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LDP 14 BUSINESS

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COMMERCIAL

PROPERTY

SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER 2008 ISSUE 04

GUIDE

THE MIDAS TOUCH

The region’s

Beating the

12 wealthiest entrepreneurs

Crunch Getting money out of the banks

CHANGING THE FORTUNES OF ROYAL LIVER: IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW

ECONOMIC REVIEW: HALTON LOOKS TO BRIDGE THE GAP

EXCLUSIVE: LDP BUSINESS HUB BOOSTS CITY IT FIRM


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September October.08

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Editor’s Comment

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News

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The Big Interview

Tony McDonough on Merseyside’s bid to beat the downturn HUB boosts Merseyside IT firm Steve Burnett - Royal Liver

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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

Banks and the credit crunch Bob Evans passes on his experience

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International Trade City university in Saudi deal

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Legal Sector Passing on the family business

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Commercial Property How Knowsley has reinvented itself

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How Green Is Your Business ColorMatrix steps up its recycling

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Wealth Management The region’s richest entrepreneurs

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Economic Review Focus on Halton

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Ask the Expert Creative Industries Event highlights local talent

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Management & Recruitment Crisis managment

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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 A chukka day out at the polo

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The List Important dates for your diary

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Business Lunch Perfect steak at Sir Thomas

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Top Tipple Fine wines down at the Dock

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Executive Motors BMW 520d M Sport cuts your carbon

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Style Agenda Manbags divide the nation

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Business Travel Pros and cons of the Eurostar

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Notworker Laura Doyle says ‘give ‘em a poke’


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EDITOR’S LETTER

www.ldpbusiness.co.uk

LDP

BUSINESS EDITOR

Bill Gleeson billgleeson@dailypost.co.uk 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

IT is estimated around 1m people came to Liverpool to see the Tall Ships over one weekend in July. The Albert Dock, which hosted many of the smaller vessels, welcomed 464,500 visitors over the period – an increase of more than 69% compared to the same time last year. More than 200,000 people came to the British Open Golf Championship.

special report on the local commercial banking sector, is taking a bite out of Merseyside’s economy. The banks insist they are open for business and are prepared to lend if the proposition is right. No doubt that is true, but there is also evidence of their willingness to show a ruthless side. Cains Brewery may be one of Liverpool’s most iconic business brands, but that cut no ice with bankers at Bank of Scotland who refused to back the rescue plan put forward by owners the Dusanj brothers. Nevertheless, there is much reason for optimism. Previous economic downturns have hit Merseyside hard but this time there are early signs of greater resilience. The real test will come in 2009 when we can no longer rely on the “Culture effect”. But we will still have the Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre, the cruise liner terminal and Liverpool One, which has the grand opening of its second phase in the autumn. It’s going to be a bumpy ride for Merseyside and the rest of the UK economy but there is enough evidence to believe the momentum the region has built up over the past five years is going to take some stopping this time around.

Banks are prepared to lend if the proposition is right Hotels in the city are also enjoying something of a boom thanks to Capital of Culture. Occupancy rates for the first half of this year were 6.8% up on last year, while room revenue rates are ahead by 10.9%. We have seen this very healthy growth despite the fact there are hundreds more rooms to fill than there were this time last year. The sector is outperforming every other UK region. The £1bn Liverpool One retail development has seen huge number of shoppers arriving since its launch at the end of May. Department store chain John Lewis has reported week after week of falling sales across its UK branch network but its outlet at Liverpool One is one of the few exceptions. Since the doors first opened it has consistently exceeded its own sales expectations. You might be forgiven for thinking: downturn, what downturn? But the credit crunch, as you will read in our

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“We spent too long making apologies for ourselves and now we’re making some noise”

QUOTE

STEVE BURNETT, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ROYAL LIVER

OF THE MONTH

IT firm secures new work thanks to HUB BUSINESS EVENT LEADS TO £100,000 OF POTENTIAL SALES BY TONY MCDONOUGH A MERSEYSIDE IT and telecommunications firm secured more than £100,000 of potential sales leads after taking part in the LDP Business Hub event in June. The two-day event took place at the Echo Arena on Liverpool’s waterfront and featured distinguished keynote speakers, an interactive learning zone, Make Your Mark Speed Networking, and an exhibition, featuring a wide range of business specialists. Nemesis Networks took a stand at the exhibition and as a result secured solid leads and made more than 50 new contacts which they hope will lead to even more business. A number of new contracts are currently being processed for a host of services from installation of telephone systems through to complete integrated and ongoing IT and telecommunications packages. Kevin Cheston, managing director of Nemesis, said: “The event proved a great success and revealed a real gap in SME’s knowledge of what ‘Unified Communications’ is all about and how it can improve business performance. “We made over 50 real strong contacts during the event, from this we have had six major orders placed - a return we never expected.” One of the first companies to sign up with Nemesis

BOOSTER FOR WTP Specialist printing firm WTP Technics won the Business Booster competition to close the two-day LDP Business HUB at the Echo Arena. WTP was chosen from four firms at in the final which saw director Falk

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following the Business Hub was Secure Trading, a company used by many of the UK’s best-known brands to provide secure real time Internet payment processing. Secure general manager Ian Hughes said: “The number of people trading online has significantly increased, and as a result SecureTrading is growing. “We therefore want to invest in the best technology possible, which is why we’ve chosen to use Nemesis for our new telephone system.” Nemesis Networks’ offering includes consultancy, project management, system installation, ongoing maintenance and upgrade support. The award-winning company has more than doubled in size since launching its business in November 2006. Mr Cheston added: “There is a real need to simplify IT & telecommunications solutions so that customers really understand what can be achieved. “We can provide services that not only reduce costs but, just as importantly, improve productivity within their business. “I am personally very excited about our future and believe the marketplace is ready to embrace the integration of IT & communications systems.”

Zimmermann pitch to a panel of judges. Wirral-based WTP will receive marketing support for the year courtesy of Greenhouse Marketing, one year’s free web hosting and IT support courtesy of Seven Technology, accountancy services and support from Balance Financial Management, business training from

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John Haynes at the International Coaching Academy and monthly business mentoring and support from Businesssquared. The company offers specialist printing and reflective coating services. The Business Booster runners-up were Scantech Services, Mechetric Services and Myriad Travel.


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A COMPANY researching ways of tackling superbugs such as MRSA has won the first investment from a new funding scheme to turn academic ideas into business successes. The Proof of Concept Funding Programme, a partnership between Alliance Fund Managers (AFM) and Liverpool John Moores University, has invested £82,000 in Pharmalucia. The company will progress the work of academic Dr Mark Wainwright, Reader in Antimicrobial Chemotherapy in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences at LJMU.

IN BRIEF JOBS TO GO Cheshire -based Moneysupermarket.co m has announced it will cut 54 jobs because of the credit crunch. The cuts will fall in its Mortgage 2000 business which is struggling with the credit squeeze drastically reducing mortgage offers.

Pools to grow THE number of people playing Football Pools could soon be set to grow again for the first time since the launch of the National Lottery. Liverpool gaming group Sportech said in the first half of this year its gross win revenues – the money it makes after prize monies are deducted – rose for the first time since the Lottery’s

LAMBRINI PUSH

introduction in 1994. Sportech has rebranded its existing Littlewoods, Vernons and Zetters pools brands under the name the New Football Pools and has launched a series of new pools games ahead of the start of the new football season. The number of pools players has slumped from 10m in 1994 to 631,000 now.

Bold BID

A housing development that would have created almost 200 new homes in Warrington has been shelved due to the credit crunch. The former G&J Greenall’s Distillery, on the edge of Stockton

Thousands of Liverpool businesses are being warned they could face fines or even prosecution if they fail to dispose of their waste properly. Liverpool City Council wrote to 12,000 businesses this year asking them to prove they are getting rid of their commercial waste in line with the law. More than 7,000 businesses did not respond and council enforcement staff are now being sent to visit them.

TJ PROFITS SOAR

Heath, had been granted outline planning consent for a total of 195 family homes and 60-bedroom accommodation for the elderly. The end value of the scheme would have been worth tens of millions of pounds, but because of the credit crunch it will be put on ice for at least 12 to 18 months. M A G A Z I N E

Halewood International has launched a £5m promotional campaign to change perceptions about its best selling Lambrini drink. The advert made its debut on ITV in an ad break during Coronation Street as an extension to last year’s dothelambrini campaign. A new still version of the drink is available in wine-type three litre boxes and is described as “all the fun without the fizz”.

RUBBISH FINES

INDEPENDENT retailers on Bold Street will be included in Liverpool’s city centre Business Improvement District (BID) if the scheme is approved in an October referendum. BID, which already has 500 members, sees retailers pay a levy on their business rates to fund extra services from street cleaning to marketing. BID staff canvassed traders in Bold Street, known for its independent retailers and nightlife, to see if they wanted to become part of the BID. BID chief executive Rita Waters says the reaction from traders was positive – so the street now forms part of her new five-year business plan.

SCHEME ON ICE

www.ldpbusiness.co.uk

Superbug funding

Profits have soared at discount chain TJ Hughes, following a successful return to the business of chief executive Sue Tennant. It took her just six months to turn poor pre-tax profits of £1.1m into a moneyspinning £5.1m, following a back-to-basics programme. O F

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L to R: David Loughman, corporate manager at the Co-operative Bank, Chris Devlin and Gill Dillon, directors of Playmates

£1.6m expansion for nursery business CO-OP BANK FUNDS NEW ACQUISITION BY TONY DONOUGH TWO entrepreneurs are embarking on a £1.6m expansion to their children’s nursery services business with the acquisition of a third nursery. Widnes-based Chris Devlin and Gill Dillon, a former teacher and a former nurse, launched Playmates 13 years ago, providing childcare for kids aged from three months to five years old. The new nursery will be the two women’s third premises, with another two Playmates nurseries located in Widnes on Wilmere Lane and Hough Green Road. Playmates provides childcare for more than 90 children and employs 27 full time nursery staff across its two current premises – an extremely high staff to child ratio. Both nurseries have an excellent reputation and have received glowing Ofsted reports. 08 M A G A Z I N E

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The Co-operative Bank has funded Devlin and Dillon’s business since it was formed and has provided a £1.6m expansion package to fund this new venture. The new nursery in Frodsham, Homestead Day Nursery will enable Playmates to double the number of childcare places available and create new jobs. The previous owners have now retired and work has begun to modernise the premises and facilities. Joint director of Playmates, Chris Devlin, said: “Thirteen years ago we identified a need for good quality childcare where the child comes first before anything else. We’ve worked hard to establish this and have built up an excellent reputation in the process.

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“In our early days we faced blatant sexism from some of the other banks we approached – one bank manager even asked if our husbands were happy about us setting up a business. “The Co-operative Bank has always been extremely supportive and worked with us to help grow Playmates and make it the success it’s become.” Corporate manager at the Cooperative Bank, Dave Loughman, added: “Both of the directors have banked with us since Playmates launched and they’ve developed an excellent reputation across Widnes. “Their acute business sense coupled with backgrounds in teaching and nursing has given Chris and Gill a strong foundation on which to build such a successful childcare business.”


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Investment Led Wealth Management

Arts Masters Rensburg Sheppards wins City Cultural Award 2008

Rensburg Sheppards Investment Management (RSIM) is immensely proud to have won the Liverpool Daily Post Cultural Engagement Award in this seminal year for the city as European Capital of Culture. The firm was established in Liverpool in 1873 by founder, Henry Rensburg. He was chairman of the Liverpool Arts Society in the 19th century and his early support for the city’s arts remains an integral part of our business. We are a principal partner of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra having supported them for many years and we regularly contribute towards exhibitions at the Tate and Walker Galleries, a recent example being Ben Johnson’s Cityscape. David Owen, senior investment director, Rensburg Sheppards said: “This award not only recognises our long tradition of supporting the arts in Liverpool, but it also recognises our commitment to continue supporting the city’s cultural causes and it is an honour to have won. We hope the city’s cultural renaissance continues well into the future and we are immensely proud to have played a small part in this process. “As one of the UK’s leading independent wealth managers we understand investments and we will continue to invest in Liverpool’s future, both culturally and commercially.”

Even though we are expanding as a business – RSIM manages assets approaching £13bn* – we are proud that our roots remain in the North. We recruit locally and the success of our Liverpool office is attributable to the quality of our staff and testament to the area’s local talent. The office was runner-up in The Business of the Year award and commended for its contribution to the city’s thriving business community. We have a network of 11 offices across the UK committed to providing the kind of high quality, personal financial services that Henry Rensburg envisaged when starting the firm. Just as Liverpool’s fortunes have evolved over the years we recognise that as we make our way through life our circumstances and commitments change too. That is why RSIM builds bespoke financial solutions around its clients. At the core of our business is the commitment to help clients simplify their lives with wealth management advice they can trust.

Our independence enables us to provide unbiased financial recommendations. Whether you need investments, pensions or bespoke portfolio planning one of our dedicated investment managers will create a wealth management package unique to you. Private clients, our professional peers – solicitors, accountants and intermediaries – charities and high net worth individuals come to us for financial solutions. We believe that wherever you are in life we have the resources and experience to help you plan your financial future with confidence. For a free no obligation consultation with one of our investment managers, or for a review of your existing holdings, contact our Liverpool office on 0151 227 2030. We remain committed to supporting Liverpool, its people and its cultural causes and we would like to thank the readers and the judges of the Liverpool Daily Post for choosing Rensburg Sheppards as the winner of the Cultural Engagement Award 2008. * As at March 2008.

Member firm of the London Stock Exchange. Member of LIFFE. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Rensburg Sheppards Investment Management Limited is registered in England. Registered No. 2122340. Registered Office: Quayside House, Canal Wharf, Leeds, LS11 5PU. Offices at: Belfast Cheltenham Edinburgh Farnham Glasgow Leeds Liverpool London Manchester Reigate Sheffield.

have you got what it takes to be a 21 Century Business Leader? st

Prestigious MSc Programmes in Corporate Governance Commencing September 2008 You have achieved a lot but the professional in you knows you have to take the extra step to attain excellence. As the world evolves, business decision makers need the tools and skills to analyse, and find effective solutions to, a range of complex issues. The European Centre for Corporate Governance (ECCG) offers flexible, one year Masters level programmes in Corporate Governance, Risk and Crisis Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Management Consultancy. There is also the potential to undertake PhD studies in these areas. The MSc programmes develop in participants the ability to perform in a variety of business settings, and provide the perfect opportunity to learn from experienced business practitioners who are highly academically qualified. Whether you are running your own business, managing a department or working your way up the corporate ladder, our programmes and expertise are invaluable.

If you have at least 3 years’ management experience and a good first degree or other relevant qualifications then these programmes can help you to fulfill your career aspirations. We also invite applications from exceptional people who may have a non-standard background. Experienced MBA graduates can also apply for our fast track route (normally 7-8 months). ECCG has an established reputation for excellence in corporate governance, leadership and management education. Our degrees are recognised by the National Foundation for Business Excellence who sponsor an annual award for the best performer.

The next induction day is 8th September 2008. For details on how our MSc programmes can best meet your needs please the contact the Programme Administration team on telephone: 0151 231 3440 or email: blwpg@ljmu.ac.uk quoting reference LXM22. Alternatively, you can visit the website at www.ljmu.ac.uk/eccg.


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Former UN boss to speak at city event KOFI ANNAN WILL ADDRESS MAJOR BUSINESS CONFERENCE BY BARRY TURNBULL FORMER United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is to address a major business conference in Liverpool. He is one of the star names attracted to a summit organised by Pilkington chief executive Stuart Chambers who pledged to bring top commentators to the city of Culture year. Around 1,000 senior executives are also expected to attend the October event at the BT Convention Centre which will feature key addresses from Mr Annan by video conference as well as Harvard business guru Michael Porter, Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy and former Tory minister Chris Patten. Two years ago Mr Chambers, in his role as chairman of the North West Business Leadership Team, pledged to stage a conference that would be the biggest business event of 08. On October 1 and 2 the 2008 10 M A G A Z I N E

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Benchmark for Business will present “Transforming the Future”, an international management summit. Mr Chambers, the chief executive of Pilkington’s Japanese owner Nippon Sheet Glass, said: “By presenting the UK and international markets with a world-class line up of speakers who are recognised as the leading thinkers in their respective fields, this exceptional management-focused conference will deliver a lasting legacy for Liverpool. “Across two days, in excess of 1,000 leaders and senior executives will hear inspiring presentations from thinkers of international renown, drawn from Benchmark’s stable of strategic thinkers, international leaders and top flight CEOs - perhaps the highest calibre of speakers to appear on the same platform at any UK management conference in 2008. “The summit agenda will include a full two-day programme of keynote

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addresses from figures at the forefront of new thinking about the issues that matter for leaders.” Speakers include Michael Porter, a business strategist of global influence based at Harvard Business School and Mr Annan who will be appearing via satellite link up. Others include authors Will Hutton, Renee Mauborgne and Harvard professor Clayton Christensen. Mr Chambers said he and fellow leadership team members had wanted to hold a world-class event in Liverpool during Capital of Culture year. He added: “Even though I’m now Tokyo-based I haven’t forgotten that we’ve got a significant proportion of people working in the North West. “We at the North West Business Leadership Team want to make the North West a great place to live and work.”


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Making Deals... Müller Dairy UK Limited

BMW Construction Limited

Taygroup Limited

Northumbrian Fine Foods Limited

Reverse takeover of Baylis Holdings Logistics group by Müller's logistics group Culina Logistics GmbH

Acted for BMW Construction Limited on its acquisition of the share capital of Thomas Williams (Euxton) Limited

Acted for the management team and the buyer on the MBO of Taygroup Limited

Advised shareholders on share sale of Northumbrian Fine Foods Limited to Burtons Foods Limited

Mitchells of Lancaster (Brewers) Limited

Wynnstay Group plc

Leyland Exports Limited

Swansway Garages Limited

Acted for the management team on the MBO of Mitchells of Lancaster (Brewers) Limited

Acted for Wynnstay Group plc on the acquisition of the share capital of Wilsons Pet Centres Limited

Acted for Leyland Exports Limited on the acquisition of the share capital of Leyland Bus Parts Limited

Acted for Swansway Garages Limited on the acquisition of the business of Dane Motor Company (Chester) Limited

Elitetele.com plc

Corpfin Limited

Greystone Financial Services (Holdings) Limited

Vista Group plc

Acted for Elitetele.com plc on the acquisition of the share capital of GP Telecom Limited

Advised shareholders on share sale of Corpfin Limited to Experian Limited

Advised shareholders on share sale of Greystone Financial Services (Holdings) Limited to Focus Financial Partners LLC

Advised the directors of Vista Group plc on a recommended offer by Acorn Capital Partners Limited on behalf of Purple Spot Limited to acquire Vista Group plc

Friarton Limited

T Jolly Services Limited

Parkfresh plc

Roughwood Chemists Limited

Acted for Friarton Limited on its acquisition of the share capital of Norske Interiors UK Limited

Advised shareholders on share sale of T Jolly Services Limited to the MBO management team (backed by NBGI Private Equity)

Advised shareholders on share sale of Parkfresh plc to Fresh Direct Holdings Limited

Advised shareholders on share sale of Roughwood Chemists Limited, Roughwood (Lowton) Limited and BBR (Skelmersdale) Limited

SAP Engineering Limited

Peter H Smith Limited

Cenkos Fund Managers Limited and Rapid Realisations Fund Limited

Adshead Ratcliffe & Co Limited

Advised shareholders on share sale of SAP Engineering Limited t/a "Greenhey Engineering" to Bodycote International plc

Acted for Bank of Scotland on MBO of Peter H Smith Limited

Advised on Rapid Realisations Fund Limited’ s investment in Taylormade Betting Limited

Acted for the management team on the MBO of Adshead Ratcliffe & Co Limited

Rockford Insurance Group Limited

Adinsure Group Limited

Focus Pharmaceuticals Limited

Advised shareholders on share sale of Rockford Insurance Group Limited to Swinton Holdings Limited

Advised shareholders on share sale of Adinsure Group Limited to Swinton Holdings Limited

Acted for the management team on the MBO of Focus Pharmaceuticals Limited funded by Matrix Venture Capitalists

...Delivering Results in Corporate Finance www.dwf.co.uk DWF LLP is a leading, full service law firm. We provide a full range of legal services to businesses and private clients across the UK. To find out more about this growing and successful Corporate team contact Gareth McIntegart on 0151 907 3000. DWF LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC328794


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LDP INTERVIEW

Mutual friends forging a brighter future ROYAL LIVER CHIEF EXECUTIVE STEVE BURNETT GIVEN BUMPY RIDE AS HE MODERNISES A LIVERPOOL INSTITUTION INTERVIEW ALISTAIR HOUGHTON

TANDING sentry on the Mersey waterfront, the Royal Liver building seems a timeless symbol of Liverpool. But when Steve Burnett joined its owner Royal Liver Group as chief executive in 2002, he saw its future as a Merseyside business icon was not so secure. As a mutual owned by its members it may not produce traditional profit and loss figures, but its accounts showed it was spending £28m more a year than it was bringing in. The message from experienced actuary and insurance specialist Burnett to the company’s staff and the members who own it was stark without dramatic change, Royal Liver may not survive for much more than five years. So instead he launched a five-year plan to take the group back to black, pledging - in a deliberately cheesy but memorable phrase - to take the group “from good to great by 2008”. Since then the way the group sells its products has been transformed, staff numbers have been cut by half and the group is back in expense surplus.

