Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Business news in brief
NORTH Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has shortlisted three bidders to build a new £300m hospital. The three in the race for the new Wynyard Hospital are Brookfield Multiplex Europe, Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras and Laing O’Rourke. The bid process is expected to take 18 months. After that the Trust board will take a decision on whether to borrow the money, award contracts and begin the build. The project is a smaller-scale version of the original £460m plan, which was scrapped, along with 12 others nationwide, in June 2010 as part of measures by the government to save £2bn.
Office rental firm Regus has tabled a £40m bid for MWB Business Exchange whihc would add 64 business centres across its existing network. Regus said while it was too early to give an idea of the exact impact on staff, it expected that there would be job cuts to strip out duplication in areas such as corporate and support functions. Business Exchange, which employs around 500 staff, is 75 per cent owned by MWB Group - the company behind Malmaison and Hotel du Vin hotels that collapsed into administration in November after failing to secure a refinancing of the business. But Business Exchange and the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin chain were unaffected by the failure of MWB.
The Port of Tyne has appointed David Appleton as a non-executive director.
The Liverpudlian has held senior positions with some of the world’s largest shipping lines including United States Lines, Sea-Land and global container shipping company APL. He said: “I am delighted to be joining the Port of Tyne at such an exciting time, when there is great potential for further growth building on its global reputation for excellence."
The government had to borrow slightly more than expected in November. It borrowed £17.5bn, £1.2bn higher than a year earlier, official figures show. Economists had predicted borrowing would fall slightly to about £16bn. However, the Office for National Statistics said a 0.1 per cent growth in the all-important services sector of the economy was a promising sign. It also revised down its estimate for growth between July and September to 0.9 per cent from 1 per cent.
Steel firm ArcelorMittal is to write down the value of its European business by about £2.6bn because of the economic downturn on the continent. The world's largest steelmaker said steel demand in Europe had fallen by 8 per cent this year, and by about 29 per cent since 2007. Arcelor said it expected this weak demand to persist in the near and medium term.
Aviva, Britain's second largest insurer, has agreed to sell its US business for £1.1b far less than it paid for it and the biggest disposal so far in a reorganisation aimed at boosting its underperforming share price. Aviva USA Corporation, a provider of life insurance and annuities, is being bought by Athene Holding, a specialist life insurer majority-owned by US private equity company Apollo.