Saturday, September 23, 2006

Multi-million pound package finances MBO

GE Commercial Finance's Business Finance unit has provided a multi million pound financing package to facilitate the management buy-out of UK-based Lymington Precision Engineers.

GE Commercial Finance's Business Finance unit today announced it had provided a multi million pound financing package to facilitate the management buy-out of Hampshire-based Lymington Precision Engineers (LPE). LPE, part of the Fullers Group, was founded in 1980 and is a leading manufacturer of precision-machined drilling components that are used by the major oil companies across the globe for oil exploration. It also provides machined components, fabrications, assemblies and kit sets for the telecoms, defence, space, medical and marine industries across the globe.

The current owner, Leon Crouch is now handing over the reins of the company to the existing management team, while maintaining an interest in LPE.

Commenting on the deal, Andrew Rutherford, GE Commercial Finance, Business Finance director said: 'This is a great deal - a successful, well-established company in a niche market, a strong management team, backed by a great workforce, and a clear vision.

We worked closely with corporate finance specialists Peter Grinyer and Rosemary Penn-Newman of Fanshawe Lofts to set up this deal and without their close involvement, it would not have taken place.' Rutherford said: 'Succession planning is about finding the right exit strategy when you are ready to hand your business over to somebody else.

The task of finding and training a successor can be challenging for a business owner but it an essential element of a succession plan - and Leon Crouch has approached this with much thought and detail.

We look forward to supporting the MBO team in the continuing development and growth of the business.' The financing package consists of invoice discounting, a plant and machinery facility and a cash flow loan, which has provided the management team with the means to complete the deal.

The management team was led by managing director Tony Chalk, and its new board also includes David Craig, Chris Fletcher-Jones, Joanne Caulkett, Martin Palmer and Rob Hiscock.

The success of LPE has been driven by the effective business relationships it has developed with a host of multi-national blue chip companies to deliver specialist engineering-based services.

This has been coupled with significant capital investment and the development of a highly skilled workforce.

'The buy-out of LPE from the Fullers Group has been a complex and fascinating project to advise on,' commented Rosemary Penn-Newman of Fanshawe Lofts.

'It has required a large team of advisers to focus on providing a cohesive approach to making the deal happen and I'm delighted that we have achieved that so smoothly.' Peter Grinyer, concluded: 'LPE has a new management team which combines enormous experience and capability.

It is also retaining the support of Leon Crouch during this important next phase of its development and the opportunities for the businesses going forward are significant.'

Heat Treating of Nodular Irons: Part Two

Barclays has announced an additional GBP 500 million of lending to be made available to the UK manufacturing sector, believing the sector will see an improved performance.

Barclays has announced an additional GBP 500 million of lending to be made available to the UK manufacturing sector, in support of its view that the sector will see an improved performance during 2006. Recent business surveys indicate an improvement in both domestic and export order-books after a period of weakness last year and the additional lending will target companies across all manufacturing sectors, along with new market 'hot-spots' such as initiatives to support employee retention, which is one of UK manufacturing's biggest concerns. Andy Martin, national director for manufacturing at Barclays, said: 'We are delighted to announce this lending boost to the sector.

On-the-ground sentiment among UK manufacturers points towards a revival in the sector's fortunes, and this lending decision supports that conviction.

We are targeting well-run, successful companies that are keen to invest for the future, and can successfully meet the current market challenges when supported with the appropriate financing.' Reflecting the diverse nature of the industry, the additional lending is expected to be well spread across all regions of the UK and the different industry sub sectors, including: energy, construction, food production, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and automotive.

Nick Brayshaw, chairman of the CBI's National Manufacturing Council and chairman of Barclays' Manufacturing Industry Strategy Board, said: 'This announcement is a vote of confidence in the strength of UK manufacturing, which has proved its resilience during the difficult times experienced over the course of the past year.

Last year Barclays provided additional lending to the sector, which was very well-received, and I'm sure this will be the case again this year.' A recent Barclays business banking survey (undertaken at 'The Manufacturer Live' event) found that nine out of ten UK manufacturers remain optimistic about prospects for their sector, despite recent tough market conditions.