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But it’s been far from an easy ride. As a 158 year-old mutual, Burnett unsurprisingly found that not everyone found dramatic change easy to take – particularly some of the 200-strong delegation elected to represent members’ interests. Sometimes that criticism got personal, with some delegates telling him to his face that he was simply not good enough for Royal Liver. The group also had to deal with a takeover approach from rival Royal London, which it eventually rejected after much soul searching. But, sitting in his wood-panelled office on the top floor of the Royal Liver Building, Burnett is happy the pain and disruption was worth it to leave the group ready to face the future. “We were spending £28m more than we were getting in,” he said. “Yes, we had some reserves so we would have sustained ourselves for a few years, but not indefinitely. “We had £150m in the bank. We were spending £30m each year. That means we’ve got five years. You don’t need to be an actuary to work that out.

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“We had £150m in the bank. We were spending £30m each year. That means we’ve got 5 years. You don’t need to be an actuary to work that out.”

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Steve Burnett, left, with the Business of the Year award at the Daily Post’s 2007 Regional Business Awards

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“Last year we ended up with £300m of reserves, and we’re underspending. We’ve gone from having a five-year future to an indefinite future.” Burnett’s father served in the RAF and the family moved around Europe before settling in Corby, Northamptonshire After taking his A-levels, and finding he had an aptitude for maths, Burnett passed up the chance to go to university and instead became a trainee actuary in London. His youthful start, and his marriage at 20 followed by the birth of his two sons, meant it took him longer than many of his universityeducated colleagues to pass his many exams. But he successfully qualified after 12 years and moved around the South West while rising up the management ladder. Eventually he moved to Sevenoaks to join the senior management team at Swiss Life, moving to Liverpool when it bought Crosby’s Pioneer Mutual and overseeing the company’s move to the Albert Dock. After four successful years he began rooting for a change, and in 2002 headed to Royal Liver. Burnett was appointed with a mandate for “significant change” and to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the often-conservative group. “One thing I did pretty quickly was to restructure the group almost for the sake of doing it to create a sense of urgency and change,” he said. T H E

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In 2003 Liverpool won the Capital of Culture title for 2008, giving Burnett the strapline for his five-year plan. “2008 was symbolic of the regeneration of Liverpool and of Royal Liver,” he said. “We said by 2008 this is the kind of organisation we’ll be. We’ll no longer have an expense overrun. We’ll be winning awards. We’ll be a top 100 employer.” Burnett’s jargon sometimes sounds strange – his references to Royal Liver’s “manufacturing plants” make it sound more like a widget factory than a financial services firm. In 2002 Royal Liver had a direct sales force selling products the company “manufactured” in-house. Burnett ensured the company changed its product range, backing away from “with profits” policies, which effectively combined savings plans with life cover. Burnett took the decision to axe Royal Liver’s direct sales force, with the loss of hundreds of jobs. Instead, Royal Liver would sell its products through independent financial advisers (IFAs). “The direct sales focus was an old model that the industry had largely left behind,” said Burnett. “The products were old-fashioned and the market was declining but we were still trying to sell them. “The economics of the model were getting worse. We had to stop making this stuff and face reality.” Royal Liver has its own IFA chain in Park Row, which it bought in 2003. But Park Row staff are not tied to their owner’s products. “A discerning punter these days wants to know he’s getting independent advice, and doesn’t always want a Royal Liver product thrust down his throat,” said Burnett. “A Park Row salesman is independent. He’ll sell you a Prudential or any other product. A Royal Liver product, if he does sell it, has to cut the mustard.” The group now employs 1,200 people around half the number when Burnett joined. Group net operating expenses fell from £127.1m in 2002 to £81.5m in 2007. With the organisation facing such drastic changes, Burnett knew he had to bring the workforce with him. He describes the company’s pre-2002 approach to its staff as “historically paternalistic” and says he has tried to help


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LDP INTERVIEW staff understand the reasons for the upheaval so they are not shocked by what is happening. One ongoing change is Royal Liver’s decision to stop its “Man from the Pru”-style door-todoor collection service, with the loss of 400 UK and Irish jobs by the end of next year. Royal Liver, which employs 400 in Liverpool, has also instituted a scheme to share the company’s financial success with its workforce. This year the company paid out about £1.4m in bonuses. When Burnett first introduced staff surveys in 2002, the results were in his words “shocking”. Today, he says, things are much brighter. Burnett has not yet reached his goal of getting Royal Liver into the Sunday Times list of the Best 100 Companies to Work For - which he says is unsurprising given the “pain” the company has gone through - but says he is confident it will ultimately earn that accolade. It is, however, winning awards - including the Business of the Year title at the Daily Post’s Regional Business Awards in 2007. Burnett’s biggest challenge was winning over Royal Liver’s 200 delegates, who he calls its “members of Parliament”. He felt the relationship between delegates and management had been adversarial, and set out to ease the suspicion of some delegates about the changes. He said: “I’ve had delegates look me in the eye and say ‘Steve, I don’t think you’re the man for this job.’ I say ‘that’s fine - what do you want to see me doing?’ “I absolutely respect their right to challenge my business performance. Sometimes some occasions sadly have got personal. That’s quite hard to take. “The journey with the delegates has been a challenge. It’s been a hell of a journey because they’ve seen so much happen in a short time. But by and large they’ve been pretty supportive.” All delegates meet up for Royal Liver’s AGM this year held in Weston-Super-Mare - but Burnett has also created monthly delegate suppers where he and the board can chat informally with smaller groups of representatives away from the theatrical atmosphere of a large meeting. Royal Liver was founded in July 1850 when nine men met in the Lyver Inn to form the Liverpool Lyver Burial Society. As the society expanded it needed larger premises - and in

1908 the foundation stone for the iconic Royal Liver Building was laid. The thought of selling that building would seem like heresy to some. Burnett says the board would consider a sale if it was right for the company, but adds that is currently unlikely. “Our members absolutely love this building,” he said. “It would take a pretty strong argument to convince them it’s the right thing to do to move out. “But it’s worth between £50m and £80m. It’s a substantial amount of money to have in one asset.” News that Royal Liver and rival Royal London were in talks over a possible merger broke in April 2007. After months of negotiations, and lengthy debates among RL directors, the offer was rejected in August.

“I’ve had delegates look me in the eye and say ‘Steve, I don’t think you’re the man for this job’. I say ‘that’s fine what do you want to see me doing?’”

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“There’s no doubt that 2008 is slowing down. But at the moment our manufacturing plants are still selling well above target. That suggests we’re getting that bigger slice.” “The board had been through five years of hard work and was seeing the results starting to come through,” said Burnett. “To hand the baton on to another company just didn’t feel like the right thing to do at that point.” While Burnett said he would never rule out the possibility of a takeover of Royal Liver, he said the company cannot let itself be distracted for so long again over any approach. But he insists the Royal London approach was a “fantastic acknowledgment” of the success of Royal Liver’s turnaround. The group is now developing its next development strategy. Post credit-crunch, the climate is tough for financial services firms, but Burnett says the new lean, mean Royal Liver is well-placed to take on all comers. “Because of our size, we’ve got a small slice of a big cake,” he said. “If the cake shrinks, we’ve got to get a bigger slice.

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“There’s no doubt that 2008 is slowing down. But at the moment our manufacturing plants are still selling well above target. That suggests we’re getting that bigger slice. “We cannot afford to take our foot off the gas.” Outside work Burnett and his wife, who have two grown-up sons, enjoy hill walking in the Lake District, Wales and Scotland. Leeds United, Burnett’s sporting passion, face their own mountain to climb as they bid to rise out of League One. He regularly travels to Elland Road – but can also pick up Radio Leeds at his home in Northop, North Wales. For Burnett, the success of his five-year journey is summed up by one recent anonymous decision. “Today we’ve got five full award cabinets, and we weren’t winning awards in 2002,” he said. “A few weeks ago I found somebody had ordered a sixth cabinet before we’d won another award. That’s symbolic for me because it shows people here believe in themselves. “We spent too long making apologies for ourselves and now we’re making some noise.”


hard days nightAD FINAL

14/8/08

Introducing OUR

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NEW

Business Lunchtime menu

THE MENU

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

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

Blakes Fish Pie 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

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 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. 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


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SPONSORED BY

CORPORATE DEALS

L-R Mark Fuller (Alliance Fund Managers), Jo Pritchard and Di Burbidge (LJMU), Dr Mark Wainwright of Pharmalucia

Superbug firms secures cash A COMPANY researching ways of tackling superbugs such as MRSA won the first investment from a new funding scheme to turn academic ideas into business successes. The Proof of Concept Funding Programme, a partnership between Alliance Fund Managers (AFM) and Liverpool John Moores University, has invested £82,000 in Pharmalucia. The company will progress the work of academic Dr Mark Wainwright, Reader in Antimicrobial Chemotherapy in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences at LJMU. He has been researching new ways to tackle microbes such as MRSA and has identified new compounds that could offer more effective treatments. Superbugs are estimated to claim the lives of 5,000 people each year in the UK alone. The funding will be used to help him see whether new treatments can be brought to market. Dr Wainwright said: “After decades 18

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of wonder drugs, we can no longer guarantee that antibiotics will cure bacterial disease. Deaths resulting from infections are increasing because of drug resistance. Common disinfectant drugs are becoming less and less effective. “Thanks to this funding, we will be able to take the research to the next stage, testing the effectiveness of the novel compounds identified against different microbes. Once this has been proven, we will be one step closer to early licence opportunities.” The Proof of Concept programme aims to finance the early development of new technological ideas that could be seen as high-risk propositions by potential investors. AFM and LJMU hope it will create many commercial businesses from LJMU’s research portfolio. Up to £120,000 in funding is available for each project. AFM managing director Mark Fuller said: “Knowledge-based businesses

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are a vital part of our economy and it is crucial that they have access to funding and advice to enable them to develop and grow.” LJMU’s commercialisation manager Di Burbidge said: “Our academics don’t want to wait months for a decision on whether they should publish, patent or protect their work and thanks to this funding arrangement they don’t have to. “We have worked hard to put the right mechanisms in place so that with the support of AFM, we can quickly translate ground breaking research into commercial realities. “The fact that we have been able to launch a company as exciting as Pharmalucia Ltd just two months after the Proof of Concept funding came on stream proves that the system works, and with another two companies already in the pipeline, it clearly shows the massive commercial potential of LJMU’s research.”


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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 you 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

bill.doherty@rbs.co.uk

www.rbs.co.uk

Make it happen


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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

RBS backs tyre firm MBO BUSINESSMAN Mike Carroll completed a management buyout of the Deeside-based commercial tyre division of Rhyl Tyre & Battery, in a £320,000 deal funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland. The business will trade as Tyremaster, operating from sites at the Deeside Industrial Estate and Gaerwen on Anglesey. The new company has 12 employees. It provides a commercial tyre breakdown service along the A55 Corridor and North Wales coast, particularly for trucks using Holyhead. Its clients include several major haulage chains. Tyremaster will also provide a tyre replacement service for companies in Deeside and North Wales in the construction and agricultural sectors. Mr Carroll said: “Having worked at Rhyl Tyre & Battery for several years, I was aware of the good reputation the commercial tyre division had in the market. “By creating a new company based on the skills and knowledge that exist within the division, I am confident that we can grow turnover and increase our market share.”

TEXTILE BUYOUT A SKELMERSDALE-based supplier of high performance fabrics acquired the business and assets of a leading textile distributor. Redwood Distribution has bought Bradford-based Edmund Bell & Co for an undisclosed sum. Redwood was advised on the deal by the Liverpool office of law firm Halliwells. Halliwells’ corporate team was led by partner Craig Scott who said: “Halliwells are delighted to have successfully assisted Redwood to complete this key strategic transatlantic acquisition

which will hopefully prove an excellent fit with Redwood’s existing and growing business.” Edmund Bell, a subsidiary group of US Fortune 500 company, Leggett & Platt, is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of curtain linings and woven fabrics. Corporate finance advice to Redwood was provided by Carl Williams and Angharad Davies of Grant Thornton’s Liverpool Office and Leggett & Platt was advised by Laurence Kingswood of Bracher Rawlins in London. Funding for the transaction was supplied by Barclays. M A G A Z I N E

PET RESCUE A COMPANY specialising in the design, creation and production of pet products was rescued from administration. Bootle firm Harry Irving and Company, which has an annual turnover of £6.6m, collapsed in early June, and administrators Paul Flint and Brian Green from KPMG in Manchester immediately had to make 19 of the 24 staff redundant. However, KPMG later revealed a buyer had been found. Petlife Ventures has acquired Harry Irving and its assets. It intends to continue to trade the business under its associated trademarks. Paul Flint, joint administrator and director, KPMG Restructuring, said: “We are delighted to have completed such a quick sale of this business, and would like to wish Pet Life Ventures all the very best for the future.” O F

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SPONSORED BY

wit h sharks WING THEIR TEET O H S S H IN CIER N A TO A FIN UGH M ARKET

THE world of corporate finance is like shark infested waters at the moment. But if there are losers there are also winners, Prior to the credit crunch, cash was being thrown about with gay abandon. Now that belts have been tightened, many are finding that corporate finance offers a headache rather than a solution. Banks and private equity firms keep insisting they are ‘open for business’ but the new ultra-cautious approach to credit doesn’t really square with this message. Quality businesses with established track records can still obtain funding but those regarded as being less than prime are no-one, cup of tea at the moment. There are still signs that funding and deals can be obtained but it’s tough out there. 23


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FINANCE & BANKING

Barclays strengthens in challenging market BANK GROWS ITS TEAM ACROSS NORTH WEST WHILE some banks are battening down the hatches in the current difficult times, one at least appears to be open for business. It may seem an odd time to do it, but Barclays is building its commercial team and has moved into swanky new premises at a time when economic pressures are growing. Area director Rikki Griffiths has moved the team out of premises in Moorfields and into upmarket suites at 20 Chapel Street. It is also increasing the number of staff it employs there. Seven new managers have joined the business, with a similar number expected to swell the ranks before the end of the year. In addition the business is looking to open new shop windows in Chester and Warrington. So what’s going on? Is the new office just window dressing or is there still plenty of cash available to businesses that want to borrow? Griffiths argues that the new office is part of a new push by Barclays to get closer to business. He explained: “Our higher-profile location, our new trade finance capability and increased service support are examples of Barclays’ desire to deliver product and service locally rather than having to bring it in from outside the Liverpool market. “Undoubtedly, there are industry sectors that will go through difficult times. As a business, however, we have followed fairly prudent lending criteria over the last few years and, therefore, are able to focus on helping existing customers rather than dealing with distress borrowings where the leverage has been too high, the covenants too weak, or simply the structure was wrong from the outset.” 24 M A G A Z I N E

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Chapel Street in Liverpool, New Home to Barclays commercial team

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Barclays Commercial Bank has specialists in over 50 industries. Working exclusively in your sector, they can provide the expertise and industry networks to move your business forward. By thinking ahead, we can help you make the right connections. Contact Rikki Griffiths, Corporate Director on 07775 543 269 or John Powell, Senior Relationship Director on 07775 544 528 or visit www.barclayscommercial.com

Please note, the numbers quoted above are mobile numbers. Barclays Bank PLC. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered in England. Registered No: 1026167. Registered Office: 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP.


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FINANCE & BANKING Barclays’ Liverpool Team

Griffiths also quotes his experience when he headed Barclays’ oil and gas team. He said: “I joined the business in 1997, just as oil prices collapsed in 1998. What I learnt was that, with deep industry knowledge, we were able to spot potential winners from the industry downturn and, because other banks were cutting back exposures, we gained significant new business which we retain today”. As a specific example, Griffiths cites Bromborough-based media and recruitment firm Lee & Nightingale. Griffiths said: “We might have expected this company to lead an economic slowdown, but due to their excellent business model, Lee & Nightingale are positively thriving.” Lee & Nightingale managing director Jonathan Clarke said: “Running a business in a declining industry and within uncertain economic times is challenging. Funding a management buy-out needs a certain vision and belief in the management and business plan. “Since day one, our Barclays team has been actively involved in our business, but 26 M A G A Z I N E

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not in an intrusive way. ”We have regular meetings with the bank, not to discuss money particularly, but to obtain their view on our ideas and strategy. This ‘touchstone’ approach has meant they totally understand where we are at as a business, to the point where they are an essential part of our management team. Indeed, one of our new income streams has been developed by an initial suggestion from Barclays.” Griffiths is well placed to act as a bellweather for the health of local industry as Barclays has more than 1,000 clients across Merseyside. He said: “Our priority is to help existing clients, be that through expansion capital as they look for markets outside the UK, creating efficiencies through moving money quicker by electronic means or managing risks through showing innovative ways to fix interest costs or exchange rates. “We have, and continue to build, significant capacity for expansion here in Liverpool and while economic conditions are tough, I know there are many more businesses like Lee & Nightingale.” D A I L Y

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Firms hoarding cash for rainy days SMEs DEPOSITING ‘RECORD SUMS’

BUSINESSES are hoarding cash as they prepare to weather what they believe will be the worst trading conditions in 16 years. High street bank Lloyds TSB has said that smaller firms, those with sales of less than £15m-are depositing “record” sums of money into their business accounts. Its six-monthly survey of business conditions shows collapsing sales, profits and confidence. John Maltby, managing director at Lloyds TSB Commercial, said: “Working out how the bank should respond to this picture of falling profits but strong balance sheets was one of the biggest questions in our minds. “We are taking record levels of deposits from businesses. What it says is that businesses are looking to conserve cash. Maybe they are cutting back on investment spending, or maybe employment spend. They are looking forward and seeing lower profits so in the short term they are being careful about their businesses today." He added that the early preparation meant that firms appeared to be in much better shape to cope than in previous downturns. “If you think back to previous slowdowns or recessions, balance sheets weren’t in the strong position that they are in today,”

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COLLAPSES AND DEBT RESTRUCTURING INCREASE

Private equity worth a punt? AT THE TOP END OF THE DEALS MARKET - £100M PLUS PRIVATE EQUITY IS GRINDING TO A HALT. IN THE MID-MARKET THERE IS STILL BUSINESS TO BE DONE AS BANKS ARE HAPPIER ABOUT LESS RISKY OPPORTUNITIES ANDTHEY ARE CLUBBING TOGETHER TO DILUTE EXPOSURE. IN THIS SECTION WE EXAMINE WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE PRIVATE EQUITY MARKET. 28 M A G A Z I N E

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A HAYDOCK-based fund is experiencing a stampede for its cash. While doors may be closing elsewhere, the newly formed Rapid Realisations Fund is very much open for business, it claims. The Fund, set up just over a year ago to provide fast-growth companies with capital prior to a float or sale, is receiving up to three enquiries per day from businesses which are finding private equity and bank funding routes closed. It is run by Cenkos Fund Managers — a Haydock-based joint venture between London-based broker Cenkos Securities and Haydock Partnership. The fund raised more than £60m following an Alternative Investment Market float last August which was backed by institutions such as


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SPONSORED BY

Is business coming to a standstill?

