists, the site develops new laundry, hair care, household cleaning, deodorant and oral care products for Unilever’s global markets. Brand names include Dove, Sunsilk, Persil, Comfort, Domestos, Cif and Signal. Research is carried out in all areas of science including physical chemistry, synthetic chemistry, bioscience, process engineering, psychology and neuroscience. As well as new products on the world’s supermarket shelves, this results in hundreds of new patents and peer reviewed research papers each year. It also works with many of the world’s leading universities, including Manchester and Liverpool. In September 2008 Unilever R&D is a Festival Partner at the British Association Festival of Science, University of Liverpool. L I V E R P O O L

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IN ASSOCIATION WITH

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illia but ry’s, way is Liverpo ews-W ge as a ilton, Ju hen it’s ith Stak w-look r Matth er colle t M ison, H f w a a t jobs w THE ne y s t s n lm te r e e a u a t p in s m M s a e e u g h n b a o t in a g to the ed by o join rying t e. Man t t d w in r a y flockin o e r s ll t t a t : a E a fo t tm ere Por ilding them. ifferen emere otels w and bu among land H at Elles t it’s a d Is u n e b ward r In r t y y a n fo a e w f the t step Holid and C o a e under e e r h t n g t o a a s ent t of e e. e wa ams is had th investm an gran anchis s-Willi start on Europe de who g the fr atthew a a e r in me in M t t h d o l t o n c e n g e o t a r “L Sim risk. I ean to ity ho e befo c L a r c l e e il h h M t t t s d f id s a rs o Dav portan r bran but it w pionee her im suaded a majo t r e o g p n e in a r d d s a b n a ec to h wa £1.8m vision ed. ting a d e whic alty es arriv celebra e a stak l. It w k im e t o t a t o n aid. m h y a roy d s is o n g e a bo you pa ck,” h leadin e Plaza m n lo ’s e , b y t w n s s o g it a y r c In s he re w hise The C liday buildin ess as t hat the e franc ase Ho h c t r is e h e d t in busin ed of course t “Un it. r, in ey to b help n with d owne an mon to get o he bran ch t t f u Europe former s o le t t e e a h r t you a ity at y a thrown n n e u w t h s r t we e o d an r opp which schem anothe e Street im L “I saw otel in ay Inn. rge’s H efining St Geo a Holid o t l, the d in o o d p e r n e r iv o also tu Plaza L as by n rowne tion, w a r e “The C p o ur nt nt for o vestme mome active in r t t t a a e h th y so t means is toda ition it s ble. o e p o a r p real g m along with th a d e t n , e s s e e r lv ig p e b s e r ur yed a k that o are, pla “I thin en Squ e u Q in tt in ards Marrio e stand lso in ising th a r r and a o in t c e s role ls e t e city.” ol’s ho n of th io t a Liverpo r e n at the er rege rading t the wid f o r e a a ye t out th Within bough e h barked a m z e Pla then e d n a Crown s est y inter ns. minorit quisitio c liday a f o m 3 ded Ho 1 £ lu c on in s e and entur t Dock These v t Alber a s s e r p Inn Ex

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Williams w e h t t a Simon M

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INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Graham Wilson, left with Tony Rolfe

Hedge funds WIRRAL FIRM’S BOOST FOR GARDENERS ACROSS THE GLOBE GARDEN Groom helps people to cut corners. Literally. But the company’s collecting hedge trimmer is also cutting swathes through the competition as it develops its overseas sales. Last year it licensed production and marketing outside the UK to US-based advertising and marketing firm Allstar Marketing. Garden Groom anticipates global sales of £12m in 2008, which it will achieve by selling in more than 20 markets. It has been a relatively quick journey from Wirral domesticity to world domination. The innovative product, described by the company as the world’s only collecting hedge trimmer, was developed by Wirral-based Graham Wilson, a retired engineer and hobby gardener. He re-mortgaged his home and used his pension as collateral for a funding 40 M A G A Z I N E

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package, which left him around £1m in debt. But he never doubted the potential success of his product which cuts, shreds and stores waste all within a self-contained unit. In 2002 the company was formed as Mr Wilson sought to move into large-scale production of his idea. In 2004 the Garden Groom won the Garden Industry Manufacturers’ Association Best New Product, which significantly boosted the product’s profile in the UK and also in Europe and North America. The next step for the firm was to turn profile into profits and in 2006 the company felt the time was right to invest in the overseas markets. Aided by the International Trade Centre for Liverpool City Region and financial support from Objective 1 funding, it targeted international trade fairs. In particular, the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, USA

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was a breakthrough event for Garden Groom. Managing director Tony Rolfe, who has been in charge since 2002, said: “Our attendance at this show was a resounding success. “We received direct placements in several of the main gardening and DIY magazines in the US, a live feature on a national radio show and interviews filmed with Home & Garden TV, which is broadcast right across North America. “This led to interest from all the US’s mail order catalogues. “We had met the top retailers at the show, including one with over 1,500 stores, who were seeking exclusivity deals on present and future Garden Groom products. “Since then, a series of 30-minute TV infomercials have been recorded for channels like QVC US.” The results are clear to see, as sales quadrupled in 2007 and are expected to double again this year.


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Placing Liverpool on the world stage VIEW FROM SHANGHAI WITH OLIVER HAYAKAWA, THE LIVERPOOL SHANGHAI PARTNERSHIP’S REPRESENTATIVE IN CHINA THE announcement earlier this month that Liverpool has won its bid to have its own dedicated space at the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010 is a formidable achievement. To win its bid, Liverpool came up against stiff opposition from more than 100 cities around the globe. There were just 55 lucky winners who can now showcase themselves to the world. But what does this mean? What is Expo and what are the benefits to Merseyside and ordinary businesses? The World Expo is held once every five years with its origins dating back to the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. Today it is the biggest and most prestigious business fair in the world and Shanghai is immensely proud to be hosting it. On a recent visit to Liverpool a Shanghai delegation compared the pride of hosting Expo to our Capital of Culture victory. For Shanghai, Expo is a platform to grab world attention. It will run from May to October 2010 and a staggering 75m visitors are estimated to attend. Critically, it is the calibre of visitors which gives the event global clout. The Expo brings together the elite of the commercial world for what has become known as the ‘business Olympics’. In essence, that means Liverpool can promote itself to decision makers of the highest level from all over the world. And while the UK will have its own pavilion, Liverpool is the only UK city, aside from London, to have its very own exhibition space. Vital to the clinching of Liverpool’s bid is its cultural and regeneration credentials. Liverpool will be based in the Urban Best Practices Area. From here, Liverpool will explain how it

preserves a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of a modern city environment. This of course plays to Liverpool’s great strengths and presents the opportunity to champion the city’s business credentials, our fine buildings as well as our mighty maritime heritage. But what are the real benefits to Merseyside? Immediately this is an event of global stature on which we can build on the momentum of Capital of Culture. But of critical importance is using Expo to reinforce the region’s unique Chinese links. The reality is that Liverpool is trailing behind other UK cities, particularly Manchester, Newcastle and London, for Chinese investment. This badly needs to be corrected and Expo gives Liverpool the ability to do

so. In total, there are 350 Chinese investments in the UK with a combined value of £200m. This is set to ramp up dramatically as the UK seeks to secure up to £45bn a year of Chinese investment from an estimated surplus of $1.33trn currently sitting in China’s state controlled banks. Expo puts Liverpool in pole position to grab a slice of that investment. Liverpool has the credentials to seize the Chinese imagination with our twinning with Shanghai and our deep rooted connections with China. However, this is only the foot in the door. Expo gives us the platform to press our compelling business case. If you want to get involved in Expo, please contact myself or the LSP’s executive director Kerry Brown: kerry.brown@l-s-p.org.uk or visit www.l-s-p.org.uk .

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Wilf Boordman

From sunny Skem to the seven seas ALEX TURNER MEETS SKELMERSDALE’S RISING SONS “WE’RE an electrical manufacturer in sunny Skelmersdale and we’re selling to the Japanese.” Wilf Boardman, managing director of machine guard safety systems manufacturer Mechan Controls, delights in overturning received wisdom. Whether it’s selling electrical goods to the Far East - “like sending coal to Newcastle,” he quipped - or sourcing nearly all of his components from within the UK, Mr Boardman is proud of the company’s characteristics. 42 M A G A Z I N E

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“We might be small but we are global,” he said. “We are perfectly formed, we are a recognised global brand.” The Lancashire company is benefiting from the growing importance of health and safety across the world. “It’s a robust industry and one of the few that’s growing on a global scale,” he said. “It’s driven so much by safety legislation, which was started in this country then continued to Europe and now the rest of the world is playing catch up.”

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Over the last eight years, Mechan has grown at an average rate of 12% a year. Boardman says the company’s concentration on its niche market and its focus on developing new hi-tech products means it can stay ahead of the competition. Today, about 50% of the company’s annual turnover is from exports. He said: “We spend a lot on research and development because that’s the only way we can keep that leading edge. Because it’s a niche, we can stay there.”


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When Mr Boardman led a buy-in of the company in 1999, international trade accounted for no more than 5% of sales, but the growth in exports has seen the company double in size. “The original company was developed around one product, the Rolls-Royce of the industry,” said Mr Boardman. “The company didn’t need to sell it, people came to the company. But those situations don’t last forever.” This narrow focus was quickly addressed by the new management team. “The company was finding that while it sold the Rolls-Royce for the industry it didn’t have a Ford Cortina,” he said. “We expanded the product range. Having developed that product range from the very sophisticated to the more basic switch, we could offer that much more to the marketplace. “We had to present that to the market. The problem was: what is our route to market. In this country we appointed major distributors, one in the north and one in the south and then we started looking to Europe.” “The aim was to get a distributor in every country in Europe.” Several years later, Mechan Controls is closing in on all the key European markets. “We have now got France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, with Spain in the offing. The Balkan states have become accessible with the Finnish connection.” Selling in Europe has proven to be tricky, with Mr Boardman frustrated by companies – especially in France and Germany – often unwilling to deal with British firms. Despite that, he remains committed to the European market. “We will continue to sell in the patchwork that is Europe,” he said. “Germany is very hard to crack but we are on the verge of that. “We will then look to build the business in the countries we are in. “We are also looking to the US, where we have two distributors, on the

east coast and west coast. That gives us Canada and Central America as well and we have distributors in Japan, South Africa and Australia. We are in the key markets.” The company is also keen to support UK manufacturers and deliberately seeks to source components from the domestic market. “We purchase 85% of our components from this country,” he said. “Most of the UK sourcing is this side of Birmingham, and a lot is in Lancashire. It makes sense to us. The quality is there, you have to work with them to help get the price down. “It’s still possible to do it despite the competition from the emerging countries. We are very, very proud of that, helping to keep jobs here.” Mechan’s technical director, Mabruk Farrah, is responsible for sourcing and also believes it is important to stay in the UK whenever it is possible. “We need to look after the UK manufacturer, it will pay in the longterm,” he said. “You can source moulding cheaper in the UK than in China. “We have seen prices in China go up and up, and in 10 years or so China will no longer be seen as a cheap option.” Mr Boardman believes Mechan is benefiting from its position as a market leader in the growing safety industry. He said: “In the safety field we are the leaders in Great Britain. We were the first to establish the safety standards. “The other countries are trying to catch up. The US is way behind the European standards but is working to catch up. Places like India and China are only just beginning to address these issues. “Emerging economies are moving into manufacturing for export and their products are, in theory, made to the same safety standard, so the market is still growing worldwide. “It’s also still growing in this country, although it’s developed.” M A G A Z I N E

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TEXT SUCCESS

A LIVERPOOL-based web company is heading off to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco as it seeks to expand its markets. Kisky Netmedia, in Wood Street, has developed Treasuremytext, an awardwinning “Mobile 2.0” application that stores thousands of text messages online. Chief executive Katie Lips said: “We designed the online service to let people save their most important text messages for posterity, but the service has grown to offer more features, from organising and sharing messages or sending outbound SMS, to blogging by text. “Now all those special messages from loved ones (luv u!) or important reminders – ‘remember it’s Mum’s birthday next week!’ – can be treasured forever. “People use Treasuremytext to archive SMS online for many reasons. Some in case they lose their phone, or they upgrade and don’t want to leave their messages behind. Some use it to keep everything they receive, and many use it to keep private messages private.” Kisky Netmedia was set up in Liverpool in 2002 to create innovative services and consultancy services across web and mobile. “Treasuremytext is an online service so it’s available worldwide, but in terms of raising awareness in new markets we felt we needed a little help,” she said. “We looked around for export guidance, which is where we discovered UKTI’s Passport to Export and our UKTI International Trade Adviser Margaret Bourke, whose help has been invaluable. “Whilst we already know a lot about how people use SMS around the world, the Passport to Export training course was very valuable to us in terms of clarifying our global strategy for the service.” L I V E R P O O L

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Mackintosh advise on managing absence RECENT surveys indicate that the adverse impact of absence on business profitability today is significant, with thousands of man hours lost every day. Recent statistics show that the average annual cost to employers is £13.4bn (£544 per employee) and businesses lose 33 million working days during the year. Mackintosh explains the main principles of effective absence management:

Good Absence Management Procedures The majority of businesses surveyed confirm that tightening of policies to review attendance has a major influence on controlling levels of absence, particularly when three fifths of all absence is for minor illness of less than five days duration. When managing sickness absence issues, employers need to distinguish between short-term and long-term absences. Where the absence consists of short but persistent and apparently unconnected absences then, after suitable investigation, disciplinary action may be appropriate. However, this is not a suitable course of action in relation to longer-term sickness absence management.

Short Term Absence Procedures There are a number of key steps in managing short-term absence.

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■ Establish a clear procedure that employees must follow, for example, the use of a return to work interview with line management and completion of self-certification forms even for one day of absence. This will ensure that everyone is aware that monitoring takes place and there is a complete record of absence ■ Establish a system of monitoring absence and regularly review this for emerging trends. Frequent absences could perhaps be evidence of malingering but on the other hand could be a symptom of a deeper problem. Tangible statistics can provide useful warning signals to prompt early action and avoid problems in the future. ■ Return to work interviews should always be undertaken by the individual’s immediate line manager, which will ensure that clear reasons for taking time off from work emerge. This will give managers the opportunity to get to the root cause of an absence which could be a symptom of a deeper problem. ■ If the issues are personal and not work related, the employer should decide on the amount of flexibility he or she is prepared to give to enable the individual to address their issue. ■ If there may be an underlying medical condition the employer should consider requesting a medical report to support the level of absence; there may be a hidden

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underlying condition and links to disability discrimination may not be immediately apparent.

