Editor: John Arnold. E-mail [email protected]
Pat Williams. E-mail [email protected]
Site: Business Credit Management UK
Issue: Vol 5 Issue 11
Dated: 18 March 2001
Welcome to the Business Credit News UK.
In this weeks edition you will find the following topics.
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BYERS HAILS WINNING OF LARGEST EVER OVERSEAS OFFSHORE CONTRACT
Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers on the 15 March 2001 hailed the £300m contract to build an oil-processing module for Nigeria as a major boost to UK manufacturing and an important step towards achieving full employment in all parts of the United Kingdom.
Over 4,000 jobs will be created by the deal involving AMEC and Shell.
The building of the module is part of the £1.6bn deepwater Bonga development which will process 225,000 barrels of oil a day.
The contract will inject £100m of work in the UK supply chain and is the largest ever overseas offshore contract.
The jobs include highly specialist electrical and mechanical engineers and draughtsmen, as well as platers, pipefitters, welders, electricians and instrument technicians.
Stephen Byers said today: "It's a massive jobs boost, particularly for the North East.
"It's more good news for manufacturing in this country, coming on the back of Nissan's decision to build the new Micra at Sunderland and further investment from Rolls Royce, Ford at Bridgend and Toyota.
"The project the first major development in deep waters offshore Nigeria, so this contract is of vital strategic importance.
"It will put the UK in an excellent position when it comes to winning future contracts in the country, as well as other deep water projects because we will have the relevant technology and expertise.
"Coming the day after yesterday's excellent job news, this is a further boost for employment and an important step towards achieving full employment in all regions of the UK."
The announcement follows a series of other recent manufacturing investments including:
The proposed abolition of the withholding tax obligation on companies paying interest and royalties to other companies taxable in the UK has been extended to annuities and annual payments. This is a welcome extension that will also reduce the red tape, provided the rules for the paying company are sensible.
For example, providers of venture capital that are not banks will be able to receive interest without suffering the cash flow disadvantages of having withholding tax deducted.
The extension does not extend to UK exempt bodies such as pensions funds and charities. However, the possibility of such an extension in the future is left open. Also, many would like an extension to non-resident companies entitled to exemptions. This would further reduce the compliance burden and is a measure that would be welcomed by multi-nationals.
Apart from repeating the statement made in the pre-budget report that stamp duty will be abolished in the acquisition of properties in designated deprived areas, no other changes have emerged in the Budget press releases.
Rates remain unchanged,. No anti-avoidance rules have been published. Stamp duty continues to be charged on share transfers.
We await with interest further information on how the designated deprived areas exemption will operate. Stamp duty is not charged anyway under current rules where houses cost £60,000 or less. The exemption is therefore, likely most relevant for individual purchases of residential properties in London. In practice, how are the disadvantaged communities property marked out from the Georgian terrace on the other side of the road?
CBI WELCOMES INCREASES IN JOBS AND FALLS IN UNEMPLOYMENT
Increases in jobs and further falls in unemployment are welcome news, the Confederation of British Industry said last Wednesday.
Kate Barker, CBI's Chief Economist, said: "The latest set of figures is encouraging, especially our good performance on manufacturers' productivity and unit labour costs. The very slight increase in manufacturing jobs was also good news, but we need to await further data in order to assess whether this was a temporary blip.
"Although headline earnings growth was unchanged, the January figures were a little disappointing, given that they were being compared with January 2000 when millennium special payments were widespread."
ILO unemployment fell by 81,000 between the three months ending October 2000 and the three months ending January 2001. The claimant count measure for February was down in comparison to January with a fall of 10,600 being recorded.
The number of jobs in manufacturing rose by 8,000 between December and January and now stands at 3.899 million.
Average earnings increased by 4.4 per cent over the year to the three months ending January 2001, unchanged from the three months ending December and down from 5.7 per cent in the three months ending January 2000.
UNEMPLOYMENT FALL SPARKS BUSINESS CALLS FOR GOVERNMENT TO REMOVE JOB BARRIERS
he British Chambers of Commerce reacted positively to the latest official figures showing a fall in unemployment to below the one million mark, but warned that the removal of unnecessary cost burdens on business and further interest rate cuts were necessary for job growth to continue.
Ian Fletcher, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce said:
"This landmark fall in unemployment is testament to a successful framework of positive labour market reform and sensible economic management. The real test for government now is to show support for further job growth by removing the barriers facing business from the increased tax and regulatory burden.”
Official figures also showed that average earnings remained stable. Reacting to the news, Ian Fletcher said:
“The Monetary Policy Committee must now look to support further business and job growth by cutting rates at its next meeting. Given that the outlook for inflation remains benign, and with manufacturers squeezed even further at the margins, a cut can be the only course of action in April.
“At its February meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee stated that the global outlook had been the key reason for a cut in rates. Since then the international economy has if anything worsened, and given the uncertain outlook, a cut in interest rates would be the right step to take to shore up confidence across the business community.”
The BCC National Conference, sponsored by Cisco Systems, will be held at the QEII Conference Centre, Westminster, during 27-28 March 2001. Speakers include William Hague, Charles Kennedy, Jack Straw, Stephen Byers, Lord Macdonald, John Monks and DeAnne Julius.
BYERS ANNOUNCES MAJOR CASH BOOST FOR WEST MIDLANDS
Government response to Rover Taskforce published
Major support to help regenerate the West Midlands economy was announced last week by Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers.
He unveiled a package for proposals worth £59 million recommended by the Rover Task Force to modernise, diversify and regenerate the region's economy.