SURVEY SHOWS DEALS SLOWING DOWN A finance firm close to Haydock Park is experiencing a race for its cash

Invesco, Blackrock and Jupiter. Fund manager Steve Charnock, formerly with Charterhouse Securities, said: “Banks may be open for business but it’s in a very limited way. Growth and development funding is thin on the ground. “We are looking for sound businesses with good stories who just can’t get the banks to support their plans. We’re not putting in any leveraged debt. There may be a convertible loan put in but in the main it’s our own capital and we’re not restricted by getting a bank on board.” Cenkos Fund Managers has already spent £20m on 11 investments — three of which are in the North West. In December, it bought a stake in Enegi — an oil and gas firm with

investments in Canada which floated on AIM in March. In April, it invested in Taylor Made — a chain of traditional bookmakers launched by former Arthur Andersen partner Steve Taylor who went on to set up the Betdirect brand for Littlewoods. He has launched the business alongside Gary Middlebrook, who sold his house-building business Merewood Group to Persimmon in 2003 for £22.6m. Since the fund’s investment, the number of Taylor Made shops has grown from four to 12. The fund has just put out a trading statement which showed that despite the financial turmoil on the market its net asset value was slightly above its launch, at almost £62.3m, or 103p per share. M A G A Z I N E

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THE vast majority of private equity firms will be doing fewer deals for less money over the coming 12 months as the industry reveals its most pessimistic transaction outlook in at least five years, according to the latest Grant Thornton Private Equity Barometer. In the quarterly survey of 100 private equity executives, 85% predicted deal values would fall over the coming year, up from just 13% foresaw deal values falling at the same time last year, and 69% in Q1 2008. The number of deals being completed in the coming 12 months was also predicted to fall, with 64% of PE houses foreseeing a drop, compared with just 10% in Q2 2007, and 33% last quarter. It is the most pessimistic deal sentiment expressed by the industry since the survey began in 2003. David Ascott, head of private equity at Grant Thornton, said ‘wait and see’ was now the order of the day, as private equity firms held tight for better economic conditions, in order to exit with returns approaching those envisioned when investing initially.

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FINANCE & BANKING

There is still business out there GRESHAM BACKED BUYOUT AT JOHNSON IF you believe many financial commentators, then the leveraged private equity market is closed for business. The main arguments to support this belief are that the banks are reluctant to fund the debt side of the private equity equation due to the liquidity problems arising from the credit crunch. Yet in April, Gresham backed the £82m management buyout of Dimensions corporate wear from the Johnson Service Group with total debt facilities of £60m. So what is really happening in the leveraged private equity markets in our region? Iain Woltensholme, partner at Gresham private equity, said: “When considering the resilience of midmarket private equity, it is important to distinguish between the upper and lower mid-market sectors. “The upper mid-market, deals over £100m, is reliant on acquisition debt as a fundamental of its business model. For these deals banks are reportedly closed for now. “However for mainstream deals sub£100m, banks are still open for business and are prepared to commit capital to high quality private equity transactions. “There is no doubt that banks are being far more discerning about leveraged opportunities, in contrast to the market in 2007 where the only question appeared to be how high a multiple of earnings a bank would lend against. “However, there are still high quality opportunities requiring leverage, and banks, like any business, have targets to meet. The bank’s cautious approach now means higher margins over LIBOR, more balanced debt to equity ratios, lower debt multiples and a 30 M A G A Z I N E

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Iain Woltensholme, partner at Gresham private equity higher proportion of amortising facilities in deal structures. “Another key difference for deals with a debt requirement above £25m, is the emergence of banking ‘clubs’ to share risk amongst two or more lenders. “The reluctance of individual banks to underwrite the entire debt requirement of a deal structure has led competing leveraged finance teams to co-operate as a club to finance the deal. “In the Dimensions buyout we corralled a club of four banks (RBS, Lloyds TSB, HSBC and Barclays) to participate equally in the acquisition debt, mezzanine and working capital facilities totalling £60m. “Although this increases deal complexity and project management, you have the advantage of knowing the local banks holding the debt post-deal rather than more obscure banks and

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hedge funds who previously would have participated in a sell-down. “In our region there will inevitably be a flight to quality deals and a return to more sensible pricing after the heady days of 2006 and 2007. The past three years have been a sellers’ market and many people have treated debt (and indeed private equity) as a commodity and dictated terms to the banks. Now the banks have the opportunity to choose which deals to finance, and I believe this will lead to a reduction in the number of ‘cash out’ and debt only deals. “The mid market in which we operate is much steadier than the larger deals market and is still very much open for business. The banks are more discriminating than they were but if the deal is right, it is getting done.”


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No cash for Cains BANK REFUSES TO BE DRAWN ON BREWERS TROUBLES BANK of Scotland was caught up in the feverish activity following Cains slide into administration. The bank originally backed the company's move to listed status by the reverse takeover of Honeycomb Leisure to the tune of around ÂŁ40m. When the brewing and pubs group got into difficulty it turned to its bankers in the hope of restructuring its finances. But in these days of much stricter risk scrutiny the move got the thumbs down. The bank's Liverpool bureau chief Alistair Donald refused to be drawn on the matter but was more open about business generally. He said: "Business has been going well for the team although no-one would deny that we are currently in a very challenging environment. I think we are seeing the smaller businesses being more cautious and holding on to their cash. "In terms of investment we

have always been a cautious lender so that is not going to change and examining the risk profile is still a priority. However, at the same time we are looking for the right sort of opportunities. "I would say that we have a very competitive range of products which appeals to a wide range of customers so I'm optimistic that 2008 will continue to be good for us." Meanwhile the corporate team is on the march, moving from its Princes Dock

headquarters to St Paul's Square in Old Hall Street. Mr Donald explained: "We've got great views of the river here but felt that being up in the heart of the business district is the place to be." The ÂŁ130m St Paul's Square development is also home to law firms DWF and Hill Dickinson as well as Allied Irish Bank.


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SPONSORED BY

FINANCE & BANKING

Property slump starts to bite COLLAPSES AND DEBT RESTRUCTURING INCREASE

DEVELOPERS were awash with credit in the property boom years but now the chickens are coming home to roost. And it’s the developers and the banks who are feeling the pinch as the value of property schemes drop or even collapse altogether. Only last month it was revealed that Barclays is to take a £25.5m hit on the failure of Windsor Developments’ Baltic Triangle scheme in Liverpool. The first big sign of stress in the market came in June when it was revealed that Beetham was in trouble after sales at its West Tower development failed to materialise. Companies trading under the Beetham name asked their bankers for more time to repay tens of millions of pounds of debts that in some cases were due in May and June of this year. The credit crunch and a downturn in the UK housing market triggered the crisis. The debt renegotiations come as Beetham’s financial state was highlighed by its auditors, Deloitte & Touche. The accountancy firm used the auditors’ report, published in the most recent set of accounts, to draw attention to what they described as a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the ability of a number of Beetham companies to continue trading. Since then, however, Beetham has made fresh arrangements with its bankers that seem to have postponed the problems for at least a year. Beetham now hopes to service its debts from rental income from lettings instead of selling its portfolio of unsold apartments. 32 M A G A Z I N E

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Stuart Keppie, of Liverpool commercial property agency Keppie Massie, has specialised in local regeneration projects for many years. He acknowledges that, like everywhere else, Merseyside will have to take a hit from the credit crunch, but is optimistic its economic recovery will continue, albeit a little more slowly. He sees an issue with not just the credit crunch but also the withdrawal of grant support for major

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projects and the abolition of rate relief on empty commercial premises. “We always have an anxiety about talking things down but I think it is inevitable there will be a slowdown,” he said. “However, I don’t necessarily think Liverpool will be affected as badly as other places. “In terms of rentals we have come from a very low base, and I think Liverpool One will provide a huge fillip for the local market.” Mr Keppie admitted rental demand was down, but insisted the “serious players” in the property sector did still want to do business. He believes regeneration projects, where a local authority is a partner, stand a better chance of funding than purely speculative commercial projects. “All the banks will say ‘we are open for business’ but quite how far they are prepared to go on lending is another question,” he added. City Lofts has been another highprofile casualty of the credit crunch. The company, which built a landmark tower at Princes Dock, was placed in administration earlier in the summer. The Baltic Triange site, spanning The Strand and Hurst Street, was destined to be the first part of the development, a £50m high-rise apartment scheme, boasting one of the finest addresses in the city. Administrators BDO have struggled to find a buyer for the site and have now been given permission by Barclays to extend the administration until September. Many banks now appear to be extremely wary about lending on


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commercial property. Indeed, The Bank of Ireland has slashed commercial lending. The bank has been one of the most active lenders to the UK property sector and its decision to limit funding will have repercussions for struggling developers, both in the UK and Ireland, looking for already limited finance. A spokesman for the bank said: “In the context of the impact of the credit crunch and the slowing economy, we are taking a cautious and selective approach to growing our business.” She insisted the bank is still open for business and will increase its loans over the course of the year. “We don’t have any specific policy for property developers - they will go

through the same credit process as businesses in other sectors,” she added. Royal Bank of Scotland says it looks on each case according to its merits. A spokesman said: “Each deal is looked at on a case by case basis to determine whether we lend or not. This decision would be made after several factors are taken into consideration - the type of project, it’s location, the financial health of the company, the strength of the management team.” The bank says it recently financed a £3.5m residential development scheme on the Wirral. The 15-property scheme is being built on the Dorchester Park development in Noctorum and features a mixture of three, four and five bedroom properties. M A G A Z I N E

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RENTALS KEEP THE MARKET MOVING According to the Association of Residential Letting Agents, national tenant demand is at its highest level for five years. While house prices have risen twice as quickly as earnings since 1990, leaving mortgage costs in mid 2007 at 32.5% of first-time buyers’ household income, rental costs have continued to rise in line with earnings. The rental market is attracting more tenants due to the credit squeeze. The strong student and young professional populations of Liverpool also keep the rental market buoyant. L I V E R P O O L

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FINANCE & BANKING

Managing in a downturn GET ORGANISED TO PREVENT A CRISIS Matt Wilde, Head of business recovery, PricewaterhouseCoopers GIVEN the current state of the economy and the recent rise in insolvencies in the North West, now is not the time to sit back and relax. Businesses in the region need to ensure they are on top of the situation. At PricewaterhouseCoopers our experience suggests that most insolvency is down to inadequate planning by management to deal with these more challenging conditions. There are four key areas to focus on at the present time in order to effectively manage through a downturn: strategy, finance, operations and stakeholder management. In a consumer-led downturn the first questions for any business to 34 M A G A Z I N E

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answer must be: “Are my products or services seen as discretionary purchases by my customers, or am I threatened because I supply other businesses in the discretionary sector?” Regardless of where you believe your business to be today, to assess the possible impact of the downturn and to take advantage of opportunities that will arise, ask yourself some strategic questions such as how flexible is my business model – will it allow me to react quickly to a change in my business environment? What is my long term financial position – how significant could a loss of revenue be? What are my competitors doing and are there opportunities for organic growth in my sector? By reviewing your strategy at this stage you can ensure you are wellprepared to manage through.

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The second area to consider is finance. When times are hard, cash is king. Companies who emerged from the last recession as sector leaders had more cash on their balance sheets than the losers. In the current climate companies could be forgiven for thinking that their chances of refinancing their debt are slim, but debt funding is still available to businesses with a well thought out plan and a robust cash position. Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to companies improving their operational position in a downturn. Now is the time to make some hard-nosed decisions about what they are going to spend money on. Winning companies stay light on their feet, deploying all their resources, including people, in the


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Distressed mergers and acquisitions more likely

Now is not the time to sit back and relax but be ready to tackle the situation

area of the business most likely to do well in the conditions, while directing their operational energy towards tapping the opportunities that arise. Finally, businesses must ensure they are managing their stakeholders effectively and keeping them on board. Managing stakeholders well in difficult times is crucial to executing a winning strategy. In today’s often complicated business environment, there is only one way to manage these diverse relationships and that is through good communication. Keep shareholders and lenders informed, stay on the customers’ agenda and safeguard assets by keeping up dialogue with employees. Much of this might seem like common sense, but in our experience it is not common practice. However, if companies in the region are pro-active in these areas, the outlook for businesses in the North West will be more optimistic.

GETTING deals done in the current economic circumstances is becoming increasingly difficult. However, the takeover of distressed companies is likely to step up. For instance, Wirral packaging group Tipografic Print Group swooped to take over Baked Beans label maker Buckley’s when administrators were brought in. The deal created a combined business employing 200 staff with sales of more than £20m and makes Tipografic the leading player in the market. Colin Gillespie, head of corporate finance at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “We are seeing an increasing wave of distressed M&A transactions as the credit squeeze, raw material

Colin Gillespie, head of corporate finance at PricewaterhouseCoopers M A G A Z I N E

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price hikes and reduced consumer and corporate discretionary spending hit the weaker players in a number of sectors including retail, leisure and construction related. “We expect this trend to increase over the coming 12 months, impacting not just those that have been weak for some time but extending into historically more robust companies.” He explained that the first quarter saw a surge in smaller mid-market deals ahead of the change in the capital gains tax rate but that a slowdown was inevitable. Gillespie added that deals could still be done as long as it involved a good business with good prospects and a good management team which is currently trading well, and will continue to do so through the due diligence phase as well as a private equity house or bank with a strong nerve. “Nobody knows whether the real economy will continue to slow down at the rate at which it is now. However, I do think that the credit squeeze will ease as private equity houses and banks work together more closely to provide financial packages,” He added. “As mentioned above, the PE houses also have a lot of cash to invest and are under some pressure to do so, so I expect a move towards more normal conditions towards the end of the year. There are lots of good businesses in the region which are run by strong management teams and in due course this will lead to a wealth of opportunities for deals.” L I V E R P O O L

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FINANCE & BANKING

Deals are there to be done COMMERCIAL BANKING ALIVE AND WELL, SAYS PRO LIVERPOOL CHIEF BY TONY MCDONOUGH COMMERCIAL lending is alive and kicking in Liverpool despite the credit crunch. That’s the view of Mark Chadwick, the new chief executive of Professional Liverpool, who believes the banks will still give backing to sound business propositions. Professional Liverpool was formed in 2001 and represents most of the financial and professional services firms in the city. Mr Chadwick, the organisation’s first full-time chief executive, said: “The banks are definitely open for business but perhaps not in the same way as they were a year ago. They are not going to be giving away silly money in the way they did then. “Obviously the credit crunch means that money is in much shorter supply and that means decisions over lending are being scrutinised a lot more closely 36 M A G A Z I N E

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than they were and the cost of borrowing is going to be a bit higher. “What will become more important are the relationships that companies have with their banks. They will find things a little bit easier if a good relationship has been built up over a period of time. “What is also crucial is how quickly decisions can be made. The banks that can do well in this environment are the ones who can make the right decisions swiftRapid Realisations Fundly.” Mr Chadwick’s role will be to help sell the merits of the city to professional and financial services firms in London and overseas. Despite the difficult economic climate there are signs of confidence from commercial bankers in Liverpool. In recent months the commercial teams of both Barclays and Bank of Ireland have relocated to Grade A office

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space at Rumford’s 20 Chapel Street development. Lloyds TSB has also beefed up its commercial presence in the city with a move to new premises at Mercury Court. In a recent interview with the Daily Post Mr Chadwick said not enough money was being spent marketing the city to potential inward investors in the sector. “There has been a lot of focus in the past on job creation, which is all very well, but I think it is wealth creation that is ultimately more important to the economy. Once you get growth in a core part of the local economy, then you benefit from a ripple effect,” he said. “We need more money, it’s as simple as that. I don’t know where that comes from – maybe from the local authorities – but we are going to have to speculate to accumulate.”


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ADVERTISING FEATURE

Banking & Finance BARRY ROBERTS, REGIONAL CORPORATE DIRECTOR AND BILL DOHERTY, DIRECTOR OF COMMERCIAL BANKING, AT THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND IN LIVERPOOL ASSESS THE CURRENT BANKING AND FINANCE MARKET AND HIGHLIGHT A NUMBER OF KEY ISSUES AFFECTING THIS SECTOR

The current situation: A combination of the uncertain economic climate and regulatory changes has created challenging conditions in the UK’s banking sector. The effects of these changes are still being felt and it may still be a while before we see a more settled market. Due to the rising rate of inflation and increasing costs of both energy and raw materials, many businesses have become more internally focussed. Companies have placed more emphasis on keeping their cost base down and are more cautious when it comes to borrowing, particularly if this involves changing banks. The relationship banking approach is more important than ever in the current climate. Banks should actively engage in strategic dialogue with their customers, so that they can understand their thinking and can help them overcome any potential problems. Despite the doom and gloom stories in the national press funding is still available and deals are still being transacted by Liverpool’s banking community. In the last quarter RBS completed several notable deals for a variety of businesses across Merseyside and Cheshire. These include; ● York Homes – a £14m residential development scheme in Formby. ● The Storage Team – an £800k transaction to expand a self storage business in St Helens ● Tyremaster – the £320k MBO of a Deeside-based commercial tyre repair business ● Merseyside Metalworks – the £800K MBO of a Liverpool-based manufacturing business ● Porters Horticultural – a £750k loan to support the expansion of a horticultural business in Formby

Key Issues: In the current climate we have seen a real shift towards structured finance. Asset and invoice finance type facilities are particularly advantageous during times when cashflow is under pressure. It can make more financial sense for businesses to use these methods at the present time rather than to fund assets via a traditional overdraft. In terms of debt restructuring in the present environment the old maxim of the right deal at the right price still exists. Some deals will succeed and others will not. Banks will make their M A G A Z I N E

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decisions based on several key factors such as the strength of the management team, or the robustness of the company’s business plan and not solely on the availability of credit in the market. To improve their chances of securing funding, businesses should ensure their management and financial information is accurate and up to date. The provision of relevant information to support a business case is of crucial importance when banks are making their credit decisions. L I V E R P O O L

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IN ASSOCIATION WITH

h g u o n e t o N s r e d a e l r o s n o drag

S TART-UP wth S O T wn gro N I E R I as his o F h E ise into e r H h p , r T t EA R e ente ly tha B h n t o p t O o T lo N S eve me to d S LOOK ork. e. N A ur own rogram V o p y e netw E the lin n id B u r -w e n BO v a r a e tion on g with fo h p a t s o in u r s u k o e u p r y e E o in r if a w is us do ound b do you illion p p back WHAT m ilt u ke a ste a m T l u ? f s s 0 s r5 succe ch you y, nd rea ? p u years a to man t e d idea our fe o y o t g u a p and d like ld soun a time It wou ans. v ack for E b t b a o s lack B t t rialis w as a but no indust t he sa a d e h . ir w t n t e regio The r ated a oss the r e frustr c a m a , a s w c s e o but b To Gr busine hip in eedom s r r is F e h d d a n e go of le unch t passin e has la imed a a several Now h y g c in n a runn in consult e c n . experie inesses big bus

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nes John Hay ip, adersh ctive le fe f nd e a g e n stro tcom N TIPS about TOP TE ired ou is s e d d n e u aro of th ed icture 1. Turn ood it. ell suit g t he p was a g in t t deliver I . o in t vice, w a le r p o e m r s a l . r e a r t o a n t e uc a ye atio g th ty prod ader n t o £37m buildin et. d d quali n a bro ime bu o nover t t r t mark o g u g n t e n g e r rket an took o r w lo w in e u a r v c k a g r e in H d fo h h get ma t n t . r y f a 2 a ll o o t s t u s s f e d e s d h e s nee of t ss. busin seem succe to the anding r proce omers erated ple key nderst ur cust a tende u o y. “We op f d d g e o o e c t ith sim o e a u .” g w r g d m t s A n o o lu r s t la n . p y 3 p all ess icatio ured. d t he and in eventu mmun ty busin asily be meas o well d pulle o li o n c t a a u g is te q in h g o an e ing a eed t ddin accura were d evelop s that c eting, 5th we don’t n ss for e D g 2 I d le iv . , t t is u t 4 s c b h e h r je g d ood ss ob s too I thou lebrate mme ntrol, g busine tly, wa unts. who ce le cial co progra n a recen g a s ly acco s in h in Evans, li t t peop h f e n c t a o M h o m c o ig t n T a d er y bes y w n . r v o id a 5 a e s d g is r h e e t h in , H ing eep ped anniv ence ment. eam us book k develo ompet e retire e g t he t nd. d then ee of c in u n r p a o g r e s full-tim lo e ion, th d g e n is v h t he v a hig 6. De n Hay tworkin clients with h h e m o e it n J h e w t h , h n rk. wit give r of oing t you ca ood wo egrity, a roste f after d to do g ity, int uilt up e il r model b ected o b u p s a a x lt p e p a h u . c y he t he c hat is ies kee d urwen w n n a s C a p e w n r Alread n o m h u kn co ess eas r Jo missio to help ir busin directo ce to m he team s were fellow e ing the s in pla e sure t k w im iv m a a h e h l t c c M s a ia n y s it 7. cru el in nd put “Our in credit d ext lev them a staff an vailing o t he n e t r . p e g c e in n h tween v a t e b m h r mo it n fo w r . io pe icat s by need es but nd mmun hooter itional objectiv ction a ing ood co oubles r w an add G t o d r . e 8 g n les fun m u a ir o s e c fo . e e s h e r t h b v t e e a h h av ug nes.” m in custom . em to h ies thro ir fortu mentu ra mile “We se ompan ng mo nd the c o u r g o t ting. r s t e a in the ext e k A r n n g id a r r . u e 9 u in g m t t o , g n in lt m sis o ice ased defau ing the firm er ser v empha York b nd help custom ace, law de New p ic S lu t s c pains a n a a t in rb 10. Fan s so far ative, U s. Client PH cre nologie s m y h ir a c f s e g , T ” in ke lts market and La on resu Shipley judged t.” e a b h l t il s ple a “We w im s s a “It’s Evans.