■ All employees should be made aware that any abuse of the sick pay provisions will result in disciplinary action. ■ If there is no good medical reason for the absences the employee should be counselled and told what improvement is expected and warned of the consequences if no improvement is seen. ■ If there are medical reasons for the absence, consider any links to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), for example, does the absence relate to hospital appointments or treatment required; if so, the employer is required to make reasonable adjustments which includes allowing time off for treatment. ■ If the situation reaches a stage where the employee is to be dismissed and there is no defined medical condition, it may be on the grounds of misconduct. Here the employer must be able to show that a fair procedure has been followed taking into account the nature and length of the illness, past service record and any improvement in the attendance record. ■ If the employee has a recognised medical condition that is not a disability but the absence rate is unacceptably high, it may be possible to dismiss fairly for some other substantial reason after following the due process. Again length of service and the availability of suitable alternative employment are relevant factors to consider before reaching a decision.

Long-term Absence Procedures The key steps in managing long-term absence include:

■ absence procedures, monitoring and return to work interviews are as important as in the case of short-term absence

■ it is always prudent to gather medical advice to assess whether the employee’s condition amounts to a disability and also the capability of the employee to undertake their role going forward ■ it is important to be specific about the information required from the medical report for example the nature of the illness, the ability of the individual to undertake their role, having provided a detailed description of responsibilities, the length of time the illness is likely to last, and any reasonable adjustments that would ease the situation ■ upon receipt of the medical evidence a process of consultation and discussion should take place with the

individual (welfare visit) subject to any recommendation of the doctor

■ it is important to listen to the employee’s proposals for their return to work ■ if the cause of the illness is work related, the root cause should be investigated. Employers should discuss ways to reduce the influencing factors, for example, increased support, training or reallocation of duties. Could the employee return to work on a staged basis or on a part time basis for a short period? ■ ensure all steps are recorded in writing to confirm what is expected of the employee and also what steps the employer is going to take, so there is no confusion and all actions taken are seen to be reasonable ■ if the employee is to be dismissed it is likely to be on the basis of capability, however care will be needed to ensure all the requirements of the DDA have been considered and to demonstrate that a fair procedure has taken place. This is a particularly complex area and legal advice should always be taken if an employer is faced with such a situation.

For HR and Employment Law Advice contact: Clive Mackintosh, Managing Director, Mackintosh Solicitors Ltd, 21 Cheapside, L2 2DY. Tel: (0151) 236 8070. E-mail: enquiries@mackintoshlaw.co.uk. Web: www.mackintoshlaw.co.uk M A G A Z I N E

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LDP

LEGAL

Competiton hots DWF LOOKS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A GROWING LEGAL NICHE DWF is one of only a few firms in the North West with its own team specialising in competition law. Led by Laurence Pritchard, partner in commercial and intellectual property, the niche was developed after he joined the company in 1999. Around three quarters of the clients seen by the competition law team are regional, with some work taken internationally. There are plans to expand over the next two years, with the aim of attracting bigger clients. “Looking at the experts in the North West in this area, there are not many – clients have to go to London,” said Mr Pritchard. “We have been doing a lot of merger control work and do quite a lot for commercial businesses and do a lot of training and seminars. “If competition rules are breached a company can be fined up to 10% of its international turnover.” It is a growing area of legal concern that can even land perpetrators in prison under the Competition Act. The Office of Fair Trading has strengthened its efforts considerably to clamp down on offenders in the last few years. One of the its most recent crackdowns has focused on the supermarket giants Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, in which it is investigating allegations of price fixing. “The effect is less competition – basically, a price fixing

cartel,” said Mr Pritchard. “The OFT is investigating potential price fixing between Laurence retailers, using their suppliers to Pritchard gain information. Not so much the prices groceries are selling for now, but in future. “The nature of competition rules mean its not there for the companies, but for the customers that are suffering. “Because cartels are secretive in nature, the OFT is now trying to get things out in the open by offering leniency to whistleblowers and offering rewards of up to £100,000 to anybody who confesses to being in a cartel.” It is a change of tack for the organisation, which has not always been regarded as an effective enforcer. “The OFT used to be a benign authority, it didn’t have much teeth,” said Mr Pritchard. “But a change in the law back in 1998, which was strengthened again in 2002, has meant that people take it more seriously now. “Before, it just used to be a slap on the wrist. Since 2002, you could be fined or sent to prison for up to five years, although nobody has yet. “It certainly sharpened people’s minds to what might happen. I have had clients in the past that I have advised to go and blow the whistle to the OFT and get that immunity.”

BUSINESS PROPOSALS MUST BE WATERTIGHT, SAYS LAW SOCIETY CHIEF

Failing to plan ENTREPENEURS looking to start their own businesses risk losing out on much-needed investment by not preparing a legally compliant business plan, according to the Law Society. With banks and other investors tightening their lending belts in light of the credit crunch, a business plan that fails to comply with the many business laws in existence will look even less attractive to cautious lenders. Andrew Holroyd, Law Society President, and partner at Liverpool firm Jackson & Canter says: “Coming up with a bright business idea might be one thing, but you then have to ensure compliance with finance, health and safety, employment and tax laws and regulations, as well as all the other tasks, such as finding 46 M A G A Z I N E

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premises, insurance and much more. “The current financial climate means it is harder to obtain new finance. There is less credit to go round. “No bank manager or other investor will want to put up the capital for a business which will look certain to fall at every legal hurdle, so it makes sense to impress them with a plan which, from a legal point of view, is as sound as a pound. “Sadly, innovation and the opportunity to develop new business are sometimes seen as dampened by a suffocating catalogue of laws. Many of those laws are essential, and whether you like them or not your business needs to comply with them, so you need to have every L I V E R P O O L

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base covered in your plan.” The Law Society warns that even those start-ups with their finances in place could still get tripped up by the business redtape. Mr Holroyd continues: “Whether you are opening a café or running an internet business from your spare bedroom, there will be laws that need to be considered. “The costs involved with breaching some of those laws could cripple a newly established business. “Rules and regulations are being brought in all the time, recently the Corporate Manslaughter Act, so you need to keep abreast of the latest developments, which can be a difficult and daunting task, P O S T

Andrew Halroyd

especially when starting up.” The Law Society points out that researching business laws when beginning an enterprise and seeking advice from a solicitor at an early stage could help alleviate the risks for anyone looking to start-up. Its “Setting up a Business Guide” is available at the Law Society website – visit www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosinga ndusing/commonlegalproblems/s ettingupbusiness.


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Roger Pointon

Kathy Holuba

Denise Walker

Tim Polding

David Sewell

Gareth McIntegart

Legal Hot Property

Mark Rathbone

Kieran Donovan

Paul Rimmer

Sarah Bell

LDP BUSINESS PUTS THE SPOTLIGHT ON SOME OF THE HIGH-FLYING CORPORATE LAWYERS DRIVING LIVERPOOL’S ECONOMIC RENAISSANCE Craig Scott

ROGER POINTON HILL DICKINSON

KATHY HOLUBA HILL DICKINSON

Born and bred in Liverpool, Roger Pointon studied law at John Moores University and started his corporate finance career with a large national practice in Manchester where he gained substantial experience on large corporate transactions. He returned to his home town and joined Hill Dickinson as an associate in September 2006. He has since been promoted to partner and has sought to focus on local and regional deals.

Ms Holuba attended comprehensive school in Kirkby before studying jurisprudence at Oxford University and consequently is an expert on specialist legal topics ranging from how to free slaves to the legal rights of donkeys. She started her legal career as a trainee with Addleshaw Goddard in Manchester and joined Hill Dickinson as a senior assistant solicitor in 2004 when it merged with Bullivant Jones.

Jonathan Brown

She has worked on numerous property-related ventures, share agreements and share and asset sales and purchases with particular emphasis on pharmacies and dental practices, with values of up to tens of millions of pounds.

£150m in the last year alone. Last year she acted for the Professional Footballers’ Association in the Leeds United insolvency case, and also advised Liverpoolbased software firm Bizarre Creations on its £50m acquisition by Activision.

DENISE WALKER BRABNERS CHAFFE STREET

MARK RATHBONE BRABNERS CHAFFE STREET

Ms Walker is head of Brabners’ corporate team in Liverpool. With expertise in corporate transaction and insolvency matters, she has advised on deals worth more than

Mr Rathbone is a corporate partner at Brabners, specialising in corporate transactions and funding and structuring financial products.

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David Tabinor Ongoing work includes advising on a £150m investment in a local startup technology firm and a number of ‘sweep up’ acquisitions involving more than 50 shareholders. One of his key clients is Tower Project Finance, for whom he completed transactions worth around £100m in 2007.

TIM POLDING LEES LLOYD WHITLEY Mr Polding is a partner and head of the the firm’s commercial department. He has specialised in corporate and commercial transactions for 20 years. He runs a team of specialists advising on major acquisitions as well as restructuring for clients with multi-million pound turnovers. The business sectors in which Tim has particular expertise and experience include construction, road haulage, ICT, the traded endowment policy market, healthcare, care of children and the elderly, and charities.

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Heather Summers

Ian Vicary many small businesses and developers but also extends to companies at the top end of the SME market and includes clients in the multiple retail sector.

GARETH MCINTEGART DWF Originally from Belfast, Mr McIntegart graduated from Liverpool University in 1992 and trained as a solicitor in Birmingham before joining DWF in 1995. His experience includes advising on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, management buy-outs and private equity. Mr McIntegart, 37, has acted for Iceland Foods over the last four years including advising on last year’s £370m refinancing of the group. He also spent 12 months inhouse with BAE Systems.

PAUL RIMMER DLA PIPER Mr Rimmer joined DLA Piper from a Manchester-based rival in March 2005. Within 12 months he was made a partner. He has played a leading role in a series of North West deals including advising Montagu Private Equity in the £500m acquisition of Good Hair Days (GHD), Mersey TV in the deal with ALL3MEDIA and Gradus’ management team in purchasing a majority stake in the £41m furniture accessories firm from private equity firm, CBPE.

SARAH BELL DLA PIPER

Sarah Bell joined DLA Piper from a local rival in June 2003. She made rapid promotion, becoming a partner in just 18 months. Major deals include advising Liverpool Football Club on a KIERAN DONOVAN joint venture agreement for DWF their new stadium, working Mr Donovan started his career for Sefton Council in relation at Laytons in Manchester to the £300m outsourcing of before joining DWF in 2001 services and acting for and returning to his home Liverpool City Council in city of Liverpool. relation to the long term Now 34, he has led many outsourcing of children’s DAVID SEWELL complex deals - recent outdoor education facility, LEES LLOYD WHITLEY examples include advising Colomendy. Mr Sewell is the commercial Muller Dairy Group on the property partner at the practice £125m reverse takeover of CRAIG SCOTT and is one of the founding Baylis Holdings and acting for HALLIWELLS partners of the firm having the management of Burton’s Mr Scott specialises in all previously been a partner in Foods on the institutional forms of corporate mergers, Whitley and Co since 1978. buy-out by Duke Street acquisitions and private His expertise in property Capital. equity transactions. work has given rise to a Muller and Burton’s also He is also a trusted advisor substantial following of demonstrate his success in to local VC, MSIVS having commercial property clients attracting and retaining large acted for it on several throughout the business sector. corporates from outside the investments in the last two His client base includes region. years. He has also recently 48 M A G A Z I N E

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Debra Grant advised several management teams in buy-outs backed by VC houses such as Close Brothers, LDC and YFM.

JONATHAN BROWN HALLIWELLS A commercial “can do” approach has established Mr Brown as a business adviser as much as a lawyer. Clients trust his straightforward, commercial approach. A prolific new business generator, he recently picked up Stobart Group as a new client and has acted on a number of high-value deals. Mr Brown is a genuine national market leader and would be welcomed by any of the Magic Circle London firms.

DAVID TABINOR WEIGHTMANS David Tabinor is one of the rising stars in Weightmans’ commercial property team. Advising his clients on sales, acquisitions and development work, Mr Tabinor has also expanded the firm’s banking work threefold since becoming a partner in 2005. He recently advised Allied Irish Bank on its multimillion pound investment in Complete Football - a concept football development launched by former Liverpool striker Kenny Dalglish.

IAN VICARY WEIGHTMANS Mr Vicary specialises in corporate finance and has been involved in some of the region’s most high-profile deals, such as GMD


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Developments’ purchase of the 390,000 sq ft New Hall Place building (The Sandcastle) in Old Hall Street. His remit is to expand and further raise the profile of the firm’s growing corporate team on a regional and national level.

HEATHER SUMMERS JST LAWYERS Originally qualifying in commercial property law in 1989, Ms Summers moved into company and charity law in the mid 1990s. She was one of the founder partners of JST in 1998, stepping into the initial role of managing partner and then, post-establishment, she became head of the corporate department and charity law team in 2001. Since then, she’s grown the team by 150% and now takes a lead role in developing the firm’s commercially-focused strategy.

FRANCIS MCENTEGART CHIME MANAGEMENT Brought up in Norris Green, Francis McEntegart went to the University of Liverpool before being called to the Bar. Following his first role working for the Government’s Northern Ireland Office on the Good Friday Agreement, Mr McEntegart became an inhouse lawyer for a London record company and later worked for two large North West law firms, including Brabners Chaffe Street. He now runs Chime

Phil Rees-Roberts

Page 5

Management, assisting businesses with licensing, franchising, sponsorship, supplier and service deals.

DEBRA GRANT JST LAWYERS Ms Grant moved back to Liverpool in May 2004 and joined JST’s company and commercial law team after working for a leading law firm in Leeds. She was made partner in April this year. She regularly leads on multimillion pound transactions and has led the team through Lexcel and SRA compliance.

in India Buildings. Recognised for outstanding expertise in negotiating compulsory purchase orders (CPOs), Mr Rees-Roberts has advised on landmark Liverpool cases including Edge Lane, the Lime Street Gateway and L1.

MARK SHIPLEY SHIPLEY SOLICITORS

Mark Shipley set up his specialist IP and IT practice, Shipley Solicitors, two and a half years ago, after becoming frustrated with the traditional and stuffy approach to the law in general. PATRICIA GRINYER The 37-year-old has BERMANS attracted some of the leading Banking and finance specialist creative businesses across the Patricia Grinyer recently UK to the practice, including joined Bermans from DLA leading Liverpool digital Piper in Liverpool. agency, Rippleffect. She has built up a The father-of-two currently formidable reputation in the employs seven staff and will city, and has acted for most of be doubling the practice in the banks in the city who offer size over the next year. commercial lending facilities. EDWARD BARTLEY Deals she has worked on include the Bank of Scotland JONES QC EXCHANGE CHAMBERS funding of the £37m reverse Edward Bartley Jones is one takeover of Honeycombe of the country’s leading legal Leisure by Liverpool brewer commercial barristers. Robert Cain & Co. He has been a Recorder since

2000 and now sits as a Deputy High Court Judge of the Chancery Division - in both London and the North West. His practice encompasses all areas of commercial and chancery work and he has successfully represented highprofile clients, including sports people and celebrities, in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords on numerous occasions.

