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Oil field investment creates jobs on the Tyne
MORE than 400 jobs will be created and £50m invested in a bid to extend the life of the North Sea oil fields, it was announced.
A £1.6bn investment at a new oil rig will see an additional 100 million barrels of oil produced, with supply chain companies along the River Tyne benefitting from more than £50m of investment as a result.
Talisman Energy have awarded a multi-million pound contract to oil and gas platform frame maker Offshore Group Newcastle (ONG) to engineer, procure and fabricate the drilling rig’s jacket or base.
The firm said the money would help to create more than 400 jobs at the company’s Hadrian Yard plant, in Wallsend, North Tyneside. Businesses in the firm’s supply chain are also expected to benefit.
The new rig project involves the Montrose, Arbroath, Brechin, Arkwright, Carnoustie and Wood fields, which lie 130 miles east of Aberdeen. The project, which involves 2,000 jobs in total, also includes consent from the Cayley and Shaw fields.
MERGER PROBE: Sports Direct’s acquisition of 19 stores from the administrators of JJB Sports will be scrutinised by The Office of Fair Trading (OTFT), it emerged today (October 25). The OTFT said it would examine whether the move had resulted in a substantial lessening in competition within "any market or markets" in the UK for goods or services. The purchase by Sports Direct, which is controlled by Newcastle FC boss Mike Ashley, saved about 550 jobs. Wigan-based JJB had struggled during the economic downturn and failed to compete with Sports Direct. Sports Direct recently reported good results following a lift in summer trading from the Olympics and back-to-school demand. The group has nearly 400 stores and owns brands including Slazenger, Donnay and Karrimor.
PROFITS LOAD: Stobart Group said its core transport and distribution division grew half-year profits by £500,000 to £14.2 million, despite revenues falling 5 per cent to £251.1m in a tough trading environment. Including restructuring costs and other divisional operations such as Southend airport, pre-tax profits were down to £6.6 million from £14.7 million a year earlier.
EXPANDING EAST: Online fashion firm ASOS will launch websites in China and Russia within a year as the group sets its sights on two of the biggest retail markets in the world. The internet retailer already sells to China and Russia, but will develop local language websites in the next 12 months under plans for total sales to reach £1bn by 2015. ASOS, which stands for As Seen On Screen, targets 20-somethings with clothes based on outfits first worn by celebrities, announced the move as it reported a 42 per cent leap in underlying profits to £13.2m for the five months to August 31, having recently changed its year end from March 31. It said a 46 per cent rise in international sales was the "key driver" behind its performance in the period, although the UK also saw a 13 per cent jump in sales and gross profits.
PROFIT PLUNGE: The owner of banking giant Santander saw profits plunge by 94 per cent in the third quarter as its UK arm also suffered amid pressure on profit margins. Spanish parent company Banco Santander said net profits slumped to £81m from £1.5bn a year earlier after taking a hit on property losses in Spain. The UK business, which recently pulled out of a deal to buy more than 300 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland, also revealed a sharp fall in the three months to September 30 as it said funding and regulatory costs impacted margins. While nine month profits rose four per cent to £1.1bn in the UK, it reported a 27 per cent fall to £372m in the third quarter.