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Daresbury’s innovation boom SCIENCE CAMPUS ATTRACTS 75 FIRMS IN THREE YEARS DARESBURY Science and Innovation Centre has grown to encompass 75 cutting-edge firms from a standing start just three years ago. The campus has flourished around the nationally-acclaimed Daresbury Laboratory and the National Centre for Accelerator Science. As a result the site has become a hub of science and innovation excellence. Its rapid expansion has led to plans for a £25m new office and laboraory building to cater for further growth. General manager John Leake explained: “The opportunities for knowledge sharing, collaboration and the creation of wider science and 40 M A G A Z I N E

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technology networks provided by the campus, make it a unique environment for innovation and business growth. “Through the physical co-location of scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs, it will become a major driving force in delivering the government’s objective of enhanced business innovation and commercial success from science. “We have a cluster of hi-tech businesses in a collaborative environment that encourages interaction.” There are around 800 people employed in campus companies along with a further 250 in the Daresbury Laboratory.

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Physicist Chris Underwood


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SPONSORED BY

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Expansion drive to host more firms VANGUARD House will provide 35,000 sq ft of office and laboratory space in units of between 1,000 sq ft and 7,700 sq ft. It will complement the hugely successful Daresbury Innovation Centre and provide a home for companies already on the campus to grow into as well as attracting established scientific and hi-tech companies from across the country. Vanguard House will be part of a £25m deal between The Northwest Regional Development Agency, Daresbury Science & Innovation campus and St Modwen, widely regarded as the UK’s leading regeneration specialist. Directly managed by St Modwen, it will offer

reception, meeting and conference facilities for all companies on the campus and a hi-tech IT service to its occupiers. The new development adjoins the existing Daresbury Innovation Centre and the Cockcroft Institute (the National Centre for Accelerator

Science), with the larger investment creating the potential for up to 200,000 sq ft of new accommodation and up to 1,200 jobs. St Modwen plan a rolling programme of development of high quality buildings provided speculatively or to meet occupiers’ bespoke requirements.

The one that didn’t get away PHYSICIST MAKES ROD FOR HIS OWN BACK Physicist Chris Underwood had his eureka moment when he took up angling five years ago. He realised that the technology he used in his day job could be applied to the fishing rod - and D-Flex was born. The academic-turned-entrepreneur is now operating out of the Daresbuy campus and working on his ambition of delivering his new rod concept to the marketplace. “About five years ago I took up fishing and realised that what I had used in medical technology could be applied to the fishing rod, essentially asking the question - why the cross section had to be circular? “Why not a triangle with rounded edges, giving a better strength to weight ratio and more flexibility? “We managed to get proof of concept funding to develop the prototypes and make a British patent application.” Underwood had been a physicist with a degree in Applied Physics and a Medical Sciences PhD specialising in surgery.

Setting up a business at the Daresbury campus turned out to be an ideal springboard. He said: “The prestigious address, the community of like-minded people and the networking opportunities on site have enabled us to tap into the resources that a small company operating on their own would never be able to access. “What the campus has done is created a magnet for organisations supporting hi-tech businesses; if you can’t find the answer from the immediate resource pool, you will be pointed to a person who can. “Daresbury is a fantastic address for giving you credibility. We are currently seeking contracts with all the top fishing rod manufacturers, and being able to host them at the Daresbury Innovation Centre is a great advantage.” D-Flex is now looking to licence or sell the rod technology to manufacturers or possibly float or sell to private equity.

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INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Back Row L-R Kirsty Barr (Business Development Manager for the Faculty of Technology and Environment, LJMU) Ian Jenkinson (Director of School of Engineering, LJMU) Clare Welsh (Operations Manager - Business Development Centre, LJMU) Gary Colquhoun (Head of Enterprise and Development, School of Engineering, LJMU) Steve Bonsall (Head of Maritime, Transport and Management Engineering, School of Engineering, LJMU) Jon Barrett (Director of Commercial Enterprise and Development, LJMU). Front row L-R Dr Al’Saadi (Director General of the Saudi Ports Authorities) and Gerry Kelleher (Pro Vice-Chancellor Delivery)

Flagship contract for maritime training UNIVERSITY TO WORK WITH PORT OFFICIALS IN SAUDI ARABIA LIVERPOOL John Moores University (LJMU) is to deliver professional maritime training to the Saudi Ports Authorities after signing a long-term contract. LJMU will deliver a suite of training programmes and port simulation, including a Diploma in Port Operations, a Diploma in Local Pilotage and a BSc (Hons) Marine Science. The courses are all preceded by an intensive English language course specially designed for maritime students. The University is also developing additional bespoke courses for the Authorities, such as diplomas in marketing, law, management, and logistics, and an industrial safety training course. LJMU’s vice chancellor, Professor Michael Brown, said: “Securing this contract with the authorities is a 42 M A G A Z I N E

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major coup for the University. “It follows two years of careful negotiations with our Saudi colleagues and builds upon the successful mission to Saudi Arabia led by Minister of State, Bill Rammell, of which I was a part. “Our training courses are designed to ensure that all marine operations are conducted to the highest possible professional standards and this key international contract demonstrates that LJMU remains firmly at the helm of advances shaping the maritime industry in the 21st century.” The Saudi Ports Authorities operate eight ports, including three major container terminals – two on the Red Sea and one in the Arabian Gulf – plus two ship repair yards. In the past two decades Saudi ports have handled more than 1.3bn tons of imports and exports. This equates to 12,000 ships visiting Saudi ports every

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year – roughly one ship every 30 minutes. The LJMU training contract is designed to help the Saudi Ports Authorities develop its workforce in parallel with the planned expansion and development of its ports. University experts will be visiting the eight Saudi ports in September to develop detailed topographical, hydrographical, tidal and visual database models for use on its pilotage training courses. LJMU’s Maritime Academy can be traced back over 100 years to the formation of the Liverpool Nautical College in 1892. It combines the maritime section of the School of Engineering and LJMU’s Lairdside Maritime Centre to provide a complete range of professional maritime training and degree courses to the maritime sector.


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Win Royal recognition NORTHWEST FIRMS URGED TO SHOUT ABOUT EXPORT ACHIEVEMENTS

John Norton of S.Norton & Co left, with Stephen Brice of the Queens Awards Office

MERSEYSIDE companies are being encouraged to correct the area’s underrepresentation in the Queen’s Awards for Export. This year just five North West firms received an award, from 59 applications. The success rate was less than half that of the rest of the country. In total there were 802 applications and 139 awards from across the UK. Stephen Brice, secretary to the Queen’s Awards Office, spent three days in June touring the region to sell the benefits of the Awards. “We know that winners take great pride in their Awards which have been described as being ‘like a corporate knighthood’,” he said. “The Award gives businesses a distinct competitive edge and instant credibility, as well as recognising the contribution made by the whole workforce to an organisation’s success.” Companies can apply online at www.queensawards.co.uk and the deadline for applications is October 31, 2008.

Business booms for wizards of Oz CHESTER-based emigration specialist The Emigration Group is benefiting from an increase in people moving to Australia and setting up businesses. About 25,000 people left the UK to go to Australia in 2006/07, which is three times higher than just five years ago, and many are creating their own firms. Director Paul Arthur said: “Enquiries from clients looking to set up businesses Down Under are really on Paul Arthur the increase.

“This comes as no surprise as with lower tax levels, straightforward codes of business practice and support from government bodies, Australia offers a welcoming place to start a new venture. “Australia is a prime choice not just because of the strong economy but the perceived lifestyle as well. Many of my clients looking to start a business are more concerned with achieving a better work/life balance than making money.” M A G A Z I N E

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Kit firm on the ball for Spanish success

RUGBY training equipment supplier NBS Rugby has seen its exports leap from 9% to 40% of its turnover. The Wirral-based firm is the official suppliers to the Spanish Rugby Federation and has a trilingual transactional website. It has manufactured rugby equipment at its Neston factory for years, but this year has seen its turnover double as sales are boosted by overseas exports. This uplift came after it completed the UK Trade & Investment’s Passport to Export programme, the scheme for new and inexperienced exporters. NBS arranged to put a substantial amount of stock into Spain, which could be sold to members of the federation without them paying 30% shipping costs on top, and have recently received an order for tag rugby kits to supply schools in and around Madrid. Managing Director Trevor Hobster said: “Passport to Export helped to match-fund a trip to Spain where I met up with the Spanish Rugby Federation and secured the business, and we are also getting orders from individual clubs and schools for tag belts and equipment. “We have already had a small export order to Italy, and have an ongoing enquiry in Prague, and we are planning to expand further into Europe this year,” said Mr Hobster. L I V E R P O O L

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PROFILE - NIK WHITE

LDP

LEGAL

Nik’s got the knack NIK WHITE WAS JUST 29 WHEN BRABNERS CHAFFE STREET MADE HIM A PARTNER IN THEIR CORPORATE LAW DEPARTMENT. SIX YEARS ON, HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BILLING £700,000 OF THE TEAM’S BUSINESS AND SAYS LIVERPOOL’S KNACK FOR INNOVATION IS IN RUDE HEALTH. BEN SCHOFIELD REPORTS.

NIK WHITE is a giant of Liverpool’s corporate law scene. At 6ft 6in tall, he is, quite literally, a giant. But the Brabners Chaffe Street (BCS) commercial law partner can claim to be something of a giant for reasons other than his stature. It was just five years after graduating from the BCS training scheme that the firm made Nik, then aged 29 or as he says “a baby”, a partner. Now 35, he manages BCS’s burgeoning four-strong commercial and intellectual property (IP) law team. This year they will be responsible for billing almost a sixth of the corporate department’s turnover, some £700,000. His success, he said, is partly down to “having a face that fits and being in the right place at the right time” but also down to how the Liverpool market has changed in the 13 years since he joined the firm. BCS had just six corporate lawyers when Nik joined straight out of 44 M A G A Z I N E

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Chester Law School and for the first three years after qualifying he worked on corporate finance. “I was interested in IP and it’s what I did best at university and law school,” he said, sat in a plush breakout room in BCS’s Exchange Flags offices. But it was the nature of the local market back then that you didn’t have an IP specialist.” Nik says his role is “vastly different” to what he was doing when he qualified. Aside from acquiring management responsibilities - which now includes mentoring trainees and organising the secretaries - the clients have changed as Liverpool’s business community has shifted. Half his team’s time is spent dealing with commercial contracts - agency agreements, distribution contracts, franchises, “the contracts that underpin the day-to-day running of the business” - and the other half on safeguarding intellectual property

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rights for technology firms. On the commercial contract side, his clients include tea manufacturers Typhoo, Eddie Stobart, regional tourist board The Mersey Partnership, as well as charities and retailers. But Wirral-born Nik also works for Liverpool’s video games developers, bio-tech companies and with other cutting edge “innovators”, notably Liverpool University’s School of Tropical Medicine. And it’s in that market place that he’s seen the most change. While Liverpool’s gaming community, he said, has shrunk, the city’s dynamism has more than compensated. Tracking the shift, he said: “Now they say the video games industry is twice the size of Hollywood, but it has got more polarised. Technology has got more expensive and demand for ‘ok’ games has dried up.” That has meant small-time “bedroom” programmers can’t


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survive. Consumers’ demand for ever more sophisticated games that maximise the available technology has created a smaller number of bigger companies. “Ten years ago Liverpool was a vibrant developing community,” he continued, “Merseyside was the hotbed, but the industry has changed. It’s a hard industry to survive in and there’s a lot less in Merseyside now than there was.” Nik acted for south Liverpool-based Bizarre Creations when they were taken over by Californian giant Activision in September last year. He describes the move as an “intermediate level company being snapped up by a global” player. Although Bizarre is still operating, should the city regret the other changes? “There’s nothing that the city could have done any differently,” he said, remaining upbeat. “It’s nothing to do with Merseyside, it’s the industry that’s changed. But I think in the void - if there’s any that’s been left the biotechnology field has more than made up for it. “Merseyside is a leading region for supporting innovation-based business. I don’t know why that is maybe we’re more prone to being independent and innovative than other cities.” He reels off the names of Liverpool Science Park, Liverpool Innovation Park, Wavertree Technology Park and Daresbury’s Science and Innovation Campus to underscore his point. But he is most animated talking about his work with the School of Tropical Medicine. The school was given $30m by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation earlier this year to fund projects to combat malaria in pregnancy. He is acting for them on preparing the license and distribution agreements for the drugs they develop. “It’s one of the real hidden gems in the city. The work that they are doing is fascinating and ground breaking,” he continued. “They’re becoming a lot more of a commercial animal - getting funding from Europe and grants. They’re in

numerous overseas consortia,” he says of the client BCS have had on their books for more than a decade. Another “emerging gem”, he added, is Human Recognition Systems, a small firm specialising in biometric security based at Wavertree Technology Park. “They’re involved with people like the prison service. There’s a lot of stuff I can’t say, but it’s cutting edge.”

Although Liverpool has treated Nik well, there was never any question of him not returning to Merseyside after graduating from Leicester University. He shakes his head dismissively when recalling how he never went to London like many of his peers. And since returning here, he’s developed into an outspoken champion of the city’s potential. “I’m more overtly passionate about this city than I was then. There are a lot more reasons to come to the city now than there was then - but I’m glad I stuck with it.” But while much of the city’s legal sectors are performing well, he says some could do better. M A G A Z I N E

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“Liverpool as a legal market place was quite staid. It was almost too comfortable. The same handful of firms had been the biggest firms in the city since the year dot. “But it’s maturing and growing. It’s been in the past eight or so years that you have got more business minded and commercially focused. It’s getting more sophisticated and competitive. “The city could support a lot more. One issue we have had is losing IP work to Manchester. There’s no good reason why work that’s in the city should go to Manchester, let alone London.” Though the Liverpool FC fan says settling with his wife Angela and twoyear-old daughter Mia in Allerton, south Liverpool, rather than somewhere near his childhood home on Wirral, was the right move. He is also a passionate drummer and quickly lists “Led Zep, the Beatles, Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon” among his musical favourites. So what does he do to relax? Nik says he’s a member of a gym and plays tennis and golf. But the father-of-one can’t help sharing an anecdote about a gig at the Echo Arena. No one, he says, is sure who booked the tickets or why, but after an evening spent with friends, the posse had purchased tickets to see Girls Aloud. “I knocked a few pints back straight after work and was a gabbling wreck but had a great time,” he recalls. It seems this friendly giant remains young at heart.

NIK WHITE CV ● 1990 and before Pupil at Birkenhead School, Oxton, Wirral ● 1991 Studied law and economics (2:1) at Leicester University ● 1994 Started legal practice certificate at Chester Law School ● 1995 Joined Brabners Chaffe Street (BCS) as a trainee ● 1997 Graduated from BCS training scheme ● 2002 Made a partner in BCS’s corporate team, aged 29 L I V E R P O O L

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Family business legal surgery FAMILY-RUN FIRMS HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE “BACKBONE OF THE UK ECONOMY” AND YET ONLY A QUARTER SURVIVE TO THE SECOND GENERATION, WITH JUST 14% REACHING BEYOND THE THIRD. BEN SCHOFIELD ASKED MACE & JONES’S CORPORATE PARTNER IAN HODGKINSON TO OPEN A FAMILY BUSINESS SURGERY. “HOW do I pass the torch, rather than blow it?” That, according to Ian Hodgkinson, the Mace & Jones partner heading up the firm’s corporate law department, is the burning question facing the heads of family businesses. The importance of family businesses to the British economy in general, and to the North West economy in particular, should not be underestimated. The Institute for Family Business estimates these firms make up two thirds - some 3m - of the UK’s private sector enterprises. In research conducted by Capital Economics published earlier this year, the institute estimated family businesses contributed 31% of the UK’s gross domestic product. And a survey has found family businesses - usually defined as one in which a single family holds more than 50% of the voting shares, supplies a significant proportion of the firm’s senior management and involves more than one generation of that family - make up around three quarters of the North West’s business population. But research also shows that only 24% of family businesses survive to the second generation and 14% reach beyond the third. So how can the head of the family firm guard against going from “shirt sleeves

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to shirt sleeves in three generations”, as another - American - phrase warns? The first hurdle is for the founder to decide if the firm should continue beyond his or her life-span and if so, does its most promising future lie within the family or elsewhere? “Just because somebody’s got a talent, it doesn’t mean their children will have it,” Hodgkinson said. “You’ve got to look at the family you’ve got and say ‘are they going to be able to do it?’. There’s no point in patting the baby’s head and saying to your son or daughter ‘one day all this will be yours’ because you won’t know if they’re a chip off the old block or not.” Hodgkinson also warned against an automatic rite of passage into the family firm. The next generation should, he said, be put off joining the firm until they aged “around 30” so they can gain valuable experience from outside which can then “fertilise” the business. “If you come into a closed environment,” he added, “and you only know how dad or grandad’s done it, you’re not likely to be as good at business as the founder. “Besides, if I teach you everything I know, you probably won’t learn everything and you won’t know anything else either.” Of course, some family businesses achieve success and are recognised leaders in their fields. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is an example. Entry into that family business larger than most with revenues of around $16bn and assets worth $32bn - is neither automatic nor a job for life. The ins and outs of the Murdoch empire seem to suggest its chairman

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and chief executive does not let family matters cloud his business judgements. Clarks Shoes, JCB (originally known as JC Bamford) and Associated British Foods are all family-run firms that continue to enjoy the status of being household names generations past their foundation. The trust, confidence and stability that can come with working with family members can nurture highly successful businesses. “Rather than thinking ‘are they the right person - am I going to have to keep an eye on them?’ - all that shouldn’t be an issue if there’s a close working relationship between the generations,” Hodgkinson said. But, he continued, while Littlewoods was a highly profitable Merseyside-based business started by Sir John Moores and run by his heirs, it broke some of the lawyer’s key rules. “The first Sir John created it all, bought into both football clubs, did the stores and the pools, but took it to a place where his successor could never keep it.” The divvying out of share holdings to scores of family members helped lead to “stagnation” in the business as the decision-making processes became clogged with family politics and diverging agendas. That made the firm easy pickings for the Barclay brothers and their £750m offer in 2002.

Spreading stock holdings too thinly out among family perhaps in an attempt to be fair to all relations - can lead to disaster. “I always ask people to think carefully before they divorce ownership from management, “If you’ve got family members who aren’t contributing to it, but are saying ‘where are the dividends’, they’re taking up room in the equity that should be going to the family or non-family members who should be incentivised to run the business.” Hodgkinson said family firms require “a degree of ruthlessness in selection and trying to avoid too much fairness”. But it is also vital that the older generations don’t hang on too long. That, said Hodgkinson, will encourage “Prince Charles syndrome” to fester in your heirs and can “stifle” businesses. “It’s your duty,” he said, “to be fully aware and do some succession planning and know how you’re going to replace yourself and when to go. “And go when you say you’re going to go.” This sort of planning should take years, not months. A tried and tested way of handing over to the next generation is, in the case of family-owned limited companies, for the younger generation to start with a small shareholding and then the older generation may then have their shares bought off them by the company itself, either all at once or in stages, eventually leaving the younger generation holding the only shares in the company. The advantage of this approach - aside from it being measured and gradual - is the younger generation does not have to take on a large financial burden to finance the transaction. Hodgkinson concludes running a family business well is all about putting the firm first. “It’s the goose that lays the golden egg. You’ve got to keep the goose nice and healthy and make sure that its priorities are met. Otherwise all the other geese will eat it up”

FAMILY FIRMS BY NUMBERS ● 56% of family enterprises are sole traders with no employees. But more than 1,000 have 250 or more staff. ● They employ 9.5m people. ● Almost a tenth of the Treasury’s tax receipts - some £47bn - comes from family firms. ● A Department for Trade and Industry survey in 2006 found 85% of small to medium sized (SME) agriculture firms were family run and 62% of manufacturing SMEs are. ● Three quarters of the North West business population is made up of family businesses. ● An estimated 100,000 businesses pass out of family control each year because of the failure to draft succession plans or business pressures.