PAUL O’CONNOR O’CONNORS Along with brother Mark and colleague Nigel Wallis, Paul O’Connor is a founding partner of the Liverpool-based corporate insurance and corporate finance law firm O’Connors. Prior to forming O’Connors in 2003, he had already established a reputation as one of the UK’s leading insurance experts, having been head of commercial insurance at national law firm Eversheds. As well as working with blue- chip companies and major financial institutions, Mr O’Connor is currently providing consultancy advice to the EU on best practice in

PHIL REES-ROBERTS REES-ROBERTS SOLICITORS Mr Rees-Roberts is typical of the latest generation of entrepreneurial lawyers. After reaching a partner position at Berrymans Lace Mawer he left to build his own specialist property practice. Six years on, Rees-Roberts is a flourishing niche firm, based

Mark Shipley

Francis McEntegart

Edward Bartley Jones QC

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Patricia Grinyer

Paul O’Connor

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BUSINESS LAW

BUSINESS CLASS

AS LIVERPOOL MOVES UP MARKET, SO MUST YOUR BUSINESS That’s why you need expert legal services to match your ambitions. Lees Lloyd Whitley can provide you with a range of top class legal services to support every aspect of your business, including: • Corporate and commercial law • Intellectual property • Employment • Commercial property • Dispute resolution • Insolvency • Debt recovery • Not for profit and charities

Working to fixed fees where possible, we provide you with commercially aware and pragmatic solutions - not jargon and red tape! Drawing on almost 200 years’ of legal expertise we develop long lasting relationships with all our clients from every industry sector. So call us today and find out how we can add value to your business.

Freephone: 0800 731 2947 Email: enquiries@llw.co.uk www.llw.co.uk

Riverside Office Riverside Park, 1 Southwood Road, Bromborough, Wirral, CH62 3QX T: 0151 737 5550 F: 0151 343 5800

Liverpool Office 6th Floor, Castle Chambers, 43 Castle Street, Liverpool, L2 9TJ T: 0151 227 3541 F: 0151 227 2460


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SPONSORED BY REGUS

Hotels to the rescue DEVELOPERS CASHING IN ON TOURISM BOOM THANKS to the Capital of Culture effect, Liverpool’s hotel market appears to be defying the UK economic downturn. The following report illustrates how the hotel sector is providing an alternative for property developers who are shying away from residential schemes. There is demand in the city now from tourists both for budget accommodation and a high-end boutique experience and this has provided a development opportunity. We take a look at some of the hotel schemes in the city that have come to fruition and how they are benefiting from the Capital of Culture boom.

Comm ercial property AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SECTOR ENCOMPASSING OFFICE, INDUSTRIAL AND RETAIL

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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY REGUS

Tourism bucking the BARRY TURNBULL SAYS HOTELS AND SERVICED APARTMENTS CONTINUE TO FLOURISH THE property market may be wobbling a little uncertainly but one sector remains buoyant. Investment in the development of specialist hotels and serviced apartments continues to gather pace in Liverpool, bucking the general slowdown. Tourism trade in Capital of Culture year is proving busy with house-full signs up at most weekends. Developer David Mahoney, who has created the pod hotel Cocoon, said: “There is no value in residential development now so people are having to think a bit more creatively. “We spent time researching the pod hotel concept and have come up with our own version. Our rooms are not typically cramped sleeping places, we have king-sized beds, high-definition TVs and en suite facilities. Although we cater for the younger market, they are budget-conscious people these days and have much higher expectations about the facilities they want.” The landmark Casartelli building on Hanover Street has been revived in an

Casartelli Building, Hanover Street

£8m scheme incorporating 31 luxury apartment suites for tourists and business visitors. The 250 year-old building collapsed in 2000 and became something of a problematic eyesore. It was originally

planned to create £250,000 flats but owner Monopol Holdings switched to devise a plan for luxury suites to take advantage of the growing demand for places to stay. Posh Pads has 31 serviced suites.

Listed building in line for hotel conversion THE Grade II-listed Watson Building has been earmarked for conversion into an 180-bedroom hotel. Central Regeneration Partnership is using the building along with Rapid Hardware’s former paint shop as a platform for creating a four-star venue. If planning is approved, the joint venture partners will be rejuvenating the mainly

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unoccupied Watson building, making full use of the seven floors and adding an eighth and ninth. The basement will provide underground parking for 16 cars, accessible from Cropper Street. This planning application follows Merepark and Capital and Counties’ £105m proposal to transform the Lewis’s building into a ‘full and vibrant mixed use leisure destination’.

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A decision on this scheme, which will see the building’s frontage cleaned and its original features retained, is expected later this year. Ian Jones, director of Merepark, part of Central Regeneration, said: “Working closely with our architects, Woods Bagot, we have developed a scheme which responds well to the local surroundings and

P O S T

provides another dynamic link to Central Village. “Combined with our plans for the Lewis’s building and Central Village, it will result in an exciting mixed-use quarter that brings new purpose and opportunity to the city.” A planning decision is expected by mid-summer and if successful, Central Regeneration hopes to be on site before the end of 2008.


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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY REGUS

property trend COCOON ‘POD’ HOTEL OPENS FOR BUSINESS Hotel owner David Mahoney, left, with Allan Williams and Manager Lean Williams

IN a basement at the Liverpool International Inn, 33 stylish rooms have been created for the budget-conscious customer. But unlike some pod rooms, which are barely bigger than coffins, Cocoon’s contain kingsize beds, high-definition TVs and en suite facilities. The amenities are available for just £43 a room, not per person. The hotel prefers to use the term cabin to rooms and says the idea was developed from looking at other models in the UK and Europe. Manager Leah Williams said: “We are calling it a boutique pod hotel and although the rooms are compact they have the facilities you would expect from a good hotel including an iPod docking station and a private bathroom. “The owners had a look around the market after staying in a pod hotel in Dublin and felt most they looked at were just

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too small. They came up with this idea for those on a budget who also appreciate great amenities.” There is also storage space, security boxes and internet access as well as American walnut panelling.” Originally the Japanese developed capsule hotels which literally gave guests just enough room to lie down. Since then the concept has moved on with development such as Simon Woodroofe’s Yotels at Heathrow and Gatwick. Leah added: “Each cocoon offers a conceptualised, stylish, compact space with all the comfort and amenities needed for you to sink back, relax and enjoy your stay in Liverpool. “We want to provide you with the exceptional comfort and value for money accommodation that will enable you to unwind, take it easy and recharge your batteries.”

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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY REGUS

w

W I

Wirral international jobs bonanza WIRRAL International Business Park is halfway to achieving its target of creating a commercial hub employing 3,000 people. More than £150m has so far been invested on the site with 50 hectares of land improved and 100 companies located there. It’s an impressive regeneration success story in a borough often overshadowed by developments in Liverpool. Its importance as a key location in the regional economy has been recognised by the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) which identified it as one of the top regional strategic investment sites. The riverside park is currently home to Tulip Foods, Meyer Prestige, Cereal Partners, FMC Corporation, BakeMark UK (Arkady Craigmillar), Qualitek, Orange Communications, Epichem, BPI, Dynal Biotech, JPF Systems and Mowlem Engineering. 54 M A G A Z I N E

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Construction of a new £12m business park, known as The Gateway, was completed in 2005. The project, funded from a combination of private sector, European Objective I and NWDA grants, provides a 12,125 sq m mixed office and industrial park at the southern entrance to the WIBP. Phase one of a new office-based scheme, called Riverside Park, has been completed at the southern edge of WIBP. The project will be developed in four phases, which, when complete, will provide more than 21,000 sq m of office accommodation. Paula Basnett, of investment agency Wirral Direct, said: “Wirral International has been tremendously successful and is continuing to attract lots of interest from potential businesses. “This is one of our largest employment areas and very much a flagship for Wirral. We are currently expanding office space in the Riverside development which is a great challenge.”

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The Gateway at Wirral International Business Park


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www.spencerpropco.com

enquiries@spencerpropco.com

CHAPEL BROOK TRADE PARK Wilson Road, Huyton Business Park IND , SA north of Junction of the M4 6, M62/Junction 1, M57 situated adjacent to45Junction

Ground Floor Area Schedule Description

Area (sq ft)

Area (sq m)

Unit 1

10,251

953

Unit 2

6,612

615

Unit 3

6,598

613

Unit 4

6,620

615

Unit 5

6,599

613

Unit 6

6,585

612

Unit 7

6,589

613

6,596

613

6,329

588

6,597

613

Description

Area (sq ft)

Area (sq m)

Unit 11

1,417

132

Unit 13

1,464

136

Unit 15

1,493

139

Unit 17

2,055

191

Description

Area (sq ft)

Area (sq m)

Unit 12

1,417

132

Unit 14

1,464

136

Unit 16

1,493

139

Unit 18

2,055

191

Total

82,239

7,644

Unit 8 Unit 9

LET TO SCREWFIX

Unit 10 Ground Floor Hybrid Area Schedule

First Floor Hybrid Area Schedule

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0845 365 5555 www.spencerpropco.com

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15

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From left: Graham Smith, Frank Rogers (Lees Lloyd Whiteley), Kevin Adderley (Wirral Council), Charles Jones (Law Society), Wirral mayor Phil Gilchrist

Law firm’s dream move PARTNERS at law firm Lees Lloyd Whiteley were initially sceptical about moving to a business park now they wish they had made the move years ago. Lawyers and administrative staff switched from downtown Birkenhead to ultra-plush state-of-the art offices overlooking the river at Wirral International Business Park. It’s been a masterstroke according to partner Frank Rogers, who is also preparing to receive the commercial team from the firm’s Liverpool office. He said: “The first reaction from people is that it seems a bit odd for a law firm to move to a business park but they are soon persuaded when they visit here - in fact most are amazed when they see our set-up” 56 M A G A Z I N E

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“The desks, computers and junk were all left behind. We wanted a new place with new ideas.”

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The firm moved into a building developed speculatively on the site last year. The accommodation is spacious with trendy fixtures and fittings plus a cool chill-out zone with a pool table and flat screen televisions. Mr Rogers added: “All we brought here was staff and files. The desks, computers and junk were all left behind. We wanted a new place with new ideas. “It may be an unusual move but I think more law firms in the future will be thinking outside the box instead of traditionally clustering in high streets. “The offices here are also fantastic in terms of impressing new clients and showing we mean business.”


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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY REGUS

The official opening at Stiebel Eltron’s Wirral plant

Positive energy WHEN German heating and air conditioning giant Stiebel Eltron decided to set up base in Britain they turned to Mark McManus - and the Wirral-born businessman was pleased to point them in the right direction. He had been working in Peterborough for Applied Energy, a client of Stiebel’s. He said: “They saw a big market opportunity and asked me to get involved. It was a case of choosing a location, and for me it was easy to head home, but the company have been absolutely delighted at the reception they have had at Wirral International Business Park. “Stiebel Eltron provides convenient technical solutions for every aspect of renewable energies, hot water, air-conditioning and central heating. Right from its very foundation back in 1924 the company has focused exclusively on quality products of the highest calibre. “We have a great base here and transport links make it a perfect fit for the business.” 58 M A G A Z I N E

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TAKE OUR ADVICE, MOVE HERE Adviser Plus began life as a startup in a small office and has now expanded to plush premises at Wirral International Business Park. The company provides outsourced consultation services in areas such as human resources for many big companies. Operations director Christine Clarke said: “We needed somewhere flexible with space we could expand into so it’s ideal

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here. Also when we are bringing potential customers here it is very important to give the right impression and quality premises help to do just that. “We are at a stage of development that means we are working with big brand names and they need to have confidence in our operation. We employ 70 at the moment and expect to double that in 12 months.”


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big

on support

If you are considering relocation for your business, or expanding your company, Wirral offers accessible, userfriendly information that saves you time and enables faster, better informed decision-making. You will find specialist advice and assistance from finding sites and development partners, through to recruiting and training quality staff and developing new supply chains. A full package of location advice and business support is available designed to give your company a competitive advantage.

For more information and advice about investing in Wirral

Call 0151 650 6915 Visit www.investwirral.com


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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY REGUS

Double whammy fear RATES PLAN ‘COULD HIT REGENERATION’. BY TONY MCDONOUGH ENDING rates relief on empty commercial buildings could damage efforts to regenerate some of the North West’s most economically deprived areas. That’s the view of agents at the Liverpool office of property consultancy Knight Frank. Empty commercial property is now liable for the full business rate after the first three months, or six months for factories and warehouses. Only charities and companies in administration will get complete exemption on empty buildings. Martin Howard, partner in charge of Knight Frank’s North West rating team, said that without the rates relief owners had little incentive to bring empty units back into use - a fear echoed recently by the British Chambers of Commerce and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He said: “The abolition of empty property relief could do two things hit the regeneration of poorer areas and create financial insecurity for companies who own empty premises. “It’s important to remember that properties are rarely left idle deliberately. They are a valuable asset, but companies who experience peaks and troughs in business have always found it vital to be able to mothball buildings at reduced rates before bringing them back into use. “The new regulations are turning empty property into a major overhead, which some companies will not be able to bear.” The Government believes the move will help reduce rents and bring retail and commercial units back into use, but Mr Howard added: “Empty buildings are usually empty for a variety of reasons, so the argument is 60 M A G A Z I N E

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Martin Howard, top right, with his team at Knight Frank not that simple. Bringing buildings back into use depends on being able to generate business for them and find new tenants. “At least in the short term companies may struggle with the removal of rates exemptions. We are currently advising a range of clients on the changes, and also on the likely impact of rates revaluations. It is potentially a double whammy for business at a time of increased economic uncertainty.”

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Knight Frank has already warned that businesses in the region face substantial rates rises in 2010 when their properties are revalued. It says that will be of “deep concern” to companies already hit by the empty property rates regulations. Mr Howard added: “The impact of the changes will take some time to filter through, but most people in the sector believe that the ending of rates relief will put another burden on business when it can least afford it.”


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0870 900 8990

0151 476 0001


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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY REGUS

Law firm completes move HILL DICKINSON STAFF TAKE UP RESIDENCE IN ST PAUL’S SQUARE LIVERPOOL law firm Hill Dickinson has completed its move into its new office in St Paul’s Square. The office, in Old Hall Street, finally amalgamates staff from the four sites the company previously occupied over the business district. Some 576 employees were moved over in stages, although its claims management division remains in the Corn Exchange. When the firm signed the deal to move into the site in 2005 it agreed to pay a rental of £18 per sq ft - a record for the city at that time. Keith Feeny, director of IT and operations at Hill Dickinson, said: “We thought this was the perfect choice. We really wanted a landmark building to make a statement and establish ourselves in Liverpool and I think we got it. “It was designed with sustainability and the environment in mind, and that married perfectly with our commitments to corporate and social responsibility.” The idea of moving to a new office was first mooted in 2003. After looking at a number of sites the firm narrowed it down to St Paul’s Square or a new site at Princes Dock. Designed by London architects RHWL, the office cost £24m to build. It has already been put forward for an industry award and Hill

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Hill Dickinson’s new reception in St Paul’s Square Dickinson hopes more will follow. The carbon-neutral firm was particularly impressed with a number of environmentally-friendly measures incorporated into the building, including the utilisation of its thermal and solar properties to achieve a comfortable internal temperature without excessive energy consumption. External solar shading also features. A restaurant area for employees is already proving a success as the firm thought it important that the sevenstory block provided somewhere for staff to relax. Managing partner Peter Jackson said: “We thought it was absolutely essential to get people under one roof first of all, and to really make a play at being the largest firm in town we thought we’d go for a spectacular new building. “It has coincided with our year as

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sponsors of Capital of Culture year and has helped outline that. “As we grow – we went international with an office in Greece 18 months ago – I think we wanted to re-state our investment in Liverpool. It’s still our head office and still where the majority of our people are based, and we are a sizeable employer in the city.” RHWL Architects said of the project: “The requirement for No 1 St Paul’s Square was for an environmentally sound office building design. “The quality of accommodation was to be the best yet delivered onto the Liverpool commercial market.” It is, they say, “the first step in our commitment to provide Liverpool with a set of buildings which sit easily within the city’s heritage.”


