Sage to Brazil

The Newcastle Great Park-based tech giant is paying £125m for a 75% stake in the Folhamatic Group, which is the market leading accountancy software provider for SMEs inBrazil, now the world’s sixth biggest economy.

The price equates to 13 times Folhamatic’s EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortisation), compared to the market average of 15 times EBITA. The acquisition will add to Sage’s earnings immediately.

Chief executive Berruyer, who took the Sage helm in October 2010, said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of a controlling interest in Folhamatic.

“It provides us with a market-leading position in the large and rapidly-growing Brazilian market. We are excited about the growth opportunity that the combination of Sage and Folhamatic creates in this market.

“Folhamatic is an outstanding business, with strong management, and we are delighted to welcome the management and staff to the group.”

Folhamatic’s founder and CEO, Mauricio Frizzarin, will retain the remaining 25% equity in business.


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One of North East’s best-known bakers goes into administration.

Administrators have cut 25 of 111 jobs at Burnopfield-based pie-maker Tindale & Stanton while they attempt to sell the business, which was only bought out of a previous administration in November byYorkshireentrepreneur Arthur Harris.

Harris’s other business – Scarborough-based Bakery Products – has also gone into administration, and has ceased to trade with the loss of about 100 jobs.

Administrators have also taken over Harris’s two Howards Bakery shops inHarrogate, which are still trading. Another of his businesses, the Ugo chain of budget supermarkets, also went into administration earlier this year and was later sold to Poundstretcher.

A former director of both bakery firms has blamed one of the company’s backers for pulling the plug because of a short-term cashflow problem.

He said the business required large increases in sales to survive and these were taking longer than expected to come on stream.

To bridge the gap, the company agreed a short-term cash lifeline from a London-based funder, but this fell through. Efforts were being made to source money from elsewhere but support was withdrawn by the company’s invoice discounter, Bibby Financial Services.


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North east sees eye to eye with world’s biggest telescope

NORTH-EAST businesses have the chance to reach for the stars when it comes to building the world’s largest ground-based telescope.

Scores of businesses have signed up to the sell-out event at Durham County Council’s NETPark (North-EastTechnologyPark) on Thursday.

Experts will be on-hand to outline potential contract opportunities to supply the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

The telescope is an 11-year construction project proposed to be designed and manufactured in Europe and built in Chile.

It will enable astronomers to probe and understand a whole range of phenomena, from Earth-like planets around nearby stars to the origin and development of the most distant galaxies at the edge of the observable universe.

E-ELT will be the biggest optical and infrared telescope in the world – the size of five classicLondonbuses. The main mirror, nearly 40-metres wide and made up of 800 individual segments, will have a field of view one third the width of the full moon.

Stewart Watkins, managing director of Business Durham, said: “One of the key aims of the project is to ensure thatUKindustry wins contracts for construction, including the dome and other systems and instruments. It is a real opportunity for businesses here inCountyDurhamto be a part of it all. Experts will be available to showcase just what is on offer and how they can be involved.

“Already, some £10m worth of contracts have been awarded in this country and new contracts are expected to be worth hundreds of millions.”

The session has been organised by Business Durham, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and UK Trade and Investment.

TheNorth-EastTechnologyPark, where world-class science and technology companies come together, recently held a Spacetech event, looking at other business opportunities in the space industry.

BryanLittle, from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, said: “The project development is currently in final stages of preparation for the release of some major packages of work.

These include the main structure, the dome and opticsrelated support and control mechanisms.

“There is a chance forCountyDurhambusinesses to be involved in the supply chain.”


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Housing bonus to fund North Shields library revamp

A £3.1m revamp of aNorth Tynesidelibrary is to be funded from a housing scheme, the council has said.

Central Library in North Shields closed in December 2011 due to repeated heating failures and other problems with the building’s interior.

Temporary facilities have been set up in theSaville Streetbusiness centre.

The council’s cabinet has approved the refurbishment of theNorthumberland Squarebuilding, which will also include a Customer Service Centre.

Due to be completed in 2013, some of the funding will come from the council’s New Homes Bonus from the government.

Under the scheme, aimed at easing housing shortages, the government matches the council tax raised on each newly-built house for six years.

North Tynesideelected mayor Linda Arkley said: “Although North Shields has a temporary customer service centre and library, the situation isn’t ideal and I’m grateful for everyone’s patience.