Making the announcement at an AEEU conference on manufacturing in West Bromwich, Stephen Byers said:
"A year ago, BMW announced its intention to sell Longbridge to the venture capitalist Alchemy. Had that gone ahead only 1,000 to 1,500 people would now be employed at Longbridge. This compares to the 7,500 presently employed there.
"At the time of BMW's announcement we decided to provide £129 million of support for good quality projects in the region. This was to deal with the consequences of mass redundancy. When the Phoenix consortium was successful we nevertheless decided to keep the funding in place. Today's funding announcement is the final part of this commitment.
"This money is key to the Government's commitment to supporting workers in the region's automotive sector and the wider regional economy.
"This package of measures will help diversify the region's economic base so it is not too reliant on one industry or employer."
Mr Byers said the Government will support the main proposals from the Rover Task Force strategy, including:
Mr Byers added:
"This package reflects the Government's commitment to economic regeneration and job creation in the West Midlands.
"Manufacturing matters to this region: it represents over 29 per cent of its GDP. It is industries in this sector which are facing the greatest challenge if they are to compete on a global stage. And it is these industries that need the most help to modernise and to adapt to change.
"We need to build on the strengths and diversity of the West Midlands economy if we are to establish lasting economic success in the region.
"This package of measures is designed to do exactly that."
Alex Stephenson, Chairman of the Rover Task Force said:
"This is wonderful news for the region, I am delighted that the Secretary of State has accepted the proposals developed by the Rover Task Force. It is the culmination of months of hard work by the many organisations in the region who contributed their time and expertise to developing this integrated package of actions. It is a testimony to the strong spirit of partnership embodied in the West Midlands.
"We believe this will help to accelerate the creation of a diverse and flexible economy, set out some 18 months ago in the West Midlands Economic Strategy. It will make us much better equipped to cope with the sort of economic shock we faced just one year ago. Along with our partners across the region, we will now get on with delivering those actions."
Stephen Byers set up the Rover Taskforce on 17 March 2000 in response to BMW's withdrawal from Rover Longbridge. Chaired by Alex Stephenson of Advantage West Midlands (AWM) the Task Force represented the key organisations concerned with regenerating the economy of the affected parts of the West Midlands. The Secretary of State pledged £129 million for good quality projects to assist in the regeneration of the region.
The Task Force contacted over 7,000 supplier chain businesses to gather information on job loss impact. The Task Force published an interim report in April 2000 setting out proposals to ameliorate the upset of BMW's decision on businesses and the wider community. Many of the recommendations were centred around helping people who had been, or were about to be made redundant from Rover Group, or its suppliers, and in helping suppliers who were in difficulty.
The Task Force Final Report was submitted to the Secretary of State on 3 July.
The total amount approved to date against the £129 million is £70 million - of which £15.7 million was approved for immediate actions and proposals arising from the interim report. The estimated spend for this is now £11.7 million.
The Secretary of State has today approved in principle a total of £36.7 million for Modernisation and Diversification proposals and set aside £22 million for Regeneration proposals. State Aids rules mean that European Commission approval will be required for many of the approved proposals.
The £59m package includes funding for proposals to modernise the automotive supply base in the region and help to support the diversification of companies serving the automotive sector into new markets and new areas of business. Also included is £22m towards plans for regeneration around three high-tech corridors in the region.
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A programme of regional seminars helping smaller businesses export capital goods to emerging markets was launched on the 15 March 2001 by the Government's Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD).
The seminars will explain how some of the payment worries experienced by small and medium sized companies (SMEs) can be removed thanks to the insurance and finance services offered by ECGD.
Of the 3.7 million businesses in the UK, recent figures show that 99% are SMEs. In the last year ECGD has issued £5.5 billion of guarantees, and 15% of the companies who benefited from its support were SMEs.
Launched in conjunction with local Chambers of Commerce and Trade Partners UK, the seminars start in Macclesfield, a former mill town which is now a thriving base for smaller businesses.
Trade Minister Richard Caborn said:
"Research has shown that a good number of SMEs either turn down potential overseas export opportunities because they are afraid they won't get paid by their overseas customers, or are exporting without sufficient insurance.
"I want to make sure that these companies are fully aware that ECGD is around to help them, offering them a variety of insurance and finance."
The three-month long roadshow will take in at least 15 venues around the UK, concluding in Manchester on 27 June.
John Lannond, Chief Executive of Macclesfield Chamber of Commerce, added:
"We warmly welcome ECGD's initiative in putting this package together and going out to the regions. We hope that SME capital goods exporters locally and around the country will benefit from ECGD's seminar programme."
Further venues for the roadshow are: Torquay, Bideford, Newcastle, Exeter, Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester
Venues been confirmed are: Belfast, Birmingham, Guildford, Glasgow, London, Nottingham, Liverpool
The SME package launched by Richard Caborn on 1 November consisted of: More generous rules for global sourcing, fast-track processing, the Export Insurance Policy, the Supplier Credit Financing Facility, a Recourse Indemnity, favourable margins and overseas investment insurance.
Capital goods and services include building projects, vehicle exports, production and installation of printing presses or road surfacing, and are often typically longer-term projects. http://www.ecgd.gov.uk
AUTO RETAILERS GLAD TO SEE BACK OF YEAR 2000
Automotive retail businesses across the UK experienced a 54% rise in the number of firms saying they were in trouble in the second half of the year 2000. Eighty-eight businesses in the sector made negative financial or performance announcements of some sort in the last six months of 2000, compared to just 57 in the first half.
There was better news however on the engineering front, which includes the automotive manufacturers and their suppliers. While there were 788 companies announcing troubled times throughout the year, the first half figure of 438 dropped to 340 in the second half.
