Wednesday, April 26, 2017

News: Ranjit Boparan taking £5m stake in Crawshaws

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Crawshaw Group PLC, the fresh meat and food to go retailer, is hailing a transformational deal with the 2 Sisters Food Group that includes Ranjit Boparan becoming a significant shareholder in the Rotherham-based business.

The AIM-listed Hellaby firm is undergoing growth plans that will see it invest £200m, opening 200 stores and creating 2,500 jobs. The new investment is expected to enable Crawshaw to restart its accelerated new store opening programme, with an initial focus on factory shop locations.

Heads of terms have been agreed on a deal that will see 2 Sisters Food Group founder and chief executive, Ranjit Boparan (and connected party), invest approximately £5.1m for a 29.9% stake in Crawshaw, with warrants to acquire a further 20.1% of the Group.

The deal, which sees Boparan become an advisor to the Crawshaw Board, also includes an initial three-year supply agreement for Crawshaw to acquire fresh meat and other products from 2 Sisters, one of Europe's largest meat and food producers.

Crawshaw said that it would use its unique vertically integrated capability to take supply of quality fresh meat, poultry and other grocery products from the supply/demand imbalances, which prevents creation of unnecessary food waste.

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Noel Collett, chief executive of Crawshaw Group said: "This is a transformational partnership for the Crawshaw Group with a significant opportunity to offer a greater range and better availability to our customers. This new relationship provides a catalyst to our accelerated growth, both in sales and profitability."

"We very much welcome the 50/50 equity split as it reflects the symbiotic nature of the partnership and aligns both our interests to achieve maximum shareholder value. The two-stage subscription including conditional warrants will allow the commercial benefit to be demonstrated as part of the process."

Ranjit Boparan, chief executive of Boparan Holdings Ltd, added: "This is a great opportunity that complements our corporate social responsibility policy and our aim to reduce levels of quality food that would otherwise go to waste. Our businesses have a significant number of opportunities to work through together in the coming weeks and months."

The announcement of the deal comes at the same time as Crawshaw announced its final results for the full year ended January 29 2017.

Turnover was up 19% to £44.2m from the £37.1m reported in the previous year. Investing in expansion plans, the group made a loss before tax of £1.4m, an increase on the loss of £0.3m.

The expansion plan stumbled a little in 2016. As new stores opened, standardised offers and price points were also introduced into existing stores but the management admitted that they "didn't resonate as well with customers as we thought."

Changes were made to give store managers flexibility to re-introduce local products, sizes, price points and offers that were previously on sale in their specific store.

Collett added: "By listening to customers and focusing on the demands of each store's individual local community, we have seen a sharp recovery in both sales and customer numbers throughout the second half of the year."

The group opened 11 new stores during the period and now operates from 49 sites. It reported like for like sales down -7.3% for the full year.

2018 will see a disciplined approach to its growth strategy with a focus on factory stores which have higher sales, lower operating costs and lower fit out costs than units on the high street and in shopping centres.

It was also announced that Richard Rose is to retire after 11 years as chairman of the Group. Jim McCarthy, former boss of budget chain Poundland, is set to replace him in the role.

Crawshaw website

Images: Crawshaw


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News: Manufacturers looking to join the R-evolution at the AMP

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Six new units totalling 52,068 sq ft have been completed at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham - with interest high from companies wanting to take space at "the elite "Mayfair" address for advanced manufacturing."

Leading regeneration company Harworth Group, which is based in Rotherham, is pressing ahead with expansion plans at the AMP, completing the second phase of the R-evolution development, whose first phase – 52,000 sq ft of space built in 2014 – is fully occupied, with key occupiers including X-Cel Superturn and Metalysis.

David Travis, director of Business Space at Harworth Group, said: "We're delighted with the quality of all six completed units and I want to express my continued thanks to both JF Finnegan and our appointed project team for another job well done. We are now actively promoting these units for immediate leasehold occupation to advanced manufacturing and engineering companies wanting to be in close proximity to the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the other high-value occupants of the AMP."

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The scheme will be marketed by jointly appointed agents Knight Frank and Gent Visick. Tom Swallow, senior surveyor at Knight Frank's Sheffield office, said: "We are witnessing good levels of demand from occupiers looking for space on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. The next phase of R-evolution offers flexibility to accommodate requirements from circa 5,000 to 26,000 sq ft and with one of the units already under offer, we are confident that the scheme will prove successful given the lack of existing available space in the market."

