A round-up of news from the region's finance sector in the past week [Birmingham Post (England)]
(Birmingham Post (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Business is now flying thanks to business support aid A Coventry- based flight experience company is ready for lift off after securing financial help through a business support programme.
Flight Simulators Midlands, which is based on the north-side of Coventry Airport, at the Coventry Aeroclub on Rowley drive, provides flight experiences for anyone over the age of 14.
People from all walks of life are able to live out their dreams by booking a slot in a genuine Boeing aeroplane simulator, to fly anywhere around the world, from Hong Kong to the mountains of Salzburg.
The company wanted to expand its offer to clients by including a Boeing 747 simulator as well as its existing Boeing 737 model.
The firm approached the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and was able to take advantage of the Accelerated Growth business programme, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and local councils.
After working with Helena Arundel, a business adviser at the chamber, the company successfully applied for a grant through Accelerated Growth.
That money has been put towards the new simulator and already it is paying off for the company - and others around it.
Chris Rigby, managing director of Flight Simulator Midlands, said: "Originally we only had one simulator which constrained the services we could offer.
"With the help we received from the Accelerated Growth Business Programme, we were able to gain financial support through a grant which allowed us to purchase a second simulator, which has doubled our custom and revenue.
"It has enabled us to increase the amount of staff we employ as well as generate extra business for our host landlords, the Coventry Flying Club."
Wright Industries acquire electronic manufacturing firm Midland- based Wright Industries has acquired the specialist electronic manufacturing firm Custom Interconnect for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition follows Wright Industries' strategic investment in Custom Interconnect in December 2012, which saw Craig Wright, Wright Industries' chief executive, become executive chairman of Custom Interconnect. In an innovative approach to business acquisitions, Wright Industries agreed a deal with the retiring shareholders, enabling it to effect a strategic plan, together with an operational and financial restructuring, all within an agreed nine months timeline.
Craig Wright, chairman and chief executive of Wright Industries During this period, Wright Industries and the incumbent management were led by Mr Wright, to take the business through an ambitious change plan.
These changes resulted in an order book increase of over 70 per cent, 30 per cent growth in revenue and a 20 per cent increase in head count.
Craig Wright, Chairman and Chief Executive of Wright Industries said: "The focused strategic development plan and growth we have achieved with Custom Interconnect over the past nine months brought to effect the potential we saw in the business."
Custom Interconnect, which employs 125 people at its Andover site, will trade as part of a new group company called Connexion Technologies Limited.
The group's development plan, which will include 'bolt on' acquisitions, is being supported financially with new banking facilities of Pounds 3.2m from Leumi ABL.
Jason Holland, West Midlands regional director of Leumi ABL said: "We are pleased to have been selected by Wright Industries to partner them in the development of the strategy of Custom Interconnect and the Connexion Technologies Group. The business has great potential to enhance its market leading positions in the oil and gas, secure RF communications, video capture, optics and medical markets."
Jobs are safeguarded as packaging firm is sold The business and assets of Retail Supply Group, the Coleshill-based supplier of plastic bags and packaging to the retail industry, have been sold to Greenpac (Europe) Limited via a pre-pack administration.
Will Wright and Mark Orton, restructuring partners at KPMG in Birmingham, were appointed joint administrators to Retail Supply Group on September 27.
Following a period of marketing in the weeks prior to appointment, the administrators were able to secure an immediate sale of the business and its assets to Greenpac (Europe), a new company established by Europackaging. The deal has successfully secured the ongoing employment of all 39 employees, who have transferred over to the new owner.
Mr Wright, restructuring partner at KPMG and joint administrator, commented: "We are delighted to have secured this deal which provides the best possible outcome for creditors, employees and other stakeholders. The business had been experiencing declining sales due to reduced demand for single-use plastic bags, coupled with an increase in raw material costs.
"We're particularly pleased that this deal will safeguard a total of 39 jobs in the West Midlands."
Omar joins Clearwater Mid-market advisory firm Clearwater Corporate Finance has strengthened its Birmingham team with the appointment of Omar Mahmood as manager. Mr Mahmood joins the firm from KPMG.
In his new role at Clearwater, he will be working across the firm's UK offices in a range of sub-sectors, with a focus on TMT (technology, media and telecommunications).