The figures are compiled for business advisory firm KPMG by Mandis Information Services Ltd in Nottingham and report the numbers of businesses, whether quoted or unquoted, making negative announcements of any kind on subjects such as profit warnings, redundancies, significant restructuring etc..
Commenting on the findings, Richard Boot, Head of Industrial & Automotive Products at KPMG, said: “What our figures show is a tale of two sectors. The much maligned manufacturing sector is showing signs of improvement and learning to cope with the obvious pressures it faces. However, the figures also show the extent of the difficulties which affected the retailers in the tail end of last year. Of the 145 announcements made nationwide during 2000, 54 of those occurred from October to December. The most likely reason for this was companies’ nervousness over how the decreased production schedules of the major automotive manufacturers would affect them.”
“The disappointing thing was that this nervousness negated the optimism brought about by improving car sales figures in the second half of the year when dropping car prices attracted consumers back into the showrooms. Thankfully, this situation has since been turned around. The improvements, in performance terms, that these businesses have already started to show this year, thanks to continued increased consumer confidence, shows how that nervousness was misplaced. However, the uncertainty over how the industry will be affected by the block exemption review still remains.”
Within the retail statistics, the West Midlands accounted for 31 of the 145 negative announcements. They were closely followed by the Eastern Counties with 25, a figure which includes several high profile profit warnings from dealership groups.
Looking at the manufacturing results, Richard Boot commented: “We can’t get away from the fact that there are still an awful lot of struggling businesses in this sector (788) and that the majority are still where we would expect – 201 in the West Midlands and 109 in the North East. The fact that the second half year stats are rosier in both regions is very encouraging though. However, the North East in particular must guard against undue optimism brought about by these figures and the recent Nissan announcement. In fact, the region’s manufacturers must now be preparing themselves to deal with Nissan’s stated objective of increased Euro-zone sourcing.”
“My estimation is that the majority of the struggling companies would be made up of component and capital goods manufacturers. These two sectors have suffered more than most due to the currency and export problems and the uncertainty over domestic demand.”
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Beatties, the transport buffs' favourite model shop, goes into receivership and its heritage toy collections are up for sale.
Beatties, the transport buffs' favourite model toy shop, went into administrative receivership with its holding company, the Era Group plc on the 14 March, 2001. All that remains for sale is "The Beatties Collection", a museum-quality collection of heritage transport toys from generations of production from model toy marques as famous as Corgi and Hornby. The collection is to be auctioned by Phillips soon with a reserve price of around £50,000. Alan Bloom and Chris Hill, partners at Ernst & Young, were appointed as joint administrative receivers by Barclays Bank at the request of Era's directors. The company's shares were suspended from the AIM list on 27 February 2001.
The Group, whose main subsidiaries are Beatties of London Ltd and Richard Kohnstam Ltd, the importer of radio-controlled model transport toys, was the subject of a restructuring initiative last year. The company was relisted on AIM as new funding was raised and a company voluntary arrangement implemented. 34 of Beatties' then 60-strong chain were closed or sold so that activity could be concentrated on money-making stores.
However, two factors came into play to depress the Group's fortunes, according to Chris Hill of Ernst & Young: "Beatties' fellow subsidiary and partial supplier, Richard Kohnstam lost its licence to distribute Tamiya-branded radio-controlled toys and was wound down. This terminated a vital income stream at a time when Beatties' revenues continued to suffer from tough retail trading conditions, depressed stock levels and intense competition from the toys' multiples."
A deal has already been completed by Ernst & Young for the sale of 13 of Beatties' 26 stores to Hilco, which will continue to trade these stores. Hilco has also purchased the stock from the remaining 13 stores, which will close. The Group employed 250 staff, approximately 116 of whom have been transferred to Hilco. Unfortunately, the remaining staff will be made redundant.
CLOSURES POSSIBLE AT CLOTHING GROUP
Unprofitable branches of menswear retailer Ciro Citterio may have to close as administrators from Kroll Buchler Phillips step in. For this story please go to http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/item/41128/448
CVA'S AND CHANGES TO INSOLVENCY LEGISLATION - INSOLVENCY ACT 2000
Contributed by Keith Steven E-mail Keith Steven [email protected]
Company Rescues - A Change for the Better?
Over 850 companies fail in England and Wales each week. This startling statistic reflects poorly on the "rescue culture" eagerly sought by a succession of Secretaries of State of the DTI.
What rescue culture? Where do directors in distress find support, pragmatic advice and guidance when there is a distinct paucity of support for directors when things are going wrong? Unlike successful, growing businesses, distressed businesses cannot turn to "how to" books, online instruction manuals or to a plethora of experts and consultants.
When a business is viable but under pressure we believe that a support structure is required and a different type of advisor is needed. In the current legislative environment, an insolvency practitioner (IP) is the only person who can act in rescue or closure mechanisms on behalf of directors, members and creditors. It is our experience that only a few IP's have detailed and practical experience of the hands-on element of turnround. This is not a criticism because we believe to be successful in turnround there has to be hands-on, pragmatic and experienced assistance to directors "caught in the headlights".
There are moves afoot to allow experienced and high quality consultants to be "licensed turnround practitioners" to help SME's and larger companies in the turnround phase; I think that this approach is a good step to increasing visibility of techniques. This turnround practitioner could work hand in hand with the IP - this may lead to more successfulturnroundss.
So, what are the rescue mechanisms available to companies in distress?
Most directors have heard of a number of these mechanisms; few understand them in any detail. Many are shrouded in some form of archaic secrecy; unnecessarily, in my view, because I believe that these options should be required reading for directors to enable them to make balanced and correct decisions as often as possible.