JF Finnegan began construction of the latest units in September 2016, with practical completion achieved in April 2017. Construction was funded from a new £2.5m facility agreed with the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) Fund.

William Church, director of CBRE Capital Advisors and Fund Manager for SCR JESSICA, said: "Following the success of Harworth's previous SCR JESSICA supported developments, we are delighted to have funded the delivery of further speculative space at the Advanced Manufacturing Park. The provision of such space is fundamentally important infrastructure for the economic growth of the region given limited existing supply; supporting this growth is the purpose of the Fund."
The Harris Partnership, Burnley Wilson Fish, Barton Willmore, WYG, JPG, RSK, RBS Design and MRB all acted on behalf of Harworth in the planning and construction phases of these units. HLW Keeble Hawson and Eversheds also acted as solicitors on Harworth's behalf on the construction and funding phases.

Groundworks have also taken place ahead of the next phase of commercial development. A 75,000 sq ft unit for McLaren has recently secured planning permission on 25 acres of land where "AMPlify" has the potential to deliver 465,000 sq ft of new employment space.

Up to 3,500 new jobs are being created at the AMP which enjoys the full benefits of being part of the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone.

Harworth Group website

Images: Harworth


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News: Rolls-Royce offer higher apprenticeship at Rotherham facility

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School leavers wishing to take off with a career at Rolls-Royce in Rotherham have until the end of the month to apply for its prestigious higher apprenticeship scheme.

The world-renowned engineers operate the most advanced turbine blade casting facility in the world on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham. The £110m Advanced Blade Casting Facility (ABCF) manufactures turbine blades for the latest generation of aero engines and is described by Rolls-Royce as "a flagship for ground breaking solutions and a perfect environment to launch your career from."

The Manufacturing Engineering Higher Apprenticeship is offered at Rotherham and provides the opportunity for A-level students to study towards an engineering foundation degree and work alongside world-class engineers.

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The three year programme starts with foundation training on engineering principles before apprentices embark on a series of three month placements. The aim is to acquire practical knowledge in areas such as product introduction, capability acquisition and continuous improvement. Apprentices will earn as they learn how to manage projects and costs, and also how to evaluate engineering designs, solve engineering problems, and implement quality assurance methods.

Salaries start from £12,345 a year and apprentices earn a degree without racking up huge debts.

98% of apprentices successfully complete their training compared with a 74% national average and many go on to senior roles within the organisation - around 20% of current senior managers in the UK started their careers as Rolls-Royce apprentices.
A Rolls-Royce apprentice and Sheffield Hallam University student was recently highly commended at the National Apprenticeship of the Year awards.

Melissa Loonam is now a full time manufacturing engineer after completing her higher apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce and studying mechanical engineering at Hallam part-time.

Melissa (pictured), who is originally from Derby, said: "I was proud to have been named as a finalist for the Apprenticeship of the Year awards. I really enjoy being a part of an organisation like Rolls-Royce. They do amazing work in mechanical engineering and it's an incredible experience for me to work with amazing engineers and learn from them."

Two types of turbine blades are manufactured at the Rotherham facility: high pressure (HP) and intermediate pressure (IP) single crystal blades. The blades are "grown" in a special process which ensures that they are created from a single metal crystal to maximise their strength. These SX blades generate the power of a Formula 1 racing car.

Yesterday Rolls-Royce announced that it had won a $300m (£230m) order from Indonesia's the Lion Group, for Trent 700 engines and aftercare services to power three new Airbus A330 aircraft.

Rolls-Royce website

Images: Rolls-Royce


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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

News: LEP invests £25m in growing businesses

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The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has invested £25m to support growing local companies and inward investors of strategic significance, playing their part in the recent net jobs growth in the private sector - the first time growth has been seen in the city region in a generation.

Secured through the Growth Deals with central government, a £52m fund was established that built on the £32m "Unlocking Business Investment" programme, which was over-subscribed and created around 2,000 sustainable, private sector jobs.

Using part of the £350m Local Growth Fund (LGF) allocation, the Business Investment Fund uses funding for companies demonstrating growth or potential to grow, creating new jobs.