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JOANNE JOINS CAMPAIGN A Merseyside family solicitor is teaming up with a top law maker to throw her weight behind proposed legislation aiming to make life easier for cohabiting couples, carers and siblings living together. Joanne Lomax, from Wirral law firm Lees and Partners, says she is campaigning to end the injustice and financial hardship faced by thousands of people who live together but are not married. She is a member of Resolution, a 5,000-strong group of family lawyers, who are working with QC Lord Lester of Herne Hill to introduce a Bill into the House of Lords in the autumn.

Legal trio raise a laugh A TRIO of Merseyside’s leading solicitors swapped the law for laughs to raise money for charity. The staff at Kirwans Solicitors starred in the Take a Stand comedy revue to raise cash for the Liverpool-based Roy Cancer Lung Cancer Foundation. Simon Gibson, Daniel Stear and John-Paul Dennis took to the stage at the Albert Dock’s Baby Blue club in July. It followed a four-week course by local comedy company Tongue In Cheek, helping to prepare them for the experience of cracking gags in front of a live audience.

BRABNERS WARN OF ‘SLOPPY’ PAPERWORK Sloppy administration by Merseyside businesses is causing a dramatic increase in demand for Company Restoration Orders, corporate city lawyers are reporting. Companies with poor control of their paperwork and statutory filings are being struck off the Companies House register, according to law firm Brabners Chaffe Street. Adrian Rogers, associate in the corporate team at the Exchange Flags-based firm, warned that businesses with overdue filings could face a time-consuming and costly procedure if they do not act quickly. He said: “Recently, we have seen a very noticeable increase in the number of companies needing to be re-instated.” Property management firms are particularly vulnerable as they often set up separate companies to manage their developments’ freehold. But these companies are regularly ignored and their paperwork goes unfiled once the houses or offices are sold off. Setting up a new company to resume that activity is rarely a realistic option, because assets held in the old company will not be transferable due to the lack of legal status. 48 M A G A Z I N E

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Martin’s literary award A LEADING Merseyside lawyer and crime fiction writer has scooped first prize in a major international short story competition. Mace & Jones’ head of employment law Martin Edwards saw off best-selling American author Michael Connelly to win the Crime Writers Association (CWA) L I V E R P O O L

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Short Story award at the CWA’s annual Dagger Awards for his spine-tingling tale The Bookbinder’s Apprentice. The judges described the story as “a subtle, insidious, and disturbingly creepy tale of how an Englishman in Venice finds himself offered the job of apprentice to a bookbinder with unusual methods”.


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ADVERTISING FEATURE

Right to request flexible working to be extended WHILST anyone can ask their employer for more flexible working arrangements, at the moment only parents or others (such as guardians) who are responsible for looking after children under the age of six years ( or eighteen years if the child is disabled) and those with caring responsibilities for adult relatives have the legal right to request to work flexible hours, provided they have worked for their employer for 26 weeks continuously before the application is made. The employer is obliged to take the request seriously and can only refuse such a request if they can demonstrate a clear business reason for doing so. The Government has now announced a proposed extension of this right to those with children up to the age of sixteen. This will mean that an extra 4.5 million parents in Britain will gain the right to request flexible working. The Government will now consult on implementing the proposals.

Dishonest staff –

To register or not to register that is the question? A National Dismissal Register is about to be launched. This is an initiative set up by the Action Against Business Crime (AABC) Group in an attempt to reduce losses attributed to staff dishonesty. It will give employers the opportunity to register individuals dismissed on the grounds of dishonesty, including theft and/or damage. The database will hold details of individuals who have been dismissed, whether they have been prosecuted or not, or left a company whilst under investigation of theft or attempted theft of money, merchandise or property from the company, its suppliers, staff or customers. This is extended to include falsification or forgery of documents, fraudulent acts resulting in the obtaining or intention of obtaining money, assets and services or information which would otherwise be denied, causing loss to the company or other party ie. a supplier or causing damage to company property. But beware before you rush off to register an ex employee as it could have repercussions for you as an employer. You may feel very aggrieved by the harm , time and money that an

employee has cost your business and feel this is ‘payback’, but be warned! An employer could be sued by the ex employee for defamation if the employee feels that damage has been done to their reputation by an untrue or unfair inclusion on the Register. Employees can be blacklisted by potential employers if their name appears on the Register and even if they have a claim for unfair dismissal, it can take time for their name to be removed and damage could already have been done. Also if an applicant for a job points out to a prospective employer that they have been included on the Register for a discriminatory reason and were dismissed from their previous job and then that employer decides not to employ them, then they too along with the previous employer could then face a discrimination claim. The Register will also pose problems of complying with the Data Protection Act 1998 and also risk of identity fraud. So although you may think it is a good idea to register your ‘dishonest’ staff, think twice about the damage it could cause you!

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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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY

Business parks buzz in reborn borough KNOWSLEY BACK TO WINNING WAYS KNOWSLEY’S winning economic formula is reflected in the fact that major brands like QVC and Liverpool FC are resident in the borough. It wasn’t always the case. The 1980s industrial decline was devastating, sending unemployment levels spiralling to 22%. The turnaround has been a long haul but has paid off in recent years. Knowsley Industrial park is a powerhouse of regeneration spread over 1,200 acress, the jobless total in the borough is down to 4% and reducing and business start-ups are growing fast. The key has been turning industrial wastelands into areas of high economic productivity. Barry Turnbull reports.

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

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Landscape has changed dramatically REVAMPED SITES HAVE ATTRACTED SCORES OF BUSINESSES MANUFACTURING job losses and derelict sites typified 1980s Britain, no more so than in Knowsley. The slump cost thousands of jobs with unemployment levels peaking at 22% and the image of Kirkby taking a battering. A total of 12,400 manufacturing jobs were lost and large sections of the population fled as economic prospects hit rock bottom. In response to these challenges Knowsley Council set out to to stabilise population loss, increase investment and diversify the economy. One of the key drivers was turning old factories and deserted sites into new parks with the development of Knowsley Industrial Park being crucial.

Cllr Graham Morgan, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “The area had really reached rock bottom and required a massive turnaround. Developing more co-operation between the public and privatre sector was important and this happened in the shape of the Knowsley Economic Forum. “This set out to support local businesses and attract new investment. I think from the start they had the attitude of let’s go out and make it happen. “It was recognised we had to have somehwere for new businesses so there was a strategy to develop business parks and at the same time it was also clear there has to be a huge

SUPPORTING CREATIVE INDUSTRIES IN KNOWSLEY CREATIVE SPACE ■ Based at Knowsley’s Business Resource Centre since April 2006 ■ Competitively priced office space and studios for creative businesses such as broadcast media, performance art, design, graphics, digital arts, new media, visual arts, craft and textiles ■ Professional support team to offer free business advice, grant and loan information, training and conference facilities ■ Since April 2006 a total of 18 different businesses have been located at Creative Space at the Business Resource Centre in Kirkby ■ Crystal Images - high definition media production for broadcast and corporate

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■ ■

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industries Booby Trapp - the corset specialist, unique and bespoke corset wear Merrie Design - graphic design company producing bespoke logos and stationary for UK and international companies. Awarded ‘Highly Commended’ new business in the Knowsley Enterprise awards 2006 Khaki’s Blues N2’s - supply specialist garments to military and emergency services Amareke Jewellery - design and manufacture of bespoke jewellery pieces and unusual glass and gemstone beads for private sector and corporate customers Create Design – designers of tableware, custom jewellery, hand crafted silver and sculptural metal pieces.


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KNOWSLEY FACT FILE

Left: Knowsley Industrial Park Below: Cllr Graham Morgan

KNOWSLEY BUSINESS PARK ■ 200 acre environment ■ Home to a range of hi-tech companies, including Virgin Media and News International ■ Quality accommodation for a range of business uses.

improvement in education standards.” He said that the track record showed total investment of £1.5bn, 12,500 new jobs created and a business startup rate of 46%. He added; “There is still more to do and our objective is to get another 8,500 people back into employment. We also need to lift our game in terms of information technology and the creative sector. “Hopefully the arrival fo Everton FC in Kirkby will also be a filip for tourism and along with Knowsley Safari Park make the area a destination.” Knowsley Industrial Park covers

1,200 acres and embraces 600 companies employing 16,000 people. Its location with transport links may it an attractive place to do business. The borough has names like News International (£100m investment), Vertex (£4m),CSCS (£7m) and Jaguar/Land Rover (£400m). Knowsley Council has recently carried out a major review of all of its land and property. As a result of this review, plans will be created to develop the industrial park to ensure it can continue to support the needs of the companies who are currently based there and attract new companies in the future.

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KINGS BUSINESS PARK ■ 20-hectare (50 acre) business environment ■ Directly alongside junction 2 of the M57 motorway ■ New offices have been recently constructed and are fully occupied, with further design and build opportunities from 10,000 sq ft to 150,000 sq ft ■ Home to Johnson Cleaners UK, Computer Sciences Corporation and Vertex HUYTON BUSINESS PARK ■ Home to famous names such as BASF, Goodrich, CDMS (Littlewoods), Halewood International and HIT UK ■ At the intersection of the M57 and M62 motorways. HALEWOOD BOULEVARD INDUSTRY PARK ■ 26 hectare site crossing over Halewood and Speke ■ Designed to provide an automotive component and pharmaceutical supplier park to Jaguar / Land Rover.

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TV shopping booms in Knowsley US GIANT QVC CELEBRATES 12 YEARS OF EXPANSION QVC is about to open a new high bay warehouse at its Knowsley base just a few months after the launch of a £20m customer operations centre. Both developments emphasise the spectacular success of the US shopping giant since it set up base in the borough a dozen years ago. A total of 1,800 people are employed on site with plans to encompass a further 700. QVC UK human resources director Frank Robinson said: “Since the initial planning stages in 1995, when we decided to locate our customer operations centre in Knowsley, and throughout our various expansion programmes, the council has supported QVC in a variety of ways. “They helped with inward investment, through to assistance with staff training and arranging transport for our staff so that we could achieve our goal of offering excellent customer service 24 hours a day, 364 days a year.” “We believe top quality customer service is the key to driving our business. And it’s well trained people with good facilities, technology and support who deliver outstanding service. That’s why we strive to make QVC a great place to work. 54 M A G A Z I N E

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“And why we are investing in these new state of the art facilities which will allow us to excel at our processes and build the QVC of the future”. The business goes from strength-tostrength with the distribution centre delivering a record 4m units in the last three months of 2007 as sales rose 7.5% to £110.7m for the quarter. There are already plans to create an extra 700 posts over the next few years at its Kirkby distribution centre and it is now looking at the possibility of relocating its head office function from London which would bring a further 500 on site. QVC instructed property agents Drivers Jonas to examine locations for a new-build head office in Knowsley and Salford to see how prices compare with sites within the M25. The Salford option would be at Media City, soon to be home to part of the BBC. The company’s lease at Battersea runs out in 2012. This comes just 11 years after QVC first chose Knowsley for its operations centre. Since 1996 QVC’s sales have quadrupled. In that year, QVC was available to just over 5m homes, now more than 17m households - seven out of 10 of Britain’s homes - can receive the channel.

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In 1996, 3.6m parcels were shipped, by 2007 this figure had grown to over 12m. The new high-bay warehouse is the fifth phase of QVC’s expansion in Knowsley and will double the amount of storage space available. The new call centre and office space will allow QVC to meet the growth in demand, as sales have increased by 33% over the last two years. The high-bay warehouse will be 37 metres high, fully automated and hold 30,000 pallets, which would stretch from Knowsley to Chester city centre if placed end-to-end. A 30,000 sq ft building for the call centre/office space will be over two floors and will provide a new canteen facility. The customer operations centre occupies a 38 acre site at Knowsley Industrial Park North. The facilities currently comprise a 54,000 sq ft call centre and 580,000 sq ft distribution warehouse. Cllr Graham Morgan said: “I remember QVC coming her and asking what the bus times where. The council’s response, was ‘what time to you want them’. I think they liked that attitude.”


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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY

Spencer forges on

EARLS’ FAMILY SEAT A MAGNET FOR BUSINESS

STANLEY Grange has been created from a former Victorian farm courtyard with open-plan offices ranging from 1,000 sq ft to 7,500 sq ft. Current tenants include MITIE, Gleeson Homes & Regeneration, Cybertill, Knowsley Community College and Goddards. Martin Harker, land agent for the Earl of Derby, said: “There has been a huge amount of interest in Stanley Grange, with previous phases being snapped up by a variety of companies from startups to larger corporates. “The setting is unique with the courtyard offering a tranquil area for people to relax. The staff working here greatly appreciate the accessible location, avoiding the traffic delays of city centre offices.”

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PROPERTY company Spencer Holdings has completed its final refurbished industrial estate due to prevailing market conditions. Although the company is pressing ahead with new acquisitions it has called a halt to new developments and refurbishments. Director Chris Hughes said: “In the current environment and with empty property tax it doesn’t stack up to to go down that road. Instead we are focusing on high quality investment opportunities.” The last completed development is Nexus in Knowsley close to junction 4 of the M57. Nexus offers a total of 188,547 sq ft of space with a combination of manufacturing, high bay warehousing and office accommodation available. It provides 90,419 sq ft of high bay warehousing with roller shutter doors, offered either as a single unit or up to seven specialist warehousing units with

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separate access points. There are also six units designed for manufacturing or storage use. The units, which total 58,773 sq ft, have a provision for office space and are designed for front and rear loading.

“The Nexus site offers high quality, flexible refurbished space - it’s well placed to serve Manchester, Liverpool and its surroundings.” Office space is also available, with a single ground floorplate of just under 40,000 sq ft. Hughes added: “The Nexus site offers high quality, flexible refurbished space. It has a great location by a motorway junction and is well placed to serve Manchester, Liverpool and its surroundings.”


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TO LET Across Merseyside & North Wales

Synergy • Ellesmere Port

Nexus • Knowsley

Link • Huyton

Chapel Brook • Huyton


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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY

Money too tight to mention? NOT FOR SOME COMPANIES STILL LOOKING TO GROW IN terms of football parlance, a lot of once attack-minded property companies have gone on the defensive in recent times. Indeed, some could even be said to have taken their eyes off the ball. Others, however, are still looking to strike when the opportunity arises. A year ago some companies like Bruntwood and Downing even went as far to suggest that they had compiled war-chests of up to £300m for future investment opportunities. Of course, the landscape has changed considerably since then, so what has been happening? You could be forgiven for thinking that the commercial property world has ground to a halt given the current gloomy outlook. Things are tight, for sure, but business is still very much on the agenda. Property First Asset Management is pressing ahead with work on developing a £30m business park in south Liverpool, a £25m expansion to Daresbury Science and Innovation Centre is underway while Peel Holdings is marching ahead with several high-profile developments. In Liverpool city centre, a huge retail and commercial scheme around Central 58 M A G A Z I N E

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Chris Hughes of Spencer Holdings Station is gathering momentum. However, it has to be conceded that brand-new developments from hereon-in are not going to be as plentiful. Instead, some of the cannier operators are playing another game. Industrial site specialist Spencer Holdings is one of them. It currently has £23m worth of business in the hands of lawyers. Director Chris Hughes explained that new developments and refurbishments are out - but that has not dried up business altogether: “We view the current situation as a potential window of opportunity. I know a lot of people, such as the big funds, are not buying but that is not our policy. We are scouring sites looking for the right sort of opportunity to invest in.” Spencer owns around 5m sq ft of industrial and office park space and was able to draw on a £200m bank facility to fund growth with less than half of that still to be used. Hughes added: “We are still pursuing the same policy of looking for modern, multi-let facilities with local companies, good covenants and in a prime area. “These are the sort of places that are weathering the storm. We believe in being pro-active when we can see

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there is value for money in the market while other companies are looking for the dust to settle.” Bruntwood is another steadfast property development and management company that continues to steer a true course. The company specialises in quality, city centre buildings and says its policy has not changed in that respect. It is currently spending £2m on refurbishing Number One Dale Street in Liverpool, which it acquired last year. Regional director David Guest explained: “We still have the same principles and values. We are not buying on any basis than what we have done before i.e. when it makes good sense and in prime locations. It is also important to maintain relations with existing customers which is why we also look to invest in our current portfolio.” The company is actually creating 120,000 sq ft of new build space in Manchester for an existing client. Meanwhile Downing, another company that announced it had money to burn last year, is forging ahead with high-profile projects in cities such as Leeds and Newcastle.


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For Sale/To Let New Industrial Units

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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY

Number One Dale Street

Quality secondary space still in demand, says Bruntwood FIRM PRESSES AHEAD WITH CITY CENTRE REFURBISHMENT

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BRUNTWOOD is pressing ahead with a £2m refurbishment of the grade 2 listed No. One Dale Street, in Liverpool’s city centre. The 50,000 sq ft office building will be fully refurbished to offer a Grade A space at £16 per square ft and is due to complete in January 2009. The £2m investment by the property developer confirms recent reports that the secondary refurbished office space market is well poised to deliver value for money for

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Liverpool’s small to medium businesses Bruntwood head of sales Colin Forshaw said: “We’re experiencing high levels of demand at No. One Dale Street with enquires coming from customers looking for larger open plan suites all above 1,000 sq ft. “Customers are looking for modern space in historic buildings with character and a city centre location. No. One Dale Street can deliver on all of these and as such has proved popular.”


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

MBOs MBIs Acquisitions Mergers The credit crunch may mean that banks and other lenders are unable to provide a funding package to suit the needs of your business. Start-Ups Expansions The funds managed by AFM are not affected by the current economic climate and we are actively investing in new and growing Rescues SMEs throughout the region. 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

AFM Investing In Your Success AFM manages the MSIF Group of Funds and is regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the course of investment business.


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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY

New office building in Birkenhead

Green for go SPECULATIVE BUILDING IN BIRKENHEAD COMPLETED WORK on a speculatively-built green office building is well underway in Birkenhead. The £6.25m, 30,000 sq ft Queensgate development has been undertaken by Felton in partnership with Wirral Council with backing from the European Regional Development Fund.

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Attributes include a heating system designed to burn recycled wood and paper chips, an intelligent lighting system and thermal insulation. Jim Wilkie, chairman of Wirral Investment Network, said: “This is set to create significant employment and investment opportunities.”

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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SPONSORED BY

Halcrow signs up at Birchwood FIRM TAKES 13,000 SQ FT OF OFFICE SPACE

WARRINGTON’S Birchwood Park office development has signed up Halcrow for 13,000 sq ft of space at 304 Bridgewater Place. Halcrow, a specialist in the provision of planning, design and management services for infrastructure development worldwide with interests in transportation, water, maritime and property, has taken the second floor on a 10 year lease at £18 per sq ft. 304 Bridgewater Place is part of developer MEPC’s award winning

Birchwood Park office development 106,000 sq ft four-building development. The latest news comes at the same time as MEPC confirms that 302 Bridgewater Place, another of the four buildings, is now fully let. The agreement will see Halcrow relocate some of its south Manchester based employees into the new Grade A office building following its recent expansion plans and recruitment drive. Birchwood Park has now let more than 50,000 sq ft during the last nine

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months at its flagship property, Bridgewater Place. Other high-profile occupiers of Bridgewater Place include its newest occupant, Vaultex UK, which took 10,496 sq ft, GB Oils, Vestas Celtic and David Wilson Homes. Rick de Blaby, chief executive of MEPC said: “We are pleased that Halcrow has chosen Birchwood Park for its new offices in the North West. Letting activity has remained steady over the last quarter across all our estates.”

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65 BM AD fearure

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

Improve your recycling efficiency B&M Waste Services Ltd, specialise in mobile compaction waste collection services for business organisations. Since entering the market in the year 1999 they have built up an impressive reputation for delivering reliable and efficient waste collection services. It has been their commitment to recycling that has persuaded most of their current clients to switch to them, but it is B&M’s reliability and efficiency that has kept them as loyal customers. They run an extensive fleet of both Trade and Front End Loading (FEL) vehicles from their Manchester and Wirral depots which service the full spectrum of businesses throughout the North West. They have supplemented their general waste collection fleet with dedicated cardboard, paper and glass collection vehicles to ensure that they can satisfy their customer’s diverse

recycling requirements. There is not a business sector they do not provide waste management and recycling services for.

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In its brief history the company has won numerous accolades including Environmental Business of the Year 2003, 2005 and 2008. Most recently B&M were voted Merseyside’s Medium Business of the Year 2008 at The Daily Post Regional Business Awards. This was for their outstanding service and investment in the environment.