The mechanisms are:
In summary, we would say that, if the business is viable and it has a profitable future, then it should be rescued somehow. Clearly, there has to be a desire and determination on behalf of the directors and/or shareholders to drive the rescue process once embarked upon.
Our wide experience in the CVA mechanism means that we have been involved in the evolution of the technique. Having been involved in hundreds of voluntary arrangements over a period of 6 years I believe that it is a very powerful, pragmatic and flexible method for saving insolvent but viable businesses.
What is a CVA really?
Essentially it is a deal between the company and its creditors; over an agreed period, a prescribed amount is repaid to those creditors from future profitability. It is essential that the CVA is properly structured and that the company does not promise to repay too much or too quickly. Stripping out all its future profitability will lead to inevitable failure. This is perhaps why the CVA mechanism has such a mixed reputation; a lack of commercial approach to the mechanism leads to failed deals.
What are the changes that the Insolvency Act 2000 has brought to this mechanism?
For companies that are able to conform with the requirement to be called a small company (assets of less than £1.4m, under 50 employees or sales under £2.8m), the directors can now apply for a moratorium. Essentially, this means that the company is protected whilst preparing a CVA and virtually no legal actions can be taken against the business during period. Clearly, it gives management time to put together a sensibly structured deal, a review of what management change is necessary and how the business is going to be funded after the CVA is approved.
The legislator's view was that this detailed analysis often couldn't be undertaken, as creditors were pursuing the company, who want to see their money repaid and/or the business cease to trade. In my opinion, the moratorium, whilst boosting the discussion of the CVA as a mechanism, is largely academic. Most companies that are viable and wish to propose a CVA can be protected by a de facto moratorium whereby, under case law, the business can pursue a CVA even if a winding up petition is in existence (unless the petitioning creditor is owed more than 25% of the total unsecured debt). Also independent, calm, rational discussion with creditors will usually result in removal of pressure.
A negative element of the new law is that the moratorium requires advertising. The company will have to tell its creditors, its customers and advertise the fact that it is in a moratorium in the local press, the London Gazette and on all outgoing communications. The moratorium period may be stretched from 28 to 90 days to achieve a deal provided the IP believes the business is viable financially though that period.
The IP, it would appear, must become much more heavily involved in the process of the formation of the CVA and whether the business can be correctly funded. Previously, an insolvency practitioner merely took the proposal of the directors, checked its veracity and sponsored it to the creditors.
What will be the effect of these changes?
I think it an important step to increase awareness of the rescue mechanism, to attract more insolvency practitionersturnroundnd professionals and advisors towards company turnround and away from close-down and to ensure that directors and shareholders of businesses are made aware of the options. But I don't think there will be any significant change to the numbers of companies rescued until there are more structural changes towards company distress and failure.
More importantly, I think these changes to the CVA do not go far enough I believe that more changes to the CVA mechanism are still required and, although the mechanism is a very good one in many ways, there are, of course, practical weaknesses.
Other required changes?
One of those areas concerns preferential debt. Most readers will be aware of the term but it is worth explaining that the Inland Revenue has a higher status than unsecured creditors. The Revenue is a preferential creditor for debts over the previous twelve months and HM Customs and Excise has preferential status for all debts for the previous six months (both to the date of the creditors' meeting).
In a CVA all preferential debt must be repaid in full prior to the unsecured creditors receiving a dividend. The Government considered and rejected a change to this status in approved CVA's. I firmly believe that this is an essential step; this will improve the return to unsecured (generally trade) creditors, create a change in attitude from the Crown agencies towards rescue mechanisms and may allow more CVA's to be approved.
Other suggested changes include the ability to introduce new funding to companies with a high level of security to allow the funding of the business before, during and after the approval of the CVA. Without new funding, it is much more difficult to make a CVA work.
Finally and more fundamentally, we need an initiative to improve the knowledge of directors about company rescue mechanisms. This could be through SBS / Business Link, through quasi Government agencies and or from the professions. It is astonishing that most directors have no knowledge of the CVA mechanism or mixed knowledge or incorrect knowledge. This also applies to many professionals!
Keith Steven is Managing Director of KSA (NE) Limited - a specialist turnround organisation based in the North East. Keith has been involved in something over 150 other turnrounds since 1994 and is recognised nationally as a specialist in CVA's.
KSA (NE) Ltd is based in Berwick (Suite 3, Prior Hill House, Etal Rd, Berwick Upon Tweed. TD15 2ND). Contact numbers for Keith Steven are as follows: 0870 750 4553; Email: [email protected]
DTI PETITION TO WIND UP CARGO FORWARDING INTERNATIONAL PLC
On 9 March 2001 the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry presented a petition in the High Court to wind up Cargo Forwarding International plc in the public interest, following enquiries made by the Companies Investigation Branch of the DTI under the provisions of s447 of the Companies Act 1985.
On the application of the Secretary of State the Court appointed the Official Receiver as the provisional liquidator of Cargo Forwarding International plc pending the hearing of the petition.
Cargo Forwarding International plc was incorporated in 1994 and traded as a storage and forwarding business.
The DTI enquiries identified that:
The registered office of Cargo Forwarding International plc is 96 London Industrial Park, Roding Road, London E6 4LS. It traded from that address and from Unit 38, Imex Business park, Hamilton Road, Longsight, Manchester.
The petition was presented under section 124A of the Insolvency Act 1986.