To date, £25m has been allocated to 24 projects, this is in addition to 129 projects as part of the previous Regional Growth Fund Programme.

Headline investments include the £12m commitment to supercar manufacturer, McLaren which has helped to secure a £50m project for the city region's emerging Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID).

Planning permission has recently been secured for a 75,000 sq ft development on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham that will enable McLaren to open a multimillion pound Composites Technology Centre.

The centre is set to create more than 200 jobs and will comprise approximately 150 production staff and 50 manufacturing support staff.

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Another high profile deal is the Shefield City Region Combined Authority recently agreeing a £5.75m grant from the Business Investment Fund to support the establishment of a production facility by Boeing.

The new facility, the result of a Boeing investment of more than £20m, will be Boeing's first manufacturing facility in Europe. It will employ approximately 30 people but has "strategic significance," not least because of Boeing's global recognition but in the 104 supply-chain jobs that are expected to be created as a result of the move.

Other investments include Doncaster-Sheffield Airport, Finance Yorkshire and Palamatic Ltd.
This investment is on course to support 1,500 direct jobs and many more in the local supply chain.

The LEP has set itself a target of supporting 30,000 high value jobs and 6,000 new businesses and the latest figures show that the city region is already outperforming these ambitious targets. The LEP and Combined Authoritiy programmes have already unlocked 15,900 jobs and levered over £315m of private sector investment.

Through the Growth Hub, the city region offers an Access to Finance service which enables companies to identify and access private and public funding opportunities.

An update to the LEP Board on the Business Investment Fund indicates that there are more investment projects on the way. It states: "The pipeline of the programme remains strong, and there is emerging pressure on the 2017/18 budget. In due course, steps may need to be taken to bring forward funds from 2020/2021 into 2017/18, especially if another of the inward investment project in the pipeline comes to fruition."

SCR Growth Hub website
Sheffield City Region LEP website

Images: McLaren / Boeing


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News: Magna gears up for Get Up To Speed

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Get Up To Speed (GUTS), the careers fair aimed at getting young people into engineering, manufacturing or technology, is taking place at Magna tomorrow.

The annual event returns to Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham for the third time this year and is designed for young people, their families and teachers to see some of the UK's best innovations first hand, hear from and talk to those involved in their success and learn about the future of the sector and its evolution through technology.

Attracting big names like Rolls Royce, Sheffield Forgemasters, and Tata Speciality Steel, Get Up To Speed is the biggest event of its kind in Yorkshire.

Around 50 engineering professional bodies, colleges, training providers and companies will be exhibiting at the fair and exhibitors include Chesterfield Special Cylinders, Naylor Industries, Polypipe, Yamazaki Mazak UK Ltd and Tinsley Bridge. Sponsors include Santander, Sheffield Tooling, AESSEAL, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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Organised by Sheffield-based charity the work-wise Foundation, in collaboration with local partners including RIDO, CQ Strategic Marketing and The Manufacturing Forum, the event at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham is expected to attract at least 2,000 young people.

As well as exhibitors there will be attractions including an Army Husky vehicle, an F1 simulator, a 10m Scalextric, demonstrations of 3D printing and the chance to try virtual reality welding.

Stunt pilot Lauren Richardson (pictured) will also be in attendance, and University of Sheffield students will be bringing an 18m human-powered glider.

Get Up to Speed is free to schools and families. It was first run in 2011, moving to Magna, which is set in the former Templeborough steelworks, in 2015.

John Barber, of the work-wise Foundation, said: "Get up to Speed is a chance to see some of the UK's most exciting engineering inventions, and meet the people who design, build and operate them.

"It really is a great place for the engineers of the future to be inspired and for companies to be part of that future.

"And Magna is the perfect venue for this event. The building is steeped in industrial history. As a giant former steelworks it is awe-inspiring and I can’t think of a better place to host an event that is all about encouraging young people to think about a career in manufacturing, engineering or technology."

John Silker, chief executive of Magna, added: "We are delighted to welcome the event back again. We are very much part of the local business community and we are all about science and education. And Magna is a cathedral to industry – both in the past and the future."

Get Up To Speed website
Magna website

Images: Lauren Richardson Airshows


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