The survey found that over three quarters of manufacturers reported order books at either normal or above normal, and that more than one in two manufacturers expect to spend 5 to 10% of their turnover on capital investment during the next year.

Friday, September 22, 2006

E-Procurement reduces costs

Enterprises today are using e-procurement to manage more requisitions, spend categories and suppliers than ever before.

Enterprises today are using e-procurement to manage more requisitions, spend categories and suppliers than ever before. And the results of a new research brief from independent research firm Aberdeen Group indicate that those leveraging the integrated offerings of Ariba, the leading spend management solutions provider, reap significantly higher rewards. According to 'E-Procurement Beyond the Hype: Companies Increase Spend Under Management, Reduce Costs with E-Procurement Systems,' companies using Ariba solutions to manage their procurement are 'outperforming their peers in multiple areas,' leading the way when it comes to cost reduction, compliance and spend under management.

In evaluating companies that have implemented e-procurement systems based on total spend under management, suppliers enabled, user adoption and reduction in unapproved or 'maverick' spending, Aberdeen found that Ariba customers: * Reduced off-contract spending by an average of 34 per cent, compared to 21 per cent for all other respondents.

* Increased spend under management by 30 per cent, compared to 8 per cent for all other respondents.

* Manage 46 per cent of their total indirect materials spend through their e-procurement system as compared to 35 per cent for all other respondents.

'We are proud to report this benchmark of Aberdeen clients using Ariba spend management solutions,' stated Sudy Bharadwaj, vice president of Aberdeen Group.

'Aberdeen's fact-based research does show where Ariba has excelled in delivering spend management results.' 'The more spend a company can control, the greater the results they can achieve,' said Lou Unkeless, chief marketing officer, Ariba.

'Ariba's spend management solutions are uniquely designed to provide the technology, commodity expertise and services needed to bring more spend under management.

And as the Aberdeen report demonstrates, companies of all sizes across all industries are using them successfully to accelerate their bottom-line results and achieve excellence.'

Forward thinking for business success

US credit management guru, Abe WalkingBear Sanchez is returning to the UK to give two seminar presentations at the B2B London event at Earls Court in June.

US credit management guru, Abe WalkingBear Sanchez is returning to the UK to give two seminar presentations at the B2B London event at Earls Court in June. The seminars are free but spaces are limited! Abe has turned credit management on its head. His views are unfailingly compelling, visionary and often controversial.

He believes that bad debt is not something companies should be scared of but that it should be embraced as a driver for profit.

He believes passionately in the need to move forward constantly and not rely on what's been successful in the past - simply because it has been successful.

In the two seminars he will give at B2B, Abe will show how business people can tap into his forward thinking approach.

He will show how, through taking on riskier business, companies can potentially increase their profit margins by 900%.

In an interview for the exhibition, Abe WalkingBear Sanchez said: 'People reach this false conclusion that whatever we did yesterday worked.

Proof of that is that we survived and we are here today.

If we can repeat yesterday forever, we can liver forever, and they think that is the way to succeed.

'By doing the same thing over and over again, there is zero chance of learning anything new - and that's down to fear.

People need to stop reacting and start thinking - and that is when you see opportunities as clearly as risks' Abe WalkingBear Sanchez was first introduced to the UK credit management market by global credit insurer Atradius.

Atradius has long been a proponent of profit-driven credit management and has pioneered this approach in the UK.

Simon Groves, UK Marketing Manager at Atradius, says: 'WalkingBear is one of the most inspirational and energetic speakers I have met.

He breathes an incredible sense of life and importance into a subject that is still often viewed as a back-office, risk-averse cost centre.

I can only urge visitors to the B2B exhibition to attend his seminar: you will hear business insights that might just have a profound effect on your company's future profit.' Atradius, as well as sponsoring the finance theatre, which will run seminars from 10.30am to 5.15pm on both days of the show, will also be exhibiting at B2B London.