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HOW GREEN IS MY BUSINESS SPONSORED BY

Saving cash and the environment COLOUR MATRIX EUROPE LEADS THE WAY ON RECYCLING. BY TONY MCDONOUGH KNOWSLEY-based ColorMatrix Europe is taking its environmental responsibilities very seriously, annually recycling almost 50 tonnes of waste. The firm supplies colourants and additives into the packaging, plastics, fibre and performance moulding sectors. Clearly it has the potential to be a high polluting business. In 2006 it scooped a Queens Award for Enterprise for establishing itself as a global leader in its sector. Located in Knowsley Business Park since 1993, ColorMatrix has made progress across a wide range of corporate responsibility issues. Health, safety and environmental performance is stringently managed and both internal and external communication has been improved by setting up a health, safety and environmental performance board. With the assistance of Groundwork Merseyside, a number of recycling and reduction schemes have been put in place and have led to improved resource efficiency, achieving environmental and financial savings. This includes the recycling of around 14 tonnes of cardboard waste each year, 19 tonnes of co-polymer QC plaques, and 15 tonnes of waste wood pallets are sent to a local social enterprise for recycling. This has resulted in annual cost savings 66 M A G A Z I N E

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of almost £6,000 and nearly 50 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill. Another major impact was the weekly cleaning of factory floors and disposal of waste water to effluent. By reducing the frequency of floor cleans, the company has been able to reduce the amount of mains water produced by around 24,000 litres per year, equating to a further £2,600 in cost savings. The firm’s Paul Wildman said: “The work carried out on site resource efficiency has demonstrated that we are able to combine environmental improvement with financial benefits to the business. “We strive to be a compassionate organisation in terms of the local and wider community, contributing towards the local charitable appeals and developing close links with the local community.” ColorMatrix is now looking at a major waste reduction scheme involving the use of re-usable colourant containers rather than disposable plastic pots, which would reduce waste production volumes significantly. With a commitment to reducing transportation costs, the company endeavours to use local suppliers where possible, for example insurance, equipment and waste contractors.

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RECYCLING TOP TIPS Groundwork Merseyside offers the following advice for firms looking to improve their waste management and increase the amount they recycle: 1. Conduct a waste review of your business and consider the following: All relevant legislation to ensure compliance; major waste streams (including raw materials, liquids, packaging, office waste etc); quantities and direct costs of waste streams; storage areas; potential areas for improvement. 2. Create a waste management plan. This will enable you to identify savings on raw materials, packaging, equipment, waste disposal costs, and compliance with environmental legislation.

3. Appoint a “waste champion� or waste management team to co-ordinate the waste management plan and promote staff involvement. 4. Involve the supply chain to reduce packaging waste. Packaging can be designed for maximum re-use (eg using plastic pallets and crates, rather than single-use cardboard boxes), which can be returned in the product delivery vehicles. 5. Re-use supplier packaging for your own products. This may be as simple as re-using suppliers’ boxes, or shredding used cardboard and paper for filling materials. 6. Consider who might re-use your waste. Certain wastes from your business may be a resource for another business. M A G A Z I N E

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7. Reduce office paper waste by changing printer format to double-sided; re-using paper that has only been printed on one side as scrap paper; re-using envelopes for internal mail; cancel junk mail; use e-mail instead of hard copies or faxes where possible. 8. Raise staff awareness through information posters, suggestion boxes, training schemes and achievement awards. 9. Monitor and record progress so you can report back to staff with the success of waste minimisation measures, thereby encouraging further waste reduction initiatives. 10. Make a start now by contacting Groundwork Merseyside on 0151 644 4700 for a free waste/energy audit via the Enworks funded business support programme. L I V E R P O O L

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Merseyside’s and Cheshire’s wealthiest entrepreneurs SPONSORED BY

Over the next six pages we look at the individuals who have struck gold in the business world >>>


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Driven to Succeed MERSEYSIDE and Cheshire may be short on listed companies but they are proving a breeding ground for some of the country’s wealthiest entrepreneurs. From retail to scrap metal and from housebuilding to high-tech internet sites, this region has generated some of the biggest business success stories of recent times. Those success stories have created thousands of jobs and pumped billions into the local economy - and have also made some families very wealthy. Today LDP Business takes a look at a selection of those top tycoons. This is not designed to be a league table and is not intended to be definitive – instead it provides a snapshot of some of the most successful business people and how they have made their fortunes. Economics analyst Professor Tom Cannon, a member of the Merseyside Entrepreneurship Commission that aimed to encourage more business start-ups in the region, says this area has a long record of business success. He said: “Merseyside has been creating seriously rich entrepreneurs not just for decades but for centuries. “If you look at the Sunday Times Rich List, after London Merseyside is second in terms of seriously rich people, with families like the Vesteys.”

Prof Cannon said wealthy entrepreneurs shared a number of key characteristics. He said: “When you talk to people like (Redrow founder) Steve Morgan, basically it’s the case that they’re capable of facing up to adversity. There’s obviously a creative element to their work. Also, people like Peter Johnson of the Park Group and Phil Redmond get an enormous amount of pleasure out of doing deals.” Kevin Gillibrand, director of Liverpool-based independent financial planners Fraser Wealth Management, said: “The region does seem to have created more than its fair share of millionaires, thanks to a combination of entrepreneurial spirit, tenacity and the ability to pull together and make things happen when it really matters. “Perhaps just as important as creating wealth is being able to maintain it and, having worked hard to earn their millions, Merseysiders also seem to have the right attitude and approach when it comes to hanging onto their hard earned cash. By and large, they don’t squander it, choosing instead to invest it wisely and make their fortune work hard for them – and often for others.” Many of the region’s wealthiest business people are themselves working to support the next generation’s business ideas, such as through Steve Morgan’s Morgan Foundation. That new generation could do worse than look at some of the following success stories.

JOHN HARGREAVES Founder of Matalan JOHN Hargreaves’ retail journey has taken him from Great Homer Street Market to Monaco. Hargreaves sold clothes in Liverpool’s Great Homer Street market before launching clothing chain Jaymax in 1975. But his Eureka moment came when he spotted the success of out-oftown value clothing stores in the US and opened the first Matalan in Preston in 1985. Matalan grew swiftly and in 1998 it was floated on the London Stock Exchange. Its value soared to almost £4bn until sales slumped amid competition from rivals such as Primark. In 2006 Hargreaves and his family took Matalan private again in 2006 in a deal that valued the group at £817m. Matalan is continuing plans to invest in its 202 stores and expand its store portfolio. This year’s Sunday Times Rich List values the family at £430m - well below the £1.35bn the family was valued at in 2001. Hargreaves, who lives in Monaco, stood down as Matalan chairman last year. He is publicity-shy but regularly promotes the NSPCC’s Safe Place campaign. Last year the £17m Hargreaves Centre opened in Great Homer Street to provide services to children and families affected by domestic violence, substance and alcohol misuse.

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THE MIDAS TOUCH

SPONSORED BY

SIMON NIXON Founder, Moneysupermarket.com SIMON Nixon is one of the UK’s most successful internet entrepreneurs. He and then business partner Duncan Cameron founded price comparison website moneysupermarket.com in 1999 to enable consumers to research and compare mortgage, credit card and personal loan deals through one dedicated site. Mr Nixon’s business career began in 1994 when he launched Mortgage 2000 alongside his sister’s boyfriend, Duncan Cameron, after dropping out of university. They provided an in-print price comparison service for brokers before launching moneysupermarket.com in 1999. The price comparison market has got more crowded as companies like Tesco entered the field, but moneysupermarket.com remains the leading player. Last year the group’s websites welcomed 91m visitors. The group, which in 2004 launched sister site travelsupermarket.com, now employs more than 600 people in Ewloe near Chester. Last year Mr Cameron, who had been a “sleeping investor” for five years, sold his share in the business to Mr Nixon for £160m, clearing the way for the company to float on the London Stock Exchange. As part of the float Nixon sold 18% of his shareholding, raising £103m, and now holds 54% of the company. He told the Daily Post’s sister paper the Chester Chronicle he planned to diversify into property and buy a private jet to allow him to commute more efficiently. Last month Nixon rejected a preliminary approach from Canadian pension fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan that was reported to value moneysupermarket.com at more than £500m.

ALAN MURPHY AM Paper/Nikal BOOTLE-born Murphy became known as the “bog roll king” after founding Skelmersdale business AM Paper in 1983 and building it up into one of the region’s biggest employers. He is estimated to have made more than £150m from the sale of the business in two slices in 1997 and 1999, and has moved to Monaco. Murphy, father of former Hollyoaks actress Davinia, was a founder investor of the Horizon Global Shipping Fund, a Jersey-based fund that has started building oil tankers in China, and founded Manchester property developer Nikal in 2003. Murphy is also a cornerstone investor in the £20m Northern Entrepreneurs Fund to invest in high-growth companies. M A G A Z I N E

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LORD STEINBERG Stanley Leisure LEONARD Steinberg may have sold his stake in Stanley Leisure but remains one of the best-known figures in the gaming industry. Lord Steinberg, 72, inherited a betting shop in Belfast in 1955 and built Stanley Leisure into one of the UK’s biggest bookmakers and Britain’s biggest casino operator. It moved to Liverpool in 1977. Stanley’s betting shop business was sold to William Hill in 2005, in a deal that made Cheshire-based Lord Steinberg around £40m. He remained chairman of Stanley until it was sold to Malaysian group Genting in 2006 in a deal that earned him around £70m.

STEVE MORGAN Founder of Redrow and chairman of Bridgemere Group STEVE Morgan is already one of the region’s most successful entrepreneurs now he is helping the business stars of the future through his Morgan Foundation. Morgan, 55, built Redrow into one of the UK’s leading housebuilders before pursuing other business ventures. He has a fortune estimated in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List at £430m and is today chairman of the Bridgemere Group and Championship football club Wolverhampton Wanderers. Garston-born Morgan started his business in 1974 after borrowing £5,000 from his father. Redrow grew into one of the leading players in its field, boosted by acquisitions including Costain in 1993. Morgan stood down as chairman in 2000, cashing in £198m of shares, though he remains its biggest individual shareholder. Today his Bridgemere Group includes Harrow Estates, which specialises in the purchase of derelict and contaminated properties throughout the UK, and Cheshire’s Carden Park Hotel. Last August Bridgemere bought Wolves for a nominal £10 and agreed to invest £30m in the club. Morgan’s charitable foundation was founded in 2001 and held its first Entrepreneur Awards last year. This year’s awards, with a £150,000 prize pot, are now open for entries. For information, visit www.mf-awards.co.uk 72 M A G A Z I N E

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THE MIDAS TOUCH

SPONSORED BY

TOM MORRIS AND FAMILY TJ Morris

(l-r) Home Bargains executive Joe Morris, Francis O’Brien of developer Arrowcroft, Home Bargains founder Tom Morris and Christopher Fox of Arrowcroft

WHEN many high street retailers are looking nervously over their shoulders, TJ Morris is instead looking forward to national expansion. TJ Morris, founded almost 30 years ago by Tom Morris, owns the Home Bargains chain. Its philosophy is simple - selling branded goods at lower prices than its rivals. That means it is well-placed to cope with a consumer downturn when people tighten their belts. Tom Morris opened his first shop in Old Swan in 1980, with customers including Ken Dodd. Today it has more than 140 stores and employs more than 4,000 people throughout the North, the Midlands and Wales. The company is now determined to become a national player. It is investing £35m in its Axis Business Park base in Croxteth, plans to open 200 new stores and expects its turnover to reach £1bn within 10 years. Last month TJ Morris won The Mersey Partnership Investment of the Year title at the Daily Post’s Regional Business Awards. The Sunday Times Rich List values the family at £220m.

MIKE NEWTON Founder and chief executive, AD Group CHESHIRE entrepreneur Mike Newton has seen his wealth soar sky-high as his Daresbury CCTV and aviation company AD Group has grown. Newton set up Dedicated Micros in 1982 to market a CCTV device which monitored how long players spent at the tables in snooker halls. The company was soon supplying equipment to watch the bar takings as well, leading to the development of the multi-channel CCTV recorder in 1985. Today, more than 7m images are recorded every second around the world using Dedicated Micros equipment. Newton launched AD Aviation in 1988 after the CCTV systems began to be used on aeroplanes across Europe. The division now offers a private jet service to business people and wealthy individuals and recently added a third aircraft to its Liverpool-based fleet. In 2005 magazine Management Today said he was set to be “the first CCTV billionaire”, and this year the Sunday Times Rich List said he was worth £385m. Newton has a passion for motorsport. He has twice been part of a winning team in 24-hour races in Le Mans, and this year survived a 270kph crash.


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GEORGE DAVIES Next/George/Per Una MOST retailers would be happy to have created one iconic High Street brand, but Crosby-born George Davies has notched up a hat-trick. Davies built Next into a high street giant in the 1980s and in the 90s developed clothing range George at Asda. In 2001, he launched Per Una, the clothing range which helped transform the fortunes of Marks & Spencer. In 2004 he sold his stake in Per Una to M&S for £125m. His company S’porter Retail opened a Liverpool FC superstore in Liverpool One in May. Davies told the Daily Post in May that he was considering founding a new fashion label – few would bet against him succeeding for a fourth time.

PHILIP SHEPPARD AND FAMILY European Metal Recycling WITH a turnover of £1.7bn in 2006, Warrington-based European Metal Recycling (EMR) is one of the region’s biggest business success stories. The company, founded in 1994, processes millions of tonnes of scrap metal every year including metal offcuts from factories and waste from demolition. It has several recycling plants in Liverpool’s docklands. The Sunday Times Rich List values its owners the Sheppard family at £780m. In 2006 and 2007 the group moved into the US market after making several acquisitions there. With the value of scrap metal still rising, EMR must be well-placed for further growth.

MIKE MCCOMB Mobile Phone Store MIKE McComb was one of the first people to spot the potential of the mobile phone revolution. He opened the first Mobile Phone Store in Southport in 1993, eventually opening 129 across the UK. In 1997 he sold 40% of the firm to BT Cellnet for around £7.7m. Four years later BT Cellnet bought the remaining 60% from Mr McComb for around £40m. Since then he has worked as a consultant and invested in property. In 2005, when he pledged to provide funding for the Merseytram scheme, McComb told the Daily Post his personal fortune stood at around £70m. 74 M A G A Z I N E

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SPONSORED BY

JOHN HALEWOOD Halewood International JOHN Halewood founded alcoholic drinks company Halewood International in 1978 and has seen it grow into an international group with a turnover of more than £250m. The group’s flagship brand is Lambrini and other brands include Lamb’s Navy Rum and Red Square Vodka. It exports to more than 40 countries worldwide. Halewood International moved to a purpose-built plant in Huyton in 1994. This year it opened a new £2.4m bottling line, doubling its production capacity. Halewood, estimated by the Sunday Times Rich List to be worth £90m, has a passion for racing and owns Amberleigh House, winner of the 2004 Grand National.

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SPONSORED BY

WEALTH MANAGEMENT

Staying afloat through the credit crunch BATTEN down the hatches, weather the storm and take comfort in the fact that you will eventually reach calmer waters... that’s the message from Liverpool based financial planning firm, Fraser Wealth Management. Paul Bocking, director, says: “Everyone is worrying about the credit crunch and how to survive it; the important thing is not to panic. There is genuine concern out there and many experts do not believe it will improve quickly, but past experience tells us it will eventually get better. Until then, people shouldn’t be panicked into selling their property or cashing in their equity investments. “Provided people had a carefully thought out investment strategy beforehand and have a diverse portfolio, they should hold their nerve and ride out the storm. “Despite stock market wobbles, history suggests that over the long-term equities perform better than any other asset. Many fund managers even view share price dips as buying opportunities. There will be a few brave people with funds available for investment who could take advantage of the current situation by investing in sectors which are performing badly, like housebuilding and banking, in the hope of making big gains when they recover.” Fraser Wealth Management offers expert advice on a wide range of subjects, with particular emphasis on retirement, investment and inheritance tax planning. It was the first independent financial planning firm in Liverpool to gain chartered status, a new standard designed to reinforce the importance of professionalism in a fast-moving and competitive market. Paul adds: “We can help our clients at different life stages to protect and grow their wealth; whether it’s helping them put together a diverse investment portfolio, working towards a comfortable retirement, mitigating their inheritance tax liabilities or maybe helping them realise the personal benefits of running a successful business by planning their ‘exit strategy’ and how to manage their own personal wealth thereafter.” Call 0845 456 4404 to arrange a one-hour consultation or go to www.fraserwm.co.uk for further details.

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ECONOMIC REVIEW

Halton hopes to bridge the gap MERSEY GATEWAY SCHEME KEY TO BOROUGH’S ECONOMIC FUTURE. BY TONY MCDONOUGH

IT would be unfair to say all of Halton's future regeneration hopes rest on one project but the success of the Mersey Gateway bridge scheme would certainly be a key plank in the process. Halton has just celebrated its 10th birthday as a unitary authority and encompasses a geographical area that takes in Runcorn and Widnes. Both towns are currently linked by the Jubilee Bridge. This cost £3m and was opened in 1961. It is designed to carry around 60,000 vehicles a day but is regularly handling 90,000. This inevitably leads to major delays at peak times - a situation that not only hinders Halton's economic expansion but also that of the entire Liverpool city region. The Mersey Gateway project would see a new bridge constructed across the river at a cost of almost £400m but Halton, along with the other local authorities in the Liverpool city region, believes the economic benefits would make it worth every penny. 78 M A G A Z I N E

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“The current bridge is well over capacity,” said David Parr, chief executive of Halton Council. “If we don't address that then a lot of the good work we have done will be to no avail.” Halton has worked hard in recent years to regenerate the area against the backdrop of the decline of traditional big employers like the chemical industry. In Victorian times the area had become a major industrial centre in the North West. Chemicals, shipping and leather tanning were the major employers but in the latter half of the 20th century these sectors declined. The former giant ICI plant has now been replaced by the hugely successful Heath Business and Technical Park. This is home to a number of hi-tech firms and employs as many people as the old chemical works. The Ineos Chlor chemical plant also continues to thrive. Halton is also working to turn the borough into more of a leisure destination, creating restaurants, bars and other visitor attractions. P O S T


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ECONOMIC REVIEW

However, a major area of present and future expansion is in the logistics and warehousing sector. Leading UK player the Stobart Group has recently acquired the Widnes-based O'Connor group, operator of the country's biggest inland freight terminal. Thousands of jobs could be created in this sector over the next few years but its success depends heavily on good rail and road links. This is one of the reasons why the bridge project needs to succeed. Improved transport links will also help attract other companies to the borough. Mr Parr added: “The bridge will not only create new jobs in construction, it will also encourage new firms to set up bases here. We also want to ensure our existing businesses can thrive and survive.” There has been some suspicion towards Liverpool city from the other boroughs, including Halton, that too much investment will be pulled into the centre. Mr Parr insists there has been a “positive debate” and that all the authorities are now committed to working with each other. “Private sector investment is vital for us all. Stobart has invested £100m into the borough and that is a real statement of commitment,” he said. “We need to maximise all our assets in the city region to attract investment and we can only do that and add value if we work together. The Mersey Gateway project is the perfect example of that.” Legal submissions have been made to central government and it is expected a full inquiry into the bridge project will be held towards the end of the year. If approval is gained work could start in 2011 with the bridge opening as soon as 2014.

David Parr, chief executive of Halton Council

HALTON KEY POINTS Stobart Group: The company has identified Widnes as a major location for its expansion plans. It is investing more than £100m developing the site as one of the biggest warehousing and logistics operations in the UK, creating thousands of new jobs.

Canal Quarter: A new district being created around the Bridgewater Canal area of Runcorn featuring a new public square, shops, bars, restaurants, offices and apartments.

Waterfront: £87m of private and public funding is regenerating Widnes waterfront into a thriving leisure and commercial area. Arts Centre: The new £7m Brindley Arts Centre in Runcorn provides visitors with a wide range of cultural experiences from professional music and theatre to exhibitions, children’s events and community classes. Castlefields: A previously neglected and unloved 1970s housing development which is being transformed with new “people-friendly” houses and apartments and a new youth activity park.