“This scheme, however, will deliver a modern library, community facilities and a full customer services suite, all under one roof.”

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Trying to breathe new life into historic Newcastle

There are signs of new development momentum within key urban core regeneration areas.

The essential ingredient to bring home ambitious regeneration plans is still the availability of public sector pump priming funds. These have become increasingly difficult to secure within a period of strong government sector cut backs – that position was also further exacerbated by the demise of the region’s regional development agency, One North East.

New powers are to be delegated from central government which will allow the local authorities to borrow substantial funds to revive regeneration schemes on Tyneside. The loans will be paid back through the business rates generated from the occupiers of new office blocks and retail buildings within the ADZ. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will become a key element of emerging development and regeneration schemes across Tyneside.

The proposed regeneration schemes within the Discovery and Stephenson Quarters may be the first to be progressed under this new TIF/Accelerated Development Zone initiative.

The Discovery Quarter has a long history of industrial uses and offers huge potential for commercial mixed use development at a key entrance point to the city alongside the Redheugh Bridge and St James Boulevard. Roadwork improvements have already commenced to improve traffic flows and improve access to the area. Construction work at Kings House and the Railway Warehouse at Forth Banks /Pottery lane is now well advanced and will accommodate thenew citycentre police station which will relocate fromMarket Street.

Perhaps the most awaited comprehensive regeneration scheme will be the £200m Stephenson Quarter mixed use scheme which is scheduled to commence this summer. The scheme which is being undertaken by Silverlink Developments on a 10-acre site to the rear of Central Station will bring forward a high-quality master planned development involving offices, two hotels, a multi-storey car park, residential apartments, restaurants and public open space.

Support from the City Council and TIF/ADZ funding will assist the developer to bring forward to progress this long awaited regeneration scheme which will also provide a vibrant link between the city centre and the Quayside area. The proposed mixed uses will be highly sustainable at this key gateway location.

The proposed development activity withinNewcastlecity centre,Gatesheadtown centre, Ouseburn, Baltic Business Quarter and other Quayside developments, means that Newcastle/Gateshead is now one of the biggest regeneration areas in theUK.

This was recently acknowledged by Greg Clark, the cities minister on a visit to Tyneside, when he confirmed thatNewcastle’s bid was “his biggest priority within the Core Cities”. The 8 Core Cities can now bid for new powers to drive faster growth, working with central government through the minister for cities and the Cabinet.

The freeing up of funding and delegation of powers under the Localism agenda will allow the local authorities to secure funding for major infrastructure works and pump prime the main regeneration schemes within the “urban core” of Newcastle/Gateshead.

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North East business community attempts to stimulate growth

Developing Consensus, which takes place on June 22 at Sport Central,Northumbria University, will bring together public and private sector development partners who will respond to the key challenges of the new economic landscape and start a process of ongoing engagement to take forward and progress.

Members of the regeneration community have designed and developed the event, including AECOM, BNP Paribas, DWF, Eversheds, The Hanro Group, idp-northern, Jones Lang LaSalle, Knight Frank, Quorum Business Park, Ryder Architecture, Silverlink Holdings, UK Land Estates and Ward Hadaway.

Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Gateshead Initiative are both key event partners, promoting a new inward investment agenda with Gateshead Council.

Key note speakers for the event include the newly-appointed director of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Edward Twiddy, who will discuss how the LEP will work with the development community and public sector to stimulate the economic growth of the region and attract inward investors.


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Cheryl Cole critical of Pasty Tax and effect it would have had on North East

Cheryl Cole has criticised the British government’s recent attempt to introduce a tax on pies and pasties.

Proposed in March during this year’s budget and colloquially dubbed the ‘pasty tax’, the measure would have seen VAT imposed on all hot baked goods such as pies and Cornish pasties, even if they were not being kept warm on a hot plate or in a heated cabinet. This would have hit Greggs the UK’s biggest baker and native to the North East as Cole is.

Cole said “It was ridiculous. I would have been penniless as a teenager – and hungry – if I’d been taxed every time I had a hot pasty. I wouldn’t have had a penny. It’s crazy. Pasties, pizza, McDonald’s – we didn’t have a clue about nutrition.”

Cole also said that she believed the proposal would have disproportionately affected those on low incomes, adding: “It was tasty and it was what we could afford. The whole idea of putting tax on that is about taking money out of the pockets of people who can’t afford it.”

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