Likewise reporting strong progress in first quarter of 2022

Likewise Group plc, the Birmingham AIM-listed floor coverings distributor, has announced that trading in the first three months of 2022 is ahead of internal budgets.

Valley Wholesale Carpets Ltd, which operates autonomously and was acquired by Likewise in January 2022, is also trading ahead of initial expectations.

Chief executive Tony Brewer and the board of the fast growing company congratulated the management, sales representatives and all staff in Likewise, and group businesses A&A, Factory Flooring, H&V and Valley, for their excellent contribution to the performance of the business.

He added that while the first three months can only ever provide limited indication of the year as a whole, early trends are positive, and the board remains confident in meeting market expectations for 2022.

“The horrific events in Ukraine are tragic for the people and devastation caused. The inevitable consequences are impacting the cost of our products.

“These include manufacturers’ energy costs in production, increases to the costs of various raw materials and transportation. The Group’s trade brands will issue a new price list on 1 May to reflect cost price increases. It is very difficult to predict the wider economic repercussions of the current macro environment and resulting effect on consumers’ disposable income,” he said.

Notwithstanding this short-term uncertainty, Likewise continues to develop its logistics infrastructure. Birmingham is now operational which doubles the carpet capacity for the Likewise branded businesses. Construction is underway for a new distribution centre in Glasgow and the business in Newcastle has now moved into an enlarged facility adjacent to its previous location.

The search continues to relocate A&A into significantly larger premises in the North West. The Group is also establishing a new logistics centre in Newbury to service the South of England.

The Group has obtained planning permission to extend the freehold distribution centre in Sudbury and is currently working on constructing the extension in the most cost effective method while keeping with the original design concept. This development will allow Likewise Rugs & Matting to increase product offering and service to its diverse customer base.

Construction is also due to commence to extend the freehold distribution centre in Derby by 20%, and a new carpet cutting machine is on order to increase the cutting capacity in Valley.

When this machine is operational, it will allow Valley and Likewise to operate from the currently unused distribution centre in Newport, South Wales. This will take both businesses into new geographical territories of South Wales and South West England.

Likewise continues to increase market presence through the recruitment of experienced sales representatives and has numerous point of sales initiatives including display stands, lecterns, wall stands and sample books. All of these initiatives further establish the Likewise trade brand.

Mr Brewer added; “In the immediate term, Likewise believes it has the supplier and customer relationships, combined with excellent management and staff, to continue to outperform the marketplace. This is consistent with the development of Likewise, particularly over the last two years.

“While there are short term global and economic issues, the group is confident that establishing the enlarged infrastructure outlined above will allow Likewise to achieve its medium term objectives and beyond.”

The acquisition of Delta announced last Friday (1 April) confirms the Group’s intention to make strategic additions, particularly where they can increase or create capacity. This will augment the organic opportunities to enlarge the current businesses of Valley, A&A, Factory Flooring, H&V plus the Likewise branded businesses through continued investment in sales teams and increased market presence through sampling and display.

Likewise Group plc will release its final results for the year ended 31 December 2021 on 24 May 2022.

As previously announced, total revenue in 2021 increased by 29% to circa £61 million (2020: circa £47 million) and management expects that the adjusted profit before tax for the 2021 financial year will be circa £1.6 million.

The Group also intends to commence a progressive dividend policy and declare its maiden dividend alongside the announcement of its 2021 Final Results to be approved by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting.

Tony Brewer, Chief Executive of Likewise said: “Notwithstanding challenges in the immediate term, the Group is now well established and has plans to further enlarge its geographic reach. With the investment in distribution centres, sales resource and market presence, we are confident of exceeding our medium and long term aspirations as previously communicated.

“We would like to thank all of our staff, suppliers, customers and shareholders for their support and look forward to a positive future”.