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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY REGUS

United we stand WORK has started on United Utilities’ new shared service centre at Lingley Mere Business Park in Warrington. Joint venture partners Muse Developments and United Utilities Property Solutions have started developing the site with completion anticipated in March next year. The UK’s largest operator of water and waste water networks will locate its administrative division at the purpose-built 46,682 sq ft centre. Lingley Mere, which is located off Junction 8 of the M62, currently provides 380,000 sq ft of office accommodation. The park, which is set within 100 acres of parkland, aims to attract further blue-chip companies to the area with a further 40 acres available for development.

Phil Mayall from Muse, left, with Shaun Robinson from United Utilities at Lingley Mere Phil Mayall, senior development surveyor at Muse Developments, said: “The new shared service centre is a modern, vibrant building that will be a welcome addition to Lingley Mere Business Park. United Utilities’ presence coupled with other significant occupiers, such as MWH UK and Wates Construction, is evidence of the business park going from strength to strength.” Steve Burne, director at AEW

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Architects, added: “The building is in an important position on the business park, creating a transition between the offices and the proposed high-quality industrial and distribution area of the masterplan. “We wanted to create a contemporary variant of the existing buildings to enhance the quality of the built environment at Lingley Mere.”

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064 Women in Business

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

Women in Business Olwen McLauglin Local Gallery Owner Editions wasn’t Olwen McLauglin’s first business venture on Merseyside. After studying at University College Dublin and gaining an honours degree in Botany she moved to Liverpool to complete a research project and as so many do, stayed on developing Light Impressions, a photographic studio. Editions began nearly 20 years ago based in The Bluecoat were it stayed, until the building’s recent redevelopment meant a move to its current location in another architectural gem 16 Cook

Street. Editions has always championed north west based artists alongside those of international reputation who are regularly exhibited. “Obviously, I am drawn to work that I respond to and covet myself” she says “but good work always stands out and we try to show as much as we can. This year has been really exciting, with a very busy exhibition calendar.

Editions Contemporary Arts 16 Cook St., Liverpool L2 9RF Tel. 0151 236 4236 www.editionsltd.net

Angela Cruise Business Development Director Angela Cruise is the Business Development Director for Rensburg Sheppards Investment Management (RSIM) in the North West. She is the principal contact for trustees, company directors, legal, accountancy, medical and property professionals and entrepreneurs wishing to appoint pension and investment experts to structure their financial affairs and manage their wealth. RSIM's SIPP and wealth management

expertise mean Angela is at the forefront of the strategy which has seen assets under management surpass £13 billion, making RSIM one of the largest independent investment management houses both regionally and nationally. To contact Rensburg Sheppards about your financial affairs call Angela on 0151 227 2030

Cara Hughes Business Development Manager Cara Hughes is the local Business Development Manager for Liverpool Audio. Their main service is to assist you to manage your business vehicles for the entire duration of ownership whether you run one or one hundred vehicles, keeping customers upto date with current Audi special offers, contract hire and other funding methods. Cara has a wealth of experience and knowledge and is eager to share this with local

businesses and corporate users across the north west. We have an array of services including Market information, vehicle selection, vehicles ordering and delivery and after sales support. To arrange a meeting either at your office or here at our showroom contact Cara on 07788 564708 or 0151 224 7626. Liverpool Audi, 41 Sandhills Lane, Derby Road, Liverpool L5 9XN Tel. 0151 227 5000 www.liverpool.audi.co.uk

Tracey Parry Head of Finance and Administration Tracey works for Mackintosh Solicitors Ltd, a specialist employment law firm, based in Liverpool City centre. She divides her time between managing the finances of the practice, overseeing the administration and assisting in the general running of the business. A great deal of her time, at the moment, is being spent promoting one division of the firm. Mackintosh People Business specialises in providing HR support

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and assistance to SME’s. This can be from one off projects to full outsourcing at a fraction of the cost of employing an HR professional. “Winning new business and having satisfied clients is a terrific feeling” says Tracey. Mackintosh Solicitors Ltd, 21 Cheapside, Liverpool, L2 2DY Tel: 0151 236 8070 www.mackintoshlaw.co.uk www.mackintoshpeoplebusiness.co.uk

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064 Women in Business

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FREE! The cost of raw materials and fuel is growing dramatically as they become scarce and demand for them grows. Lack of action now will increasingly affect both the productivity and profitability of inefficient businesses in the future. Groundwork Merseyside's Business Environment Support Team can help you to boost profitability by increasing business efficiency in areas such as energy use, fuel consumption, water efficiency and the use of materials. Visit us on Stand 51 at the LDP Business Hub event at the Echo Arena, Liverpool on the 17th and 18th June, and we'll sign you up for your FREE Waste/Energy Audit. So put your best foot forward and take the first step to reducing your carbon footprint and join us on the day or visit www.groundwork.org.uk/merseyside for more information. Can you afford not to?

Supported by


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HOW GREEN IS MY BUSINESS

Chris Benson

Green plan is sign of the times BY TONY MCDONOUGH CHRIS Benson believes it is the responsibility of every business - large and small - to do as much as possible to reduce their carbon footprint. He runs Benson Signs, which has been trading for almost 40 years and is now one of the UK’s most successful sign manufacturers. Operating from a 45,000 sq ft facility just outside Liverpool city centre, the company produces various types of signage, mainly for the retail and leisure sectors across the UK, and employs 49 people. Mr Benson says he first began looking at reducing the company’s energy production around four or five years ago, although he admits he and his managers were initially slow to put their ideas into action. “We started talking about how we could implement measures to cut down on the amount of energy we use,” he said. “Probably not that many businesses were aware of the issue at that time but the information was out there if you were prepared to look for it. “We finally decided that we couldn’t just sit around waiting for the Government to help us achieve it so we made a start ourselves.” The process began at the beginning of 2006 when the firm started to install triphosphur fluorescent lighting, 66 M A G A Z I N E

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which use 30% less energy than conventional fluorescent tubes. “Then we started to look at our electricity supply,” added Mr Benson. “We considered wind turbines, but decided they would not be practical.” Instead, he ordered a number of photo-voltaic solar panels and had them installed on the roof of the factory in November 2006. They were capable of generating up to 5kw of power, via sunlight. They can even generate power on grey, rainy days. Another array of panels was installed in March this year, although unlike the first installation, the company wasn’t eligible for a grant to help with the cost. They also installed a high-efficiency gas boiler. “You have to accept that these measures are not cheap to introduce - you have to be realistic and realise there may be a price to pay,” said Mr Benson. “It is difficult to measure year-on-year the exact savings, but at the moment I would say it is saving us between £2,500 and £3,000 a year. “With our latest installations we are now looking at a 15-20% reduction in the amount of energy we use. With the solar panels it can really depend on what kind of summer you get. “We have probably spent around £58,000 on these P O S T


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ENERGY SAVING TIPS measures and it could take us 20 years to recoup that. “But you can’t always just look at it in monetary terms - you have to look on it as investing for the future. “A company like Tesco may spend millions of pounds on this which is great but sometimes the effect can be counterproductive. A small business owner might say that I don’t need to do anything if the big boys are sorting it out. But I think it is everyone’s responsibility.” Mr Benson had an assessment done of the company’s carbon footprint through environmental organisation, Merseyside Groundwork. He added: “It showed we still have a long way to go but we intend to carry on making changes. We have looked at addressing our company transport and that is a very big challenge. “At the moment it is difficult to find an electricity company that will buy back excess power than you generate - for example on a Sunday when there may be no one here. I think it is something the Government should be looking at.”

British firms could increase their profits by saving the £1bn a year they waste on energy – that’s according to the Business Environmental Support Team at Groundwork Merseyside. Here are some of their top tips to help to reduce energy use within the workplace: 1. Check thermostat settings to ensure that heat is set at 19˚C. Costs rise by about 8% for each 1˚C. 2. Make sure your staff switch off their computers at night instead of leaving them on standby or with screen savers running. 3. Replace tungsten light bulbs with energy-efficient, compact fluorescent lamps and slimline tubes, which make an immediate saving of 50% and last up to ten times longer. 4. Make sure windows and doors are closed when heating or air conditioning is on. 5. Fit a water displacement device to toilet cisterns to reduce the amount of water used in each flush. 6. Implement a travel plan and encourage employees to travel by public transport or car share. 7. Groundwork Merseyside offers free practical advice and guidance via its Enworks programme to help businesses to reduce energy and make significant cost savings in the process. For further information call 0151 644 4700, email gwm@groundwork.org.uk or visit www.groundwork.org.uk

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ECONOMIC REVIEW

Sefton’s life after Pleasureland AMUSEMENT PARK MAY BE HISTORY BUT UPMARKET TOURISM MAY BE THE FUTURE FOR THE BOROUGH BY TONY MCDONOUGH

An artist’s impression of the £30m Southport Waterfront Scheme WHEN it was announced at the end of the 2006 summer season that Southport’s Pleasureland amusement park would not reopen the following year it came as a shock to many people across Merseyside. Generations of youngsters from across the region had flocked to the resort for decades to attend the fair. The screams of those on some of the faster and scarier rides would echo across the town on endless summer days and nights. Its closure was viewed at the time as a major setback for the town, but it is now being seen as an opportunity to promote Southport as a more upmarket leisure destination. Tourism is seen as a key growth sector for Sefton as a whole, employing more than 5,000 people. Much of this is concentrated in north Sefton - Southport and the golfing nirvanas of Formby and Birkdale - although Aintree’s Grand National meeting also makes a major contribution. According to Sefton Council’s unitary development plan (UDP) much of the borough’s economic activity is centered on a few strategic locations. They are the port, the Dunningsbridge Road corridor in Bootle, the central retail and commercial areas of Bootle and Southport, Southport seafront and leisure area and the emerging Southport Commerce Park. 68 M A G A Z I N E

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The UDP has identified a lack of skills as being the main barrier to the economic development of the borough. The report states: “The main threats to the future growth of the Sefton economy include low skills levels, relatively few knowledge-based industries, low productivity, a weak export base and few large private sector employers. “The lack of large sites available for development and investment has made it difficult to attract major new employers. The regeneration strategies for the Urban Priority Areas are helping to address these weaknesses.” The UDP also outlines how important it is for Sefton to ensure that sufficient land is made available for business development in the right areas. There are pockets of land, particularly in the south of the borough, that do have significant development potential. However, some of these are former industrial sites which will need to be cleaned up for further use. As stated earlier, tourism is seen as a major economic driver and the council is keen to attract people for short leisure breaks and for business conferences. The UDP states: “The provision of more hotels catering for all sectors of the market is key to the success of this strategy.”

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KEY SEFTON FACTS: · GVA (contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or sector) grew by 56.3% to £11,321 between 1995 and 2004. This was lower than the Merseyside figure of 62.3%. · The borough’s unemployment rate has fallen from 13% in 1991 to 5% in 2001 and 2.9% in 2006. This is slightly above the national figure. · There are around 8,200 businesses in Sefton, providing 102,500 full or part-time jobs. · Manufacturing sector employment declined by 10% between 2001 and 2004.

SOUTHPORT WATERFRONT Established Merseyside developer Neptune is working on a £30m scheme to build a 133-bed four-star hotel, that will be operated under the Ramada Plaza brand, as well as restaurants and a casino. The project, which is already under way, will also see the Floral Hall conference centre refurbished and extended. It is estimated that the development, around the Marine Lake could create up to 500 new jobs. Another well-known North West developer, Urban Splash, is also looking to create a £40m eco-park on the former Pleasureland site.

Mark O’Meara wins the Open at Birkdale in 1998

SEFTON WATER CENTRE Mansell Construction has begun work on the £7m Sefton Water Centre which will include an 80-seat cafe, conference facility, overnight accommodation, boat storage huts and a workshop. It will create a regional water sports centre of excellence, providing state-of-the-art facilities for all, with special provision for disabled users. Most of the cost is being met by the European Regional Development Fund, Mersey Waterfront, Sport England and Sefton Council.

ATLANTIC PARK

Work is under way on Atlantic Park in South Sefton

Atlantic Park has been trumpeted as a major regeneration driver for Bootle and Netherton with a plan to create up to 800,000 sq ft of mixed-use commercial space. Work is already under way on a 45,000 sq ft office building as part of phase one of the project. It is due for completion later this year. However, site owner Royal London Asset Management has said that it will not build any new speculative office space until accommodation currently under construction is fully let.

BRITISH OPEN GOLF Sefton has long been regarded as one of the best places in the UK to get a round of golf. Its growing reputation as England's “Golf Coast” will be further enhanced in July when Royal Birkdale once again hosts the British Open Golf Championship. It is estimated the event will bring more than £30m to the local economy while worldwide television and media coverage will be worth around £40m in advertising value for the borough. The new £7m Sefton Water Centre

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Constructing Communities

Sefton Water Centre coming on stream Mansell are delighted to have been awarded the contract to build a new £7.5 million Water Sports and Visitor Centre at Crosby Marina. Works commenced in May 2008 and are now well under way for an opening to the public in June 2009. The project has received financial support from Mersey Waterfront, Sport England, Learning Skills Council and Objective One and will provide leisure facilities for the people of Sefton and beyond. The building will be operated by the long established Liverpool based charity Greenbank, who specialise in providing services for disabled and disadvantaged groups. Peter Johnson, Regional Managing Director of Mansell said, "We are delighted to have been awarded this contract and look forward to delivering a centre of excellence for the community." The building will become a national, water sport “Centre of excellence” for disabled people and will give the UK an edge for the Paralympic games, being hosted by London in 2012.