The Atradius team will be on stand 156, on hand to provide advice and information on best credit management practice.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Automotive parts maker acquired in MBO

With guidance from PKF, a UK automotive components manufacturer making valve spring retainers and plugs was successfully acquired in an MBO and has won a major order from the USA.

Business is already booming at 'Black Country' (West Midlands) manufacturers Complex cold forming (CCF), a company formed in a management buyout from McKechnie Specialist Products, part of Melrose. Husband and wife team Paul and Sandra Mulvey have purchased the business of PSM International Complex Cold Forming Division from Warwickshire-based Melrose in a deal advised by Andy Kay, corporate finance director at the Birmingham office of accountants and business advisers, PKF. The business is currently located in Willenhall but is due to move to newly-refurbished premises in Wednesbury in June.

CCF is an automotive components manufacturer making valve spring retainers and plugs supplying original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) including Ford, GM, Caterpillar, Opel and Holdens.

The company has already won a major new order from GM in the USA which will increase annual turnover by 25% from GBP 3.2 million to over GBP 4 million.

New owners Paul and Sandra Mulvey have already recruited Kevin Edwards as financial director and the business has retained its further 23 employees.

Paul Mulvey was sales and marketing director of the former business for three years before he was appointed managing director in August last year.

He said: 'It became apparent that Melrose, which has its roots in the aerospace industry, did not regard PSM International's Complex Cold Forming Division as a core activity.

One of the options they were prepared to consider was to sell the business.' But now with a new management team in Paul Mulvey with wife Sandra as administration director, the business is forging ahead.

The directors have already announced plans to invest a third of the company's turnover in the first year in new equipment which will include a GBP 1 million Formax cold heading machine and GBP 100,000 in an optical sorting machine.

Paul Mulvey said: 'With guidance from Andy Kay at PKF we have been able to buy what was an eminently viable business and put in place plans to grow the company.

The major order from GM in the States is a tremendous boost to us and we are hopeful of winning further work from Ford in Germany.' Funding for the MBO, for an undisclosed price, was arranged through Chris Jones at Eurosales Finance and legal advice to the MBO team was provided by Adrian Cutler and Darren Walker of Cobbetts.

David Allison of Martineau Johnson provided legal advice to Melrose and Richard Cliff at George Green advised Eurosales Finance.

PKF corporate finance director Andy Kay said: 'We congratulate Paul and Sandra Mulvey on the management buyout.

The deal was done in a tough economic environment where cost pressures from OEMs are continuing, but this demonstrates that quality niche component businesses can not only do well but prosper and grow.'

UK manufacturers must think globally

Commenting on the ONS Manufacturing (Index of Production) figures for April 2006, Barclays, said that UK manufacturers need to 'think global' now more than ever.

Commenting on the ONS Manufacturing (Index of Production) figures for April 2006, Andy Martin, national director of manufacturing at Barclays, said: 'This surprise fall in the monthly figures demonstrates that UK manufacturers need to 'think global' now more than ever'.

'The reported lacklustre performance of some of the mainly UK-focused manufacturing industries underlines the importance of the strengthening global economy and, specifically, international export markets to UK manufacturers'.

'That said, the three-month figures remain positive and consistent with the upward, more optimistic trend shown in the recent bout of industry surveys.'

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Electricity charges do not wait for Autumn

Businesses whose electricity contracts come up for renewal this autumn should act immediately to avoid the seasonal 'spike' when around 70% of businesses sign new contracts.

Businesses whose electricity contracts come up for renewal this autumn should act immediately to avoid the seasonal spike when around 70% of businesses sign new contracts and the surge in demand causes prices to peak. Organisations should buy early and consider locking into longer contracts to beat the anticipated September/October price increases, warns energy management company Utility Auditing (UAL). 'There have been dramatic price rises in excess of 80% in the wholesale electricity market over the past 12 months, and the price of gas has doubled,' explained Paul Backx, managing director of UAL.