Ends (751 words)

Issued on behalf of Likewise Group plc, Unit 4, Radial Park, Birmingham Business Park, Solihull Parkway, Birmingham B37 7YN

For further information, please contact:

Andy Skinner, at ASAP PR – 07990 978257

Editors’ Notes

Likewise Group plc is a distributor of floorcoverings and mattings established with the intention of consolidating the domestic and commercial floorcoverings markets to become one of the UK’s largest distributors in this sector. The UK floor and wall covering market is worth circa £3.2 billion and is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 2.1% from 2019 to 2024 to reach £3.5 billion, split between the residential, commercial, public and industrial markets. Likewise Group’s strategy is to focus on the residential and commercial sectors.

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linkedin.com/company/79711376/

@likewise_group_plc

facebook.com/Likewise-Group-PLC-109865531380022

Likewise acquires Leeds floor coverings business as latest step in expansion programme

Likewise Group plc, the fast growing UK floor coverings distributor, has made another acquisition on its expansion trail.

Its subsidiary, Likewise Floors Ltd, has acquired Delta Carpets (Holdings) Ltd and its wholly-owned subsidiary Delta Carpets Ltd (Delta) for a total consideration of £3 million.

Delta, based in Leeds, is a distributor of carpets, residential vinyl, laminate, luxury vinyl tile and flooring accessories to independent flooring retailers in the North of England, Midlands and South Wales.

In the financial year ended 31 December 2021, Delta delivered sales revenue of £6.5 million and profit before tax of £0.4 million. Net assets acquired are approximately £1.1 million and are subject to a completion accounts mechanism as at 31 March 2022.

Tony Brewer, chief executive of Birmingham-based Likewise, said: “The acquisition of Delta further develops the geographical presence and customer base of Likewise.

“The increased capacity created by the new Distribution Hub in Birmingham releases capacity in Leeds to enable the logistics capability to integrate Delta and provide an enhanced service to customers.

“Many thanks to the Delta directors and shareholders; Graham, Tim, Stephen and Stuart for the manner in which the acquisition has been conducted and best wishes for the future. Furthermore, we welcome the Delta team within the Likewise structure.

“We will provide an update on current trading next Monday 4 April 2022.”

Over the next few months Delta will be relocated to the Likewise Distribution Centre in Morley, Leeds. Delta will continue to operate as a separate business under the Delta trade brand but share Likewise Group’s logistics capacity.

All of the Delta employees will be offered continuity of employment and the opportunity to transfer to Likewise. For sales and marketing, Delta will remain as an autonomous business in the Likewise structure and logistics will be integrated into the Likewise Distribution Hub.

The four Delta shareholders and directors will assist in this transition for between one and three months following completion.

Total consideration is £3 million, including £1 million of cash within Delta, £1.5 million payable in cash on completion plus 0.5 million Likewise Shares will be issued with an underpinned value of £0.5.

Application has also been made for 500,000 ordinary shares of £0.01 each to be admitted to trading on AIM, with dealings expected to commence at 8am. on 4 April 2022.

Ends (382 words)

Issued on behalf of Likewise Group plc, Unit 4, Radial Park, Birmingham Business Park, Solihull Parkway, Birmingham B37 7YN

For further information, please contact:

Andy Skinner, at ASAP PR – 07990 978257

Editors’ Notes 

Likewise Group plc is a distributor of floorcoverings and mattings established with the intention of consolidating the domestic and commercial floorcoverings markets to become one of the UK’s largest distributors in this sector. The UK floor and wall covering market is worth circa £3.2 billion and is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 2.1% from 2019 to 2024 to reach £3.5 billion, split between the residential, commercial, public and industrial markets. Likewise Group’s strategy is to focus on the residential and commercial sectors.

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@LikewisePlc

linkedin.com/company/79711376/

@likewise_group_plc

facebook.com/Likewise-Group-PLC-109865531380022

 

REI takes advantage of private investor demand to drive rapid return to profit

Real Estate Investors plc (REI plc) roared back into profit in its financial year to 31 December 2021, delivering a profit before tax of £13.9 million and fixing 90% of its debt ahead of rising interest rates supporting a fully covered dividend.

