Economic Snapshot 10 June 2009doc - Redcar & Cleveland Borough

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Economic Snapshot 10 June 2009doc - Redcar & Cleveland Borough

    Economic Snapshot


    Credit Crunch Nationally

    ? The Treasury is investigating the prospect of selling state-owned bank Northern

    Rock, according to a report. The feasibility of floating it on the stock market or finding a City buyer are being explored, The Times said. Selling the Rock to the

    private sector at a profit would look good politically but only if it delivers the full value to taxpayers, the paper said. Separately, former Rock investors go to court on Wednesday in a renewed bid to be compensated for their shares. They are trying to overturn a government compensation scheme, which they say will result in their

    shares being worthless in the wake of nationalisation. (

    ? The economy has received another shot in the arm with figures showing that the

    pace of house price falls slowed in May while home sales picked up. However,

    retail sales figures have put in question whether April‘s jump in consumer demand

    would be sustained. About 6 per cent of estate agents across the UK said that

    property values had risen in May, while 42 per cent said that prices fell, according to figures from the Royal Insitution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The resulting seasonally adjusted balance of -44 is up from -58 in April, suggesting that the pace at which prices are falling is easing. May‘s reading was the highest since November 2007. Buyer inquiries at estate agencies last month rose for the seventh

    consecutive month in May at its fastest pace in a decade. (

    ? Setanta executives are locked in an emergency board meeting to discuss a rescue

    package in attempt to stave off administration, the BBC has learned. The sports

    broadcaster could face administration "within days" unless backers provide more

    funds, earlier reports suggested. The company needs to pay the ?30m it owes to

    the English Premier League. However, a spokesman played down the reports that

    Setanta was set to call in the administrators. The broadcaster has already failed to pay the Scottish Premier League ?3m it owes in television rights money. Setanta,

    which shows cricket, golf and rugby union as well as football, has about 1.2 million subscribers but is losing up to ?100m a year, analysts say. Deloitte is set to step in to run the firm if it goes into administration. (

    ? Germany's Arcandor, which owns 52% of Thomas Cook, has filed for bankruptcy

    protection after the German government rejected a request for loan guarantees.

    Arcandor, which employs about 70,000 people, had sought 650m euros ($930m;

    ?561m) of guarantees because about 600m euros of its loans need refinancing.

    Arcandor said its bankruptcy filing covered German retailer Karstadt and its mail-order businesses. However, it added that Thomas Cook "will remain



    Economic Snapshot

    ? Council of Mortgage Lenders figures show 1,700 buy-to-let properties were

    repossessed by lenders in the first three months of this year. But landlords lost 4,100 properties when cases of lenders appointing a receiver of rent are included. A receiver of rent collects rent on behalf of a lender when the landlord defaults on the mortgage. The recession is also making buy-to-let mortgages much harder to come by. (

    ? Companies winning Government-funded IT contracts will have to fulfil a

    commitment to skills training, Skills Secretary John Denham has announced. The Government currently spends nearly ?14 billion a year on procuring IT services and Mr Denham wants to make sure this spend contributes to improving the skills base of the IT workforce. The IT sector has significant potential for providing the jobs of the future and economic growth. The Government‘s Chief Information Officers have committed all Government departments and agencies to look at requiring successful contractors to have in place a development plan for their workforce. Improving skills across the whole IT sector will ensure the industry can compete internationally and take full advantage of job opportunities that will arise in the future. (

    ? The International Air Transport Association (Iata) says airlines may lose $9bn

    (?5.7bn) this year - nearly double the estimate made in March. Director General Giovanni Bisignani, speaking at Iata's annual meeting, said it was "the most difficult situation the industry has faced". The crisis in the aviation sector has been caused by a steep fall in passenger numbers. There has also been a big decline in demand for air freight. Iata predicted in March that losses for the global airline industry would reach $4.7bn in 2009. It has also revised its estimate of the losses for 2008 to $10.4bn, up from $8.5bn. It said that rising oil prices were also a threat to airline profitability. It predicted passenger numbers would fall 8% compared with last year and that cargo demand would fall 17%. (