He will offer support to partner Carl Houghton, advising clients on corporate strategy in the TMT sector.
Mr Mahmood said: "I'm delighted to be joining such a strong and dynamic TMT team at Clearwater.
"The global technology market evolves at a much quicker pace than any other, so working in this sector is very exciting.
Carl Houghton, partner at Clearwater Corporate Finance, said: "Omar will be a great addition to the technology team.
"He brings some great experience with him, particular for fintech, and we look forward to having him on board."
Accountants focused on nurturing young talent An accountancy firm is putting the ethos of its major new campaign for young entrepreneurs into action by appointing its youngest female partner. Claire Stacey-Connor, aged 28, has taken up her new position in the Leamington office of Baldwins accountants. Her promotion comes hot on the heels of the Baldwins Kick-Start programme which will see the firm give away Pounds 300,000 over the next decade to 30 aspiring young entrepreneurs across the Midlands.
Ms Stacey-Connor joined Baldwins' former Nuneaton office as a trainee accountant after leaving John Cleveland College in Hinckley in 2002.
She passed her Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) exams before progressing onto the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ACA) qualification, to become a fully-qualified member in 2010, before moving to the Coventry office in Binley Road, Binley, last April and her client portfolio has continued to grow.
She said: "The promotion of young people fits in with Baldwins' support of young entrepreneurs who will be able to realise their aspirations through our Kick Start scheme.
"I have been able to achieve my career ambitions after joining Baldwins from college as an 18-year-old by passing my accountancy exams and working hard to work my way through the company.
She will be the third partner at Baldwins' premises in Waterloo Place, Leamington, along with Kevin Brevitt and Roger Tay.
BHSF unveil improvements at Celtic Manor conference The Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals, held at Celtic Manor in Wales, was the backdrop for BHSF's unveiling of its improved total reward statements.
As a keynote speaker at the conference on salary sacrifice and flexible benefits provision, Brian Hall, sales and marketing director at Midlandsbased health insurer and employee benefits provider BHSF, unveiled the TRS improvements at the conference's exhibition.
"It's a major step forward for us", said Mr Hall, "allowing us to tailor much more fully, our flexible benefits platform, to the TRS requirements of individual employers.
"We have learned much from our pioneer flex clients in the last twelve months and all of these lessons have been distilled to improve the platform further and in particular to deliver a comprehensive TRS module."
BHSF entered the flex market in September of 2011 with a proposition aimed at the SME and VSME market, although a number of their clients are already in the mid-cap market and beyond.
Asked why he believed the Flexsme proposition was appealing to larger employers, Mr Hall said: "Although Flexsme is aimed at the SME sector, it is a very dynamic proposition and its pricing model makes it attractive to even the larger employers.
"It is not uncommon for us to be able to save employers 60 per cent when comparing our Flexsme proposition to proposals from other providers.
"We see this as a growing part of our business and will be developing the system further in the coming months."
JW Hinks staff on the run for local charity A team of accountants from Birmingham firm JW Hinks are swapping tax for tracksuits to compete in the Bupa Great Birmingham Run to raise money for a local charity.
Staff members from the Edgbastonbased firm are taking part in the half marathon on October 20 in order to raise funds for Lunch On The Run - their charity of the year.
The Kingswinford charity is a unique organisation where people with a learning disability can enjoy learning about working in catering.
Staff help people develop the skills and confidence that improve their chances of finding a job.
"This is achieved through personalised training plans and involving trainees in every aspect of the charity's work."
Grant Thornton welcomes new batch of trainees Business and finance adviser Grant Thornton has welcomed 15 new trainees to its growing Birmingham office. Thirteen graduates and two school leavers have embarked upon new careers in accountancy studying for ATT, AAT, ACA and CIPFA professional qualifications while working across Grant Thornton's audit, tax and advisory businesses.
Dave Munton, regional managing partner, said: "Competition to secure training positions is increasingly tough so all these individuals have exhibited outstanding determination to succeed in a career with Grant Thornton.
"The firm is committed to nurturing new talent from within and from day one they'll be supported and encouraged to show initiative and take responsibility in their work with our ambitious public and private sector clients.
"People are what make the business world go round and in these new trainees I hope to be looking at some of the firm's future leaders."
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