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SMALL BUSINESS MINISTER MEETS ENTREPRENEURS AT BARCLAYS NOTTING HILL EAGLE LAB

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Margot James visit to Barclays Eagle Lab 02.02.17

Minister for Small Business, Margot James MP met with businesses in Barclays’ Notting Hill Eagle Lab on Thursday to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by growing SMEs and entrepreneurs.

Margot James visit to Barclays Eagle Lab 02.02.17

Margot James visit to Barclays Eagle Lab 02.02.17

The Barclays’ Eagle Lab is one of nine sites across the UK focussed on supporting businesses through co-working space and providing tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters- aimed to help small businesses with their prototyping and digital skills.

The recently appointed ‘Scale-Up Champion’ met with senior officials from the bank and founders of businesses following the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, to find out how financial services can support its ambition to grow entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country.

Small Business Minister, Margot James, said:

“With a record 5.5 million small businesses, the UK is already the best place in the world to start a business and we want to do even more to help those growing their ventures. The Industrial Strategy launched last week will address barriers to scaling up, with a particular focus on improving access to finance and management skills across the country.

“In my new role as Scale Up Champion, I look forward to working with hubs like the Barclays Eagle Labs to better understand and tackle the challenges facing entrepreneurs in taking their business to the next level.”

Margot James visit to Barclays Eagle Lab 02.02.17

Margot James visit to Barclays Eagle Lab 02.02.17

Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Banking said: “We are determined to support fast growing businesses across every stage of their journey and support the government’s ambition to boost the number of British scale-ups. We believe the financial services industry has an important role to play in championing UK high growth companies that will go on to be future world-leading businesses. We provide specialist funding and relationship support for a wide range of businesses, from their start-up phase right through to growth and expansion, and by providing companies with space and tools to work in our Eagle Labs, we can help them to thrive, innovate and expand.”

The minister met entrepreneurs and businesses who are based at Notting Hill Eagle Lab including:

  • RATEACO – Joel Blake OBE (Founder)
    RATEACO is a cloud business intelligence platform, designed to help small businesses predict who their most profitable customers will be. Through the power of data analytics, RATEACO enables businesses to make more informed decisions on who to focus their resources on and why.
  • BrightLET, Shana Owen (CEO)

BrightLET is a cloud based lettings and property management platform that connects landlords directly with tenants. Providing interactive tools to let or rent, communicate and manage multiple tenancies – all at your fingertips.

  • Fast Track Ventures /LIfTBioSciences, Alex Blyth (CEO)
    LIfTBioSciences is a socially-minded Biotech start-up developing a portfolio of stem cell derived immuno-oncology cell therapies. The company is comprised of industry professionals and Prof Zheng Cui a world leading scientist in innate immunity derived cancer therapies, and partnered with Kings College London.  The company successfully obtained initial funding from Merck Biopharma. 
  • Desolenator, Alexei Levene (Rainmaker)

Desolenator is a clean technology venture that has developed and patented what’s on track to becoming the most affordable environmentally friendly method of water purification on the market. Their patented technology uses only solar power to purify water from any source, including sea water. 

  • Fire Tech Camp, Jill Hodges (Founder)

Fire Tech Camp are on a mission to teach young people to create and innovate through technology. They are a leading tech education provider, putting the power of technology into kids’ hands so that they can create their own games, design smartphone apps, code like a pro, build robots to do their bidding, and learn much more in the fields of programming, engineering, design, making and the digital arts. 

  • Machido, Becca Patterson (Creative)

Machidio are a leading coding company who create coding and robotics courses and curriculum content. 

  • Next Dynamics, Alexander Straub (Founder)

Developing the NEXD1 which is the first 3D printer to have electronics and circuitry printing. With multi material capabilities you can use and combine 6 materials at the same time for millions of different characteristics and colours it is a compelling proposition for prototypers and makers alike.

  • Prolific People, Laura Wellstead (Founder)

Providing a full end-to-end talent search service powered by data and embedding process and best practice, Laura’s ambition is for Prolific People to be the strategic talent partner of choice for businesses in the digital and innovation space. Laura specialises in recruiting for customer, product, growth and leadership roles and is passionate about helping businesses to recruit smarter. 

  • Burntaxe, Tom Lamont (Founder)

Guitar design using laser technology. Burntaxe design founder Tom has been playing guitar since 2002 and runs his own design company. He’s learnt what it means to have a reliable guitar, the importance of good communication and what makes a quality instrument that you want to play and is fun to play. 

  • This is Pod Ltd, Michelle Mealor-Stew (Founder)

UX Design and branding creating brands design frictionless apps and websites and create technical specifications for startups, second stage companies and established brands.

Barclays’ High Growth & Entrepreneurs business recently announced an extension of its £200million loan fund for high growth businesses and in January this year, Barclays Business launched a new app to speed up business loans, enabling SMEs to receive funding in as little as an hour from application.