    ? British railway infrastructure operator Network Rail has seen its annual profit fall

    and its debt level increase. Pre-tax profit fell to ?1.52bn in the period to 31 March, from ?1.59bn in the same period a year before. Meanwhile net debt rose to ?22.3bn from ?19.7bn. Network Rail failed to meet targets for efficiency savings set by the Office of Rail Regulation. However, punctuality hit a new high as 90.6% of trains arrived on time, the best since records began in 1992. (

    ? Department store operator Debenhams has announced plans to raise ?323m from

    a share sale to cut debts. The retailer, which has debts of ?900m, said the cash would also help it take advantage of good deals that may emerge during the recession. Debenhams also reported that like-for-like sales excluding VAT had dropped 0.8% in the 12 weeks to 23 May. But it said the average transaction value was 3% higher than the same period last year. Debenhams, which has 144 stores in the UK and Ireland, said its Designers at Debenhams range was performing well. (

    ? Wm Morrison has become the latest big company to scrap its final salary pension,

    as the supermarket chain announced a better-than-expected 8.2 per cent jump in first quarter like-for-like sales. From July, the pension received by the 10,000 staff in the group‘s retirement scheme will be based on an average of what they earn over

    their whole career rather than the amount they earn in their final year of


    Economic Snapshot

    employment. The disclosure came only a day after Barclays announced plans to scrap final salary pensions for 18,000 long-serving staff. (

    ? A wave of blue-chip companies is poised to water down staff retirement benefits in

    the next few months, pension experts predicted yesterday, after Barclays announced plans to scrap final salary pensions for 18,000 long-serving staff. Barclays became the first leading UK employer since Rentokil Initial four years ago to announce plans to close its final salary pension scheme to existing members. Long-servers who joined before 1997 will no longer rack up future benefits in the defined benefit (DB) scheme, and will be offered the chance to participate in an inferior ―hybrid‖ scheme or a conventional defined contribution (DC) scheme. Existing pension promises already clocked up will be honoured.


    ? Ryanair has reported its first annual loss after it was hit by higher fuel costs and had

    to write down the value of its stake in rival Aer Lingus. The Irish airline made a net loss of 169m euros ($239m; ?146m) in the year to 31 March. This compares with a profit of 481m euros a year before. Annual sales at the budget carrier increased 8.4% to 2.94bn euros. The firm said its fuel costs rose to 1.26bn euros from 791.3m a year before, as oil prices hit records last summer. Ryanair's loss was larger than analysts had expected. (

    ? Warmer weather has boosted sales at DIY chain B&Q, helping its parent firm

    Kingfisher to reported a 40% rise in profits for the first quarter. In the 13 weeks to 2 May, Kingfisher's retail profits hit ?128m, with profits from the UK nearly doubling to ?58m. Like-for-like sales at B&Q rose 3.2% in the quarter, but Kingfisher's overall like-for-like sales were down 1.7%. Kingfisher warned trading would remain tough, with the weather-related sales boost unlikely to last. (

    ? Businesses are becoming more optimistic over trading prospects, but few plan to

    recruit as the recession continues to batter corporate Britain, a survey revealed today. More than 69% of firms said they do not plan to recruit job seekers or graduates over the next three months, according to the latest business survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). However, the poll of 430 companies showed improving confidence, with higher expectations for turnover in the next three months. The BCC said 29.7% expect sales to increase by up to a quarter over the next three months, which marks an improvement on the previous survey result of 22%. And fewer companies foresaw a fall in turnover, at 25.5% compared with 31% in the January study. While the results further fuel hopes that the worst of the recession is over, the BCC said the study showed companies were still being ―hamstrung‖ by issues, such as late payments. (

    ? The Government‘s ?300 million car scrappage scheme has failed to halt a further sharp slide in new vehicle sales, which fell by a quarter last month. Monthly figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that new car registrations in the UK fell 24.8 per cent in May to 134,858, the thirteenth consecutive monthly drop in volumes. In total, registrations for the first five months of 2009 are down 27.9 per cent. (