Designed by Liverpool Architects Owen Ellis, the steel and Glulam framed building covers nearly 3000 square metres and incorporates a number of features intended to blend in with the local environment. These include a “green” Sedum roof, seeded with meadow grasses local to the area that rises from ground level to cover a boat storage area. There will be a viewing area on the roof, other facilities include a fitness suite, restaurant, conference centre, teaching rooms and 14 fully accessible twin bedded rooms. Externally, there are timber deck areas that will harmonise with both the cedar clad walls and glulam structural frame. Mansell as one of the UK's leading construction and property services providers, operates through a national network of 22 regional offices. We aim to be the UK's first choice construction partner for delivery of service to the community. Our focus is on constructing communities – places where people live, work, learn, meet, travel, have fun and are cared for. For further information, please contact: Henry Curtis, Business Development Manager, Mansell, Roman House, Bridge Lane, Frodsham WA6 7JE T 01928 732223 F 01928 731758 E hcurtis@mansell.plc.uk

www.constructingcommunities.com


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ADVERTISING FEATURE

Why chartered status signals the best financial advice WHEN it comes to managing your wealth, you need sound, financial advice from a source you can trust; but how can you recognise a reliable, skilled and effective practitioner? One good way is to choose a financial planning firm with corporate Chartered status. Introduced by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) in 2007, Chartered status is designed to reinforce the importance of professionalism in a fast-moving and competitive market, placing firms on a par with other professional practices, such as accountants and solicitors. Strict qualifying criteria apply. The first financial planning firm

in Liverpool to achieve the new status was Fraser Wealth Management, a company established four years ago by Paul Bocking and Kevin Gillibrand. Says Paul: “Chartered status signals to the public that financial advisers and financial planners are ‘fit for purpose’. It carries weight with other professional organisations and distinguishes us from our competitors and peers. It also helps us to attract and retain the best staff by indicating our professional standing as an employer.” Fraser Wealth Management offers expert advice on a wide range of subjects, with particular

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emphasis on retirement, investment and inheritance tax planning. The company has recently taken the lead by introducing a fee-based service, as opposed to one based solely on commission taken from investments. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is expected to recommend this approach as an industry standard later this year. Kevin Gillibrand comments: “It creates more efficient financial planning that is transparent, specialised and client centred.” Arrange an initial discussion by calling 0845 456 4404 or go to www.fraserwm.co.uk.

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WEALTH MANAGEMENT

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Retailers are increasingly being scrutinised by investors for their ethical practices.

Investors insist on ethical fund management BILL GLEESON LOOKS AT HOW PEOPLE ARE GROWING THEIR WEALTH

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GROWING concern about the environment has led to more and more investors taking an active interest in how their money is invested in the stock market. In the past, many wealthy individuals would hand their cash over to a fund manager and wait for their annual statement to come through with the expectation that it would show a handsome return. So long as their statements were comfortably in the black, most investors asked no questions about how the money was made. But all that is changing now. Just as many restaurant diners these days demand to know about the welfare or provenance of the chicken or fish on the menu, so an increasing number of investors want similar assurances about their profits. They don’t want to make money from human suffering and exploitation or environmental harm. Arms manufacturers, tobacco companies and oil companies are top of the list of businesses some people won’t invest in. Rathbones has just launched a new service aimed at people with a conscience. Lorraine Dodd, investment director at the Port of Liverpool based firm, said: “People will have certain areas where they would feel uncomfortable or have strong beliefs they don’t want to invest in certain things. “For example chartities, where it would go against their objectives. So, for example, a health fund would be very unlikely to invest in tobacco shares. P O S T


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SPONSORED BY

Beating the credit crunch GIVEN recent market volatility and the impact of the much publicised credit crunch, it’s hard for the average person to know where to turn to for the best return on his or her hard-earned savings. However, one thing is certain, they should resist the temptation to play safe by holding it all as cash deposits, advises Kevin Gillibrand, director of Fraser Wealth Management.

“But it’s not just the negative side of things. It’s how you can turn that round and make investments on a sustainable basis, whereby you might perhaps, in your own small way, be able to make a difference. “And if lots of people do that, then companies will sit up and take notice in terms of their working practices, sourcing of goods, human rights activities - and all of these things become part of the overall picture.” Dodd is convinced that investor pressure is making it’s presence felt in the boardrooms of Britain. “A number of retail companies have in the last few years built up investor relations departments with an emphasis on ethical and environmental issuues, sustainability, sourcing of goods, all of those sorts of things. “Sir Stuart Rose’s Plan A for Marks & Spencer, and his belief that there is no other way than to look at sustainable development; if you look at Tesco and their investor relations department and what they’re trying to do. “If you look at the goods on the shelves, the amount that is now coming through that is organic, fair trade they’re all in there, they’re all interested, they can see that it is something which is exercising minds.” Another example of investors taking more of an active interest in how their money is a made is the growing use of self-invested personal pensions. Such close involvement allows people to exercise even

He explains: “If the Government had not bailed out Northern Rock, then the most protection that savers would have received under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme is £35,000. So investing all of your savings and investments in cash is taking too much risk. “It’s also important to remember that interest rates fluctuate, therefore the income that you receive fluctuates. “And by the time that you take off income tax and inflation the real returns on cash are poor over the medium to long term.” Neither is property the safe bet that many of us once assumed. Becoming buy-to-let landlords may have been portrayed in some quarters as the key to a comfortable retirement rather than more traditional pension plans; but the current squeeze on property prices and tighter restrictions from mortgage lenders has shown the potential downside of this approach. Gillibrand adds: “The key to investing wisely is diversification. Investing in property is no longer the golden egg that many people hoped for. And even if you put your money in a decent deposit account, you’re still likely to earn less over time than if you invest in equities and bonds. But the income you earn from these investments can go down in value as well as up, so it’s important to have a diverse portfolio with a blend of different investments that spreads your risk accordingly. “Spread your portfolio across a range of different asset classes, including equities, bonds, property, alternatives and cash. The theory behind this is that when one asset is under-performing, the positive performance of another asset will help to compensate. All asset classes are likely to have their ups and downs over time but by diversifying you are effectively hedging your bets.”

closer control in how their money is invested. Some investors might, for example, choose to invest in the more environmentally aware oil companies, the ones that do least damage, on the grounds that in practice we all drive cars, making it hard to take the moral high ground. Ms Dodd said: “The key words here are active, positive engagement, that you are not just avoiding companies because they’re doing something you don’t like, but you are investing in companies which are best in the sector. “You will have clients who will say there is no way I’m investing in fossil fuels, full stop - the dark green approach as it can sometimes be called. “There are others who say we use it, we need it, we need alternatives, but let’s go for the best practice and those companies that might be looking for alternatives fuels.” The problem is that in the recent past, its been the the dirtier sectors that have been making the best returns. The mining sector has had the strongest share price performance. Any investor who has refused to invest in it will be the poorer for it. “It will have had an impact. If you look at the performance of ethical funds over a very short term basis, they’ve probably under performed because of those exclusions, but if you look at it on a, say, three to five year basis for a long term investor, then they’re up there with the best.”

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ASK THE EXPERT

SPONSORED BY

Planning for business security and success MAKE THE DATA WORK FOR YOU

Paul Stringfellow, Communications Manager for Gardner Systems

Q: I’m looking at my data recovery options for my business, what things should I consider? A: “This is a major concern that we see in many businesses we speak with because data, both unstructured and structured, has become an increasingly critical part of an organisation’s day to day business. Because of this, the need to have suitable and reliable data recovery options are key. There are three important questions you should ask when designing a data recovery solution. • How critical is the data? Define what data is important. • What is the Recovery Time Objective? How quickly do your want to recover your data and have your system back “up and running”? • What is the Recovery Point Objective? How “out of date” are you prepared for your data to be? These are key questions in any data recovery solution design as, without defining these, there is the potential of designing a

FOR DETAILS OF HOW TO GET FREE MEMBERSHIP OF OUR BUSINESS CLUB LOG ON NOW www.ldpbusiness.co.uk

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wholly unsuitable system. These questions help a designer focus on the main part of any solution and that is the recovery of any data. Many organisations have historically focused on deploying a “backup” solution for their data, which deals with making sure there is a copy of critical business data, however, it does not consider either recovery points or recovery times as it has been designed solely to backup. The most important element of a data protection solution is the ability to recover data when required, hence recovery points and recovery times are fundamental parts of this design. As an example, an organisation that carries out a nightly backup to a tape based backup system, which takes five hours to run, who operate on a 9am 5pm basis and lose their data at 4.30pm, have the potential following recovery time: Data recovery time: 10 hours (assuming it takes time to backup, this is a good rule of thumb to consider). Data loss: 7.5 business hours (all data entered from 9am on the day would be lost as you could only recover to the time of the previous nights backup). However, if your business requirements for a major data loss are to recover your systems within one hour and to be no more than 15

Is your back-up solution in place? minutes out of date from the time of the system failure, then clearly this solution would be unacceptable to the business. Unfortunately this is the situation we find many organisations in, mainly because they have never really considered how to recover their business data. A backup solution that doesn’t meet the business’ recovery needs may as well be there. So in answer to the question, firstly consider key data, then define the appropriate RPO and RTO for that data, then finally look for the appropriate technology to meet those needs.” Gardner Systems plc 1 Faraday Road, Wavertree Technology Park, Liverpool, L13 1EH tel: 0151 220 5552 w: gardnersystems.co.uk

The LDP Business Club is completely free to join and members can take advantage of the following exclusive benefits: • Daily ‘e’ newsletters with all the latest business news from The Liverpool Daily Post • A monthly ‘e’ edition of our business magazine delivered directly to your mail box • Exclusive VIP access to online discussion and business forums • Networking sections • Video masterclasses and online business seminars • Access to archive material and research tools T H E

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SPONSORED BY

Q : What can go wrong with my company if I don’t have high quality management information? A: That’s very simple to answer. One or more of the following could happen: 1. Worst case scenario - you could go bust. 2. You could spot a trend when it’s too late or probably even miss it altogether, which could potentially end as point 1 above. 3. At detriment to yourself and your stakeholders, you could go on for years without really understanding the financial dynamics of your business. 4. You could be annoying your bank, perhaps causing them to be less helpful at times when you really need them and resulting in them holding you back when trying to raise finance. 5. You will surely miss the help that good systems will give you in pricing, buying better, re-organising your

David Nicholls, Head of the specialist Management Information Systems team at Chadwick LLP

resource and generally thinking smarter about your business. Turning this on its head, do we ever see really successful businesses that have poor management information? The answer to this is a resounding NO. A well-known quote, used by both management gurus and sheepskincoated football managers over the years is that, “A failure to plan is planning to fail”. And the great thing about so many of these ‘truisms’ is that they are, well, true! This one

applies as much in the commercial world as it does on the football pitch. It is vital to have a clear financial projection setting out the business objectives and addressing the key financial and operational constraints facing the business. A failure to address these points may lead to unfocused or incorrect decisions (for example setting poor prices or not obtaining the right level or types of funding). To monitor business performance effectively, management accounts need to show three qualities, brought together under the mnemonic title “ART” – they are Accurate, Relevant and Timely. The need for both accuracy and timeliness are perhaps obvious but the ability to prepare information that is relevant to the decision maker is the real key. In our experience, many businesses produce management accounts that are often incredibly detailed, but sadly do not highlight the key issues in a simple way that the owner understands. As a result vital decisions may be delayed until it is too late. Remember: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Contact David Nicholls at Chadwick LLP. Email: dnicholls@chadwickllp.co.uk Telephone: 0151 236 6262

www.ldpbusiness.co.uk

Good planning and communication is essential for quality management information

• Discounted rates for ‘exclusive’ products and services • Priority (pre sale) and discounted invitations to high profile events • Exclusive LDP Business club events held throughout the year including key guest speakers • Exclusive access to ‘member only’ news stories and articles • Discounted advertisement rates across the whole of the LDP portfolio and related products To become a member, all you have to do is log on to www.ldpbusiness.co.uk M A G A Z I N E

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The Liverpool Daily Post’s new business website - www.ldpbusiness.co.uk - is the place to find extensive and up-tothe-minute coverage of local, regional, national and international business news and the financial markets. There will also be audio and video content featuring news and views from Merseyside’s key business movers and shakers. It contains a wide range of useful links, archive material plus a special section for members of the free LDP Business Club. Log on today and check out www.ldpbusiness.co.uk. L I V E R P O O L

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

Being professional BUSINESS LINK SUPPORTS PROFESSIONAL BUSINESSES IN THE REGION LEADING a professional service organisation is never easy. You have to juggle your time between new regulations, demands from your qualified staff and, most importantly, the needs of your clients. Business theory shows the strategies to grow a business; introduce old products into new markets, develop new products for old markets. However, theory omits how to implement these strategies. So here are some typical tactics for a professional service firm: ■ Increase visibility through promotion and client communications ■ Maximise sales potential by enhancing client relationships ■ Improve efficiency with new technologies and processes

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■ Develop new services from new legislations ■ Motivate staff with training and career development ■ Identify the niche your best customers see in you ■ Reduce operating costs in asset management, office processes and energy consumption. If you are busy running your business, where can you find expert help to implement this? Business Link Northwest is an impartial, free-to-use business support and information service providing relevant and up-to-date information for all businesses and individuals in the North West. Its specialist professional services team is best placed to

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help your firm thrive in a challenging market and work with you to seek out best practice solutions that can give you the competitive edge. If your business is based in Greater Merseyside you can take advantage of the Objective One Programme, which could give you up to 40% off the total cost of a project. However, this is only available until the end of this year, so contact the team today to see how you can benefit.

