April 2021


Latest business news-in-brief from around the region...

High-profile auto company opens UK R&D base in Warwickshire
Croatian tech company and electric supercar firm Rimac (pronounced ‘Rimat’) announced has set up a UK Technical centre at University of Warwick Wellesbourne Innovation Campus. Last year Lotus Engineering created a base there. ‘We are of the strong opinion that British engineers are worldclass in the field of electrification and future of mobility’  - Mate Rimac, CEO and Founder. https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry-news-environment/rimac-opens-rd-centre-uk

Encouraging sales growth at Jaguar Land Rover
JLR has reported retail sales of 123,483 vehicles in the last quarter of 2020/21, 12.4 per cent higher than the same quarter a year earlier. Sales growth in China (up 127%) and North America (up 10.4%) were particularly strong, with the award-winning new Land Rover Defender contributing significantly to the overall year-over-year growth, with 16,963 units sold in the quarter. Jaguar Land Rover continued to roll out electrification technology across its model range. Twelve ofthe company’s 13 nameplates are now available with an electrified option, with plug-in hybrids (PHEV) available in 8 models and mild hybrids (MHEV) in 11 models.

Drive Systems Design new facilities to drive green revolution
Leamington Spa-based electrified powertrain engineering consultancy, Drive System Design (DSD) has expanded its test facilities, adding two further test cells for high-performance hybrid axles and e-machines, reflecting a growing demand the company is experiencing for outsourced test capacity suitable for electrified commercial vehicle powertrains.

Contechs Medical widens PPE offer
Warwick-based Contechs Medical, a division of the leading automotive design, engineering, and recruitment specialists Contechs, has developed a range of culturally appropriate PPE headwear known as HairTech to help the UK’s medical and care professionals combat against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Further evidence of growth in Games Development
Video games developer Sumo Group, who has a base in Leamington Spa, has achieved substantial growth in revenue and adjusted EBITDA in its final results for the year ended 31 December 2020, published today.

Work completes on biomedical research building
Construction of the new £33m Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building at the University of Warwick has been completed this month. The building will bring together up to 300 researchers will also house world-class research in neuroscience, microbiology and infection, cell biology, and disease models.

Spec development at Prospero Ansty
Leading UK manufacturing and technology site Prospero Ansty will be bringing forward the first speculative development on site, with Apollo 69/6, a 241,461 sq.ft speculative development, comprising of three industrial units as well as a further 300,000 sq ft facility. This demonstrates clear confidence in Warwickshire as a location for manufacturing and R&D, as the developer is confident that the space will find an occupier.

Redditch Eastern Gateway site continues development

Funding has been secured for further development at the £200m Redditch Gateway scheme, which is located between Studley and Redditch.

Logistics growth at Symmetry Park, Rugby
Rugby Borough Council has given the green light for the first phase of Symmetry Park, Rugby, comprising 320,000 sq ft logistics accommodation. Permission has been granted for two new logistics/distribution facilities measuring 186,000 sq ft and 134,000 sq ft, and in time 2m sqft will be built over 111 acres.

Historic Daimler plant re-imagined for City of Culture
The transformation of the remaining part of the UK’s first volume car making plant into a £2.4m creative hub in time for UK City of Culture 2021 has been completed. Development and construction company The Wigley Group, which has its headquarters in Stockton, owns Sandy Lane Business Park, which includes the iconic building which once formed part of the Daimler car plant.

£100m invested by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)

The £100m milestone was reached by the fund after making 481 investments in 350 businesses located in the West Midlands and East and South East Midlands. An additional £90m of private sector leverage has also been secured as a result of the MEIF’s investments to date.

Recovery Fund arrives at BMM
The British Motor Museum, Gaydon, has been awarded an additional £261,500 from the second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The Museum is among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards.

Unemployment bips but furlough numbers remain high
Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say firms will need further support to keep the unemployment rate down in the next few months, after another small drop in the rate was recorded. The latest figures show that the unemployment rate dropped from five per cent to 4.9 per cent in the three months to February but that five million people remain in employment but on furlough.

Apprentice of the Year
An apprentice at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) at Ansty has won the Best of British Engineering Award, the top accolade at the 2021 Enginuity Skills Awards, and has also been named as SME Apprentice of the Year.

Business leader appointed to ceremonial role
Louise Bennett OBE DL, chief executive of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, has been appointed as High Sheriff of the County of West Midlands.

Former Calthorpe Estates CEO joins CWLEP board
Property expert Mark Lee has joined the board of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) to boost delivery of multi-million-pound regeneration schemes in the area.


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