    ? More than 35,000 new cars have been ordered through the UK's scrappage

    scheme since it was announced in April, government figures show. This means that


    Economic Snapshot

    one in five of those who bought new cars took advantage of the ?2,000 discount available for scrapping vehicles over 10 years old. Ministers believe those cars would not have been sold had it not been for the financial incentive. Motor industry figures say it is too early to declare the scheme a success. (

    ? House prices rose 1.2% in May on April, offering evidence of activity in the UK

    housing market, according to figures from the Nationwide building society. The annual rate of house price falls eased from 15% in April to 11.3%, with a typical home now costing ?154,016. Over the past three months, house prices fell by 0.5% compared with the previous three-month period, the lowest quarterly drop since January last year. But it was too early to report a turn in the market, Nationwide said. (

    ? Concerns about the future of Vauxhall's two UK plants are growing after talks broke

    down in Germany over which firm will buy its parent company, GM Europe. Two of the bidders have said they will cut thousands of jobs in Europe. With the German government a key player in negotiations, there are fears that Vauxhall jobs could be hit hardest. But UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said he had received "categorical assurances" about continued Vauxhall production. "Vauxhall's production in the UK is a main revenue and profit stream for GM. There is no question of [GM] wanting to dispense with it," he said. (

    ? Britain's railways may need to double their capacity in the next 30 years to cope

    with the demand from passengers, according to train operators. In a joint report with infrastructure owner Network Rail, they say long-term plans must be made within five years. New lines will need to be built, rather than just adding extra trains, it says. A new high-speed London to Scotland line and the electrification of the Great Western and Midland main lines are among the options it suggests. These moves would take the pressure off the West Coast Mainline, which operators predict will be full by 2010. (

    The Regional Snapshot

    ? The organisation championing development of the nuclear energy supply chain in

    the North East has backed a call for government to put the sector on an equal financial footing with its power rivals. Earlier this week, French owned EDF, which bought Hartlepool‘s nuclear generator as part of a takeover package of British Energy, said its multi-billion pound investment in new build would grind to a halt unless it had parity with the green energy sector. ―EDF Energy has always said that it is not looking for government subsidies for new nuclear build in the UK. This remains the case,‖ the company said yesterday. But it criticised the current

    Emissions Trading System (ETS) whereby polluters pay and non-emitting power sources benefit. (

    ? Development company Marchday - which is part way through transforming Lingfield

    Point business park in Darlington - has backed a campaign which aims to save 250,000 UK construction jobs. The regeneration specialist has joined the Repairing Britain campaign, which believes focus on building repair and maintenance can help secure thousands of construction industry jobs at risk during the recession. Repairing Britain is designed to boost the UK economy by stimulating the construction industry and encouraging the public and local authorities to take an


    Economic Snapshot

interest in the maintenance of their homes and community buildings. The campaign

    says up to half a million jobs could be lost in the current downturn. However, it is

    highlighting that refurbishment and improvement projects create many more jobs

    than new build schemes, require skilled tradesmen and are more sustainable.



    ? Being made redundant encouraged one woman to successfully switch careers.

    Eileen Taylor, from Hartlepool, was helped into a new career in education by

    Jobcentre Plus. When she was made redundant from Expamet Building Products

    on the Longhill Industrial Estate in January, where she‘d worked for 23 years as an

    administrative assistant. Whilst speaking to her local practice nurse, Rosie Andelic,