No matter what stage of development you are at, Business Link are there to provide help. Call the team today on 0845 00 66 888 or log on to www.businesslink.gov.uk/northwest


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LDP

CREATIVE

Designers Hannah Dipper and Robin Farquhar

Design show doubles in size ALISTAIR HOUGHTON LOOKS AT A SHOWCASE FOR TOP CREATIVE TALENT IT’S PROVED so popular it has had to double in size – now organisers hope Design Show Liverpool will showcase the best North West creative talent to the world. The show, seen as a flagship of this year’s Capital of Culture programme, will run from Thursday, June 19 to Sunday, June 22, at the new Novas Contemporary Urban Centre (the CUC) in Greenland Street, Liverpool. It was to have been held in the crypt of the Metropolitan Cathedral but demand from exhibitors was so high that organisers had to move it to a larger venue. With over 150 exhibitors from around the world, Design Show Liverpool will give visitors the chance to see and buy cutting-edge designs ranging from furniture, glass, ceramics, lighting

and interiors, to jewellery fashion and accessories. Show founder Della Tinsley said: “Design Show Liverpool has doubled in size due to the phenomenal interest in it. By moving to this bigger venue, we are able to make the event as inclusive as possible. It will feature plenty of emerging talent – as well as celebrating the icons of the design industry.” Exhibitors will include People Will Always Need Plates – who designed a series of plates and cups featuring Liverpool landmarks especially for the show – Michael Sodeau, Kirsty Doyle, Ruth Moilliet and Tatty Devine. The show will also feature live events including catwalk shows, new product launches and children’s creative workshops. M A G A Z I N E

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One of the highlights of the show is set to be the Fast Glass project from glassmakers Liquid Projects and designers Nick Munro and Ella Doran. The aim is to set an all-time record for designing, creating and retailing a brand new glass product. The empty glass bottles from the VIP opening night on Wednesday, June 18, will be melted down the following morning – and then the designers will set to work creating a new product. The following morning that piece of glassware will be on sale at the new John Lewis store in Grosvenor’s £1bn Liverpool One development. Ella Doran, of London-based Ella Doran Design said: “The time feels right for a major design show in the North West and I am delighted that Liverpool will play host to this high profile event. It is a passionately creative city and the plans for the show are really exciting.” Another major event will be the Cut&Paste digital design tournament on Saturday, June 21. Top North West graphic designers will compete in a series of design challenges in front of a live audience while their work is projected around the venue. The crowd and a panel of judges will then vote for the best designs. L I V E R P O O L

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We mean business THE LDP BUSINESS HUB AT THE ECHO ARENA ON JUNE 17 AND 18 IS AN UNMISSABLE EVENT FOR ALL OF THE REGION’S FIRMS BIG names from the business world will be sharing the secrets of their successes and failures at the LDP Business HUB 2008 to be held at the Echo Arena on 17-18 June. Gerald Ratner, one-time chief executive of Ratner’s Jewellers and the person responsible for one of the most famous - and costly - corporate gaffes, will tell his story of that infamous speech and his fall and subsequent rise in the years that followed. Coffee Republic co-founder Sahar Hashemi and James Averdieck, creator of Gü Chocolate Puds, will also give keynote speeches at the two-day event at the Echo Arena. The speakers will convene for live debates chaired by Liverpool Daily Post business editor Bill Gleeson. The LDP Business HUB will also host an exhibition featuring a wide range of business experts, an interactive learning zone, debates and speed networking events. The HUB, designed for owners, directors and entrepreneurs running small and medium-sized businesses, will provide inspiration, motivation and the opportunity to do business. Mark Thomas, editor of the Liverpool Daily Post, said: “LDP Business HUB will

be the most important and dynamic business event in the region, fulfilling the needs of a contemporary city’s thriving business community.” The Learning Zone will be the venue for a series of seminars and workshops delivered by industry professionals that will focus on the key issues that affect all businesses. On Tuesday, Bryan Adams, managing director of design and communications firm PH Creative, will open the Learning Zone with a talk on effective internet marketing. Davide de Maestri, formerly of Saatchi & Saatchi and Liverpool FC, will give his top 10 lessons for SMEs. This will be followed in the afternoon by John Haynes, the director of coaching at International Coaching Academy, who will speak about successful sales and marketing skills for SMEs. Reach Marketing and Communications will give a presentation about growing business in a competitive environment. Davide de Maestri and John Haynes return on Wednesday to talk about branding and negotiating respectively, and the Chartered Institute of Management will look at how to M A G A Z I N E

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achieve an effective marketing mix. Four Make Your Mark speed networking events will be held during the HUB which will give participants the opportunity to make new contacts in just half an hour. Wednesday afternoon sees the final round of the Business Booster competition, with the prize of a year’s business support up for grabs. The companies that have entered have been operating for only 18 months or less. Four finalists will present live to a panel of judges from 2.30pm in the Presentation Theatre. The winner will receive marketing support from Greenhouse Marketing, one year’s free web hosting and IT support courtesy of Seven, accountancy services and support from Balance Financial, business training from John Haynes at the International Coaching Academy and monthly business mentoring and support from Businesssquared. MSP is the audio-visual partner for the event and will supply and operate audio-visual equipment, sound systems, lighting, staging and live event filming and editing and will be assisting the LDP to produce the HUB. L I V E R P O O L

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GERALD RATNER THE man who gave probably the most famous business speech in living memory will tell his personal story of success, failure and bouncing back. Gerald Ratner joined his family business in 1966 and turned it into one of the world’s most successful jewellery businesses. He transformed Ratner’s from a company with 130 stores and sales of £13m to a public company with 2,500 stores and sales of over £1.2bn by 1990, with profits of more than £121m. That was until he gave a speech to the

SAHAR HASHEMI HAVING no knowledge of retail or coffee didn’t deter London lawyer Sahar Hashemi from teaming up with brother Bobby to open a coffee shop. That was in 1995. Just 13 years later, Coffee Republic is an established high street name with a turnover of £30m. But the journey wasn’t that straightforward, from the first conversation when the seed of the idea was planted, to getting a DTI Small Firms Loan Guarantee, finding a name and opening the first store, to building a nationwide coffee chain. It is a story about building a business and also a personal tale about two people who stopped thinking about it and did it. Ms Hashemi stepped back from the day-today management of Coffee Republic in 2001 and she has now started a second entreprenuerial venture with Skinny Candy, selling sugar-free confectionery. Sahar Hashemi is joining the Live Debate with CityTalk in the Debate Zone at 1pm on Tuesday before speaking at 2.30pm in the Presentation Theatre. 80 M A G A Z I N E

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Institute of Directors in 1991 when he branded his own products as “total crap”, and was swept up in a fierce media storm. Forced out of his own company, which ditched the family name for Signet, Ratner’s comments came at a huge personal cost, emotionally as well as financially. He reappeared in 2004 with the launch of geraldonline.com which has become a successful online jewellers. Gerald Ratner is speaking at 11.30am on Tuesday in the Presentation Theatre and then joining the Live Debate with CityTalk in the Debate Zone at 1pm.


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HUB 08

HUB TIMETABLE TUESDAY, JUNE 17: 10.00am: HUB opens 10:45am - 11:15am: 11.00am - 11.30am: 11.30am - 12.15pm: 11.45am - 12.15pm: 12.00pm - 1.00pm: 12.30pm - 1:00pm:

1.00pm - 1.30pm:

JAMES AVERDIECK LOTS of entrepreneurs have a great idea but, when it comes to making a business - especially a profitable business - out of their concept, it can sometimes turn into a hot, sticky goo. But James Averdieck has created a product range which enables the consumer to be the one to create the mess. He is the co-founder and managing director of Gü Chocolate Puds, a chilled desserts maker unashamedly focused on quality. Mr Averdieck saw an opportunity to combine a highquality fresh product with efficient UK supermarket distribution and set about creating a brand from scratch. Five years on, Gü claims to be the fastest-growing food company in the UK and is credited with revolutionising the quality of desserts. It has also become the first UK company selling soufflés to the French. Mr Averdieck will share his story of creating a brand from scratch at the LDP Business HUB. He will explain how guerrilla marketing helped Gü beat the system, take on entrenched competition, grab shelf space and triple sales volumes in the three years to 2008. James Averdieck is speaking at 11am on Wednesday in the Presentation Theatre and then joining the Live Debate with CityTalk in the Debate Zone at 12.30pm.

1.30pm - 2.00pm: 2.00pm - 2.30pm: 2.30pm - 3.30pm: 2.45pm - 3.15pm:

5.00pm:

Make Your Mark speed networking [Speed networking zone] Bryan Adams, Effective internet marketing [Learning zone] KEYNOTE SPEAKER - Gerald Ratner [Presentation theatre] Groundwork Merseyside, Reducing your carbon footprint Business Doctors, Antidote to Dragon’s Den [Debate zone] Davide de Maestri, Top 10 lessions for SMEs from Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising and Liverpool FC [Learning zone] Live debate with Gerald Ratner and Sahar Hashemi [Debate zone, in association with CityTalk] John Haynes, Successful sales and marketing skills for SMEs [Learning zone] Make Your Mark speed networking [Speed networking zone] KEYNOTE SPEAKER - Sahar Hashemi [Presentation theatre] Reach Marketing and Communications, Growing business in a competitive environment [Learning zone] HUB closes

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18: 10.00am: HUB opens

Make Your Mark speed networking [Speed networking zone] 11.00am - 11.45am: KEYNOTE SPEAKER - James Averdieck [Presentation theatre] 11.30am - 12.00pm: Davide de Maestri, How to brand your company [Learning zone] 12.00pm - 12.30pm: BT Flexible Working, good news for your business [Presentation theatre] 12.30pm - 1:00pm: John Haynes, How to negotiate powerfully [Learning zone] 12.30pm - 1.00pm: Live debate with James Averdieck [Debate zone, in association with CityTalk] 1.30pm - 2.30pm: CIM, How to achieve an effective marketing mix [Learning zone] 1.30pm - 2.30pm: Business Doctors, antidote to Dragon’s Den [Debate zone] 2.00pm - 2.30pm: Make Your Mark speed networking [Speed networking] 2.30pm - 3.30pm: Business Booster [Presentation theatre] 10:45am - 11:15am:

2.30pm - 3.00pm: 5.00pm:

Groundwork Merseyside, Reducing your carbon footprint HUB closes.

Register free for this event at www.ldpbusinesshub.co.uk M A G A Z I N E

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Spotlight on success AWARDS WILL RECOGNISE THE BRIGHTEST AND BEST COMPANIES IN THE REGION THE Daily Post Regional Business Awards 2008 will bring together and recognise the very best achievements in Merseyside and Cheshire business at a glittering black-tie dinner at St George’s Hall, Liverpool on Thursday, July 16. There are nine categories in this year’s competition, which will go before a panel of judges which includes Daily Post business editor Bill Gleeson and former Manchester Business School chief executive Professor Tom Cannon. The annual awards have been running since 1992, and have always sought to recognise the successes of our region’s businesses and their contribution to local economic prosperity, whether they are a small sole trader or a locally-based multinational. Daily Post editor Mark Thomas said: “The regeneration of Liverpool is bringing about a huge upsurge in economic activity, with businesses seizing on the opportunities afforded by the growth of inward investment and the huge increase in visitor numbers. “The Liverpool Daily Post’s Regional Business Awards are a celebration of the innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and 82 M A G A Z I N E

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hard work that are driving the city region forward so positively. “This is a historic year for the city region, and it would be a great year for any business with its roots in Liverpool to win an award. I’m sure we can look forward to a record crop of entries.” The event represents a great opportunity for businesses of all types, ages and sizes to gain much-deserved recognition from their local community for all that they have done to create jobs and local prosperity in front of an audience of 500 business people. This year’s awards will reflect the fact we are in the middle of the city’s Capital of Culture celebrations. As well as Culture Year, 2008 is also the culmination of huge public and private sector investments that have benefited the local economy and local firms. The construction of the Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre and Liverpool One have changed the look of the city, while the Big Dig has, and continues to have, a huge impact on its infrastructure. Significant developments are under way at Princes Dock while, farther afield, Widnes and St Helens are benefiting from investment and a renewed confidence.

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AWARD CATEGORIES

2007 winner George Downing

O2 Small Business of the Year Alliance & Leicester Medium Business of the Year University of Liverpool Corporate Social Responsibility Mersey Partnership Investment of the Year Liverpool Chamber of Commerce International Trader of the Year NWDA Business, Science and Technology Liverpool John Moores University Cultural Engagement KPMG Business of the Year DLA Piper Business Person of the Year


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Introducing OUR

Page 7

NEW

Business Lunchtime menu

THE MENU

Starter Sweet cherry tomato soup Pressed duck terrine with fig relish Baby leek and char-grilled asparagus salad

Blakes, which has a separate entrance for non-residents, occupies a light and airy space within the Hotel and offers organic, seasonal and classic cuisine to

Main Course Gloucester Old Spot sausage, creamy mashed potato, savoy cabbage, red onion gravy

Blakes Fish Pie

diners in a contemporary and stylish setting. The walls of the restaurant feature images influenced by the cover of the Sergeant Pepper's album designed by Sir Peter Blake. The finest cuisine and ultimate service ensure a memorable dining experience.

Smoked haddock, salmon, king prawns and peas topped with mashed potato

Goosenargh Farm corn-fed chicken, sauteed potatoes, seasonal vegetables

Dessert Rhubarb crumble Traditional spotted dick Bramley apple and blackberry pie All served with homemade custard, double cream or ice cream

2 courses £12.50 • 3 courses £15.50

Hard Days Night Hotel, Central Buildings, North John Street, Liverpool L2 6RR. t. 0151 236 1964 f. 0151 243 2158 www.harddaysnighthotel.com Pictures courtesy of Ellie Laycock

Faculty of Business and Law

Executive MBA Part time programme, commencing September 2008 The prestigious Executive MBA programme is designed to enable managers to make a strategic contribution to their organisation across a range of business functions in a fast moving environment. Participants develop analytical abilities as well as essential managerial skills, such as leadership and effective communications. An ability to interpret data is also developed through modules, for example, the management of Marketing, People, Operations and Information. There is a strong emphasis on applying knowledge to work-based issues, which ensures that both the

participants and their organisation develop throughout the duration of the programme. We recognise knowledge gained through both work experience and academic achievements, and whilst entrants tend to be graduates, approximately 30% are not.

For further information please contact the Programme Administration Team on 0151 231 3440 or email blwpg@ljmu.ac.uk quoting reference LXM18. You can also visit our www.ljmu.ac.uk/lbs/mba.

website

at


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LDP

BUSINESS AND LIFE COACHING

BUSINESS

No need to crash and burn COMMUNICATIONS GURU AND AUTHOR OF THE JELLY EFFECT, ANDY BOUNDS ON THE PERFECT SALES PRESENTATION WE’VE all seen episodes of BBC’s The Apprentice where candidates tell us what “world class” presenters they are only to subsequently cause us to hide behind the couch in embarrassment. However, you can avoid humiliation and the loss of lucrative contracts with the following tips:

1 PREPARATION During your presentation you have to prove to the customer that you can help them in the way they want to be helped. It’s as simple as that. So, to prepare for a pitch, I’d say the best advice is to call them to find out the level of detail they want and how they would like it to be presented.

2 AUDIENCE

Andy Bounds perfecting a great presentation prove it. To do that, you need to know the things you do uniquely well. Your five best clients will be able to tell you this.

Every person I’ve met in business wants to do well in the area in which they’re judged. So when you’re pitching, try to find out how the decision maker is judged. In my experience people don’t focus on this. They bang on about a product’s benefits but neglect to think about the AFTERs - that is, customers don’t care what you do, they only care about what they’re left with after you’ve done it.

The reason it’s so crucial to get audience engagement in the first 10 seconds is because memory has early bias. It’s the reason you probably remember the name of the kid at the start of the school register - but no one else’s. The same holds true with presentation slides. People only remember what’s at the top of the slide.

3 YOUR SELLING POINT

5 THREE GOLDEN TIPS

Businesses get very excited about locating their unique selling point and focusing on that, which is important. But it is also vital to show a customer that you can help them and be able to

First: facts tell, stories sell. Stories are case studies using examples of relevant clients. Next: choose slide titles emphasising customer benefits, for example, how we can save you money.

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Finally, avoid using “in summary” as everyone will stop listening, thinking they have already heard it.

6 QUESTIONS Think about possible questions and prepare your answers. Questions are good - they show customers are engaging with your product. And if there’s a question you can’t answer, say so and ask the client how you can get back to them.