General enquiries concerning the affairs of the company and enquiries from people who have given the company goods for consignment that have not arrived at their destination, or believe that the company might have goods in storage belonging to them, should contact -
June Williamson at
The Insolvency Service
Public Interest Unit
PO Box 203
21 Bloomsbury Street
London WC1B 3Q
e-mail [email protected]
KPMG SELLS FRANK USHER LIMITED (IN ADMINISTRATIVE RECEIVERSHIP)
Jane Moriarty and Roger Oldfield of KPMG Corporate Recovery, joint administrative receivers of Frank Usher Limited, are pleased to announce the sale of the business and certain assets of the company to Slimma Plc, a quoted textile business based in the Midlands.
Jane Moriarty, KPMG Corporate Recovery Partner said:
"We are delighted to have concluded this sale which included the key brands – Frank Usher, Dusk, and Coterie – and, going forward, it should also preserve a number of jobs."
Jane Moriarty and Roger Oldfield of KPMG were appointed joint administrative receivers to Frank Usher Limited on 19 February 2001.
*** FORTHCOMING CREDITORS MEETINGS ***
For more detailed information and ALL the British Isles insolvency's (liquidation's, receiverships, administrations, dividends, creditors) please visit http://www.insolvency.co.uk
From 19/03/2001 to 27/03/2001 Number of Creditor meetings : 256 Section Company Time Venue 138 Scotland - Interim Liquidator calling Creditors Meeting 20/03/2001 Dalserf Plant Hire Ltd 10.30 am Paisley 22/03/2001 Carsbynet.Co.Uk Ltd 10.00 am Glasgow Ensen (Scotland) Ltd 11.00 am Glasgow Kit Pro Construction Ltd 12.00 pm Glasgow McGregor Glen Ltd 03.00 pm Glasgow 23/03/2001 Q-Trac Ltd 12.00 pm Glasgow 26/03/2001 Lauries Home Bakery Ltd 10.30 am Edinburgh 23 Administrator Calling a meeting of Creditors 20/03/2001 Cygnet Housewares Ltd 10.30 am Birmingham Staffordshire Tableware Ltd 10.30 am Stoke-on-Trent Station Garage (Leyland) Ltd 11.30 am Manchester 21/03/2001 Roy Thornton Metals Ltd 11.00 am Manchester 23/03/2001 First Stop Stationery Ltd 10.00 am Leeds Keencatch Ltd 10.15 am Leeds 27/03/2001 Coconut Street Ltd 10.30 am London 48 Receiver calling unsecured Creditors Meeting 19/03/2001 Landis & Gyr (Holdings) UK Ltd 03.00 pm London Landis & Gyr (UK) Ltd 03.00 pm London Landis & Gyr Communications (UK) Ltd 03.00 pm London Vitalmalt Ltd 03.00 pm London 20/03/2001 1sr Survey (Wales & West) Ltd 11.00 am Bristol Darlows Direct Ltd 11.00 am Bristol Darlows Ltd 11.00 am Bristol S2 Security Systems Ltd 10.00 am Sheffield 27/03/2001 Gmedia Technology Plc 10.30 am London 95 Members converting to Creditors Voluntary Liquidation 27/03/2001 Exponent Systems Ltd 11.15 am Brighton 98 Creditors Voluntary Liquidations 19/03/2001 Air Brake Equipment Ltd 02.15 pm Birmingham Brookfield House Care & Comm Ctre Ltd 12.00 pm Manchester Centrepoint (Leicester) Ltd 03.30 pm Sileby Churchgate Services Ltd 11.00 am London Colorwell Ltd 11.00 am Aberdeen Compass Engineering Systems Ltd 11.30 am Sunderland Electronic Retailing Ltd 02.30 pm London Fast Freight Ltd 11.00 am Leicester Grovegray (UK) Ltd 11.30 am Rochdale Harman Brothers Ltd 11.00 am Birmingham Jepmay Ltd 10.30 am Wakefield Landmark Retail Group Ltd 11.00 am London Leeson Knitwear Ltd 11.30 am Sileby Linkwood Construction Ltd 11.15 am Inverness Loadex Ltd 11.00 am Lancaster Lyntec Window Systems Ltd 02.30 pm Glazebrook Max Maximum Security Ltd 11.30 am Bolton Mourne Clothing Co Ltd 12.00 pm London N B Sports (Ipswich) Ltd 10.15 am Ipswich Navedian Ltd 12.00 pm Aylesbury Quelco Ltd 11.30 am Peterborough Security Management Ltd 12.30 pm Bolton Shepherds Grove Ltd 11.30 am Newmarket Systeam Ltd 11.00 am Eaton Thomas Brown (Stockport) Ltd 10.30 am Huddersfield U S C (China & Glass) Ltd 10.15 am Loughton W H Wootton (Builders) Ltd 02.30 pm Nottingham Yorkshire Thermal Technology Ltd 03.00 pm Wakefield 20/03/2001 A & M (Furniture) Ltd 11.45 am London A & S Refurbishments Ltd 11.30 am Kingston A Campbell Decorations Ltd 02.00 pm London Aldervale Marketing Ltd 12.00 pm Salford Alpha Networks Ltd 11.30 am Winchester Aumac Ltd 11.30 am London Bishopsgate Marketing Services Ltd 11.30 am Peterborough CI A Ltd 12.30 pm Manchester Cad Draft Solution Ltd 02.30 pm London Carnarvon Enterprises Ltd 10.00 am London Courier Shop Ltd - The 10.30 am Weybridge Cresting Products Ltd 11.30 am Manchester Decoupe