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ASK THE EXPERT

SPONSORED BY

Benefit from your business exit strategy Kevin Gillibrand, director, Fraser Wealth Management

Q: I’m planning to sell my business next year and have appointed solicitors and accountants. However, I stand to receive a considerable cash sum and am wondering what steps I should take to ensure I make the most of the money I receive? A: Firstly, congratulations on running a successful enterprise which, hopefully, will leave you and your family financially secure. You’re doing the right thing by planning your business exit strategy 12 months in advance as it will undoubtedly take this long to sort things satisfactorily. On a personal level it’s important to focus on how you will maintain your lifestyle after you exit the business. The income you’ve enjoyed from the business will stop post-sale, so you need to put plans in place to replace this income. First and foremost when you sell your business you will be liable for Capital Gains Tax (CGT). From 2008/09, the first £1m is taxed at 10%, known as Entrepreneurs Relief, with a flat rate of 18% thereafter. Your accountant should deal with this but when you receive

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your capital we would recommend that you set aside an amount receiving a good fixed rate of interest. This can then be used to pay the CGT in the January following the tax year that the business was sold. For example, if you sell in September 2008, it is part of the 08/09 tax year and the tax is not due until January 2010 – so exactly when you sell your business can make a sizeable difference to your finances. Also once you sell the business and the proceeds land in your bank account your potential inheritance tax liability suddenly increases overnight. Good, sound financial planning will help ease what can be a very stressful situation. You’ll need to consider any capital expenditure and the impact this will have on your cash reserves. For example, do you want to clear your mortgage, take a leisurely trip around the world, or invest in a new car, etc? If you find your new-found personal wealth burning a hole in your pocket it could be tempting to ‘spend, spend, spend’, but this won’t be sustainable. You really need to think about the type of life you want to lead once you leave the business and how you will fund that lifestyle on an ongoing basis. This will depend on your current age. If you haven’t done so already you should certainly undertake a full financial audit of your personal finances, to

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 T H E

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review existing investments, pensions, life assurance plans. As part of this review, it is very important to clarify the annual requirement for all of your expenditure needs and then find the most tax efficient stream of income to maintain your current standard of living. You’ll most likely need to plan to mitigate inheritance tax and you may wish to consider the implications of gifting cash to family or employees. When it comes to investing your proceeds of the business sale, you’ll have to consider how much risk you are prepared to take. In reality you will need to create an income and will also want to grow your money with inflation in order to preserve your wealth. At Fraser Wealth Management, we generally recommend diversity, ie, spreading your portfolio across a range of different asset classes, including equities, bonds, property, alternatives and cash. When one asset is underperforming, the positive performance of another asset should 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’. It’s undoubtedly an exciting time for you but you are right to consider the personal implications. An experienced financial planner can work alongside your business accountant and solicitor to help manage your business exit strategy. Contact: Kevin Gillibrand, Fraser Wealth Management, Tel: 0845 456 4404.

• Exclusive VIP access to online discussion and business forums • Networking sections • Video masterclasses and online business seminars • Access to archive material and research tools • Discounted rates for ‘exclusive’ products and services


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SPONSORED BY

Greg Lunn, Regus Regional director, North of England

Q : I own a successful small business based in Merseyside and want to relocate into Liverpool city centre where most of my clients are based. Is a serviced office solution a viable option for me and what are its benefits? A: Serviced offices, such as those provided by Regus, offer a simpler, more flexible alternative to owning or renting your own premises and are perfect for companies such as small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that wish to relocate to the centre of a thriving business area. Serviced offices can provide a number of commercial, financial and professional benefits to companies and demand for these solutions is continually growing, so much so that Regus has recently opened a new centre right in the historic Exchange Flags building, right at the heart of Liverpool. A key concern for companies, especially SMEs, is being flexible and serviced offices can give companies that ability. With short-term agreements and the option to downsize or upgrade services easily, according to market needs, businesses are not tied to longterm financial or contractual arrangements. Given the current volatility of the economy, this is an important benefit. Also, with a service provider like Regus, businesses have the added flexibility of being able to use

The benefits of serviced office solutions explained any of our network of business centres across the North West and even throughout the UK, as and when they need to. Within any business it is essential that all staff focus on core revenuegenerating activities. With a serviced office, companies benefit from dedicated support staff who can manage their company’s office, thereby reducing overhead costs and allowing workers to focus solely on core business projects. The strong service ethos and professionalism of Regus’ business centres can also enhance a company’s brand and reputation. Becoming a client of a serviced office within a Regus centre also allows you to benefit from the purchasing power of a global organisation. This means discounts on purchases such as state-ofthe art technology, office supplies and local courier services, all of which could be out of the reach of some companies individually. In May, Regus launched its Regus Purchasing Group which will provide group negotiated discounts to all Regus customers and their staff across a range of retail and business products. Furthermore serviced offices provide an excellent opportunity for networking. At Regus we arrange events for clients at our business centres to meet new business contacts. These events can make a significant difference to businesses as they could quite easily find their next big client at one of our events.

Launched in June 2008, the Regus Businessworld Membership programme provides the ultimate in flexible working. Businessworld Membership offers customers unlimited access to business lounges and cafés in any of our 950+ Regus business centres worldwide and is a cost effective alternative to working in hotel lobbies or coffee shops. Members have the added flexibility of being able to access a private office, by the hour or by the day, ensuring they can work more productively whilst on the move. In addition to a dedicated business environment from which to conduct business professionally and securely, members are entitled to discounted products such as meeting rooms, video conferencing and professional administrative support. Whether looking to cut down overheads, make new business contacts, take advantage of discounted prices or work flexibly on their own terms, a serviced office provides companies with a wealth of opportunities to help their businesses grow and develop. Regus Liverpool is located in the Exchange Flags Building, Liverpool L2 3PF. Regus will occupy the fifth and sixth floors of the city centre Grade 2 listed building, accommodating more than 320 clients. There are five meeting rooms available and a business lounge enabling people to drop in and work while on the move. For more information on Regus business centres and serviced office solutions, please visit www.regus.co.uk or call 0870 880 8484.

www.ldpbusiness.co.uk

• 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, log on to www.ldpbusiness.co.uk

Is the place to find extensive and up-to-the-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. M A G A Z I N E

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

Food for thought‌ BUSINESS LINK HAS A TEAM DEDICATED TO THE FOOD AND DRINK SECTOR TO HELP YOUR BUSINESS GROW AND DEVELOP! The Northwest is the largest food and drink producing region in England and Wales in terms of manufacturing units. The regional food and drink sector leads the whole of the UK in terms of the contribution it makes to the regional economy which stands at 10% and accounts for just short of 15% of total regional employment. The food and drink manufacturing industry is intensely competitive, but various drivers including health, energy costs and changing consumer demands mean that there is still room for small to medium-sized enterprises to flourish. Parts of the sector including food safety, process innovation and packaging innovation are experiencing high growth and opportunities also exist in the healthier foods and high value added foods markets. Business Link is an easy to use business support, advice

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and information service funded by the government and managed in the North West by the Northwest Regional Development Agency. It has a dedicated team within the food and drink sector, which is skilled in helping your business develop and progress by ensuring that you can quickly and easily access the advice, information and skills needed to succeed, from the broadest range of private, public and voluntary business support services. 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 us today to see how you can benefit. No matter what stage of development you are at, Business Link is 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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CREATIVE

(From left) Alex Frech of Black & Ginger, Nick Howe of Uniform and Matt Wardle of Black & Ginger are among the organisers of Liverpool Design Symposium

Bruno Maag will be speaking at the Liverpool Design Symposium

Design show for city LOCAL TRIO COMBINE TO BRING CONFERENCE TO LIVERPOOL LIVERPOOL will host its biggest-ever design conference in September after three Merseyside agencies pulled together to shine a spotlight on local talent during Capital of Culture year. The Liverpool Design Symposium in October will bring Merseyside’s new and established designers together with some of the industry’s most inspirational leaders. The St George’s Hall event is being organised by Liverpool design agencies Uniform, Smiling Wolf and Black & Ginger. It is being backed by industry body the Design Business Association and educational charity D&AD, as well as by Liverpool’s creative industry bodies Design Initiative and Merseyside ACME. Simon Rhodes of Smiling Wolf said: “We’re delighted to see our ideas come to fruition. “The symposium is not only a fantastic contribution to the Capital

of Culture programme but a great legacy for Liverpool’s design community in subsequent years. “This event reflects the great faith there is in the strength and growing ambition of Liverpool’s design sector.” The symposium will include an exhibition of winners of this autumn’s Roses Design Awards and a seminar by leading international typographer Bruno Magg. The day will end with D&AD’s President’s Lecture featuring Matt Pyke, founder of cutting-edge design studio Universal Everything. Mr Pyke will talk about his work including projects for Apple, Nike, London 2012, Channel 4 and his current commission to create sound sculptures for the Victoria and Albert Museum. The event will also feature seminars from the DBA and D&AD. Kevin McManus, director of Merseyside ACME, said: “Bringing M A G A Z I N E

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D&AD and DBA to Liverpool for the first time shows how significant the local design sector’s profile is becoming nationally. “We have been proud to part fund the Design Symposium activity and the fact local design professionals have driven this important initiative themselves demonstrates the strength of the design sector in Liverpool.” Sarah Elderkin, development director at Design Initiative, said: “The unique way that the business community and industry bodies are collaborating on plans for the event shows the enthusiasm we all have for encouraging the creative community in the city.” Liverpool Design Symposium, October 23, 2008, 12.30pm to 8.30pm, The Concert Hall, St George’s Hall, Liverpool For further information visit www.liverpooldesignsymposium.com or call Design Initiative on 0151 709 1566 L I V E R P O O L

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BUSINESS AND LIFE COACHING

BUSINESS

Prepare for the worst TONY ERSKINE SAYS ITS VITAL FIRMS LEARN ABOUT CRISIS MANAGEMENT AS Flight BA38 drifted 600ft above the ground with 152 people on board earlier this year and no power in the engines of the Boeing 777, steering became far more crucial issue than any steering group. There was no time to convene a committee to decide on the best way forward, or, more accurately, the best way down. Instead, one man, senior first officer John Coward, took control and guided the aircraft onto the relative safety of the Heathrow grass. Despite significant damage to the aeroplane on impact, disaster was averted, thanks to the swift reaction of the co-pilot. Companies can learn something from that life-and-death scenario that was played out above the skies of London, according to Tony Erskine the managing director of Runcorn-based firm Business Explained. Being prepared for the worst-case scenario makes it possible to react calmly should it occurs, but many businesses do not train their staff to recognise and then respond to the danger signs.

Mr Erskine, a business strategist and commercial pilot, said: “It is possible to be in the right hand seat in just over two years after your first flying lesson, so it is not the years of practice, nor do you need a high level of education. “The secret is in the training, not only the quality but the continuation of it, together with working to

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standard practices to cope with emergencies.” This level of preparedness can help individuals to focus in moments of extreme stress, enabling them to see beyond the chaos and concentrate instead on they can affect do. There was plenty that could have freaked out Mr Coward: the sheer oxymoronic approach of treating a 100ton airliner as a glider, the weight of the responsibility for the lives of the 136 passengers and 16 crew on board that and the potential devastation should the aeroplane land anywhere other than on or by a runway. But his training ensured he knew how to respond to the danger that confronted him. “There would have been little or no stress in the cockpit, just an ability to overcome the problem in hand,” said Mr Erskine. “The stress is absent because through training and standard procedures, pilots learn to cope with stress.” And this training is not a one-off. The performance is monitored and there are processes course to be gone through if pilots do not continue to meet the required standard. He said: “Once pilots are trained on a specific type of aircraft they are checked twice a year for an acceptable standard, and undertake a medical examination once a year. “Although, as typical managers we are not responsible for people’s lives day after day, however, we are responsible for the profitability, and therefore, the life of the organisation in which we work.” It is not always possible to know which employee will be in control when potential disaster strikes, but it is possible for managers to prepare for worst-case scenarios - and train their staff to react properly when it does.


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THE

NETWORKER SPONSORED BY

Mark Cavendish of Great Britain flashes three fingers for his third victory as he crosses the finish line in Narbonne to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Lavelanet and Narbonne, southern France, Thursday July 17, 2008. Left is Oscar Freire of Spain, and right, is Erik Zabel of Germany. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

Downhill ride for bike idea BARRY TURNBULL MUSES ON CYCLE SCHEMES AND THE TOUR DE FRANCE he peloton flashed down the mountainside in a kaleidoscope of contrasting colours. The main field of the Tour de France was hitting speeds in excess of 100km an hour as riders negotiated a treacherous, twisting downward spiral. A few already sported ripped clothing and road rashes: deep grazes and lacerations caused by hitting the tarmac at breakneck pace. I saw one rider get straight back on his bike and receive treatment from a doctor as he soldiered on. I was extremely impressed by the fortitude, courage and sheer steely mentality required to cycle over 150 miles a day for three weeks when I paid the Tour a fleeting visit a few years ago. Could there be a starker contrast with the pampered prima donnas of football’s Premier League who go down like gunned gazelles as they grunt and grimace for a few minutes before arising seemingly unharmed from the nice, soft grassy landing? Last year I went to the launch of the Liverpool stage of the Tour of Britain. Riders set off at 10.30 am from Sefton Park and although I hurtled by car up to Great Howard Street, it was too late, I’d already missed them. I raise the cycling theme because the subject came up at one of the summer’s round of banking events, can’t recall

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whether it was Barclays, the Bank of Ireland or Lloyds TSB, they tend to morph into one another. You meet all sorts at these functions, of course, including one chap who was vigorously promoting the idea of the Bike Pool. Personally, although I am a cyclist, I had never heard of it. The bemused Londoner - for he was of that tribe - became most agitated, claiming it was all the rage in the capital. Apparently organisations and businesses down there provide a pool of cycles for staff to use, generally for journeys under three miles. The benefits are reduced transport costs, time savings, improved health and fitness, and a better deal for the environment. It would have been a good idea here during the days of the Big Dig, you would would have thought. Does anyone know about this or promoted it? Not to my knowledge. You would think it would work in Liverpool which though compact, can be difficult to get around in by car, especially when time is pressing. On the other hand, I suppose you would need associated paraphernalia such as a helmet and cycle clips. I don’t think inclement weather would help either, who is going to fancy whizzing down the Strand in a downpour? Perhaps the idea should remain the domain of the snarled-up, congestion charging capital.

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THE NETWORKER

THE EVENT

COMPILED BY CAROLYN

HUGHES

GOOD FOOD AND GLAMOUR AT GUSTO WIRRAL WITCHES (Women in Touch with Claire House) held a fundraising lunch for Claire House at Gusto, Telegraph Road, Heswall. Over 100 Wirral ladies enjoyed a reception drink and sumptuous three course lunch in the luxurious surroundings of one of Heswall’s most stylish restaurants. David M Robinson jewellers provided the glamour with a stunning array of new collections, while Christine Cartwright, international skincare expert from Estee Lauder, provided and entertaining interlude on skincare. Yaffe Fusion Art taught the ladies how to look good for photographs, while Christopher Boyton Hairdressers performed a full hair make-over including colour on a willing model.

Ron Samuell (Christopher Boyton), Sarah Scherer

DOWNTOWN Liverpool in Business held its Cuban-themed fourth annual ‘Oscars’ at the Palm House in Sefton Park. The glittering awards ceremony, hosted by Phil Easton and Kim Hughes from City Talk, honoured businesses from across the region. The big winner of the evening was Midas Capital Partners who won the Business of the Year Award. The funniest speech of the night went to Herbert Howe, who was rewarded for his long term commitment to the city with a ‘Services to Liverpool’ gong. Other winners included, Knight Frank and Perfect Blinds.

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Paul Nixon (Perfect Blinds), Ann Lever (Knight Frank), Reuben Vose (Knight Frank)

Jackie Price (Estee Lauder at Browns of Chester), Michaela Baron-Owen (Estee Lauder at Browns of Chester), Anne Hardman (Estee Lauder at Browns of Chester), Christine Cartwright (International Skincare Expert for Estee Lauder)

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Rod Holmes (Grosvenor), Herbert Howe (Herbert of Liverpool)

Mandy Molby (Wirral WITCHES), Heather Henderson (Winner of David M Robinson necklace)

BLUE PLANET CELEBRATES 10 YEARS IN July the Blue Planet Aquarium near Cheshire Oaks celebrated its 10th anniversary as one of the UK’s best attended aquariums. Invited guests were treated to a gala reception, in support of the Year of the Frog and an entertaining after dinner speech from TV presenter and ocean adventurer Monty Halls.

DOWNTOWN AT THE ‘OSCARS’

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STEVIE G SHOWS OFF HIS TAN ALEX Curran and football star husband Steven Gerrard showed off their tans from their recent trip to Miami at the star-studded launch of The Vincent Hotel. Days after returning from the US, where they celebrated their first wedding anniversary, the couple were spotted partying at the funky new boutique hotel in their home town of Southport, near Liverpool. Alex and Steven were joined by Meg Matthews, Footballers Wives’ star Sarah Barrand, Coronation Street actress Torpele Dorgu and veteran footballers Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen. Guests were entertained by rising soul singer Nate James, who is rumoured to be dating Nancy Dell’Olio, as well as performances from the Pretty Dam Hot burlesque dance troupe, fire eaters, streets dancers and stilt walkers. The £15m hotel, which is owned by entrepreneur Paul Adams, is proving a huge hit with celebrities and is fully booked ahead of the MTV Europe music awards taking place in Liverpool in November.

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Paul Adams, Alex Curran and Steven Gerrard


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88—89Keep fit_corp

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SPONSORED BY

HOW I KEEP MYSELF FIT

Fit to focus JANE WOODHEAD PUTS RESTAURATEUR PAUL HEATHCOTE THROUGH HIS PACES RESTAURANT owner Paul Heathcote has to be one of the finest examples of how a busy and successful businessman manages to find time to keep fit and run marathons. And the entrepreneur believes exercise plays a key role in helping to drive business success. Heathcote, 47, gets up at 6am at least three times a week and either goes for a run or to the gym for an hour. It is then a quick shower and change and off to work. “I really like to be active. I am someone who needs to have challenges and targets. I like to set goals, work towards them and achieve them. This is something which applies both in work and in my leisure time. “I strongly believe that by taking part in rigorous exercise this really helps to focus the mind and any tiredness or lack of lustre which you may have felt at the beginning of the day is removed immediately. “I have heard many people say that by doing physical exercise in the morning this would just tire them for the rest of the day but this actually works in the opposite way and makes you feel really fresh and ready for the day and any challenges which may face you during the next few hours.” Heathcote was a keen athlete at school but admits that in his teens he stopped running. It was six years ago he started 88 M A G A Z I N E

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running again and in 2004 completed the London Marathon in three hours and 39 minutes. Bitten by the marathon bug, Paul completed the London Marathon again the following year. “When I am running I think about business plans, ways in which I can enhance performance and a whole range of initiatives to work on and implement. It really is amazing what you can do when you are out running. I feel like I can solve any problem when I am out pounding the streets. “It may be an effort getting up in the morning but you really do feel so much better once you have made the effort,” Paul said. In addition to running, Paul is also a keep squash player - something he does every Saturday.

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The restaurateur has previously played squash to club level both in this country and abroad but as a result of his split shifts it became increasingly difficult for him to commit. “I found because most of the people I was training with worked regular hours I ended up letting people down. Running is one of those sports which you can do literally anytime and anywhere so it really doesn’t matter what shifts you are working or where you are working,” he said. Heathcote comes from a sporting family, both his father and grandfather ran marathons and his father opened one of the first public gyms in the country. He opened his first restaurant at the age of 29 and now owns 14 across the North West.