You can find out more on how to create the perfect sales presentation in Andy’s bestselling business book The Jelly Effect (available for £6.79 on Amazon). Andy Bounds is a leading consultant, speaker and author in showing organisations how to increase their sales. Visit www.andybounds.com for exclusive advice on using the AFTERs to sell more.


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THE

NETWORKER

Final Countdown BARRY TURNBULL RECALLS SEEING STARS OVER A PIE AND A PINT HE very last time I laid eyes on my first wife was from the floor of a Wigan alehouse after being felled by a surprise right-hander. My lips swelled up to balloon-like proportions and it took a straw to finish necking the pint I had hitherto been enjoying. I’ll never forget that the surreal soundtrack to this occasion was ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe (above) which was blasting away on the jukebox at the Market Tavern. Ay, she was a character that one. Reason I mention this is that pie firm Greenhalgh’s has announced it is opening several new shops across Merseyside, away from its traditional hunting grounds in the former Lancashire pit and mill towns. In those health-unconscious days lunch more often than not consisted of a Greenhalgh’s steak or meat pie washed down with three pints of ale at boozers like the Market Tavern or Swan and Railway. Mind you, there wasn’t much of an alternative back then, Wigan not exactly being renowned for fine dining. Times have changed of course and anyone with a modicum of self-preservation wouldn’t dream of pursuing a daily diet of pies and beer. In Liverpool these days there are plenty of alternatives

T

even though a London newspaper critic’s recent visit left him declaring the city a ‘culinary black hole’. Blimey, he should have been here 15 years ago when the highlights of cuisine were the likes of the Red Pearl. However, in saying that, there is still a case for arguing that the bar could be raised further, particularly when it comes to business lunches. Too often what’s on offer just seems to be mundane and the practice of charging £3 for a side dish of vegetables after paying up to £15 for a main is just plain daft. In recent weeks I’ve been to Gusto, Heathcotes, Room, Ziba, Piccolino, Blakes and sundry others but the only place to really make an impression was Japanese eaterie Etsu (see review elsewhere in this publication). Others I won’t mention have been just simply awful. They are even missing a trick at Panoramic, the sky high restaurant at West Tower, which is the greatest location you could have for a restaurant. At least there is a tremendous amount of choice these days which is great for the punter. However, for the occasional gut-busting treat I really do recommend hunting out a Greenhalgh’s shop and indulging in a pie dinner and a couple of lagers.

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THE NETWORKER

THE EVENT

COMPILED BY CAROLYN

HUGHES

HOLLYOAKS CAST GET OUT AND ABOUT BANK Holiday weekend proved to be a busy one for the cast of Hollyoaks. Nick Pickard organised a Soapstar Football Challenge at Chester City Football Club on the Saturday, where stars from major soaps fought out a tough match (Hollyoaks beat the AllStars 4-3). Chester Racecourse was the venue in the evening for the Hollyoaks Charity Ball. The star-studded event was organised by Lime Pictures to raise funds for Claire House and The Alder Hey Imagine Appeal. The event, which was sponsored by David M Robinson and Cruise (luxury retailer), saw the soap stars take to the stage to entertain over 300 people. Carley Stenson opened the show superbly, while Kym Ryder and a host of others put together an amazing set. The inaugural ball proved to be a fantastic event. A staggering £20,000 was raised over the two events.

Emma Plazalska (Cruise - Luxury Retailer), Chris Fountain (Justin Burton - Hollyoaks), Victoria Herd (Cruise)

Ryan Thomas and Tina O’Brien (Coronation Street)

Jenny Metcalfe (Mercedes McQueen), Leah Hackett (Tina McQueen)

SNEAK PREVIEW AT STORE

Kym Ryder (Coronation Street)

PARTYGOERS GET THE BLUES

RETAIL giant Debenhams threw open the doors of its new flagship Liverpool One store for Yorkshire Bank customers for a sneak preview before the official opening. Guests were treated to goody bags containing posh fragrances and cosmetics and dined Spanish-style with a selection of tapas favourites in the restaurant. Joining Yorkshire Bank’s Roy Morris, Ian Spink, Lisa Power and Tim Ashworth were, amongst others, Dougal Paver of the ever-expanding Paver Smith PR agency, Mark and Simon Chadwick of Professional Liverpool and the Chamber of Commerce respectively, and legal eagles Gregory Abrams and Norman Jones.

BLUEROW Lettings held a launch party recently in the H Bar, Victoria Street. Guests were treated to blue reception drinks and canapés. Bluerow is an independent, all-female letting agency based in Liverpool city centre. Specialising in the rental of quality residential properties, the team has a wealth of expertise and experience in all aspects of the letting process. Never underestimating the importance of excellent customer service, Bluerow Paul Knowles (Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP), Garry Abrams (EAD) will provide accompanied viewings seven days a week.

Alex Mason (Hill Dickinson), Tim Ashworth (Yorkshire Bank), Liz Cotton (Hill Dickinson)

David and Sue Ramsey (Hanover Estates)

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Dougal and Helen Paver (Paver Smith) and Norman Jones (Mace and Jones)

Barry Davidson (Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP), Helen Booth (Bluerow), Dave Ramsey

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IN ASSOCIATION WITH ECHO

ALL YOU NEED IS...

THE FAB FOUR ONLY £3.99 PLUS £1.50 P&P (UK) Visit www.merseyshop.com or call: 0845 143 0001


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HOW I KEEP MYSELF FIT

Fit for purpose LDP BUSINESS FITNESS EXPERT JANE WOODHEAD TALKS TO ONE EXECUTIVE WHO MAKES EXERCISE CENTRAL TO HIS DAY AS chief executive of Warrington Business School Paul Hafren has an extremely demanding role. Like many high-flying businessmen and women it would be very easy for him to start work at 7am every morning, work through his lunch break and still have plenty to do at 7pm. But Paul just does not allow this to happen. He claims this would be counter-productive and could potentially have a detrimental impact on both his health and business performance. So what is Paul’s answer to ensuring he always gives 100% in work, maintains a healthy lifestyle and takes the minimum days off sick? “It is very simple,” says Paul. “Exercise.” Every Sunday evening Paul sits down to plan his week ahead and as he plots his business meetings into his diary, he also adds in his exercise routine. He said: “My weekly planner covers a whole range of things which I want to do and want to achieve during the week ahead. This will involve both work and non-work activities which I believe are equally important. “I work out my priorities on a Sunday and this includes scheduling in exercise to each day. If I go a day without exercise I get a feeling of in-balance in my life.” Paul, who previously taught physical education, 88 M A G A Z I N E

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including everything from climbing to canoeing, is a Second Degree Black Belt in taekwondo. As a member of Manchester Global Taekwondo UK Club, he attends classes himself twice a week and in addition to this also teaches a class at Warrington Collegiate. “Taekwondo is something which is very athletic and aerobic and also includes exercise of the mind and spirit so there is absolutely no way you can think about work when you are in a Taekwondo session.” Paul believes it is crucial to have a break in the middle of the day to ensure peak performance in work. “I will try to go for a swim at lunchtime or go to the gym. I always ensure I take time out as this really helps me to focus for the remainder of the day,” he added. And he ensures he exercises every day of the week. He said: “There is no doubt that exercise enables you to perform better in work. I rarely leave the office before 7pm but my performance at the end of the day is not affected because I have taken time out to exercise at lunchtime which helps me to re-focus my mind. Paul added that he believes many people “obsess” about work. “This is something which is not necessary and not healthy. Everyone needs roundness in their lives and exercise can provide exactly this,” he said. P O S T


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CORPORATE ENTERTAINMENT

A calmer day at the races ALEX TURNER SAMPLES THE HIGH LIFE AT AINTREE RACECOURSE FOR anyone with memories of being squashed and jostled in Tattersalls and of trying to run into the Aintree Pavilion when a flash downpour started, only to be blocked by hundreds trying to do the same, there is the feeling that there are other, better, ways to watch the horses. Aintree racecourse’s Papillon Restaurant, on the third floor of the Earl of Derby stand, is a good place to start. It has a private balcony viewing both the racecourse and parade ring and can comfortably cater for 300 business people and equine enthusiasts. Papillon, named after the 2000 Grand National winner, has all the good characteristics of the Aintree Pavilion – the bustling atmosphere, the celebrations of the novice gambler who got lucky, the live music in the background – without the downsides

of drinking out of plastic glasses or having to endlessly queue for the bookmaker, bar and toilet. Alexander Events offers hospitality at several racecourses, including Aintree and Chester, as well as many other sporting and music events. The company’s ethos is straightforward, as founder and managing director Iain Evans explained. “The company is named after my grandfather, Alexander Ogilvy, and I won’t do anything that he wouldn’t approve of,” he said. And it is this ethos, he believes, which helps to keep people coming back. “Repeat business is very important,” he said. “By the end of Thursday at this year’s Grand National festival, we already had confirmed bookings for next year from more than 90% of the people in the room.” It was easy to see why. So caught up M A G A Z I N E

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in the eating, drinking and conviviality in the room it came as a bit of a surprise when the racing started. Attentive but unobtrusive waitingon staff kept the glasses full throughout the day while Tony the Tipster was on hand to try and do the same with the guests’ wallets and purses. It was not his fault that some of us thought we knew better. Although at least I was able to avoid the long queue at the bookmakers’ window when people went to collect their winnings.

INFORMATION Alexander Events is a leading North West corporate hospitality provider, renowned for its memorable and results-orientated events. It provides hospitality at sporting occasions in the UK or a fully scheduled corporate event abroad. For further information, contact Alexander Events on 0161 929 8815 or visit www.alexanderevents.net. L I V E R P O O L

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THE NETWORKER THE LIST - DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

THE BT CONVENTION CENTRE EVENTS Thursday, June 19 Sunday, June 22: The European Red Cross First Aid Convention, FACE 08, brings together 1,500 people from more than 30 countries for a threeday annual first aid convention. Tuesday, July 1 - Friday, July 4 The British Association of Dermatologists is holding its 88th annual meeting over four days at the convention centre. Wednesday, July 9 Saturday, July 12 Liverpool will host the first International Lung Cancer conference with the theme “Translating basic science into clinical practice”. Sunday, July 13 Wednesday, July 16 The sixth International Test Commission Conference will bring together researchers, educators, psychologists, policy experts and testing specialists to consider the impact of testing on people and society. Monday, July 28 Tuesday, July 29 The Northern Urban Regeneration Exhibition and Conference will discuss the challenges that face Northern towns and cities as they seek to close the gap with London and the South East. Wednesday, August 27 Friday, August 29 The Fire & Rescue Exhibition & Conference 2008 will take place alongside the World Firefighters Games at the Arena and Convention Centre. 90 M A G A Z I N E

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Friday, June 20: Liverpool Chamber, in partnership with John Haynes Liverpool International Coaching Academy, is addressing the issue of ‘How to get 16 hours done in 8 hours’ in a one-day seminar at its Old Hall Street offices. For more information, contact Alma or Sarah on 0151 224 1883.

FEATURED EVENT

Tuesday, June 24: A workshop entitles ‘Returning to work with confidence’ is being hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, North West at Haydock’s Encore Ramada, costing £35+VAT. To book, telephone 01925 661858 or e-mail helen.payen@icaew.com. Thursday, June 26: Knowsley Human Resources Forum is holding an event, ‘Team building need not be expensive’, from 4pm to 6pm. For more information, contact Keith Lynch at Knowsley Chamber on 0151 477 1356. Monday, June 30: Liverpool’s Law Society and Society of Chartered Accountants are hosting a mergers and acquisitions seminar at the Cotton Exchange, Liverpool from 1.30-4.45pm. To book contact Alex Terry on 07876 035943 or alex.terry@icaew.com. Thursday, July 3 St Helens Chamber is holding a seminar on direct marketing, delivered by Royal Mail. The cost is £10 members / £15 nonmembers. It takes place from 8.45am-12.30pm. To book contact Rachel Wellens on 01744 742028. Thursday, July 3 Sefton Chamber’s monthly networking meeting is at Bootle Cricket Club from 12pm-2pm. Contact 01704 531710 for more information. Wednesday, July 9 Knowsley Chamber’s business environment club is holding its quarterly meeting at the David Lloyd Leisure Centre, Knowsley. L I V E R P O O L

Echo Arena is hosting LDP Business Hub

Wednesday, July 16 The 2008 Daily Post Regional Business Awards at St George’s Hall, Liverpool, will recognise the achievements of Merseyside’s most successful businesses and entrepreneurs at a glittering black-tie dinner, hosted by Peter Sissons. There will be nine awards presented, from the O2 Small Business of the Year award to the DLA Piper Business Person of the Year award. This year there is also a new award, the Liverpool John Moores University Cultural Engagement award. Daily Post editor Mark Thomas said: “The regeneration of Liverpool is bringing about a huge upsurge in economic activity, with businesses seizing on the opportunities afforded by the growth of inward investment and the huge increase in visitor numbers. “The Liverpool Daily Post’s Regional Business Awards are a celebration of the innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and hard work that are driving the city region forward so positively. It is on from 4.30pm-6pm and is free to attend. For more information call 0151 477 1356. Wednesday, July 9 A seminar about social media and its business uses is being held by St Helens Chamber. The event is from 9am-1pm and costs £10 members/ £15 non-members. To book contact Rachel Wellens on 01744 742028. Wednesday, July 16 Wirral & Chester Business Fair is being held at Wallasey Town Hall from 10.30am-3.30pm. The fair inclides exhibitions, seminars and networking opportunities. Visit www.businessfairsuk.com for more information.

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Thursday, July 24: Downtown Liverpool in Business is holding its fourth Business Oscars at the Palm House, Sefton Park. For more information about the annual event, which has a Cuban theme, call 0151 227 1633. Thursday, August 7 Southport’s Royal Clifton Hotel will host Sefton Chamber’s monthly networking meeting. The event takes place from 12pm-2pm. Call 01704 531710 for more information. To get details of your September and October events in the next issue of LDP Business, e-mail details to alex.turner@liverpool.com by July 3.


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Business L UNCH

THE NETWORKER

ETSU BARRY TURNBULL SAMPLES JAPANESE CUISINE WITH CONVENTION CENTRE MANAGER JACQUI ROGERS

Sushi feast no raw deal THE dubious eating habits of the Japanese had scarred me after I watched a gameshow where contestants were invited to consume a live cockroach marinated in lime and soy sauce. The stomach-churning crunchfest went way beyond the idea of devouring raw fish which never used to appeal either. After that, it sounded positively mouth-watering. So, after hearing about a new Japanese restaurant in town it was put on the menu for a visit. The opportunity arose for a chat with Jacqui Rogers, general manager of the BT Convention centre situated just down the road from Etsu in Beetham Plaza. And quite by chance it turned out she is a big fan of Japanese food so the choice of venue was inspired. We shared the chef's special mix (£9.95) to begin with, a king-sized shoal of fishy dishes on parade as if they were trooping the colour. Chunks of tuna burgers, Japanese omelette, flakes of salmon with sticky rice and deep fried sea bass with soy sauce danced, wheeled and right-turned on the tastebuds before paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Etsu 25 The Strand 0151 236 7530 Lunch 12-2.30pm (Not open Mondays) The bill included food, bottled water, two jugs of saki and two green teas

Total: £37.50

TopTIPPLE

SHAKEN NOT STIRRED...