He continued: 'There is very little sign of prices easing and given unprecedented market trends of 2005/06, there is every likelihood that the major autumn contract renewal round will drive further speculative forward buying - leading to a large upward price swing in September and October.' Energy is powering its way onto the boardroom agenda as soaring UK energy prices force companies to overhaul purchasing policies and dramatically improve their energy efficiency management.

It is now one of the biggest overheads for business and more businesses than ever before are seeking professional advice and support to mitigate these rising costs.

'Increasingly we are seeing larger companies implementing long-term contracts to hedge against sharp movements or big annual price hikes,' added Backx.

'There appears to be little relief ahead in the coming year, with extreme volatility and further bullish drivers in the market, although forecasts suggest that prices will rise less sharply.' With the environmental and cost imperative to reduce carbon emissions, many businesses are turning their attentions to conservation.

On average companies can save between 10 and 20% by becoming more energy efficient, meeting their environmental obligations at the same time.

As Carbon Trust accredited consultants UAL provides fully funded energy surveys for businesses spending more than GBP 50,000 per year on energy.

This detailed on-site assessment by UAL engineers highlights many simple and low cost opportunities for reducing emissions and a report is produced highlighting a range of measures businesses can take and the impact those interventions will have on energy consumption.

UAL, which is official service provider to more than 60 accredited Chambers of Commerce and other national trade associations purchases GBP 150 million worth of energy on behalf of UK business each year and can help customers to reduce exposure to the risks of buying in a highly volatile commodity market.

Founder gains ownership of plastics moulder

Mike McDonough, founder of Sertec Plastics, has bought the UK company out of the Sertec Group with financial backing from Lloyds TSB and accountants and business advisers PKF.

An Aston, Birmingham, business originally launched in 1986 has been bought by its founder in a management buyout (MBO) advised by Birmingham professional firms. Mike McDonough, founder of Sertec Plastics, has bought the company out of the Sertec Group with financial backing from Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance in Birmingham. The transaction was led by Jat Najran and Andy Kay, corporate finance directors at accountants and business advisers PKF and the management team was advised by Gary Davie and Sara Woodward of Putsmans Solicitors.

Sertec Group took external advice from Paul Wakefield of Clarke Wilmott.

The company specialises in vacuum-formed and polyurethane moulded components for a variety of applications including automotive, construction, agriculture, work vehicles and general engineering.

As well as supplying interior vehicle trim components for specialist car manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Lotus and Renault, Sertec Plastics also supplies items such as replacement blue plastic hoods for lottery ticket stands.

Having carved out a specialist niche in its sphere of operations, Sertec Plastics now manufactures some 300 different parts and in the last 12 months has added JCB and Land Rover to a growing list of customers.

Now the business is looking to grow both in premises and staff.

Staff numbers have already grown from 32 to 43 and managing director Mick McDonough is looking to expand near the current 36,000ft2 Witton premises and add skilled staff as the business grows.

McDonough explained the reasoning behind the management buyout.

'The products and services we provide were no longer regarded as a core activity by the Sertec Group and we felt that more focus and investment was needed on Sertec Plastics to put us in a position to deliver the ever more demanding requirements of our customers.' He continued: 'We appreciate the role our advisers played in structuring the transaction and believe that with our technical expertise and experience and continued close business relationships we are now in a position to move forward.' Jat Najran of PKF Corporate Finance said: 'In the wake of recent problematic conditions in the West Midlands engineering community it was particularly rewarding to be involved in a deal that secured an excellent company's niche position in a competitive market.' He said: 'Mike has an established track record of investing in and developing businesses and with his company's knowledge of their existing markets and innovative engineering capability, Sertec Plastics should be well placed to exploit its undoubted potential.' Putsmans corporate partner Gary Davie said: 'We are always delighted to be working with and supporting West Midlands manufacturing companies.

The successful completion of Sertec Plastics is the latest of several management buyouts we have acted on in recent months.

Mike came to us on the recommendation of another client, which is always nice, and we look forward to working with him and his team in the future.'

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

30 million European firms' data covered

UK exporters get an easy-to-use and instantly accessible service to over 30 million European companies and other commercial organizations - to help to sustain the UK's economic confidence.