    Eileen explained she‘d recently found out she was going to lose her job and wasn‘t confident of finding a new one. Sensing that Eileen‘s lack of self esteem was

    holding her back, Rosie referred Eileen to Martin Harvey, a Jobcentre Plus adviser

    who works with the surgery to help people overcome their health conditions and get

    back into work. (

    ? A Teesside taskforce, including big hitters from the process industry, was due to

    meet the Government‘s new enterprise tsar Alan Sugar in a bid to rescue

    thousands of apprentices threatened by redundancy. The Government has already

    made special arrangements to help young people in the construction industry who

    are hit by the downturn and has promised to support all apprentices within six

    months of finishing their training. However process engineering chiefs believe it is

    iniquitous not to ensure equal safeguards to every indentured young person,

    around 2,000 of whom have lost their jobs in the UK. On Teesside, at least 100

    apprentices face redundancy before their training is complete. Phil Eadon, chief

    executive of the Darlington- based National Skills Academy for the Process Industry

    - who was joined by representatives from One North East and Middlesbrough-

    based TTE Technical Training Group in the meeting with Sir Alan and skills

    ministers Lord Young and Ed Balls - said: ―We are working on a proposal which

    basically says help us support these young people. (

    ? The North East risks losing vital trade because of a dearth of large-scale

    conference facilities, a local events firm has warned. The problem is particularly

    acute on Teesside where there are no purpose built venues for big corporate

    crowds. The Allancia Group in Washington says that companies seeking large-

    scale event space would struggle to find a venue in the region. Managing director

    Phil Eadon, who organises the Partners4 series of business events, said: ―If you are

    talking about a big international conference of 500-plus people, the nearest venue

    is probably Harrogate or the Newcastle Sage, and for an exhibition, Doncaster

    racecourse.‖The business customer generates one third of overall visitor spend in

    the region - a figure set to increase as local venues invest millions in corporate

    facilities. (

    ? Businesses large and small are being urged to back what is likely to be the biggest

    free event in the UK next year. Organisers of Hartlepool's Tall Ships said they 'fully

    understood' that it was hard for firms facing recession and redundancy to commit

    cash to the jamboree, which aims to raise 10% of the ?3m budget from corporate

    sponsorship. (


    Economic Snapshot

    ? Former Teesside biofuels firm DI oils, which pulled out of the region last year to

    concentrate production in what it described as more friendly regulatory

    environments, is facing an uncertain future after it failed to find critical investment in a groundbreaking feedstock project. (

    ? The Tees Valley can take a commercial lead on climate change. That‘s the message from key players in the region‘s growing green sector, who met to debate

    the burning issue of global warming at a business breakfast organised by the Evening Gazette as part of its Go Green campaign. Staged ahead of World

    Environment Day on June 5, the event saw eco experts from commerce, local government and charitable organisations in the Tees Valley come together to discuss how the area could best take advantage of the development opportunities offered by climate change. Education, policy and the role of the media and consumers were among the hot topics on the table, as was how to keep up the momentum of the low-carbon agenda in the midst of a global economic downturn. Alwyn Hughes, CEO of Ensus, which is building a 400 million litre bioethanol plant due to come online later this year, said industry needed to go above and beyond the low-carbon agenda. (

    ? The company that put the turbo into diesel engines said yesterday that new low-

    emission technology developed at its Darlington plant should secure its future and that of hundreds of staff. Cummins, which was forced to shed jobs earlier this year as demand fell, is pinning its hopes on the pollution busters being the catalyst for recovery. The technology has been driven by low-as-you-can-go pollution rules coming out of Europe, which will see the toughest standards yet on emissions from truck, van and public vehicle engines introduced in October. The European parliament is now consulting on the next round of targets for 2013.


    ? Tees Valley‘s struggling pub industry has welcomed a campaign to end the controversial ―beer tie‖, which forces licensees to buy drinks from their landlords. The Fair Pint Campaign and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) are

    lobbying Government to refer the ―unfair‖ tie to the Competition Commission in a bid to get it lifted. The tie means that tenants are forced to buy beer and other products from the company that owns their pubs (pubcos) at prices which are much higher than on the open market. The move follows a report by the Business and Enterprise Select Committee (BEC), which has called for an urgent competition investigation into the industry amid fears that the tie was forcing up prices for drinkers. (