Ltd 11.30 am Weybridge Design Forum Ltd 11.00 am Birmingham Desres Property Management Ltd 12.00 pm Worcester E-Commerce Bureau Services Ltd 11.30 am Southampton FCA (UK) Ltd 11.00 am Corsham Firststake.Com Ltd 10.30 am Bristol Freightflow Ltd 12.00 pm Manchester Gopack Superdrinks Ltd 11.00 am Leith Hertfordshire Construction Ltd 03.30 pm London Industrial Contract Services Ltd 11.30 am Maidstone Intromax Ltd 11.30 am London Jeff Fishlock Ltd 11.00 am Bristol Kitchen-Wizard Ltd 03.30 pm Lutterworth Mad Lighting Ltd 10.30 am Leicester Maguire Electrical Ltd 11.00 am Birmingham Marcel A Courtin Ltd 12.00 pm St Albans McIntosh Depositories Ltd 11.30 am London Monafix Ltd 11.00 am London Mos Music Machine Ltd 10.15 am Southend-on-Sea Nelson Metalcraft Ltd 11.30 am Warrington PWC Builders Ltd 10.15 am Southend-on-Sea Phuture Trax Ltd 02.00 pm London Pilates Centre Ltd 12.00 pm London Pine Warehouse (Rye) Ltd - The 11.00 am London Profile Laminators Ltd 12.00 pm London RHS Interiors Hire Ltd 11.15 am Bately RWL Group Ltd 11.00 am Bristol S C & M Ltd 11.00 am Tunbridge Wells S S T Cladding & Roofing Ltd 12.00 pm London Sala Design Ltd 12.00 pm Southampton Smart Fashions Ltd 11.00 am London Sorak Supplies Ltd 11.00 am Sheffield Star Motors Ltd 11.30 am Lutterworth T F F Ltd 11.00 am Scarborough Tenacity Ltd 11.30 am London Toen & Country Brickwork Ltd 10.30 am Lower Sunbury Travel in Print Ltd 11.00 am Birmingham Treasure Chest Direct Ltd 11.30 am Chester Wizard Connections Ltd 11.00 am Haywards Heath Yorkshire Express Pallet Systems Ltd 10.30 am Huddersfield 21/03/2001 Ambassador Storage Care Ltd 12.00 pm Reading Apex Industrial Roofing Serv (UK) Ltd 11.00 am Birmingham Auto Display UK Ltd 11.00 am Ipswich BD Profiles (Cheltenham) Ltd 11.00 am Newbury Blessed Trinity Housing Asso Ltd 11.30 am Stanmore Bulsare Ltd 10.30 am Norwich County Scaffold Contractors Ltd 03.30 pm Crawley Cutlass Precision Engineering Ltd 11.30 am Manchester Deadline Technical Services Ltd 11.00 am Sunderland Dragon Security Ltd 03.00 pm Romford Dropside Associates Ltd 11.00 am Hull E T Logistics Ltd 11.00 am London Eastern Trading Corporation Ltd 03.00 pm London Electric Vehicle Distribution Group Lt 11.00 am Bristol Excel Research Ltd 10.15 am Bury Executel Network Solutions Ltd 02.30 pm Newcastle-u-Tyn Facet Products Ltd 10.30 am Liverpool Graphtek Ltd 12.00 pm Reading Kaben Ltd 11.00 am London Kwik-Drop D-Spatch Ltd 11.30 am Southampton Manor Developments Ltd 12.00 pm London Massimo Fiorucci Ltd 12.00 pm London Milecase Ltd 10.15 am St Albans Montage Ltd 11.00 am London Morpheus Media Ltd 11.00 am Gloucester Old Values Pub Co Ltd - The 11.00 am Bristol Pakka Ltd 02.30 pm London Pipeflow Utilities Ltd 11.00 am London Ponti Trevi Ltd 11.30 am Southampton RHS International Ltd 11.30 am Manchester Rivington Pub Restaurant Ltd 11.00 am Manchester Signcare (UK) Ltd 11.30 am Sileby Spectrum Supplies & Services Ltd 10.00 am Northwood Star Logistics Ltd 11.00 am Brighton Swiftscan Systems Ltd 02.30 pm Bedford Technisearch Ltd 11.00 am Birmingham Technisearch Rentals Ltd 11.00 am Birmingham Tilecraft (Preston) Ltd 11.30 am Altrincham Walsh Utilities Ltd 11.00 am London Warren Hooker Rehab Ltd 03.15 pm Lyndhurst Waste Equipment Machinery Ltd 11.30 am Preston Winterland Ltd 03.00 pm London Workingday (UK) Ltd 12.30 pm London Zandye Services Ltd 11.00 am Manchester 22/03/2001 A A Engineering Ltd 11.00 am London A-Z Retail Ltd 11.00 am Hove Bentleys of Liverpool Ltd 12.00 pm Liverpool Brenley (Hydraulics) Ltd 11.00 am London Brightstyle Fashions Ltd 11.00 am London C S Systems Ltd 10.30 am Llanedeyrn Catalyst 100% People Ltd 10.30 am London Coventry Timber Ltd 11.00 am Birmingham Dress-2-Impress Ltd 01.00 pm Formby Firesend Holdings Ltd 01.30 pm London Firesend UK Ltd 12.00 pm London Flint Steel (Mansfield) Ltd 10.00 am Nottingham Frontback Ltd 11.00 am Shepton Mallet G C Lace (Electrical) Ltd 12.00 pm Manchester Hyphen UK Ltd 10.30 am York Jacom Personal Computers Ltd 12.00 pm Grimsby Laser UK (1993) Ltd 11.00 am Guildford Leadworks (South Wales) Ltd 12.00 pm Cardiff Newsagent Ltd - The 10.45 am London P G I Technical Services Ltd 11.00 am London PNC Construction Ltd 10.00 am Southend-on-Sea Pentheath Ltd 11.00 am Watford Saveon Ltd 02.30 pm London Screen to Screen Ltd 12.00 pm Salford Select Hearing Systems Ltd 03.00 pm Manchester Semiras