Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Proposal to support Renewable Energy

With our heritage in the Engineering and Power sector, Renewable's is an key part of what we do and an important part of Britain's commitment to a low carbon economy and the need to keep the "lights on"!.

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has admitted the current rate of growth of Renewable Energy in the UK is too slow to meet EU targets for 15 per cent of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. Compared to the rest of Europe, the UK is already lagging behind in the renewable energy stakes, with the third lowest contribution of sustainable energy (at around 3 per cent) to overall energy consumption - the worst of any major EU country.
The Renewables Obligation (RO) is the main support mechanism for renewable electricity projects in the UK. Smaller scale generation is mainly supported through the Feed-In Tariff scheme (FIT)
The Government announced on the 20 October 2011 Proposals to support renewable electricity and bring forward a surge of investment in the Energy infrastructure, The consultation proposes new support levels for large scale renewable electricity from 2013-17 (2014-17 for offshore wind) under the Renewables Obligation (RO).
The Feed in Tariff was introduced in April 2010 to encourage deployment of additional small scale (less than 5MW) low carbon electricity generation, particularly by organizations, businesses, communities and individuals who have not traditionally engaged in the electricity market. Encouraging many people to invest in small scale low carbon electricity, in return for a guaranteed payment for the electricity they generate and export. The Government announced this year a consultation process to review the FIT levels, in August 2011 tariff reductions for large-scale solar PV (over 50 kilowatts) and all stand-alone PV projects were implement, the remainder of the Renewable sector will have to wait until the end of 2011 with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012.
There are signs of increased investment in the UK Renewable Energy sector specifically; the value of buyout deals – where investors have bought a majority stake in existing Renewable projects – has rocketed in the first half of 2011. £585m worth of deals closed so far this year, a figure which is nearly ten times greater than in 2010 (£64.3m)
Wind Energy is now attracting the promise of major investment in the UK by the likes of Siemens, Vestas and GE Energy, with 3 major technology research Centre’s already established in the UK. This potential investment will give a much needed boost in the creation of Engineering and Manufacturing jobs within the UK.
Although on a smaller scale than Wind Energy, Wave and Tidal Power are also securing invest from the likes of ABB, Scottish and Southern Power and others coupled with grants and Private Equity Investment.
An alternative approach is in the development of fuel Cell Modules which when subject to heat can generate low cost and low carbon electricity; one exciting application for this technology is the Combined Heat & Power (CHP) boiler being currently developed for the domestic and small commercial market.

Compass, IHG, Fuller's...

Whatever its intrinsic merits, the attempted purchase of ISS of Denmark by G4S for £5.2 billion has focused attention on the more cautious acquisition strategy being pursued by another big name in the outsourcing sector, Compass Group, says the Tempus column in the Times. Compass is buying Integrated Cleaning Management for an undislosed but probably small sum, in the context of the group as a whole, with the company having revenues of £61 million in the latest financial year. This takes Compass further into cleaning and support services and away from its core food operation. The shares have always commanded a high multiple because of that record of growth, but 13 times' earnings for the year just started does not look unreasonable. A strong hold, says the Times.

The US economy saw tepid growth in the second quarter, with analysts increasingly worried about the strength of the recovery. But this uncertain backdrop has not stopped InterContinental Hotels, the world's biggest hotelier, from powering ahead in the past nine months, with the US arm seeing strong demand, writes the Investments column in the Independent. It has registered growth in revenue per available room (revpar) - a key measure for the hotel industry - at all of its seven brands across the pond, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hotel Indigo. We believe that IHG - which trades on a forward earnings multiple of just over 8 - is still a buy and will rebound. Future investors should also note its shares are forecast to yield more than 6 per cent next year. Buy, recommends the paper.

Fuller, Smith & Turner, the west London brewer and pub owner, bought no pubs at all last year and in December lost to Young's in bidding for Geronimo Inns, notes the Tempus column in the Times. This summer, it lost another bidding auction, to buy the Capital Pub Company, to Greene King this time. The battle became distinctly bad-tempered, with the target management making it clear that they would prefer to be bought by anyone but Fuller's. Instead, Fuller's is taking a longer route, buying individual pubs or small numbers in the same deal. It has acquired ten so far over the past six months, including the famous Coach & Horses in Soho and The Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden, the last for an undisclosed but apparently generous sum. Yesterday the company added another five new pubs from Marston's in a deal worth £16 million, including another couple of London landmarks, The Hand & Flower in Olympia and The Wellington in Waterloo. Also on the list, The Pavilion End in the City. It brings the total estate to 365. The shares are trading on 17 times' this year's earnings; high enough, given the difficult times in the market, says the paper.

It is a good time to snap up a few shares in City of London Group (COLG), suggests the Investments column in the Independent. Originally a PR outfit, the group brought in Eric Anstee as chief executive a couple of years ago to set up investment businesses to fill gaps in the market. The company's shares haven't done too well this year, dropping 22 per cent and valuing COLG at less than £13m. But if Mr Anstee's fledgling businesses show their worth, there could be the chance to hitch a ride before others notice. Not for the faint-hearted but perhaps worth a small flutter, according to the paper, which recommends to buy.

Hargreaves Lansdown 
Sharecast 25.10.11

Monday, 24 October 2011

Do people listen? Do we recognise talent when we see it?

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin;
It was a cold January morning.
He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.
During that time, since it was rush hour, it was recorded that over a thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money down and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, a man leaned against the wall to listen to him, but then looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy.
His mother tagged him along, hurried but the child stopped to look at the violinist.
Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time.
This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while.
About 20 gave him money but continued to walk at their normal pace. He collected $32.
When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition of any kind.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world.
He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.
Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception and priorities of people.
The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
Food for thought...

This experiment was organised by the Washington Post to observe the reactions of the public to world acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell, who posed as a busker for an hour. Here is the footage of this performance:

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Business Development in Facilities Management

Generally speaking, business development is high on the agenda at the moment.  Many companies are now investing to take advantage of greater outsourcing opportunities driven by financially pressed clients, or wanting to build greater share in particular markets, hence driving the need and aspiration to find and attract better BD people.

There is a scarcity of talent in this regard, and it’s well fought over, thus we’re finding that specifically conducted search, targeted at exactly the right people is more beneficial than ever!

What I am doing is concentrating on the Sales and Bid/Business Development function in the Facilities market and using our network to identify and reference the best people, which is where we have been strong for the last 10 years.

If you feel that now is an ideal opportunity to strengthen your own resource in this area please get in touch. Similarly if you’re potentially looking or interested in hearing about senior level positions that we are currently working on, give me a call - in confidence of course!