Public sector procurement open to SMEs

The Government has announced that it is opening up public sector procurement contracts to small and medium-sized enterprises and a survey has found that over 50 per cent of SMEs intend to bid for such contracts.

The survey was carried out by online business marketplace and found that
SMEs voiced some concern that bigger players will win the most lucrative contracts.

SMEs are sometimes seen to hav... Continue Reading

Changes could allow SMEs to bid for more public sector work

Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to bid for increasing amounts of public sector work following changes to government procurement rules.

Originally rolled out in 2003, the two-tier procurement code was a disincentive for small businesses to bid for government contracts. This was because the salary and conditions of employees taken on by private firms who then take over public-sector contracts. would be matched to the fo... Continue Reading

Investor considers acquisition of Powerfuel assets

A company financially backed by a US-based private equity firm is considering acquiring the assets of collapsed mining company Powerfuel.

Powerfuel, the UK's most advanced clean coal company and the owner of Hatfield Colliery, fell into administration last week after being unable to plug a large funding gap. The firm needed to raise £635 million to pay for the construction of the country’s first clean coal plant, but was una... Continue Reading

Rise in SMEs for sale expected by FPB

A representative from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has said the organisation expects to see a rise in the number of businesses put up for sale as times continue to be tough for smaller businesses.

The FPB spokesman, Phil McCabe, said small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were still likely to struggle as the economic recovery has failed to pick up any particular speed and draconian austerity measures have already started t... Continue Reading

Floating bar, restaurant and tourist attraction up for sale

The Dixie Queen, the Thames-berthed mock paddle steamer which doubles as a restaurant, bar and tourist attraction, is up for sale.

The boat, which is a replica of a 19th-century Mississippi paddle steamer, is based at Butler's Wharf Pier in London and offers dining, private events and tourist trips. It is for sale for offers over £2.6 million.

The Dixie Queen has been moored on the Thames for the last ten years, s... Continue Reading

Coventry construction firm blames administration on 'over-ambition'

Coventry-based CJ Haughey Construction, the groundworks contractor, has fallen into administration, citing 'over-ambition' as the reason for its demise.

Founded 11 years ago by Chris Haughey, the firm has blamed the taking on of a £17 million contract at Pembroke Power Station for the administration, calling it a 'bridge too far.'

Haughey said, “Our targets were in hindsight probably too ambitious... Continue Reading

Twenty potential buyers for Edinburgh cinema

There are around 20 potential buyers interested in the Odeon cinema on Clark Street in Edinburgh, according to reports in The Scotsman Newspaper.

The Grade-B listed building has been on sale since 5 January and the sales agency, Montagu Evans, says the interest has mostly been from leisure developers.

The agency stated, "It really is a bit of a mixed bag. I think it's safe to say the interest is not really for offic... Continue Reading

Pub giants selling off freeholds as pub values fall by 40 per cent

Research from Fleurets, the pub property experts, has revealed that the price of pubs across the country has fallen by 40 per cent since the 2007 market peak.

Due to the financial climate, which has affected the entire property market and caused drinkers to stay at home, pub values have been slashed by almost half.

The pub sector is also facing further issues, including the smoking ban and large discounts by supermarke... Continue Reading

Tate & Lyle announces disposal of molasses business

Tate & Lyle has announced the sale of its molasses business, meaning the multinational agribusiness will cut all ties with Liverpool.

The £67 million sale of the business - to W&R Barnett, the Northern-Ireland based grain trader - will go some way towards reducing Tate & Lyle's net debt.

The molasses arm was the final Tate & Lyle operation to have a base in Merseyside, which was where the business first began in 1... Continue Reading

Leeds business park sold for £1.25 million

The Elmfield Business Park near Leeds has been sold in a deal that is said to be in the region of £1.25 million.

The new owners of the Garforth unit are Huddersfield-based Royds Properties, who finalised their purchase of the establishment from previous owners, Valad (Equity Partnerships Osprey), on Thursday.

Valad was represented in the deal by the Leeds office of international property consultancy, Knight Frank. The... Continue Reading

Top Edinburgh hotel on the market

One of Edinburgh's top hotels has been put up for sale following a decision by its owner that it no longer fits with its 'long-term trading strategy.'

The Hudson Hotel in Hope Street has come onto the market just four years after it was fully renovated at a cost of £7 million. Owner Festival Inns has put a price tag of offers over £4.45 million onto the American-style 'boutique' hotel, which contains the Ba... Continue Reading

Four Yorkshire pubs up for sale as owner slims portfolio

A pub and restaurant management business has announced it is to sell off some of its portfolio, first putting four pubs in West Yorkshire on the market.

Chennell and Armstrong have decided to put the pubs up for sale, following a decision to reduce day-to-day operations in light of the retirement of its commercial director.

Amongst the pubs up for sale include two in Wharfedale - Whitakers, in Kirkgate, Otley and the S... Continue Reading

Trendy Shoreditch hotel on the market

An award-winning hotel in the trendy East End enclave of Shoreditch has been put up for sale with a price tag of £67.5 million.

The Hoxton Hotel has made an indelible mark on the London hotel scene since it was first launched in 2006 by Sinclair Beecham, one of the men behind sandwich chain, Pret A Manger.

The industrial-style aesthetics and design of the hotel, and modernist appeal have combined with an innovative mar... Continue Reading

Towergate Healthcare buys Origen's healthcare business

Towergate Healthcare has acquired independent financial advice company Origen's healthcare business for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will see Towergate picking up Origen's private medical insurance business and the two firms have agreed a 'strategic partnership' which will see Towergate providing healthcare services to clients of Origen.

Whilst the exact terms of the sale have been kept quiet, Origen ... Continue Reading

Majority of investors believe 'time is right' for buying businesses

Eighty-one per cent of buyers believe that now is a suitable time to snap up commercial interests.

According to new research from, the vast majority of stakeholders, including speculators, business owners and agents, were convinced it was the right time to carry out business transactions including acquisitions.

Forty-nine per cent of those questioned in the survey cited possible bargain prices as ... Continue Reading