    ? A Hartlepool packaging company is shedding a further 26 jobs after axing 11 posts

    earlier this year. Saica Packaging says it will make the cuts from its 176-strong workforce. The latest cutbacks come just weeks after 11 jobs were axed in April, meaning a total of 37 redundancies. The company says the cuts are needed after years of losses at the factory on the Oakesway Industrial Estate. Saica took over the town plant in September last year from Sca Corrugated and the factory has been under scrutiny ever since. (

    Jobs Tracker National


    Economic Snapshot

    ? Union officials fear the possibility of up to 800 job losses at the Forensic Science

    Service, as the government consults on transforming the body. The Prospect union said managers, scientists and computer staff could lose their jobs, and sites could close. It said it would scrutinise cuts to ensure FSS did not lose needed skills. The Home Office said "wide-ranging transformation" was vital to the survival of the service, which analyses crime evidence in England and Wales. (

    ? Jobs are being lost at the Royal Bank of Scotland International's (RBSI) operations

    in Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar. The decision to axe 28 posts was part of a business restructure and efficiency drive, the company said. It was "deeply regrettable" the roles would be lost across four offshore jurisdictions, the bank said. RBSI said it had begun consultations with staff and the Unite union. Nine of the posts have already been closed. The company said it hoped natural turnover, voluntary redundancy and redeployment would keep the number of compulsory redundancies to a minimum. (

    ? British Airways has told its cabin crew that it wants to cut 2,000 jobs, leading to

    fears that the airline could be hit by a summer of strikes. It is understood that BA‘s

    management has already begun working on contingency plans to deal with possible industrial action during the busy holiday period. The airline told its 14,000 cabin crew last week that it was looking for the equivalent of 2,000 voluntary redundancies and if these cuts cannot be achieved, the losses could become compulsory. More than 2,500 jobs have already gone at BA in the past year as it seeks to cut costs amid a severe downturn in the airline industry. BA‘s pilots have agreed to 100 voluntary redundancies and will vote next week on a series of cuts to pay and conditions. (

    ? Lloyds Banking Group is to close all 164 of its Cheltenham & Gloucester (C&G)

    branches across the UK by November with the loss of 1,660 jobs, the troubled lender has confirmed. Lloyds has shed nearly 3,000 jobs since mid-April after its disastrous merger earlier this year with HBOS. Unite, the union, has accused the bank of a embarking on a strategy of ―death by a thousand cuts‖ and urged the

    bank to ―come clean‖ about the scale of the restructuring. A spokesman for Lloyds said customers with a Cheltenham & Gloucester mortgage will continue to have their loans under that brand. But some borrowers could be transferred to either Lloyds TSB, Halifax or Bank of Scotland under the same terms and conditions as they had before. (

    ? More apprenticeships will be open to young people thanks to ?11 million in

    Government funding as part of a new approach to help employers train the skilled workers of the future, Skills Secretary John Denham and Schools Secretary Ed Balls have announced. Businesses which already have a proven track record in offering high-quality apprenticeships will share the cash to train extra apprentices - over and above those they already employ. This will result in around 3,000 new apprentices being trained at 16 firms over the next two years and allow smaller firms to benefit from the expertise of businesses which have been training apprentices successfully for some time. Nearly 60 per cent of the funding will be targeted towards 16 to 18-year-olds with the majority of the remaining support going to support 19 to 24-year-old apprentices. (


    Economic Snapshot

? Vanmaker LDV has been placed into administration by a court, threatening up to

    850 jobs and thousands more in the supply chain. Attempts to sell Birmingham-

    based LDV as a going concern have failed. Talks with one potential buyer, the

    Malaysian firm Weststar, broke down at the last minute last weekend, leading LDV

    to apply for administration. It is feared that any buyer would take machinery abroad

    and continue making vans overseas Such a move would end decades of production

    at the Washwood Heath site. (

? HSBC has announced plans to close 100 high street branches of its sub-prime

    division Beneficial Finance, putting 450 jobs at risk. Britain‘s biggest bank blamed

    the deteriation in the economy for the decision, which will also see the remaining 25

    branches closing to new business. It said the sub-prime division which includes

    Beneficial Finance, known as HFC, had become unprofitable since the economic

    downturn took hold and the number of borrowers defaulting on loans started to

    climb. Around 1,200 are employed in the HFC division. HSBC said it was working

    with employees at risk of redundancies to try and secure work elsewhere.


