16 Aug 17
16 Aug 17
Movers and Shakers August 2017

Conservatory Outlet celebrates record breaking Month thanks to network growth

The first month of its new financial year has been another record breaker for Conservatory Outlet Limited, reporting its June 2017 sales figure up an impressive 5% on the previous record.  The Yorkshire-based fabricator is crediting its best ever month to the growth of its retail network members, with four new industry-leading showroom openings over the past six months.

With more than 6000 frames, 200 roofs and 350 composite doors processed in June, it has been a very busy period for the fabricator and its 24-strong retail network.  The firm’s sustained and uncompromising growth continues to defy wider UK concerns over the economic climate and the uncertainty of ‘Brexit’.

Conservatory Outlet Managing Director, Michael Giscombe explains: “The Conservatory Outlet Network is truly alive with activity at the moment.  We've never been so busy in terms of both orders and in supporting new and exciting growth initiatives from around the network.”

Conservatory Sales are a manufacturer of window, door, conservatory and extension products occupying a unique position in the sector, they are on the cusp of launching two new products to its ever-expanding portfolio, ensuring its retail network are amongst the first to market with the latest innovations.

The company also remains firmly focused on achieving its £20m turnover goal by 2018, and on securing full UK coverage by actively seeking new retail partners in areas of the UK untapped by its network, including Essex, Cornwall and South Wales.

Van Elle Holdings increasing profit and turnover year-on-year

Van Elle Holdings has reported a rise in revenue for its first full financial year as a public company. Group revenue increased by almost 12 per cent to £94.1m for the year to 30 April 2017, from £84.2m the year before. Underlying operating profit, before share-based payments and exceptional costs are taken into account, also rose from £11.1m to £11.6m, but reported operating profit fell from £11.1m to £9.7m.

Operating for 33 years Van Elle is an independent geotechnical engineering contractor specialising in ground investigation, piling, mini piling, drilling & grouting, rock anchors, soil nails and precast modular groundbeams.

IPO'ing in October 2016, John Fenton, CEO of Van Elle says: ''It's been a very good move for us, the company's done well since then and it's increased our profile across the construction industry and we're certainly a well-known company in the sector… we're very confident about what's coming up in the new year ... we're just at the end of Q1 and the year's kicked off in line with expectations and the end markets look very good for us.''

The business also recently declared a dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 29th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 21st will be issued a GBX 1.75 ($0.02) dividend. This is a boost from Van Elle Holdings PLC’s previous dividend of $0.85 representing  a yield of 1.96%.

Oakman Inns to invest £5.2m in Royal Foresters restoration

Oakman Inns has received planning permission from Bracknell Forest Council to undergo its biggest project yet: a £5.2m, eight-month restoration of the Royal Foresters pub in Ascot. Work is to commence immediately, with the pub anticipated to re-open in spring 2018.

Oakman Inns’ chief executive, Peter Borg-Neal, said: “This is the biggest project Oakman Inns has ever done and is incredibly important to us. Getting planning permission is a significant step in what will be a lengthy and extensive project and we will commence work immediately.”

Oakman Inns has also recently added the 19th century Walter Arms near Wokingham to its collection. Although the pub is open and trading, Oakman is expected to apply to renovate and extend the building.

Oakman Inns are a quality chain of restaurants and pubs across the UK.

B-Secure secures £3.5m in funding

Belfast-based technology company B-Secur has been backed by a £3.5m funding boost. The company is behind a patented system that uses an individual's unique heartbeat pattern, known as electrocardiogram (ECG), to quickly and securely authenticate identity. This marks the next generation in biometrics, moving beyond fingerprint, iris or voice recognition. It can also minimise hacking or spoofing risks for greater security and convenience. B-Secur has been backed by the likes of Accelerated Digital Ventures (£1.5m), the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI) (£750,000) and a number of private investors, Invest NI has committed £15m to the initiative.

Alan Foreman, chief executive of B-Secur, added: "This announcement underscores the growing demand from organisations to provide better security to their customers in this digital world, amid an escalation in high-profile cyber-attacks. I believe that our ECG authentication technology is crucial to supporting this global challenge…we are thrilled to gain the backing of ADV, Kernel and others which will drive us to grow significantly in the next 12 months and continue to invest in world-class science and engineering in Northern Ireland and beyond."

OpenGenius to create jobs after securing accelerator place

Penarth-based software developer OpenGenius is set to create 30 jobs after winning a place on an accelerator programme to support businesses in the technology sector. The company has developed brainstorming and project planning software iMindMap and visual task management app DropTask. It also owns Tec Marina in Penarth.

Earlier this year OpenGenius became ELITE’s first Welsh company and has now been appointed to the Innovation Point Digital Dozen Accelerator 2017.

The new tech accelerator programme will run over the next six months, offering finalists the tools, skills and connections needed to grow and secure their next investment round, including one-to-one mentoring, pitch training and valuable networking events and introductions. The place on the Digital Dozen Accelerator programme will support OpenGenius' growth plans over the next two years, which will include investment opportunities as well as the creation of 30 jobs.

Chris Griffiths, chief executive of OpenGenius, said: "We feel very lucky to have been accepted onto the programme among some outstanding entrepreneurs. We have an exciting few months ahead of us and we're really looking forward to working with the experienced mentors at the Digital Dozen Accelerator.

This is such crucial time for the business as we look to accelerate our growth and prepare for a flotation in 2018. The next 12 months is going to be an exciting ride for OpenGenius and we're looking forward to having some new technical minds on the team to help get us there."

Congratulations to all!

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