With a deep understanding of the business information marketplace and access to business data for 240 countries worldwide, leading credit information provider, Equifax, is providing UK exporters with an easy-to-use and instantly accessible service to help fuel continued export growth. Equifax International Business Reports provide instant, easy access to over 30 million European companies and other commercial organizations - a vital resource for helping to sustain the UK's economic confidence. According to a recent survey by the Institute of Directors, UK export prospects for the coming months look very positive.

In fact, more than 8 out of 10 company bosses predict that export growth performance will remain steady or strengthen during the remainder of 2005.

Of these, more than 50% predict stronger growth in their export business over the coming months.

The research also has shown that the greatest prospects were identified in European markets (64%), followed by American (46%) and Asian markets, including China (44%).

Despite this projected growth, obtaining in-depth information on potential customers still remains a major challenge for UK businesses trading overseas.

Equifax International Business Reports address this need by making it easier than ever to investigate a prospect on the continent and make informed business decisions to minimise risks.

With a single click, International Business Reports can be accessed through the same system used to review UK companies and businesses.

making the checking process as simple and streamlined as possible.

Furthermore, Equifax delivers the reports in a standardized format, so that the information can be viewed and interpreted more easily.

'There are countless obstacles inherent in overseas trade,' confirmed Nick Frazer, head of Business Information Services, Equifax.

'From the different accounting rules and limited trade references, to local payment practices, these can all lead to bad debt and loss of profitability if not dealt with head on, and with the best possible information.

Equifax International Business Reports offers businesses the online tools they need to give them the essential intelligence to make the best decisions, as well as manage credit risk, reduce bad debt and increase profitability.' Equifax International Business Reports are available online through companies and businesses in the following key European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

The information includes company registration and identification details, details on directors and shareholders, any mortgages and charges and detailed financials.

A recommended credit decision is also provided, which gives a score and recommendation for whether to do business with the organisation, and on what credit terms.

Detailed reports on companies from the rest of the world can be ordered and delivered online, ensuring that UK businesses can trade profitably anywhere in the world.

'The export market is crucial for the sustained growth of the UK economy', concluded Frazer.

'It is, therefore, vital that UK businesses have access to the best possible information, quickly and easily, to ensure that they only trade with the right overseas partners.' * The Institute of Directors (IoD) report was based on a survey of 500 IoD members conducted by NOP.

It presented the views of company bosses on their businesses' tendency to export, export performance and the difficulties they face in selling goods and services abroad.

Check out the customer before signing deal

Business information provider, has launched powerful online business report to give a complete and up-to-date picture of a business when assessing it for a high value contract, loan or deal.

Equifax, a leading credit and business information provider, has launched Equifax Optima, a new powerful online business report designed to give company executives and credit professionals the most complete and up-to-date picture of a business when assessing it for a high value contract, loan or deal. Nick Frazer, head of Business Information Services, Equifax explained: 'For the bigger deals that companies do, we believe they need a greater depth of information than has been accessible up to now - and a greater level of explanation of that information'. 'Equifax Optima addresses both these requirements, comprising several unique datasets and presented online with supporting explanatory information.' He said: 'Unlike other online reports, Optima offers more than just data on an organisation's creditworthiness.

It provides a total view of the group structure of a business, including the financial details of each subsidiary of that business, together with a credit limit history and a fraud score.

Furthermore, the report includes County Court data as well as High Court information and allows access to original Companies House images.' Utilising Equifax's extensive and accurate database of predictive information on nearly 4 million Limited Companies and Non-Limited Businesses, the Equifax Optima report gives businesses information on their customers, suppliers, competitors, other industries and new marketplaces.

It provides a summary opinion on whether it is advisable to trade with a business, and the likelihood of bad debt via a credit limit and indicates the efficiency of the company in settling supplier disputes and alerts the user to Letters Before Actions (LBAs) and stopped cheques.

With a logical and clear layout, and key summary information displayed at the front of the report, the Optima report is very easy to read and use.