Barclays Eagle Labs are based in Birmingham, Brighton, Bournemouth, Cambridge (x2), Jersey, Norwich, Notting Hill and Salford.

Business

Siemens Healthineers gains EU nod for $16.4 billion Varian buy

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Siemens Healthineers gains EU nod for $16.4 billion Varian buy 1

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators on Friday cleared with conditions Siemens Healthineers’ $16.4 billion acquisition of U.S. peer Varian, paving the way for the German health group to become a world leader in cancer care therapy.

The European Commission said Siemens Healthineers pledged to ensure that its medical imaging and radiotherapy equipment will work with rivals in return for its approval, confirming a Reuters story. The pledge is valid for 10 years.

“High quality medical imaging and radiotherapy solutions are crucial to diagnose and treat cancer. The efficiency and safety of treatment relies on the ability of these products to work together,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

Varian is the leader in radiation therapy with a market share of more than 50%. The deal received the U.S. antitrust green light in October last year.

 

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)

 

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Battling Covid collateral damage, Renault says 2021 will be volatile

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Battling Covid collateral damage, Renault says 2021 will be volatile 2

By Gilles Guillaume

PARIS (Reuters) – Renault said on Friday it is still fighting the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a shortage of semiconductor chips, that could make for another rough year for the French carmaker.

Renault reported an 8 billion euro ($9.7 billion) loss for 2020 which, combined with gloomy take on the market, sent its shares down more than 5% in late morning trading.

“We are in the midst of a battle to try to manage a difficult year in terms of supply chains, of components,” Chief Executive Luca de Meo told reporters. “This is all the collateral damage of the Covid pandemic… we will have a fairly volatile year.”

De Meo, who took over last July, is looking at ways to boost profitability and sales at Renault while pushing ahead with cost cuts. There were early signs of improving momentum as margins inched up in the second half of 2020.

The group gave no financial guidance for this year, although it said it might reach a target of achieving 2 billion euros in costs cuts by 2023 ahead of time, possibly by December.

Executives said they were confident the carmaker could be profitable in the second half of 2021, but that they lacked sufficient market visibility to provide a forecast.

Renault struck a cautious note, saying it was focused on its recovery but warned orders had faltered in early 2021 as pandemic restrictions continued in some countries.

The group is facing new challenges as the European Union tightens emissions regulations and after rivals PSA and Fiat Chrysler joined forces to create Stellantis, the world’s fourth-biggest automaker.

The auto industry endured a tough 2020 but a swift rebound in premium car sales in China helped companies such as Volkswagen and Daimler to weather the storm.

Auto companies globally have since been hit by a shortage of semiconductors that has forced production cuts worldwide.

“The beginning of the year has shown some signs of weakness,” De Meo told analysts, but added the chip shortage should be resolved by the second half of 2021. “We have taken the necessary measures to anticipate and overcome challenges.”

Renault estimated the chip shortage could reduce its production by about 100,000 vehicles this year.

SHARP HIT

The group was already loss-making in 2019, but took a sharp hit in 2020 during lockdowns to fight the pandemic, which also hurt its Japanese partner Nissan.

Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a 7.4 billion euro loss for 2020. The group posted negative free cash flow for 2020.

The 2018 arrest of Carlos Ghosn, who formerly lead the alliance between Renault and Nissan, plunged the automakers into turmoil.

In a further sign that the companies have been working to repair the alliance, De Meo told journalists that Renault and Nissan will announce new joint products together in the coming weeks or months.

Renault has begun to raise prices on some car models, and group operating profit, which was negative for 2020 as a whole, improved in the last six months of the year, reaching 866 million euros or 3.5% of revenue.

Analysts at Jefferies said the operating performance was better than expected. Sales were still falling in the second half, but less sharply.

Renault is slashing jobs and trimming its range of cars, allowing it to slice spending in areas like research and development as it focuses on redressing its finances. It is also pivoting more towards electric cars as part of its revamp.

It was already struggling more than some rivals with sliding sales before the pandemic, after years of a vast expansion drive it is now trying to rein in, focusing on profitable markets.

De Meo told journalists on Friday that the French carmaker will make three new higher-margin models at its Palencia plant in Spain, where manufacturing costs are lower, between 2022 and 2024.

($1 = 0.8269 euros)

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Sarah White in Paris, Nick Carey in London; Editing by Christopher Cushing, David Evans and Jan Harvey)

 

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Business

UK delays review of business rates tax until autumn

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UK delays review of business rates tax until autumn 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance ministry said it would delay publication of its review of business rates – a tax paid by companies based on the value of the property they occupy – until the autumn when the economic outlook should be clearer.

Many companies are demanding reductions in their business rates to help them compete with online retailers.

“Due to the ongoing and wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, the government said the review’s final report would be released later in the year when there is more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and the public finances,” the ministry said.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak has granted a temporary business rates exemption to companies in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, costing over 10 billion pounds ($14 billion). Sunak is due to announce his next round of support measures for the economy on March 3.

($1 = 0.7152 pounds)

(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)

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