Thursday, May 28, 2020

News: Rotherham United in £2m share issue

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Rotherham United has made a £2m share issue as COVID-19 creates an uncertain financial future for football clubs.

The League One promotion contenders have allotted 2,000,000 new shares in Rotherham United Football Club (RUFC) Ltd, according to documents filed with Companies House.

Businesses often use a share issue to raise cash, sometimes to pay off some debt, or enable employees to "buy-in" to the company that they work for. They can also be used to offer some shares to family members in return for salaries or dividends.

Football clubs could use a share issue to create an Equity Participation Scheme for fans. National League side, Hartlepool United has recently floated the idea.

The first team at Rotherham United has not played a game since March and the English Football League (EFL) and clubs have so far failed to agree on a solution to end the League One season.

With nine matches to go and the Millers sitting in the second automatic promotion spot, clubs are due to vote on whether to curtail the season now. If that happens then Rotherham would finish second and gain promotion back to the Championship on an unweighted points per game basis.

The EFL established a £50m short-term relief package to assist clubs with cash flow as they are without matchday income. The EFL said that "solutions are still required to fill the financial hole left by the crisis" adding that "the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be rectified simply by a return to play behind closed doors."

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It has been estimated that having to play out the remaining games could cost between £250,000 and £600,000 per club, on top of revenues already lost.

Even before coronavirus outbreak, 47 of the 71 clubs playing in the EFL, posted an operating loss in their most recent accounts and six clubs are in serious financial trouble, according to the latest Begbies Traynor Football Distress Index.

Chairman Tony Stewart OBE (pictured), founder of successful Rotherham firm, ASD Lighting, saved the Millers in 2008 when he brought the then League Two club out of administration via a Creditors Voluntary Agreement (CVA). Rotherham United Football Club (RUFC) Ltd is wholly owned by ASD Holdings Ltd, which is owned by the Stewart family.

For the twelve months ending June 2019, the last available RUFC accounts, turnover was £14m for 18/19, up from £10m in the previous season and higher than the £13m recorded the last time the Millers were in the Championship.

Profit before tax was £2.74m, up from a £500,000 loss the previous year and losses of over £1m in previous Championship seasons.

Unlike many clubs in the Championship, at Rotherham United, the wage bill sat well within its income, which was mainly made up of sponsorship (£3m), matchday income and season ticket sales (£2.58m) and central distributions via the Football League (£7m).

As reported by Rothbiz, a number of sponsors have remained united with the club during the pandemic by signing up for new, or extending, commercial partnerships.

RUFC website

Images: RUFC

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News: SCR Skills Bank has new offer for businesses battling Coronavirus

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Sheffield City Region's (SCR's) Skills Bank has launched two new strands to its programme to help businesses and training providers affected by the Coronavirus.

Skills Bank, part of SCR’s Growth Hub, has launched two new strands to the scheme; a suite of online training programmes has been developed for businesses who want to access training to support them through the challenges that Covid-19 is presenting.

Skills Bank has also opened a rapid response ­offer which is dedicated to securing training and support for businesses directly helping with the government's Coronavirus strategy, such as producing protective personal equipment (PPE) or sanitisers.

The Skills Bank’s expert advisors are available for businesses who need help with their applications, or advice on what other business support is available.

Skills Bank will also be continuing to offer their usual programme of securing bespoke-training to businesses who have ambitions to grow.

The first new strand of activity has been devised to support businesses as they make changes to day to day working. This suite of practical responsive training will help to stabilise businesses as they move to increased online methods to operate and communicate.

The package will include skills training focusing on areas such as entering new markets if their usual market is no longer operating, for example food producers selling to supermarkets rather than restaurants, or using online ways to communicate and work with customers.

The second new strand is focused on providing a rapid response to businesses that are directly contributing to the government’s COVID-19 strategy, for example, businesses who have shifted to manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment. Skills Bank can support employers to source and fund training quickly to ensure rapid changes to the business are put in place quickly and safely.

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James Muir, Chair of the SCR Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "We have already seen many businesses across our region leap into action and help support the national effort in battling Coronavirus and supporting our heroic frontline staff.

"Skills Bank is uniquely placed to ensure those businesses who are helping in the fight have the right skills and training. Our rapid response strand is designed to ensure that the process in getting staff trained up isn’t time consuming and delaying the important work at hand.

"The ongoing crisis has changed how all of us work. With these new working ways, it’s important companies are accessing the right training and knowledge to make sure they can operate as best as they can, whether that’s with a shift of focus, with reduced staffing numbers, or working from home.

"As always, we are open and here to help. The Growth Hub’s team of skills and business advisors are working around the clock to help businesses navigate through this crisis; whether that’s with accessing training or understanding which government grant or scheme is the most relevant to their business.

"I would urge anyone who is unsure where to turn, to get in touch with the Growth Hub and get the advice they need."

SCR Growth Hub website

Images: SCR Growth Hub

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News: Rotherham retail warehouse sold for £6.75m

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Leading property consultants Commercial Property Partners (CPP) has successfully disposed of a modern retail warehouse in Rotherham on behalf of BMO Real Estate Partners.

The retail warehouse previously occupied by Homebase, comprised approximately 52,000 sq ft and is situated at Northfields in Rotherham.

The retail warehouse, which was purpose built in 2009, has been acquired by an owner occupier.

Rothbiz reported in March that expanding car retailer, The Trade Centre Group, had secured the necessary planning approval in order to open a massive new car supermarket on the site.

The proposals would create 100 jobs.