In addition, detailed explanations, provided by Equifax's experienced data analysts, ensure that the information within the report is easy to interpret, enabling speedy as well as reliable and consistent lending decisions.

'In today's competitive environment, businesses need to be able to assess the overall performance of an organisation allowing both company executives and credit professionals to make informed decisions,' confirmed Frazer.

'Regardless of whether the user is a company executive or a credit professional, Equifax Optima gives an unrivalled depth of predictive business data instantly online and sets a new industry standard for online business reports.

By providing vital information and bringing it to the fingertips of business users Equifax Optima is a powerful tool for companies keen to make the right business decisions swiftly and competently.'

Monday, September 18, 2006

Check up on customers' business status

In response to a downturn in business confidence, a business information provider has enhanced online report service to assess, monitor and manage customers more easily and quicker.

Recent figures confirm that there has been a downturn in business confidence, with some sectors of business and industry reporting increases in business failures. Against this backdrop, it is vital that any organisation protects themselves from the risk of bad debt and fraud. In response, leading business information provider, Equifax, has significantly enhanced its online business report service to enable organisations to assess, monitor and manage business customers more easily and quicker than ever before.

With access to credit and financial information on nearly 4 million companies and businesses, Equifax provides online access to the most comprehensive business database in the UK.

'It is anticipated that this year will mark the beginning of a sea change for UK business as the number of firms going bust is expected to increase for the first time in two years,' confirmed Nick Frazer, head of Business Information Services, Equifax.

'It is therefore vital that decisions about new accounts and increasing credit limits are backed up by as much information and intelligence as possible.

And this information needs to be instantly accessible online and easy to navigate and interpret.' By making it easier to assess and digest information on suppliers and clients, Equifax Business Reports help ensure that the decisions businesses make about the companies with which they do business are the right ones.

In addition, through Equifax's online business report service, businesses can monitor changes in the financial status of customers and suppliers, as well as check credit limits, access a network of international company reports, and receive a comprehensive guide to risk management.

Frazer continued: 'For all businesses who want to check the credentials of a new customer, and assess and monitor the financial performance of suppliers and customers, Equifax's online business report service opens up a world of information that is now even easier to navigate and utilise.'

Tool helps combat bad debts/late payments

UK consultancy is helping businesses to tackle the threat of late payment and bad debt with a powerful tool that allows businesses to share critical information about customer payment behaviour.

Equifax is helping businesses to tackle the threat of late payment and bad debt with the launch of its Shared Data Services, a powerful new tool that allows businesses to share critical information about customer payment behaviour. Driving the launch of this service are recent changes in account filing regulations, resulting in reduced availability of accounting information on companies. This is making it harder for organisations to determine the immediate credit worthiness of customers.

Companies also find it difficult to obtain information on the credit payment habits of the growing number of non-limited businesses and sole traders.

Equifax's Shared Data Services offer a flexible, dynamic and timely data sharing tool, which enables members of the Equifax credit community to share both negative and positive data on their customers.

This provides Equifax members with vital information before they agree to new credit terms or accept orders.

Using unique email alerts, the Service notifies subscribers when changes to their customers' credit or financial status has been registered by another member.

Nick Frazer, head of Equifax Business Information Services at Equifax commented: 'Our Shared Data Services provide members of our credit communities with an instant, in-depth understanding of the financial profiles and payment histories of existing and new customers'.

'Our unique email alerts system informs members of any changes to the financial or credit status of a customer as it happens, giving businesses a powerful tool to help tackle the threat of late payment and bad debt.' Members of Equifax's Shared Data Services can submit and receive information on a variety of data items including: payment terms and whether the account is paid to terms; increased credit; 'bounced' cheque presented; stopped cheque; bailiff instructed; collection agent appointed and account on stop.

Court information such as County Court summons, County Court judgments, bankruptcy, legal action and 'winding up' orders is also included in the service to give companies valuable insight into the financial status and payment behaviour of new or existing customers.

Available online and via Equifax's Portfolio Monitoring Service, our Shared Data Services give businesses fast and efficient access to both submit and gather vital customer information to help them manage bad debt and late payment.