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CORPORATE ENTERTAINMENT

Sport of kings, princes and Barry

SPONSORED BY

BARRY TURNBULL STANDS SIDE BY SIDE WITH CHESHIRE’S POLO ELITE I DIDN’T know a chukka from a chip buttie prior to visiting Cheshire Polo Club. But even if the nuances of the upper-crust game pass you by, there’s plenty to admire at this playground for the rich and famous. The county set had gathered to watch the semi-finals of the prestigious David Robinson-sponsored Wirral Ladies trophy on a day when a mini-bus full of us polo novices from Liverpool joined them . Jewel-encrusted ladies vied for attention with Ferraris and Lamborghinis at the club which has hosted such luminaries as Prince Charles and Camilla, who touched down by helicopter for one event this summer. The itinerary entails guzzling champagne and the likes in a marquee while waiting for the action to start. The players included some professional Chilean and Argentinian types who head to Europe for the summer season. Each rider has four horses to flog up and down the polo field but at some events up to 12 nags per player are

allowed. There was a lot of chasing, mud-churning gallops and a few wellaimed bashes of the mallet. A chukka, by the way, is a seven minute period of play. At some stage in the afternoon it was nosh-up. Unfortunately, this comprised a barbecue with one serving point which meant quite a wait while dozens of gluttonous guests piled in. Not a bad day out at all but according to recent reports, this sort of idling could soon be outdated. Event agency Beyond Certainty says businesses are increasing pressure to show their shareholders value for money and are M A G A Z I N E

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pulling away from traditional, perhaps more lavish, all-day hospitality jaunts. According to the agency, events coming under pressure are those that particularly blur the lines between business and leisure time, such as the heavily entertained corporate golf day, yachting and the season’s sporting calendar of tennis, polo and rowing. As a result, a distinct trend in niche events has grown according to Beyond Certainty director, Elia Nicolas. She said: “We are noticing a growing demand for extremely specialised events that do not encroach on business hours, yet ensure that the corporate’s potential client will participate.” “Taking a day out of the office for yachting around the Isle of Wight has long passed, as many corporates will no longer tolerate such expense. The growth is in the weekend market and after work hours. These type of events reflect the relationships that are in place and do not encroach on valuable business time.” 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 Wednesday, August 27 Friday, August 29 The Fire & Rescue Exhibition and Conference will take place alongside the World Firefighter Games at the Arena and Convention Centre. Tuesday, September 16 Friday, September 19 The British Orthopaedic Association’s 2008 Congress brings together orthopaedic surgeons in practice, in training or in retirement. The congress delivers education on developments in trauma and orthopaedic surgery. Wednesday, October 1 Thursday, October 2 Transforming the Future: The Liverpool Summit will be two days of inspirational thinking and debate. The principal speakers, known for their transformational strategies for business and their insights into international geo-politics, include Kofi Annan, Terry Leahy and Will Hutton.

Wednesday, August 20 Blyth Associates and Liverpool Chamber’s professional development programme are holding a one-day seminar on drafting and changing employment contracts. The seminar, presented by Denis Blyth, will examine recent legislative and other developments relating to employment contracts. It will highlight the problem areas and discuss how the contract should be drafted or changed to incorporate the current requirements. For more information contact Mersey Skills Network on 0151 224 1888. Tuesday, August 26 Striding Out in Liverpool, is holding a networking event on raising finance, starting at 6.30pm. For more information visit www.stridingout. co.uk/networking-events/liverpool Wednesday, August 27 Mentor Corporate Coaching is holding a seminar at Haydock Park Racecourse entitled The Faultless Leader, about how performance can be improved through effective leadership. The event is from 8.15am10.30am. Call 0844 412 8105 or email info@mentorcorporatecoaching.co.uk Friday, September 5 Liverpool’s free property networking event, First Friday, is being held at Bang & Olufsen’s Castle Street showroom from 12.30pm. Contact Joel Jelen on 0151 703 0917 for more details.

Monday, October 6 Wednesday, October 8 The Museums Association’s Annual Conference and Exhibition 2008, the largest museum and gallery event in the UK, brings together more than 1,300 professionals to discuss the key issues affecting the sector.

Saturday, September 6 Thursday, September 11 The BA Festival of Science, which brings over 350 of the UK’s top scientists to discuss the latest developments in science and technology will be hosted by the University of Liverpool. For more information go to www.theba.net/the-ba/FestivalofScience

Thursday, October 9 The Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool (MCPCIL) is hosting a conference, Care of the Dying: Meeting the Challenge: A European Perspective.

Thursday, September 11 Liverpool Chamber is holding a halfday seminar on preventing work stress, bullying and harassment, starting at 1.30pm. It will cover the recent developments and tribunal decisions on work-related stress,

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FEATURED EVENT

Andy Bounds speaks to the St Helens Chamber

Thursday, September 25 Consultant and author Andy Bounds is leading a workshop called ‘Five steps to successful networking’, organised by St Helens Chamber. It will share the secrets of effective networking, from how to enter a room without any nerves to what to say to interest everyone you speak to, in five simple steps. They are how to get in and out of networking conversations in the easiest way possible, who to approach when you’re networking and what to say to them, the easiest way to be interesting, how to craft an elevator pitch which leaves people demanding to know more about you, and the one simple step that will ruin your chances of networking being a success and how to ensure you never make it. The one-day workshop, which includes lunch, will be at Haydock’s Ramada Hotel and costs £20 members/£30 non-members. For more information call Rachel Wellens on 01744 742028. bullying and harassment. For more information, contact Alma Mayers on 0151 227 1234 or e-mail alma.mayers@liverpoolchamber.org.uk Friday, September 12 Louise Ellman MP will be meeting with the city’s business community in the latest of Liverpool Chamber’s quarterly meetings. The meeting, which will take place under Chatham House rules, is from 12.30pm-2pm and costs £15, including lunch. To book, call 0151 227 123, ext 2237 or e-mail nicky.lunt@liverpoolchamber.org.uk Thursday, September 18 The International Centre for Digital Content at Liverpool Innovation Park is holding a free event entitled The Business Case for Gender Diversity in IT. The speaker is Gillian Arnold, chair of the Intellect Women in IT Forum.

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For details, call 0151 231 4777. Tuesday, September 23 Striding Out in Liverpool is holding an event on effective sales techniques, starting at 6.30pm. For more information visit www.stridingout.co.uk/networking -events/liverpool Wednesday, September 24 Knowsley Chamber’s business environment club is holding its quarterly meeting at the David Lloyd Leisure Centre, Knowsley. It is on from 4.30pm-6pm and is free to attend. For more information call 0151 477 1356. Thursday, September 25 Downtown Liverpool in Business is holding its Sexy Networking event. For more information call 0151 227 1633.


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Business L UNCH

THE NETWORKER

SPONSORED BY

SIR THOMAS STREET HOTEL BARRY TURNBULL SHOOTS THE BREEZE WITH DOWNTOWN’S FRANK MCKENNA AT ST. JOHNS RESTAURANT

Outlook decidedly gloomy Sir Thomas Street Hotel 24 Sir Thomas Street L1 6JB 0151 236 1366 The bill included food, bottled water, tea, coffee and glass of wine

Total: £33.05

BANANARAMA crooned ‘Cruel Summer’ on the radio as steely raindrops machine-gunned the taxi roof. The driver droned on about fuel prices and the general state of the economy as the cab slewed through washed-out city streets on the way to Sir Thomas Street. Another dreary, wet summer, reflecting the general mood of despondency as we lurch towards recession. The cab driver blamed the government, naturally, but it’s easy enough to hit big targets. Governments have been complicit, for sure, allowing the modern-day hegemony made up of bankers, financial institutions and large corporations to dictate fiscal directions. Or are we equally to blame? The butchers, bakers and taxi drivers who have succumbed to the lure of cheap finance to mortgage their souls? At St. John’s restaurant inside the Sir Thomas Street Hotel this theme was continued by Downtown Liverpool In Business (DLiB) supremo Frank McKenna, who pointed the finger at banks.

TopTIPPLE

SHAKEN NOT STIRRED...

Vinea, Britannia Pavilion, Albert Dock. James McGrory has given up the 9-5 job to pursue his wine dream. The former engineer has opened a wine bar/deli in Albert Dock in an effort to offer ‘something unique’ in Liverpool. He got the idea of a wine-tasting bar after touring the vineyards of Napa Valley in California. “That sparked the idea really, I had not seen anything like it in the UK in terms of a relaxed place you could go combining a shop and bar, he said

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Two bowls of steaming soup seemed a good idea on a miserable day, Frank opting for broccoli while I slurped on hearty chicken and sweetcorn. “The government is prepared to bail out banks when they get into trouble, such as Northern Rock, but the banks seem to be unwilling to help the wider economy when the going gets tough. “Many businesses are struggling, especially in the property sector, but now it seems to be a case of every man for himself. The banks say they are open for business but where is the evidence?”said Mckenna. Through the window on Victoria Street rain continued to sweep in from the west as shoppers with flimsy umbrellas battled the wind and rain. Is the outlook for the economy equally gloomy? Frank went on: “As far as Liverpool is concerned we are doing well in retail and tourism and there is no reason why that should change. Those in other sectors, such as property, may have to look at alternative ways of doing business, maybe by diversifying.” For his main course, Frank chose his regular

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“We offer a number of things. Wine and champagne can be bought to take away or to drink in with the latter coming with £6.50 corkage no matter the cost of the bottle. “We also offer a try-before-you-buy, mixing different wines with meat and cheeses from the deli. We also do wine tasting events with experts which are proving popular too.” Visitors to Vinea can also taste up to 10 wines by the glass before they buy. In addition, there is a range of beers specially selected by their sommelier.


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Exterior of The Sir Thomas Street Hotel

Frank McKenna Interior of The Sir Thomas Street Hotel

chicken and bacon pasta dish, apparently devised by patron Paul Flanagan: “It’s fantastic,” he enthused. “I always have it when I come here.” My rump steak relaxed on a bed of mash and leak and was cooked precisely to order. It had been tossed and turned in a vaguely familar sauce I couldn’t quite pin down. A glass of Shiraz, smooth, rounded and exuding a ruby red hue, was a perfect match. Many will be aware that DLiB has crusaded for a reduction in the number of quangos running Liverpool and the city region, with some success if the newly-formed Liverpool Vision is anything to go by. That process, though, has not gone far enough, according to DLiB. Apparently the investment and regeneration body still has 90 souls and is irrevocably linked with the city council. “There is still too much blurring of the edges in terms of who does what. Liverpool Vision should have been given a specific regeneration role with strategic planning powers, taking it out of the hands of politicians,” said Mckenna. Meanwhile, the staunch Evertonian was looking forward to the new football season -

why not try...

IL FORNO AWARD

but not with much optimisim. He said: “We’re skint, so it’s difficult to see how the team can improve this season. Of course the consolation is that Liverpool should be as far away from winning the title as ever!”

Louis Roderer non-vintage champagne (£36) James says: “Champagne prices are likel to to rise between 5 and 8% in January so look for some bargains now. This is a fine example offering value for money.”

Jean-Paul Deville Champagne Rosé (£21.99 bottle, £7 a glass) “Excellent summer drinking, proving a big draw,” says James Urbina Rioja crianza 2002 (£9.99) Smooth Spanish red, some ageing in oak barrels, soft tannins with fruity appeal. Easy drinking and good match with cheese.

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Liverpool’s Italian restaurant, Il Forno has been awarded two special quality accreditations from The Mersey Partnership. The awards were given to the eatery, located on Duke Street, after an anonymous assessment. To win their two certifications, the restaurant, had to meet strict criteria including quality of food, hospitality, service and efficiency and cleanliness. The scheme is independently assessed by Quality in Tourism and awarded to restaurants that score 60 to 80% in the independent assessment.

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www.dailypost.co.uk

MOTOR REVIEW

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BMW 520d SPORT

BMW eco-friendly executive saloon LOW EMISSIONS AND FUEL ECONOMY MAKE 520d A CORPORATE WINNER By Barry Turnbull

It has the muscular performance of a leading-edge executive car but lower greenhouse gas emissions than a 1.3 litre Ford Ka. It can also eke out 55 miles to the gallon on longer runs if you are really frugal and is in the lower end of the company cars tax regime. Meet the BMW 5 series - the executive model that puts the gas-guzzling tag to bed. Bavaria’s techies have embraced the new green culture with open-arms with their motors accounting for 48% of all carbon reductions in the industry last year. The Efficient Dynamics programme has seen a series of subtle enhancements to make each unit off the production floor as eco-friendly as possible. But for drivers, the important thing is whether the vehicle looks and performs as a BMW marque should. The two litre diesel sport is all aerodynamic curves and refinement with enough power and acceleration for everyday use. It’s appeal is self-evident. A BMW badge allied to green credentials that will be of interest to both the business user and the private motorist. CO2 emissions are a worthy 136kgms, road tax is £120 and the Benefit in Kind

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rate is 21% meaning around £171 a month deductions for a higher tax band payer. The cabin is user-friendly with leather seating, easy to learn controls, adjustable seats with sports gearstick and steering wheel. The car glides effortlessly over the ground, zipping through the six speed gear box to cruising speed on the motoway with an adequate 0-60 mph in 8.2 seconds for the trickier acceleration requirements. The new efficiencies incorporate a new four-cylinder engine that generates an enhanced 177bhp. Various other features of the new BMW contribute to its frugality. It’s got better aerodynamics to reduce drag, low rolling resistance tyres, and a dashboard gauge that gives you a continuous fuel consumption readout so you know when to change gear. All in all, a smooth ride with good aerodynamics without being spectacular but the big draw is definitely its fuel economy and low carbon emissions. Our test car was provided by BMW Williams, 4 Great Howard Street Liverpool, Merseyside L3 7HT Tel: 0151 474 2000 www.williamsliverpoolbmw.co.uk

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THE NETWORKER

BMW 520d sport PRICE: £30,310

COMBINED MPG: 47.9

MECHANICAL: 177bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 6spd manual gearbox

INSURANCE GROUP: 15

BiK RATING: 21%

MAX SPEED: 144mph

WARRANTY: 3 years, 64,000 miles

0 - 62mph: 8.3secs

M A G A Z I N E

CO2 EMISSIONS: 136g/km

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THE NETWORKER

SPONSORED BY

STYLE & GADGETS ALEX TURNER TAKES A CLOSER LOOK AT MAN BAGS

MAN bags have always divided the male population. Not between the haves and the have-nots, but between the must-haves and the never-haves. Despite being seen by many as an affront to masculinity, for more than two years footballers, students and other anti-fashion icons have shouldered responsibility for the fad surviving in this country – so it now seems here to stay. So here we have three bags that could be carried off while wearing a suit.

The black leather large flap-over bag by Joseph Verity (top left) is a clean, simple design in the Ronseal style. It is a bag for carrying stuff with the minimum of fuss. Which is not the case for House of Fraser’s Linea leather man bag (centre). The weave design is aimed at those who like their fashion understated but obvious to the discerning eye. Like brown shoes, the brown leather max bag by Billy Bag (top right), demands an edge of daring to be used every day. But, if you can overlook the similarities with schoolbags from your childhood, this could the bag for you. Unless, of course, you’re one of the never-haves.

GADGETS are great for navigation, so here are two – one to navigate your way round the country and one to navigate your way round your home’s entertainment systems. Maplin’s solar bluetooth GPS receiver (right) can connect to any bluetooth-enabled unit, such as a smartphone, PDA or laptop, and the satellite navigation tool will provide your exact location and find where you want to be. But if your idea of getting out of your comfort zone is leaving the living room settee then the Beo5 remote control is for you. Available from Bang & Olufsen in Liverpool, the Beo5 (left) is described as “an extension of your hand” by its makers. It gives touch-screen control of your TV, films, music and more in the palm of your hand. Beo5 knows which devices you own and presents just the relevant menus and controls on its intelligent hardened glass screen. You get all the visual feedback you need, without obstructing everyone’s view of the big screen.

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SPONSORED BY

TONY McDONOUGH EBYXECUTIVE T RAVEL BY BARRY TURNBULL

EUROSTAR THE numbers of Eurostar travellers from Liverpool to mainland Europe are surging, but price-conscious business users remain unconvinced. In the first six months of the year, passenger traffic increased by 48% thanks to the opening of the new terminal at St. Pancras Station - just 10 minutes walk from London Euston. The bulk of new passengers were leisure trippers heading for Disneyland or connections with other cities. However, Eurostar was unable to say how many passengers are using the service for business purposes. The standard return fare is £84 between Liverpool and Paris but business premium class costs a whopping £787, effectively pricing the service out of the market. It takes five hours 35 minutes to get to Paris from Liverpool using the St Pancras connection and a further 20 minutes is expected to be shaved off that when the Liverpool-London link speeds up later this year. A year ago Eurostar made a presentation to Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, promoting the benefits of time to work on the train as well as the environmental impact, but even then chamber chief executive Jack Stopforth said the service would be price-led. A Chamber spokesperson said: "There has

been no feedback on this service from members. Even if people were using the service, the premium rate would hardly appeal so they would probably be travelling standard fare anyway." Gareth Headon, of Eurostar, said: "We are pleased to see the growth in the market from Liverpool and the North West. At the moment we are focusing on growing the leisure market and addressing the business market is something for the future." On Business Premium Class the Eurostar website states: "Premium Business Service offers the total freedom to work in exclusive, comfortable surroundings which include fast-track check-in, fine food and wine and access to wireless enabled lounges." A fully flexible single fare is £393 although this can be reduced to £280 if travellers are more open-minded about travel arrangements.” Richard Brown, chief executive of Eurostar, said: “The impact of rising oil prices on air fares, combined with growing awareness of the much greater environmental impact of flying, are causing more and more travellers to switch from plane to train. “However, while we expect traveller M A G A Z I N E

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numbers and ticket revenues to continue to rise, it is clear that the wider economic environment is deteriorating and we expect that the rate of growth will slow in the second half of the year.” Eurotunnel's revenues from railways for the first half of 2008 increased by 13% on the same period a year earlier, mainly as a result of the “spectacular'' increase in Eurostar passenger demand. The number of freight trains using the tunnel remains in decline, although the 7% fall was slower than in 2007. Revenues from Eurotunnel’s own shuttle service increased by 10%, with car-based custumers up by 4% and coaches 5% stronger in the period. Circumstances such as disruption at ports and storms were favourable to performance. L I V E R P O O L

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SPONSORED BY

NOTWORKING Image: liquid library

Laura Doyle outlines the benefits of virtual networking

Give them a poke IT’S not easy to start chatting to people when plagued by a nagging doubt that you’re boring the pants off them and they are just being polite. This is the reason why most networking events offer you a drink on arrival - to furnish you with that all-important Dutch courage, make the bores a little more bearable and create the illusion that you are really there to socialise. Just as internet dating was the solution for the wistful wallflower, so Facebook has become the virtual networking do for the bashful businessperson. I first became aware of this a few weeks ago after I was “poked” by someone on my Facebook account and invited to “be their friend” following a networking event. Not so unusual it would seem, until you consider the fact that I had never met the person before, nor did I speak to them at the event. Initially I cast this surfer off as a desperate loser, until the true genius of their shrewd manoeuvre finally dawned on me: Why risk boring someone to death and miss out on a potentially lucrative business deal when you can find out all about them via their Facebook page. When you meet them again, armed with this research, they’ll feel like they’ve met their soulmate. If the famous “Mr Liverpool”, who LDP readers keep asking me to identify, wrote in his Facebook profile that he liked New York, Country and Western music and cooking; turning up to a networking do in an “I love NY” t-shirt 98 M A G A Z I N E

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and cowboy boots, carrying a copy of Delia’s Complete Cookery under my arm would be a smart move. So, I decided to conduct a little Facebook poking of my own and you would be amazed at the information I uncovered on a number of eminent business people in the city. One respected and successful entrepreneur, known as a raving-mad Evertonian, loves indie music and is apparently “feeling horny” - but that’s ok as he only has three days left before he goes off on his holidays to Spain. Another well-known character and a big player in Liverpool’s property scene is a fan of John Grisham novels, listens to German trance music and his favourite film is Postcards from the Edge – go figure. Networking is so last season. Now, anyone who’s anyone is “internetworking”. If you don’t believe me try a little poking yourself and you’ll soon find it’s my way or the super highway. Oh and by the way, “Mr Liverpool” loves soft rock.

In the next edition of LDP Business… We take a closer look at how Merseyside companies, large and small, are coping with the effects of the credit crunch and the worsening economic downturn. And we’ll be asking experts what advice they can give to firms to survive a possible recession. And we report on a major business conference taking place at the BT Convention Centre which features a speech by former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. P O S T


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think differently about the way you work in Liverpool

Flexible offices from just

£99 per person per month*

- Fully equipped offices walk in, start work - Drop-in business facilities stay productive - Meeting rooms by the hour - Business solutions for every budget

New Regus centre now open at Exchange Flags, Liverpool City Centre

*Terms & conditions apply. Visit regus.co.uk/terms for more details.

visit regus.co.uk/liverpool or call 0870 880 8484


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Local Employment Partnerships

Effective recruitment Strong communities. Better business.

Make the most of untapped potential Local Employment Partnerships are simple, effective, and can save your business time and money.

“We are very satisfied with the results of the work trial scheme to date. It is not easy to discover suitable staff with the right motivation and approach, and the work trial buys us a few weeks during which the candidates are given extensive training that reveals their suitability for the job.� Pete Bevis, Personnel Manager, Selwyn Care Ltd.

To find out about recruiting untapped potential: Phone 0845 600 8192 or email lep.enq@jobcentreplus.gsi.gov.uk www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk/up

LDP Business, Issue 4, September/October  

LDP Business, Issue 4, September/October. A Liverpool Daily Post magazine.

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