Friday, August 26, 2016

News: Liberty House linked to South Yorkshire's Tata Steel sites

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The Liberty House Group, one of the bidders for the whole of the Tata Steel UK business, is reported to be in talks to buy Tata Steel's specialities business in South Yorkshire.

Following a board meeting in July, the Indian-owned steelmaker decided on a separate process for the potential sale of its Speciality Steels business, which until recently employed over 2,000 people at sites like Aldwarke in Rotherham and Stocksbridge in Sheffield.

The sale process for the rest of the UK assets was halted and the Tata board said it was looking at "alternative and more sustainable portfolio solutions" including a potential joint venture with Germany's Thyssenkrupp which would see the strip products businesses combined.

Liberty House is an international steel and non-ferrous metals group and has already taken on plants in Newport and Scotland. It also acquired parts of Caparo's advanced engineering products and precision strip businesses in the West Midlands.

Sky News reported that potential bidders for speciality had been told to table indicative proposals by July 15. Now the Economic Times of India is reporting that Liberty is in advanced talks to purchase the pipe business in Hartlepool, and is amongst the bidders for Tata's speciality steel operations in Rotherham and Stocksbridge.

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Speciality Steels is not considered a downstream business linked to Port Talbot and Tata Steel's strip products business. It produces around 225,000 tonnes of steel, comprising around 3% of Tata Steel Europe's total output. It has a £275m turnover and is Tata Steel Europe's only Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) based business, specialising in carbon, alloy and stainless steels for demanding applications like aerospace, motorsports and oil and gas.

KPMG, the accountancy firm is running the sale and according to Sky News, documents "forecast a turnaround in the fortunes of the division, with an £81.4m pre-tax loss in the year to March 2016 expected to become a £32.9m profit by the end of its 2018-19 financial year."

The Economic Times added that Liberty House is said to be the only bidder for the Hartlepool works, which employs 600 people, and that a deal could be concluded in September. Sources say that Liberty House values sites in Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Hartlepool at £100m.

The Government has previously said: "We understand that a number of offers were received for the speciality steel business as part of the sale process for the whole of Tata Steel UK's operations. This indicates there are good prospects for a wholly commercial transaction for both the pipe mills and specialities business, similar to that achieved when the Tata Long Products business was sold to Greybull Capital. Therefore, at this point we do not believe that the specialties business is likely to require the same level of support and investment to secure a sale as the strip business based at Port Talbot."

In May, Liberty announced that it was submitting a bid for the entire share capital of Tata Steel UK. It was being supported by a panel of financial advisers led by international investment bankers, Macquarie Capital (Europe) Limited, with the State Bank of India Capital Markets as co-financial advisers.

Prospective buyer, Sanjeev Gupta, chief executive officer at Liberty House, has outlined the group's strategy. One solution is to use Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF) to make "GREENSTEEL" from the UK's mountain of scrap. It is also looking at investing in low cost long term renewable power, as close to the steel plants as possible. The third element of the strategy is to invest in engineering companies that use the steel and turn it into advanced components for existing and new UK based growth industries.

Neither side is commenting as the sale process continues. Liberty House did say following the halting of the sale by Tata in July that: "In the short term we will continue discussions with Tata about the acquisition of a number of important assets that fit well with our strategy."

Liberty House website

Images: Liberty House


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News: New manager at Rotherham BizSpace

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BizSpace, the leading provider of managed workspace in the UK, has appointed Zoe Wadsworth to manage its Rotherham workspace.

With over 100 sites throughout England and Scotland, the firm provides everything from industrial units, workshops and storage units to studios and offices.

Zoe was previously manager of the Oaks Business Park in Barnsley, on maternity cover, and has now taken on the role of business centre manager full time at the site on Bradmarsh Business Park in Rotherham.

The Templeborough business centre is preparing for a refurbishment of its reception area and its three meeting rooms, the installation of new corporate branding and signage, and the launch of an exciting partnership with Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.

Zoe Wadsworth, business centre manager at BizSpace (pictured), said: "As well as being appointed as manager of Bradmarsh, I am also now responsible for managing the development of Bizspace's meeting rooms nationwide.


"Throughout my career my roles have been focused on providing exceptional customer service and that's something I'll be continuing to prioritise. I'm excited to be working with all our customers in Rotherham and I am looking forward to the developments at the site, as well as welcoming new customers on board."