? Lloyds Banking group is cutting a further 530 jobs, this time in its customer services

    and retail units, as part of its continuing integration of HBOS. The latest

    redundancies are in addition to the 625 job cuts announced last month at the

    group‘s acquisition finance and commercial banking units. Lloyds also cut 985

    positions at its car finance operation in April. In the latest round of redundancies

    about 210 positions will be removed from its customer services centre in Chatham,

    Kent, which will close later in the year. (

? QinetiQ, a defence research and technology company, has announced it is cutting

    400 jobs. The business operates over 40 sites with major facilities located at

    Farnborough in Hampshire, Malvern in Worcestershire and Boscombe Down,

    Wiltshire Lloyds Banking Group has announced it is cutting a further 210 full-time

    jobs from across the UK by the end of 2010. (

    And Regionally

? Stiller Transport Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Stiller Group, is to be put into

    voluntary liquidation with the loss of 24 jobs. Stiller Group, which employs around

    150 staff locally, has seen turnover slump by two fifths to around ?30m the

    majority of the losses generated by the subsidiary. Other divisions within the group

    continue to trade profitably.

? Morrisons is to make up to 83 staff redundant at its Stockton depot. All staff

    affected including 27 drivers, 10 office staff and more than 40 warehouse staff -

    have entered into a 30 day consultation period.

? Union bosses have condemned plans which could lead to almost 70 jobs being

    axed at Newcastle College. The college, which caters for 23,000 full and part-time

    students and employs almost 1,000 teaching staff, said funding cuts were to blame.

    Talks were taking place between college heads and the University and College

    Union (UCU). The union said it was "angry and amazed" at the planned cuts, which

    it said involved 68 staff. The college said it had to protect the interests of learners.



    Economic Snapshot

    ? More than 100 port workers on Teesside face losing their jobs. PD Ports has written

    to the 600 staff at its Teesport site warning of the risk of redundancy to about 120

    posts. It said it followed the announcement by Corus that it was set to mothball the

    Redcar Teesside Cast Products site after a consortium ended a contract. PD Ports

    said it was forced to carry out a review as it had been handling more than two

    million tonnes of cast slab product annually in recent years. In a statement it said:

    "PD Ports regrettably has had to undertake a prompt review of its own business

    needs and has today entered into consultation with employees and representatives

    of the 600 staff employed at PDT (PD Teesport). (

? More than 150 workers at a glass factory in County Durham are to lose their jobs

    after it was announced the struggling plant is to close. Bosses at Schott Industrial

    Glass Ltd in Newton Aycliffe blamed the recession for the move. The firm said an

    agreement had been reached with its 151 employees regarding redundancy

    payments and the closure would be carried out in phases. The factory will be fully

    closed by the end of the year. A 90-day consultation process began at the plant in

    February when it was announced the business was in difficulty. (

? RS Industrial Services has taken on 2 new sales executives and have added 3 vans

    to their fleet as well as having an on-line engineering supply shop in development to

    meet demand. The firm, which carries out health and safety audits for companies,

    now employs 26 staff at its Billingham headquarters. (tees valley jsu)

    ? Darlington based Turbo Solutions, which currently employs 9 staff, are set to move

    to new premises and take on more staff. The company has seen high-speed growth

    and sales this year alone are already up 30-40%. The company is one of the few in

    the country dealing in the supply of complete new turbochargers and replacement

    reconditioned units to the trade and private individuals. (tees valley jsu)

? International Procurement Limited (IPL), which employs 6 staff, has opened new

    premises in Stockton. The company is aiming to become a ?5m a year business by

    2012 after securing a distribution agreement with SMC Corporation that will

    generate ?500,000 in the first year with the promise of more work to come. IPL

    supplies custom-built valves and pumps for some of the world‘s biggest blue-chip

    companies including BP, Total, ConocoPhillips, British Energy and Drax. (tees

    valley jsu)