Projects Ltd 03.30 pm Lutterworth Spencer Davies & Co Ltd 11.00 am London Stage Drives & Controls Ltd 10.30 am Norwich Tail Life & E V Services Ltd 11.30 am Southampton Web Street Ltd 02.15 pm London 23/03/2001 Apex Business Forms Ltd 10.15 am Cardiff Armoured Elec Mech Engin Serv Ltd 04.00 pm Colchester Arteeco Metalcraft Ltd 03.15 pm Bately BGE Management Services Ltd 10.15 am Bury Blythe Properties Ltd 11.00 am London Caretrend Security Systems Ltd 02.30 pm London Central (Wolverhampton) Ltd 11.00 am Newcastle-u-Lym Chevron of London Plc 02.00 pm London Chiltern Conservatory Co Ltd 10.30 am London Computer Supercentres Ltd 12.00 pm Cardiff Dabar Timber Services Ltd 10.30 am Glasgow David Northage & Co Ltd 11.30 am Oadby Disc Directory Ltd 11.30 am Bristol Easy-IP Ltd 11.15 am Doncaster Euro Import/Export Ltd 11.00 am London Farerange Computers Ltd 12.00 pm London Global One Ltd 03.30 pm Southend-on-Sea Grange Hill Garage Ltd 11.00 am London Gryson Plus Ltd 12.00 pm Llanedryn HMA Installations Ltd 11.00 am Bristol Hansed Systems Ltd 11.30 am Southampton Hempsall Truck & Van Ctre (Norwich) Lt 01.00 pm Tombland Heronstar Ltd 11.30 am Oldham Jack Sakol Ltd 12.00 pm Glasgow Jepline Ltd 11.30 am Sileby Julip Ltd 10.30 am Weymouth K E N Supplies Ltd 04.00 pm Aylesford Media Web Offset Ltd 12.30 pm London PCE Electrical Wholesalers Ltd 10.30 am Sheffield Pauton Press Ltd 10.15 am Ripley Pine Homes Ltd 01.00 pm Ashford Sign Apps Ltd 11.15 am London Spencer Home Improvements Ltd 11.30 am St Helens Wessex Motorzone Ltd 12.00 pm Bournemouth 26/03/2001 Bacon Direct Ltd 12.00 pm Glasgow Baranbond Ltd 11.00 am Hornchurch CDT 2000 Ltd 11.00 am Rochdale Crest Commercial Removals Ltd 02.30 pm London Cybergrandad Ltd 03.30 pm Barnet Fabric Factory (Nottingham) Ltd - The 11.30 am Nottingham Goddin Building Ltd 10.30 am Chandlers Ford J M Hobson Design & Build Ltd 12.00 pm Sandiacre Munshi Brothers Ltd 11.00 am Bolton Netdiary Ltd 02.30 pm Barnet OBP Contractors Ltd 02.30 pm London Perfect Music Ltd 11.00 am Barnet Phil Watson & Co (North West) Ltd 11.00 am Manchester Porchester Engineering Co Ltd 11.00 am Birmingham Southern Converters Ltd 11.00 am London Talent to Work (Ltd by Guarantee) 11.00 am Bath Treehouse UK Ltd 11.30 am Peterborough 27/03/2001 Angelcast Ltd 12.00 pm London Avago Pet Products Ltd 12.00 pm Hale Baltic Tableware Ltd 10.30 am Rotherham Bradys Ltd 12.00 pm Manchester Brooklands Litho Services Ltd 12.00 pm London Choicepark Ltd 11.30 am Manchester Company of Cane Ltd - The 12.00 pm Southampton Forum of St Albans Plc - The 11.00 am St Albans Fromax Ltd 11.00 am London Internet Gateway Systems Ltd 12.00 pm London Intersales Ltd 11.30 am March Kathys Kones Ltd 11.30 am Manchester Lazlogic Ltd 01.30 pm Brighton Light On Ltd 11.15 am London M A Cannon Express Services Ltd 10.30 am London Medical Innovations (Service Ctre) Ltd 11.00 am London Microline Ofice Equipment Ltd 12.00 pm London Protocol Solutions Ltd 10.30 am Reading S E Worldwide Ltd 03.30 pm Barnet Sextet Ltd 12.00 pm London Sextet Productions Ltd 12.00 pm London Sextet Sound Ltd 12.00 pm London Total Media Corporation Ltd 11.15 am Kingston upon Truenet Ltd 12.00 pm London Westfield Sawmills & Mould (North) Ltd 11.00 am Glasgow Whites Wine Lodge Ltd 11.00 am Swansea Zedcon Ltd 01.00 pm London
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Ericcson, a giant telecoms-equipment maker, issued a profits warning, causing its shares to plummet 20%. Flagging handset demand also hit Motorola, America's mobile-equipment leader. It said that 7,000 jobs would go in addition to the 11,000 announced since December.
Siemens, the huge German engineering and telecoms-equipment maker, issued a profit warning. It blamed falling demand for memory chips, a big earner. The European company's news followed similar bad tidings from America's big chip makers.
Cable & Wireless, a formerly somnolent British telecoms company, said that it would cut 11% of its workforce--some 4,000 employees--over the next year and that profits would be below its own forecasts. The company's shares fell 20%.
Prudential, a British life insurer, agreed to acquire an American counterpart, American General, for $20 billion-plus. Prudential described the purchase as "transformational". Investors thought the cost too high, transformed holdings into cash and wiped 14% off Prudential's shares.