The business centre on Bow Bridge Close offers a mixture of office space from 320 sq ft and industrial units and workshops up to 1,000 sq ft, as well as mailboxes and virtual offices. It is currently at approximately 80% occupancy, with a mix of customers including British Gas, steel forging firms, healthcare companies, recruitment agencies, car repair firms and a café.

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Every quarter, Bradmarsh Business Centre will host a Keep It Local event in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, where businesses can visit the site and find out more about the chamber, the business centre and the benefits of working with local companies.

And on Tuesday September 20 from 10am to 4pm it will be the venue for a Cycle Hub event, promoting the benefits of cycling to and from work.

Emma Long, sales and marketing director at BizSpace, said: "Zoe is so enthusiastic about her work and is a natural people person so is very popular with our customers. She has the drive it takes to make a real difference at Bradmarsh and we are delighted to welcome her to the role."

Bizspace offers flexible solutions to meet the short and long-term property needs of the SME, start-up and corporate markets. It also operates Dinnington Business Centre on the former colliery site.

The business was owned by Highcross, which was bought by Northwood for £635m in 2014. Last year, investment group, Värde Partners closed a deal for the Bizspace Group for £135m including the assets and property portfolio.

BizSpace website

Images: Bizspace


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News: Purex expansion backed by Finance Yorkshire

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Purex International, a manufacturer of fume extraction systems, has expanded with the support of business loan from Finance Yorkshire.

Rothbiz featured the move earlier this year, when the £8m turnover firm expanded from its Manvers base and relocated to Thorne Park in Doncaster.

The firm manufacture systems that capture fumes at the source, preventing fumes escaping into the workplace, before filtering and recycling them meaning that fumes are not pumped into the outside environment. The systems are used in electronics factories and to remove all of the odours created by wide format inkjet printing equipment.

50% of Purex International products are sold to overseas customers. It also has a network of distributors across Europe.

Moving into a 18,680 sq ft unit, which it acquired on a freehold basis for an undisclosed sum, Purex said that the new purpose built headquarters will allow it to fulfil its current rapidly growing business and ambitious future expansion plans.

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The business was introduced to Finance Yorkshire by Barclays, which provided a commercial mortgage, and the regional funding body provided a business loan to support the move.

Finance Yorkshire has invested over £105m into companies in Yorkshire and Humber having secured extra support from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Originally a £90m fund, it operated three investment teams - Seedcorn Finance, Business Loans and Equity Linked Investments. It secured £45m from the European Investment Bank, together with £30m investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £15m from the Government via Yorkshire Forward.

The relocation follows a management buyout in 2015, supported by Barclays, which saw Trefor Jones and Andy Easey acquire the company from Domino Printing Sciences.

Trefor Jones, managing director at Purex International (pictured, far left), said: "We were in rented accommodation but wanted to purchase our own building. This move gives us more stability for the longer term.

"Last year we opened a subsidiary in the US where we have been trading for many years . We have a good reputation in the market for the quality of our products and now we are able to offer an enhanced, local service. The US market is worth $220m so there is potential for growth."

Melanie Reynolds, portfolio executive at Finance Yorkshire (pictured, second left), added: "There is an exciting future ahead for Purex International as it looks to build on an already strong reputation for quality and service by building its US sales, developing new markets and investing in new products."

Purex International website
Finance Yorkshire website

Images: Finance Yorkshire


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

News: Newell & Wright continues to expand Rotherham operations

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A retrospective planning application is being submitted as a vacant Rotherham logistics site is brought back into use.

Haulage contractors, Newell & Wright Group, have been using part of the former Exel Logistics distribution depot on Grange Lane between Templeborough and Brinsworth since July but complaints have been made and the lawful planning use of the site needs to be clarified.

The company took on the DB Cargo site at Templeborough last year, creating a new rail port facility, installing six sidings, ranging from 300 to 400 metres, allowing for a significant level of rolling stock and container handling.

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Since opening in the summer of 2015, Newell & Wright Group have seen a significant increase in the number of containers that are now using the rail port container facility and further investments have been made in infrastructure and capital plant equipment such as reach stackers for container handling, new hardstanding areas for container storage and a management office located on site.

Spotting a gap in the market for a rail terminal in the Yorkshire, a deal was signed for a new freightline between Rotherham and the Port of Felixstowe.