Sapporo Teppanyaki on Duke Street has launched its new cocktail menu with a Japanese twist. Sake Pimms No 1, Wasabitini, Sakito and Sapporo Sling are just some of the new thirst quenching drinks that feature on the menu, which are all priced at £5.95. Traditional cocktails, such as ladies’ favourite Cosmopolitan and Long Island Iced Tea have also been transformed as part of the new drinks selection. And for those wanting a non-alcoholic refreshment, the Sapporo team have especially created the Sapporo Punch and Blushin’ Geisha.

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The marine morsels were washed down with sake, a staple drink in the Land of the Rising Sun. It was a welcome break for Jacqui as the convention centre is drumming up business at breakneck speed and she was just about to welcome delegates from the National Association of Head Teachers. She said: “It's great to get a conference like this over the Bank Holiday weekend when it's likely to be in the national spotlight. Business is really great and it's fantastic to show people around and see them really getting the wow factor. “Of course we are new and there is a lot of interest but the competition is intense. Conference organisers are not just interested in the venue but the overall destination because they can be here for several days or even a week. “I moved here from the south and was knocked out and that's the response we aim for when trying to attract people up here.” The special mix we agreed was a success and Jacqui went on to take charge of ordering the next courses - two Bento boxes offering different elements of Japanese cuisine.

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Head bartender, Steve Leong, who has worked at the restaurant for the past two and half years said: “The drinks have been very popular since we launched them. We have tried to keep the cocktails as traditional as possible but also to add that Japanese twist that you wouldn’t normally expect.” The traditional Japanese drink sake, which is used in a number of the new drinks, was first recorded into history around 280AD. All of the new cocktails will be available both day and night at Sapporo Teppanyaki and also during business conferences, which the venue is now used for on a frequent basis.


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Exterior and interior of Etsu Restaurant

The Sashimi platter (£9.95) was a kaleidoscope of colours and flavours featuring slices of raw tuna and salmon, sea bass, radish, horseradish and soy sauce with a rice salad and stir fry. My tempura mix (£7.95) starred king prawns and vegetables in a light, crispy batter also accompanied by salad and stir fry. Both were bright and breezy combinations and very generous portions. In fact, it was quite a feast considering some city venues will charge five or six quid for a measly starter. This course was matched by a jug of warm sake, the heat adding bite to the langorous liquid. Jacqui explained that her task was not just to attract UK business but to put Liverpool on the map internationally: “We have already got some business from overseas and make sure we have a presence at important international trade events. We are looking to compete with the big conference centres and I'm confident we have the offer to do just that. “I’m loving it here, the area is fantastic and the job is a real buzz. I’d never move back down south.” Another convert. We’ll all drink to that.

Jacqui Rogers

WATERSIDE RENDEZVOUS A trip to the Harbour Club at Liverpool Marina was thwarted - the place is as bedevilled with parking problems as the rest of Liverpool. However, a short drive away is City Rendezvous, apparently formerly known as Chung Ku, although confusingly the name outside remains the same. For anyone wanting to nip out of the city this is an ideal place. On our visit it was a balmy, tropical afternoon with a searing blue sky and a hazy mist shimmering off the River Mersey. The restaurant has excellent views of the river and is big and bright with sunshine cascading through the glazed exterior. The executive business lunch at £9.50 gives a sample of what is on offer. For under a tenner you get a glass of wine, chicken and sweetcorn soup, spring rolls, deep friend won ton and a selection of mains including chicken in oyster sauce, char sui chow mein and beef with green pepper and black bean sauce.

why not try... A drop of Burgundy There have been some fizzing vintages for Burgundy wine of late with 2005 proving a real zinger. In terms of value for money other years may offer better value. Take 2004 which was marked by high acidity levels offering good, flinty whites. Take Louis Jadot's Les Climats Chardonnay reserve. Like most of Jadot's Bourgogne appellations Les Climats is part aged in oak barrel and part in stainless steel

tanks. This is an elegant well-structured wine with good acidity, a slightly oaky nose with complex aromas of grass, ferns and hazelnuts. Try with fresh goats’ cheese. £18.99 Threshers. The Les Climats Pinot Noir reserve is a blend of village and Premier Crus. Produced extensively from the Cote d'Or region it displays typical Burgundian characteristics. Ideal with red meat and cheeses and can be drunk for up to five years. £12.99 Tesco.

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www.dailypost.co.uk

MOTOR REVIEW

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LEXUS LS600H

Lexus: the last word in luxury EXECUTIVE MOTOR EVEN GIVES A MASSAGE. BARRY TURNBULL WAXING LYRICAL ON LEXUS

LEXUS LS 600H 5.0 VB LWB PRICE: £83,645

COMBINED MPG: 30.4

MECHANICAL: 389bhp, 4,969cc, 8cyl petrol engine driving all wheels via automatic gearbox

INSURANCE GROUP: 20

BiK RATING: 30%

MAX SPEED: 155mph

WARRANTIES: 3yrs/60,000 miles, 3yrs paint, 12yrs anti-rust

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THE NETWORKER

WAY back when I had a Skoda that resembled a cake tin on wheels and had no radio as that was an optional extra. If that was ridiculous the Lexus LS600h is simply sublime. My rear seat passenger was simply agog as her position was moved to the recline position, the ottoman switch raised her legs and the seat was programmed to carry out a gentle Shiatsu massage - all while she watched a DVD screen that had dropped from the ceiling. The car also parks itself and glides along in absolute silence running on an electric motor when the petrol engine is switched off to conserve fuel. That means that despite having a five litre V8 under the bonnet this large limousine is sensibly economical when it comes to fuel consumption. This is the first hybrid in the world to use a V8 powertrain and the result is extraordinary.

When you want performance you have the power of the V8 and the electric motor to whisk you from 0-62mph in just 6.3 seconds on the way to the top speed of 155mph. But around town for most of the time the petrol engine shuts down and you run in silence on the electric one, saving fuel and avoiding creating pollution. If you come to an incline or if you really do need plenty of power the V8 cuts in seamlessly and then out again when not needed. The reaction to the silent running from friends of mine ranged from open mouth

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incredulity to one friend who kept looking round to see if it was a joke and there was someone pushing the car. To be fair even when the petrol engine is running there is hardly any sound anyway, so refined is this superb upper crust executive limousine. It’s all slightly odd to get used to at first but there is a small screen in front of the driver showing whether the car is running on the battery, the V8 or both. It also shows how much charge is in the battery at any one time. The long wheelbase verson of the car is made to spoil rear seat passengers who really can stretch their legs out fully. Anyone lucky enough to have the optional Rear Seat Relaxation Pack – only available on long wheelbase models – can, as mentioned, use the remote control unit to have a Shiatsu massage or simply enjoy a shoulder or back massage. There are plenty of different programmes available and you can increase the massage speed and intensity to suit. The central console between rear seat passengers allows each one to adjust the climate control to suit their individual tastes and they can select their own radio channels. And discreetly tucked away inside the leather console is a neat little coffee table/writing desk that swings to the left or right to cater for whoever needs it. The quality of the Lexus LS600h is evident from the moment you approach it. As you get near, the car senses that the ignition key is in your pocket and lights in the door mirrors come on automatically to light your way and the doors unlock as soon as you touch the door handles. Enter the car and you are in a world akin to that of a gentleman's club, with an abundance of the finest leather and wood. Even the dashboard itself is covered in two shades of leather which has been hand stitched. The list of features is far too numerous to mention but includes a Mark Levison Surround Sound system with 19 speakers, self-closing doors, a self-closing boot and an advanced pre-crash safety system which monitors any obstacles in the path of the car while also checking the driver's face to ensure he or she is looking at the road ahead. It won't make you a cup of coffee as you’re driving along - but it wouldn't surprise me if Lexus wasn't working on that one.

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THE NETWORKER

STYLE & GADGETS LOOKING GOOD WHILE STAYING COMFORTABLE ISN’T EASY IN THE OFFICE ESPECIALLY IN THE HEIGHT OF SUMMER WHEN TEMPERATURES SOAR For the female executive, a light grey Max jacket over a white Amaretto top, paired with icing Funk jeans and Luxy shoes, has a great summery look without losing the professional edge. Utilising a jacket to dress up an outfit works well while keeping it simple. A black D’Angelo jacket over a black Cadena dress with black Carmina shoes is more relaxed but still looks great around the office.

Losing the tie doesn’t need to mean losing authority. A white Damned shirt with a mist-coloured Lee jumper matches well with steelar Rom R V jeans and white Kyle shoes. And if your office doesn’t mind, jeans can be a good look for keeping cool, such as these light-coloured Saint jeans with a dark grey short-sleeved GIP shirt.

Outfits: Firetrap, Metquarter, Liverpool. Models: Karine Littler and Michael Sluming.

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E XECUTIVE T RAVEL BY TONY McDONOUGH

VALENCIA

“TEN years ago Valencia had just one five-star hotel,” said the chirpy guide from the Valencia tourist office. “But now we have eight.” It perhaps isn’t the most scientific measure of a city’s economic progress but the fact that Liverpool, in its Capital of Culture Year, doesn’t have any five-star hotels is maybe a measure of how far our economic renaissance still has to go. Like many European cities, Liverpool included, Valencia has grappled with the balance between exploiting its rich history to attract tourists and promoting itself as an ultra-modern location that can attract inward investment and be seen as a place to do business. The Spanish city and its surrounding region appear to be succeeding in this respect. Top hotels, great restaurants and some stunning architecture – both traditional and modern – all add to the general vibrancy. The most exciting time of the year to visit Valencia is undoubtedly the Fallas Festival during March, which is when I made my visit. For a whole week the city is taken over by hundreds of gigantic caricatured structures of polystyrene and papier mache which are burned

spectacularly, breathtaking fireworks displays, and a seemingly endless procession of Valencians in traditional dress carrying flowers to the Plaza de la Virgen where they are used to decorate the giant figure of Our Lady and child.

Valencia’s history is rich and colourful. It has been home to the Visigoths, the Moors and the great military leader and ruler, El Cid. The Valencia region boasts a population of more than 5m people and is presided over by the Valencia regional government. It has set up a body called Valencian Community M A G A Z I N E

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Investments which has been given the job of attracting foreign inward investment. It has achieved considerable success. Major corporations to have invested in the region include Coca-Cola, Danone, Heineken, Exel Logistics, LG, BP and Ford. GDP growth stands at 3.5%. In August the city will host a Formula 1 Grand Prix for the first time. Unfortunately, for the executive used to the luxury of Club Class, flying to Valencia direct from the North West offers only one option - Ryanair out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport. One word of warning. If you do travel to Valencia during the Fallas Festival beware that a fireworks free-for-all seems to be the custom. In particular, on the nights when the spectacular official pyrotechnic displays take place, numerous groups of youths set off rockets, bangers and catherine wheels at random in the streets, parks and squares. It’s a sight that would give any British health and safety official an attack of the vapours. One can only imagine the injuries that must occur. “We do have a problem with hands at this time of year,” the tourist guide admitted, with a look of weary resignation. L I V E R P O O L

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NOTWORKING Image: liquid library

Laura Doyle takes an off beat look at the networking scene in Liverpool YOU have to speculate to accumulate as the old saying goes. I bet whoever came up with that phrase did so as they were handing over their expenses forms. I remember a time when all you had to do was take a journalist for a pint or a business prospect for a pot of tea to further your professional relationships. These days making your mark in business is dependent on the size of the mark on your credit card slip. To our boss we insist it is a great opportunity to “network”, to ourselves we admit it’s a bit of a “jolly” and to the taxman we claim it as “corporate hospitality”. In reality, a more fitting description would be “corporate hospital” – you never know who you are going to be sharing a room with, in serious cases it ends up costing an arm and a leg and over prolonged periods it can be mind numbingly tedious. Let’s face it, there are only two reasons you should ever buy someone dinner – if you are hoping to become romantically involved with them or if they are genuinely hungry. Yet this practice has become a mainstay in expanding our coterie of contacts. Although the expense may be hard to swallow, it’s something we are forced to get our teeth into if we want to make it on the networking scene. Yes, the way to a businessman’s heart is indeed through his stomach. Like some modern day corporate Cyrano de Bergerac we must seduce them into forsaking all others for the love of our company and our boss’s bottom line. All’s fair in love, war and business and successful

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seduction at the corporate table is just like winning over the target of your affections on a first date. By following these simple strategies you can turn a one night stand into a meaningful relationship: Be desirable: everyone wants to date a winner and this is your opportunity to air kiss your way to the top. Say hello to everyone, even if they don’t know who you are; give an imaginary wave across the room; blow a surreptitious kiss to someone and show what a catch you are. Be compatible: talk politics, talk religion, talk football but remember to agree with everything they say. It’s no different from pretending you like the Arctic Monkeys to impress a boy, or saying romantic comedies are your favourite films to endear yourself to a girl. Be merry: abstinence makes the heart go yonder and whilst I advise against excessive drinking, sitting next to someone who’s on orange juice all night can sometimes be an uphill struggle. A glass or two of wine will help grease the wheels of conversation. It’s expensive to get someone to fall in love with you and your company, but once they do you can finally enjoy a quiet night in.

In the next edition of LDP Business . . . We take a closer look at Liverpool's banking and finance sectors. How are they reacting to the global credit crunch? Can ambitious plans by The Mersey Partnership to attract more inward investment from the sector come to fruition. And we reveal who are the richest individuals in Merseyside.

P O S T

*


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Think differently about the way you work in Liverpool

In a challenging economy, more and more people are turning to Regus. Whether you work from an office, from home or on the move, Regus business centres offer a range of flexible working solutions to help you work more efficiently, whatever your work style demands. s Work-ready offices for every size of business and budget s Professional drop-in business facilities to help you stay productive s Solutions to help you enhance the benefits of working from home s Meeting and training rooms available by the hour or day

Flexible offices from just £99 per person per month*

2 months FREE on any office or virtual office†

Call 0870 351 9410 or visit regus.co.uk/liverpool

*From £99 price represents campus office pricing and is valid per person, per workstation, per month. Limited Inventory available. †Subject to standard terms & conditions available at regus.co.uk/terms. Offer expires 31st August 2008.


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If your staff don’t have the right skills for the future then neither does your business. Recently, thousands of employers admitted their staff don’t have the right skills to do their job properly. That’s where Train to Gain can help. It’s an impartial service that can work with you to identify what training your staff need, to give your business an edge. Train to Gain has already helped over 43,000 businesses. As an increasingly competitive future hurtles towards us, it’s time for you to take full control and steer your business on a more productive course.

For more information visit traintogain.gov.uk or call 0800 015 55 45.

LDP Business, July/August 2008, Issue 03  

LDP Business. A Liverpool Daily Post magazine.

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