The Welsh company's Rotherham proposals include converting the existing building into a 174 bay indoor showroom together with ancillary spaces which include, a dry valet area, small workshop, offices, staff toilets, customer toilets, baby changing, storage, sign up area and waiting areas.

The plan is to utilise the existing car park and vacant land that was earmarked for further development to create 812 external car sales bays plus staff and customer parking.

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Located a mile from Rotherham town centre, the site extends to approximately 8 acres, the wider Parkgate area is home to a wide selection of retail occupiers including Next, TK Maxx, Holland and Barrett, Frankie & Benny's and Nando's.

Richard Wright, Partner at CPP, said: "This was an exceptionally pleasing result in challenging circumstances following Homebase's CVA.

"The site itself is situated within Rotherham's busiest retail destination and provides a good quality retail warehouse with a very low site cover in a highly prominent position, it therefore lends itself to a variety of commercial uses."

The store was formerly occupied by B&Q having been purposely built for them. It was vacant since June 2016 when B&Q cut back its UK store numbers. Australian retail giant, Wesfarmers, opened and closed a Bunnings Warehouse in the unit in the space of five months before it returned to being a Homebase in 2018.

Trade Centre UK website

Images: CPP

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

News: Big names announce job losses

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Rolls-Royce and McLaren, two of the marquee manufacturers that have operations in Rotherham, have both announced large scale job losses.

Rolls-Royce's reorganisation is expected to result in the loss of at least 9,000 roles and McLaren's corporate restructure process is expected to result in around 1,200 redundancies.

The location of any redundancies has not yet been announced.

Derby-based Rolls-Royce said that due to COVID-19, activity in the commercial aerospace market will take several years to return to the levels seen just a few months ago.

With a global workforce of 52,000, the proposed reorganisation is expected to generate annualised savings of more than £1.3bn. Expenditure across plant and property, capital and other indirect cost areas will also be cut.

The proposed reorganisation will predominantly affect the firm's Civil Aerospace business, where it will carry out a detailed review of its facility footprint.

Fully operational in 2017, Rolls-Royce's £110m facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham is the most advanced turbine blade casting facility in the world. The 150,000 sq ft facility employs around 150 people.

Warren East, CEO at Rolls-Royce, said: "This is not a crisis of our making. But it is the crisis that we face and we must deal with it. Our airline customers and airframe partners are having to adapt and so must we. Being told that there is no longer a job for you is a terrible prospect and it is especially hard when all of us take so much pride in working for Rolls-Royce. But we must take difficult decisions to see our business through these unprecedented times."

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McLaren Group has recently commenced a proposed restructure programme as part of a wider business plan to ensure its long-term future success.

McLaren has been severely affected by the current pandemic. Bosses said that the cancellation of motorsport events, the suspension of manufacturing and retail activities around the world and reduced demand for technology solutions have all led to a sudden impact on the Group's revenue generating activities.

Subject to employee consultation, the proposed restructure is expected to result in around 1,200 redundancies across the Group's Applied, Automotive, and Racing businesses, as well as support and back office functions.

The £50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) was opened on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in 2018. It manufactures lightweight carbon fibre "tubs" and other carbon fibre components for supercars.

Just last November the Woking firm announced that it would be doubling the workforce at the MCTC to over 200 by the time it is in full production in 2020.

Paul Walsh, executive chairman of the McLaren Group, said: "We deeply regret the impact that this restructure will have on all our people, but especially those whose jobs may be affected. It is a course of action we have worked hard to avoid, having already undertaken dramatic cost-saving measures across all areas of the business. But we now have no other choice but to reduce the size of our workforce.

"This is undoubtedly a challenging time for our company, and particularly our people, but we plan to emerge as an efficient, sustainable business with a clear course for returning to growth."

Rolls-Royce website
McLaren website

Images: Google Maps

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News: Distribution firm take Rotherham 125

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A large vacant industrial unit in Rotherham finally has a new occupier.

Commercial Property Partners (CPP), working jointly with Savills, has advised on the letting of a large warehouse unit, totalling 125,000 sq ft. in Rotherham, on behalf of Goodman, a global property group specialising in creating high quality logistics developments.

At Maltby, the unit has been let to Carlton Forest Group (CFG) – a warehousing, distribution and logistics provider based in North Nottinghamshire.

The former Wincanton depot on Rotherham Road operated as a chilled distribution centre for retailers such as Sainsbury's and Tesco. It has been vacant for over ten years with the landlords struggling to find a tenant for B8 distribution use, despite refurbishment.

CFG was established in 2013 and retains its family owned status. It employs over 70 members of staff and works with blue chip companies across the UK including Reckitt Benckiser, KP Foods, and Greencore. It operates over four divisions – Logistics, Property, Energy and Warehousing. During 2019 it doubled its warehousing capacity to over 450,00 sq ft, opening a new warehouse in Barnsley.

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Ed Norris, partner at CPP, said: "We are delighted to have secured the letting of this well-located unit, not least during these unprecedented times.

"During recent months there has been a continued demand for high spec industrial properties within the region, which will only accelerate as tenants regain the flexibility and confidence to move between properties."

Tom Asher, director at Savills, added: "The industrial market continues to go from strength to strength. This letting along with further market activity proves the strength in the industrial and logistics sector."

Toby Vernon Partner at CPP, said: "We are very pleased to achieve this letting on behalf of Goodman who are a long standing, valued client of CPP and to see Carlton Forest take occupation of the Rotherham 125 warehouse."

Carlton Forest Group website
CPP website
Savills website

Images: CPP

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