Derek Bonham, chairman of Imperial Tobacco, will step down from the board of Glaxosmithkline, the world's third-largest drug company, after pressure from executives at the company. They sensed a conflict of interest between his role at a cigarette company and his non-executive directorship at a firm that makes anti-smoking aids and drugs.
An American bankruptcy court dismissed rival offers for Trans World Airlines leaving the way open for a $742m bid for the bankrupt airline from American Airlines. American will become the world's largest airline and control a large slice of the home market.
BAE Systems, the British defence and aerospace company, made its latest attempt to sidestep competing for valuable defence contracts. The government reportedly rejected a suggestion that it hand straight to BAE a contract for a (r)13 billion ($19 billion) in-flight refuelling system. BAE has also tried to avoid competing with Thales, a French company, to supply aircraft carriers, and Vosper Thornycroft, a British shipbuilder, for destroyers.
Source - The Economist
MERGER NEWSThe Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has decided, on the information at present before him, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Director General of Fair Trading, not to refer the following merger/s to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission under the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973:
Acquisition by Sanitec Corporation of Caradon Bathroom Ltd
Completed acquisition by Nomura Bank International plc of Principal Hotels Limited
Completed acquisition by Kingspan Group plc of Tate Global Corporation
Proposed acquisition by the Royal London Mutual Insurance Company Limited of the Scottish Life Assurance Company
Proposed acquisition by Smith and Nephew plc of the advanced wound care business of Biersdorf AG
Acquisition by the Go-Ahead Group plc of British Midland Handling Services and British Midland Airport Services (Holdings) Ltd
Proposed acquisition by Sanyo Electric Co Ltd of the nickel metal hyrdride (NiMH) rechargeable battery-business of the Toshiba Group of companies
Proposed acquisition by the Travelex Group of Thomas Cook Global and Financial Services Division
Completed acquisition by Securicor plc of the security business of AHL Services Inc
Acquisition by John Menzies plc of Ogden Ground Services
Proposed acquisition by Persimmon plc of Beazer Group plc
Acquisition by Becker Acroma Ltd of Granyte Surfaces Coatings plc
Acquisition by the Boots Company plc of the Clearasil and Biactol Brands
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E-Minister Patricia Hewitt on the 12 March 2001 announced the Government's decision on patents to protect computer programs and internet trading methods.
The announcement follows the recent consultation 'Should Patents Be Granted for Computer Software or Ways of Doing Business?'. The key conclusions include:
Ms Hewitt said:
"Some people who responded to our consultation favour making it easier to patent software and others see patents as a threat to development of new software.
"Our key principle is that patents should be for technological innovations. So a program for a new machine tool should be patentable but a non-technological innovation, such as grammar-checking software for a word-processor, should not be.
"The majority of those who responded agree with the Government and oppose patents for ways of doing business on the internet."
Consumer Affairs Minister Dr Kim Howells said:
"The patent system is there to stimulate innovation and benefit the consumer. This is the test we have applied to determine what should, and should not, be patentable in the fields of computer software and ways of doing business.
"Patent law is harmonized under the European Patent Convention, and we shall be recommending the conclusions we have reached to our European partners. The European Commission is currently evaluating its own consultation on software patents, and we shall be pressing them for an early Directive which embodies our conclusions, and with which the Convention can then be aligned.
"In particular we shall press for clarification of European patent law to put an end to uncertainty about what software can and cannot be patented. The consultation showed that at present there is confusion, and that that is damaging."
Should Patents Be Granted for Computer Software or Ways of Doing Business: The Government's Conclusions is published today, and may be viewed at the Patent Office website www.patent.gov.uk
Patents are restricted to the protection of technical inventions. Present UK law (the Patents Act 1977) and the European Patent Convention (1973) exclude computer software as such and methods of doing business as such from patent protection. These exclusions have been in place for many years but the pace of change of technology and the growing importance of e-commerce is calling into question the current regime.
Following judicial decisions US practice has moved towards granting patents for software and non-technical business methods. Such divergence of practice has prompted reconsideration of the European regime.
Details are available at the Patent Office website www.patent.gov.uk. Details of the Commission's consultation are available on the DG Internal Market website at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/intprop/index.htm
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23 to the 24 April FCIB Corporation - A Global Association for Managers in Finance, Credit & International Business FCIB's 106th International Round Table Conference In Europe Hilton Budapest Hotel Hess Andras Ter 1-3, H 1014 Budapest, Hungary Further information may be obtained from Tim Lane, Director of European Operations on 01865 481 630 or email [email protected] 21st to 23rd May, 2001 GARP Credit & Counterparty Risk Summit, London. For full programme details please visit www.garp.com or contact GARP on tel. +44 (0)20 7626 9300. Thursday 24 May Sussex & Surrey Branch of the ICM Telephone Collections Speaker: Manager of Equifax Risk Management The Imperial Hotel Hove Time: 7.00 for 7.30 p.m. Sponsored by Equifax Risk Management Monday 11th June Stoke on Trent Branch of the Institute of Credit Management Credit Management Organisations in Europe - an Overview International speaker Russell KENNARD, MBA AIMC Places at this event are limited - those interested in attending should contact Catriona COLERICK on Telephone Number (01782) 28 2430. Coffee and biscuits will be served from 1830hrs, the presentation will commence at 1900hrs and will be followed by a light buffet to facilitate networking and discussion. The venue is Knight & Sons premises in The Brampton, Newcastle-under Lyme, Staffordshire. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 24th to 26th October 2001 International Credit Exhibition & Conference The Westin Stamford, Singapore http://www.internationalcredit001.com Mailto:[email protected] If you have an event coming up which is credit management related and you would like us to make an entry in the Diary section please e-mail the details to [email protected]
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