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

Recruitment giant merges with IT specialist 

Pertemps Network Group, a Warwickshire-headquartered recruitment giant with a turnover in excess of £1bn, has merged with an IT specialist which has been trading for almost 50 years. IT recruitment firm Parity serves clients across the UK, Ireland and a number of other European countries. Rebranded as Parity Network, it becomes part of a £1bn specialist recruitment network, which is a long-term investor in the company.  


Battery software company secures major investment  

Warwick-based Eatron Technologies, a pioneering developer of AI-powered battery management software for the automotive industry, has completed its A2 Series Funding. 

This investment will enable Eatron to accelerate the development and deployment of new embedded and cloud-based features for its unique software platform.  


Bridge of Weir leather opens design studio in Warwick 

Bridge of Weir, which supplies fine automotive leather supplier to some of the world’s most-respected luxury car brands, has opened a new "advanced" design studio in Warwick at the design consultancy Callum. 

Operating as a design ‘skunk works’ in the heart of the UK automotive industry, Bridge of Weir wants to accelerate and expand the capabilities of leather as an automotive interior material – and to bring those developments closer to current customers, including Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Polestar and McLaren, as well as new customers. 


Cab Engine announces new partnership with TGI Fridays 

Following a competitive pitch, Alcester-based Cab Engine, a digital transformation studio, has announced a new strategic partnership with iconic American-inspired restaurant brand TGI Fridays, to manage its paid search and paid social channels whilst also advising on the direction of SEO across the entire estate, with the goal of increasing booking numbers at its 86 restaurants. 


Warwick Acoustics names automotive industry veteran as chairman 

Audio technology firm Warwick Acoustics has appointed Ian Harnett as its chairman, 12 months after he became a non-executive director, and as the company gears up for its first production contract with a luxury global automotive manufacturer. Harnett's automotive career spans nearly 40 years and he was formerly a main board director at Jaguar Land Rover. 


New hotel at Dallas Burston Polo Club to be managed by Focus Hotels 

Hotel management company Focus Hotels Management has secured the management contract for the Polo Club Hotel – a forthcoming development at the 200-acre Dallas Burston Polo Club near Southam in Warwickshire As part of the Dallas Burston Polo Club's broader strategy for expansion, the hotel will create a retreat for visitors and patrons while improving accessibility to the world of equestrian sport. Set to open this year, the property will offer high-end luxury and close ties to the venue’s sports and events facilities, including four polo grounds, an equestrian arena, a stylish gastropub and the 3000-capacity IXL Events Centre.  


Box Ltd in North Warwickshire in administration 

Dordon-based online tech retailer Box Ltd which employed more than 100 people has fallen into administration, with the majority of staff made redundant with immediate effect. 

The business began trading 27 years ago and prior to the appointment of administrators, the company had an annual turnover of £76m and employed 107 people.Trading operations will not continue during the administration process, and the majority of staff have been made redundant with immediate effect. 


Warwickshire's Purity Brewing sold to private equity firm 

Private equity company Breal Group has bought Purity Brewing Co, adding the Warwickshire brewery to its growth stable of breweries, including Black Sheep Brewing, Brew By Numbers and Brick Brewery, all of which were acquired by Breal in 2023. It is reported that Purity ran into financial difficulty amid rising operational and raw material costs. 


Rugby firm launches UK's first wind and solar powered defibrillator cabinet 

Rugby-based family firm Turtle Defib Cabinets has launched a UK first - a ground-breaking wind and solar powered defibrillator and bleed control cabinet. Such units are usually wired to an electrical source but in remote areas, solar is used as an alternative. Turtle's design solves a problem, namely that the angle of the solar panel must be optimal to ensure a continuous supply of electricity, and provides a wind back-up. 


Ground breaks on £6m scheme at Warwickshire barracks 

VIVO Defence Services and its tier one supply chain partner Henry Brothers Construction have broken ground on a £6m scheme to relocate an explosive ordnance disposal troop from Nottingham to Warwickshire. The troop is relocating from Chetwynd Barracks to Gamecock Barracks, near Nuneaton, under the Defence Estate Optimisation (DEO) Army Programme. 


