Newcastle United FC expected to increase hospitality prices

NUFC are expected to set thier hospitality prices at a higher level than last year affecting local business and their ability to engage in corporate hospitality.

This has been raised as a concern with the hospitality department at NUFC, but updated answer has been forthcoming.

Local business leaders are concerned but are unable to formally complain until the announcement of prices at the beginning of July.

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Northgate creates 200 jobs after turnaround

The group, which operates fleets in the UK and Spain, has opened a second office at its County Durham base as part of the shake-up of the business, which is now almost complete.

Chief executive Bob Contreras said: “We have centralised administration and finance and opened a second office in Darlington.

“We have employed an extra 200 people in the North East this calendar year. It is a vote of confidence in the North East for us.” The Darlington-based group saw its share price leap by 16% to 207p yesterday after posting a jump in its bottom line to £46m from £26.5m a year ago despite seeing a 1.2% fall in revenues to £706.7m. Net debt fell by £158.6m to £371.3m and Northgate announced a full-year dividend of 3p per share.

Contreras said: “Most of the turnover reduction was in Spain, where there was a 10% reduction in the fleet. It recognises the fact we’re dominated not by top-line turnover but by profitability.

“Essentially we had a period of three or four years where debt reduced substantially. It’s a sign of confidence in the business going forward.

“In the four years since I’ve been here, debt has reduced by more than £500m.”

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Newcastle headquartered Private Equity firm bids £1.1bn for Australian department store chain

Locally based ambitious private equity fund EB Private Equity has bid £1.1bn (AU$1.65bn) for the prominent Australian department store chain David Jones.

David Jones earlier this year scared the Australian markets with a profits warning slashing their profit forecasts for the year by over 40%. Since then they have continued to report deteriorating results and their share price has fallen by more than half over the last twelve months to a recent low of £1.30. Speculation has continued for some time that they would be a bid target and it appears EB Private Equity have made the move. 

The low profile commonwealth focused fund is heading the acquisition consortium that includes some of the largest Australian real estate funds. They are being advised by Jones Lang LaSalle, Chalkhill Partners and other advisers. When reached for comment EB Private Equity said they had no comment at this time. David Jones could not be reached for comment. 

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Berghaus profits up

North East outdoor clothing specialist Berghaus says it has seen a huge increase in sales as ramblers and climbers snap up waterproofs and boots to cope with the climate.

The Sunderland-based firm has seen like-for-like online trading almost double in the wettest weeks over the drier weeks and its shops are seeing a 60% rise in sales.

Richard Leedham, Berghaus vice president for Europe, said: “While I appreciate that the wind and rain isn’t bringing smiles to the faces of everyone, it has certainly had a positive impact on our business.

“As a British brand, Berghaus knows better than most that the weather here can be very unpredictable. Of course, people choose to, or have to, venture outside regardless and for over 40 years we’ve been providing kit that allows them to do that with confidence, knowing that they’re protected from the elements.”

The 47-year-old firm has been focusing on growing its overseas markets in recent years but its domestic sales have grown steadily to more than £56m in its most recent annual results.

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85 jobs saved with sale of Newcastle bakery Tindale & Stanton

The Burnopfield firm collapsed a fortnight ago for the second time in a year after its owner, Yorkshire entrepreneur Arthur Harris, put it into administration.
But today administrators The P&A Partnership said that a consortium of four former managers of the firm had taken over.

Harris’s other business – Scarborough-based Bakery Products – also went  into administration this month and was shut with the loss of about 100 jobs.

In a separate deal, his two bakery shops in Harrogate which were owned by Bakery Products Ltd, Scarborough, have been sold to a new company Howards Bakery Ltd saving 16 jobs

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Peters Cathedral Bakers close three branches

The Durham firm, which went into adminstration last week, stopped trading its Peters Bakery shops in Billingham and Stockton and its Loaf shop in Pity Me yesterday and closed them for good today. KPMG, which is handling the administration of the business which has 400 staff in 58 shops, warehouses and bakery, said the three outlets had been loss-making.

The rest of the business is continuing to trade and KPMG said talks are continuing with interested parties. The closures of the three shops mean the redundancies of 11 staff in Pity Me, two staff in Billlingham and four inStockton.

The 46-year-old business had a turnover or around £12m last year, but found the retail slump, coupled with rising commodity and energy prices, caused cash-flow problems.

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North East SMEs in positive mood

SMALL to medium-sized property businesses across the North East are more positive about the future of the sector than in 2011, with almost a quarter expecting an increase in market activity in the next six months, according to a new report.

The latest quarterly Property Matters report reveals a distinct contrast with last year’s results, with property business owners inLondonbecoming less confident in theUKmarket and regions such as the North East showing a slight swing towards optimism.

The report comes at a time when Lloyds TSB Commercial’s lending toUKproperty SMEs has risen by nearly 10% in the North East.

Despite the slight increase in positivity across the North East, respondents were split in their opinions on activity in the region, with 14% expecting activity to slow and 63% predicting that activity will stay at current levels. This gives the region a net confidence score of +9. The report looks at the confidence of SME property businesses throughout theUKbased on their attitudes to investment and views of sources of funding.

It reveals that, even though expectations for the regions have improved, property business owners are more cautious about the recovery of the widerUKmarket.

More than half in the North East believe activity will remain static, and the rest are split between improvement and decline.

Mike Gascoigne, relationship manager for Lloyds TSB Commercial in the North East, said: “While there is more overall positivity than 2011, the overwhelming message is that SME business owners are not expecting a massive swing towards a vibrant market.


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