The latest application states: "The company has secured a very significant new contract for distribution of retail goods throughout the UK. The application site seemed ideal, given its location near to their existing depot, and particularly having regard to its long history for distribution purposes.

"The initial operation in early July was to move a substantial number of full containers onto the site to facilitate the start of the distribution plan. At 4 no. containers high, maximum, the site can accommodate up to 450 no. containers. The initial stocking surge completed, the daily normal routine is now under way. There up to 25no. vehicles in and 25 no. vehicles out per day (the same lorry). Each will bring an empty container in and take a full container out, or conversely a full container in and an empty container out."

The new contract has enabled the addition of ten new drivers and two new container movement operatives.

Originally built in 1990 as a former distribution depot and lorry park for Excel Logistics, the sizeable property had plans approved and was converted for industrial use in 2010 when MTL relocated from 112,000 sq ft of manufacturing space in Darnall, Sheffield.

The contract manufacturer was bought out of administration in 2015 by the WEC Group Ltd, one of the largest engineering and fabrication companies in the UK. It went on to acquire the 300,000 sq ft factory and 30 acres of land for £7m as a way of strengthening operations at its Rotherham-based site, now called MTL Advanced.

Newell & Wright Group website

Images: Newell & Wright Group


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News: Wentworth Woodhouse back on screen

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Rotherham's Wentworth Woodhouse, the largest privately-owned house in Europe, is back on screen this weekend as one of the filming locations used for ITV's new prime-time drama, Victoria.

The marvel of English architecture, which has recently had a sale agreed with a preservation trust, has previously been seen on the big screen in Mike Leigh's biopic of JMW Turner, standing in for London's Royal Academy of Arts and as part of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which was described as one of the most ambitious TV dramas ever undertaken in the UK.

The landmark series from award winning Mammoth Screen (Poldark, Black Work) stars Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who, Death Comes to Pemberley) as Queen Victoria and Tom Hughes (The Game, Dancing on the Edge, Silk) as Prince Albert. The ambitious 8-part drama follows the early life of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at the tender age of 18, through to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. Victoria went on to rule for 63 years, and was the longest serving monarch until she was overtaken by Elizabeth II.

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Victoria is the first large scale production to use Screen Yorkshire's Yorkshire Studios, re-purposed aircraft hangers at Church Fenton.

Screen Yorkshire works to secure and support the very best projects, companies and individuals, helping to make Yorkshire and the Humber one of the most sought after destinations for production in the UK. As an investor it operates the £15m, ERDF-supported Yorkshire Content Fund.

Buckingham Palace was recreated at Church Fenton Studios for the seven month shoot, which also filmed at Harewood House, Newby Hall, Castle Howard, Temple Newsam, Allerton Castle, Beverley Minster, Bramham Park, Carlton Towers, Wentworth Woodhouse, Whitby Pier, York City Centre, with a few days filming over the borders to take in Raby Castle in County Durham and the village of Rothley in Leicestershire. Creative England provided crew and locations support and helped with securing filming permissions for the shoot.
Wentworth Woodhouse was used to replicate Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace. The West Front of the house, rarely seen before it was opened up to the public, can be seen in the latest trailer for the drama.

Damien Timmer, managing director at Mammoth Screen, said: "The Yorkshire Studios gave us all the space we needed for our massively ambitious studio build, are a stone's throw from Leeds and close to the many fantastic locations we needed to capture the grandeur and opulence that the series demands.

"Queen Victoria's court is the perfect setting for an epic drama – a seething hotbed of scandal, corruption and romantic intrigue, involving everyone from the humblest dresser to the Mistress of the Robes, the lowliest bootboy to the Lord Chamberlain. When we join Victoria in 1837, England is unrecognisable from the country it will become by the end of her reign. As she takes her fledgling steps as monarch we slowly see modern Britain emerge."

Supervising Location Manager, Jim Allan added: "The streets of both York and Whitby along with the Stately Homes of Yorkshire looked fantastic and were ideal for Victoria, also nothing was too much trouble. With the on-going help of local Councils, Owners and Staff, plus the bonus of guidance from Creative England we achieved all our goals on schedule. Yorkshire has great locations and a 'can-do' attitude."

The first episode will be shown on ITV at 9pm on Sunday (August 28).

Screen Yorkshire website

Images: Mammoth Screen / ITV


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