Government rolls out new tax credits for British film, TV and video games 

Starting today, the UK Government has introduced a new tax credit system for the creative industries. The new Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit and Video Games Expenditure Credit will provide greater tax reliefs than the previous system to businesses across the country. 

Children’s TV, animated TV and animated films are set to benefit from an extra £42,500 in relief, while high-end TV, film or video game productions will receive £5,000. 


Funding awarded for low carbon construction centre 

A Midlands college group has secured £900,000 to develop a new facility in Rugby focused on low carbon construction. WCG (Warwickshire College Group) is set to launch a Low Carbon Construction Centre at Rugby College after being awarded Local Skills Improvement Funds (LSIF) by the Department for Education. The centre will focus on low carbon techniques and future housing, specialising in heat pumps and solar, to support regional skills needs. It will be based in an existing building on the college site which is not currently in use, and is expected to officially open in September 2024. 


Plans in for logistics complex redevelopment 

Detailed plans have been lodged for the redevelopment of a 16.4-acre logistics complex in Coventry, on the edge of Warwick District on Middlemarch Industrial Estate. The scheme from Stoford and BlackRock UK Property Fund (BUKPF) would involve the construction of a 302,000 sq ft unit on a brownfield site at Middlemarch Business Park, Siskin Parkway West, currently occupied by a national logistics operator. Stoford plans to demolish an existing 1970s building and replace it with a modern, purpose-built logistics facility, with integral three-storey office space. Stoford and Blackrock have previously worked together elsewhere in Warwickshire at other schemes like Spa Park in Leamington Spa, and the two Carbon schemes elsewhere in Middlemarch. 


Clarion Partners Europe snaps up £28m warehouse at Coventry distribution hub 

Clarion Partners Europe has bought a warehouse at Middlemarch Business Park in Coventry for £28.25m. The unit formerly known as Carbon 207 and let to pet food company Zooplus, lies in Warwick District on the border with Coventry City close to Coventry Airport. 


Third phase of British Business Bank’s recovery loan scheme hits £1b 

The British Business Bank’s third recovery loan scheme has now supported £1b of finance offers to small businesses since its launch in August 2022. With more than 60 participating lenders, the scheme offers a wide range of finance types, including term loans, asset finance, invoice finance, revolving credit facilities, and a newly launched asset-based lending variant. 


Coventry and Warwickshire businesses in upbeat mood 

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have started 2024 in a much more confident mood compared to a year ago. According to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, the economic outlook for the region had dipped compared to three months ago based on a range of measures. 


Crowe and CMB check the financial pulse of UK manufacturing with Winter Survey 

Crowe, a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm, together with CBM, the trade association representing Metal Forming companies across the UK, officially launches its Manufacturing Outlook - Winter Survey for 2024 to take the financial pulse of manufacturers for the coming year. Despite the headwinds over the last few years, companies in the Crowe/CBM 2023 Manufacturing outlook report were buoyant about sector growth, investing in sustainable production and embracing the next industrial revolution as digitisation, AI and automation become an important arsenal in building resilience and growth.  


Manufacturers say UK is getting more competitive 

More than half of Britain’s manufacturers are now viewing the UK as a more competitive place to locate their activities, compared to just 31 per cent one year ago. While less than one-fifth believe the UK is not a competitive place in which to manufacture. 

These findings come from Make UK and PwC’s Executive Survey 2024, published today, which polled more than two hundred senior manufacturing executives. It shows that after a very difficult few years through the pandemic and the shock to energy prices, there are optimistic signs with companies more bullish about the prospects for manufacturing in 2024.  


Made in the Midlands Awards open for entries 

This year's Made in the Midlands Awards – Insider's annual celebration of the region's manufacturing sector – is now open for entries. Businesses will compete for 11 categories at the event, now in its 14th year, which takes place on 25 April at Eastside Rooms, Birmingham. This year there are two new awards – Manufacturing Start-up and Manufacturing Future Talent. It is free to enter and the deadline is 15 February. 


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