    ? Hartlepool firm Ableclean has created 100 new jobs since the start of the year. The

    cleaning company employs nearly 400 staff throughout the country and handles

    everything from daily office cleaning to window cleaning, contract cleaning to one-

    off graffiti removal. (tees valley jsu)

? Construction company Interior Services Group (ISG) has opened up a new office at

    Wynyard. ISG delivers new build, refurbishment and fit out services and has offices

    in 11 countries worldwide. The new office will create around 70 jobs. (tees valley jsu)

    ? Peterlee firm Propeller GB is creating 12 jobs and expects to increase turnover from

    ?4m to ?6m this year. Propeller specialises in business planning and also assists

    industrial firms improve their business efficiency, identify cost reductions and

    consolidate supply chains. (tees valley jsu)


    Economic Snapshot

    ? German flat glass manufacturers Schott Industrial Glass, is to close its Newton

    Aycliffe factory by the end of the year. The firm, which makes glass oven doors and control panels, employed 150 staff. (tees valley jsu)

    Local News

    ? Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP Ashok Kumar has now met

    with senior directors of Corus‘ owner Tata Steel to put the case for the continued viability of TCP, including Dr Debanshish Bhattacharjee, director of research development and technology from Tata Steel. Mr Kumar said: ―I pressed on him the

    importance of the Redcar and Lackenby plant and the versatility and excellence of the steel-making tradition on Teesside. I pointed out the productivity and cost gains that had been made on the complex over past years, and the need to press on with trying to sell the plant as a supplier of steel slab to the world steel re-rolling market. I also pointed out the geographical advantages of the plant, the deep water anchorage and the links with PD Ports‘ own operations on the neighbouring site.‖

    On Friday 5 June there was some better news for TCP when it emerged the site had received an order for 300,000 tonnes from Corus, meaning the plant can continue to operate until August - when a consultation on mothballing the site ends. It also gives people trying to save the plant more time to come up with a rescue plan. Meanwhile the Corus Response Group is continuing to plan for all possible scenarios surrounding the plant‘s future, including working on contingency plans in

    case redundancies have to be made. Mr Kumar added: ―I believe that the worst of the recession is now behind us, and that has to be encouraging for Corus and for Teesside.‖ Last week Tata Steel, the UK company‘s Indian parent pledged to pump ?400m into

    the company, which will be used to help pay off the ?3.7bn it borrowed to acquire Corus - including its now threatened Redcar site - two years ago. However

    yesterday analysts cut the rating of Tata Steel by one notch, citing a weak outlook for the steel industry. Moody‘s Investors Service - one of the world‘s largest credit

    rating agencies - cut the rating from Ba2 to Ba3. (

    ? CORUS chief Kirby Adams will fly to Seoul to meet members of the international

    buying consortium that walked out on Teesside Cast Products, leaving 2,000 jobs in jeopardy. The meeting is being seen as a significant step by the steel boss, who has previously insisted that Corus would see the members in court. Both Mr Adams and the four international firms that made up the buying consortium - Marcegaglia, Dongkuk, Duferco and Ternium - have come under increasing pressure from the British government and local MPs to reopen negotiations and possibly pave the way for a sale of the plant to two of the companies involved. News of the South Korean trip emerged following discussions between Mr Adams, Tory business spokesman Ken Clarke, his shadow cabinet colleague, Middlesbrough born Greg Clark, and parliamentary candidate for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Paul Bristow. (

    ? TATA Steel UK‘s (TSUK) Indian parent has pledged to pump ?400m into the

    company, which will be used to help pay off the ?3.7bn it borrowed to acquire Corus - including its now threatened Redcar site - two years ago. The cash injection follows an agreement by the banks to relax terms on the loan, although the lending will not be rescheduled and there will be no new money. Corus chief Kirby Adams


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