Archive for December 5, 2011

West Mids TV nominations revealed

Locations in the West Midlands are among the 65 towns and cities chosen by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt as potential bases for local TV stations.

The West Midlands nominations include: Birmingham (includes the Greater Birmingham area, part of Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley), Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Malvern, Shrewsbury, Stoke on Trent (includes Newcastle under Lyme), Stratford upon Avon, Hereford and Telford.

The locations – picked because they have appropriate transmitter coverage – will be pared down to about 20 by the end of the year after a selection process in which they make a case for being granted a licence to Ofcom.

Hunt said: “We need to decide which areas are best placed to pioneer the new service.

“These new, local TV services will be a fundamental change in how people get information about their own communities, and how they hold their representatives to account.

“I want people to be able to watch television that’s truly relevant to them, about what’s happening where they live and featuring the people they know.”

FW Thorpe offloads Mackwell arm

FW Thorpe, based in Redditch, has sold its Mackwell Electronics subsidiary. Brierley Hill’s NACB Holdings bought the company for £6.5m.

Stock Exchange-listed FW Thorpe designs and manufactures lighting equipment.

NACB Holdings’ sole shareholder Nicholas Brangwin will pay £4.5m in cash on completion of the deal and a further £2m by the issue of convertible secured loan notes.

FW Thorpe is to provide Brangwin with a loan of £300,000 which will bear interest at a rate of 4 per cent over base rate for the deal to happen.

The proceeds of the disposal will be aggregated with the company’s existing cash balances and used for general corporate purposes.

In the year to June 2011 Mackwell generated profit before tax of £1.3m.

FW Thorpe told the Stock Exchange: “The original rationale behind the acquisition of Mackwell was to secure an important element of the supply chain as part of the process of developing the company’s offering in the emergency lighting market.

“Mackwell needs to and will continue to tailor its range more towards emergency LED control gear, luminaires and systems and needs to be free to do so. Over the past few years the company has concentrated on acquiring niche businesses within the lighting industry supplying lighting products to end users within a variety of sectors.”

GKN disposes of aerospace business

Redditch-based GKN has sold its £20m-turnover Aerospace Engineering Services business to Singapore’s QuEST Global Services Pte.

The engineering company sold the subsidiary, which has operations in the UK and Australia, to QuEST Global Services Pte and QuEST Global Engineering, both based in Singapore.

The sale includes certain assets and liabilities of GKN CEDU and the entire issued share capital of GKN Aerospace Engineering Service Pty.

GKN’s Aerospace Engineering Services business provides design and engineering support to a range of customers predominantly in aerospace and marine sectors.

As part of the sale, QuEST Global Services Pte and GKN Aerospace Services have entered into a long-term preferred supplier agreement to provide the engineering skills and resources to support the company’s long term growth strategy.

GKN Aerospace’s workforce of more than 200 engineers will remain with the business, the purchaser confirmed.

The Aerospace Engineering Services subsidiary had sales of £20m in the year ended 31 December 2010 and had gross assets of £8.1m at 31 December 2010.

Smiths News new depot puts jobs in jeopardy

Almost 90 jobs are at risk by the opening of a new Smiths News depot in Birmingham,  The site, run by the Swindon-based wholesaler, is set to replace five regional hubs.
Smiths is proposing to move the newspaper and magazine activities of its Birmingham, Coventry and Redditch sites into a new, purpose-built facility in Elmdon in Birmingham from 5 March 2012.

But the Coventry and Redditch sites will close with the 88 workers competing for 50 vacancies at the new 55,000 sq ft distribution centre, which will employ 145 staff.

Employees based at the Birmingham depots will be transferred to the new site, the company said.

“We are making every effort to minimise the impact of the changes, and where possible redeploy employees within Smiths News,” a spokesman said.

In its preliminary year-end results, the company said the move was part of its target to make at least £10m of savings over the next two years.

Smiths News said that along with its decision to consolidate its operations in Birmingham, its recent organisation review identified a further £3m of central savings.

Pre-tax profits increased to £38.6m for the year ended 31 August 2011, as the company cut costs of £22m.

The wholesaler of newspapers, magazines and books also said it is looking to acquire “carefully selected targets” in specialist distribution markets.

The new distribution centre will serve 2,000 retailers across Birmingham, Coventry and Redditch and distribute about 2.2 million newspapers and 1.1 million magazines a week.

Smith News operates from 53 distribution centres across England and Wales.

Just say No to a bowl of halal Kellogg’s  Corn Flakes

I have just learned — thanks to a reader — that Kellogg’s now includes a ‘halal certified’ logo on the side of its cereal boxes.

The company claims the move is ‘due to legislation for our multi-cultural society’. Apparently, ‘halal certified’ means the ingredients have been approved by a body called the Halal Food Authority as not containing any animal derivatives or alcohol.

For my part, I’m not sure I approve of the way that animals are killed ‘halal-style’ (with their throats cut and then bled to death, as prescribed by sharia law). If you agree with me, I suggest you need never buy Kellogg’s again.

Alternatively, you could, of course, write to Kellogg’s and ask the firm to produce two different types of cereal boxes — half ‘halal certified’ and half not.

Come to think of, since we are still a predominantly Christian country, perhaps they could produce their boxes with a cross on them.