Chief executive Paul Bassi said: “Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, REI has had a respectable year during which we have taken advantage of the private investor demand to sell some of our properties, using the disposal proceeds to repay £11.9 million of debt, retaining £9.8 million of cash.

“We believe we are set to see further valuation gains and occupancy improvement in the coming months and that this already active regional market is likely to be further boosted by the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

The £13.9 million profit before tax includes a £4.9 million gain on property revaluations, a £1.2 million profit on sale of investment property and £1.4 million surplus on hedge valuations.

As a result, REI has declared a final dividend of 0.8125p per share, payable in April 2022 as a Property Income Distribution, representing a fully covered dividend of 3.0625p for the year.  Since the commencement of the Company’s dividend policy in 2012, a total of £41.9 million has been declared/paid to shareholders.

During the year, REI completed 15 disposals totalling £17.55 million (an aggregate uplift of 7.3% before costs above December 2020 valuation) and the subsequent debt repayment reduced the Company’s loan to value (net of cash), to 42.2% from a 2020 figure of 49.2%.

REI finished the year with £9.8 million cash in the bank and an average cost of debt of 3.5%. A £51 million facility with NatWest was renewed for three years at 2.25% above LIBOR in March 2021. A £12 million facility with Barclays was extended by 12 months to 31 December 2024 in February 2022.

Already in 2022, REI has completed £1.115 in disposals at 12.6% above 2020 book value and has £7.5 million of sales in legals, driven by private investor demand.

Paul Bassi added: “We continued to maintain high rent collection levels throughout 2021, with an overall collection level of 97.81%, against a backdrop of the unfavourable government moratorium restrictions which are soon to expire.  For Q1 2022, rent collection levels are currently at 99.42%.

“These collection levels are a testament to the diversity of our portfolio and the asset management team who worked collaboratively with our portfolio tenants to navigate a uniquely challenging period.”

He said the first few months of 2022 had seen market recovery continue to gather pace which has been improved further by the step-by-step ceasing of UK restrictions and the return to normality that has been so eagerly awaited, led by the UK regions who are now at near-normal activity and ahead of London and the South East.

“REI’s portfolio, valued at £190.8 million, with 256 occupiers across 47 assets, has weathered the COVID storm and we believe is well placed to benefit from the ongoing revaluation and occupancy recovery.

“Private investors with high levels of cash reserves continue to lead the interest in our assets.  Many of our properties are acquired on the basis of their significant break-up potential to satisfy this demand, predominantly small retail units within local neighbourhood and convenience schemes.

“With a healthy exposure to the community retail market which is 39.07% of our portfolio, we successfully disposed of a number of these sought-after assets, along with the remaining legacy non-core stock and we continue to consider further sales of assets for a premium price,” he said.

He said the board of REI is  optimistic that 2022 will see renewed interest in the company’s available spaces particularly the office portfolio.

“We are seeing the trend for non-City centre offices continue and, of our office stock, 81.03% is non-City centre.

“We will be focussed on unlocking the income sitting in our voids and the multiple existing embedded opportunities across the portfolio, including change of use, planning gains and lease re-gears, which would translate into enhanced occupancy levels, increased contracted rental income and improved WAULT.

“This activity, together with ongoing valuation recovery, should drive capital and income growth across the portfolio and a rise in our NAV, supporting our progressive dividend policy.

“As our region gears itself up for this year’s highly anticipated 2022 Commonwealth Games, we expect this ‘once in a lifetime’ event to further boost the recovery we have already witnessed and attract yet more investment to our thriving region.”

During 2022 and into 2023, Mr Bassi anticipates there will be further consolidation in the real estate sector and REI continues to seek corporate opportunities.

Ends (769 words)

For further information, please contact:

Paul Bassi, Chief Executive, Real Estate Investors plc, 2nd Floor, 75/77 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2AP

0121 265 6406 or 0121 212 3446

www.reiplc.com

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner at ASAP, 07990 978257

About Real Estate Investors Plc

Real Estate Investors Plc (REI Plc) is a publicly quoted, internally managed property investment company and REIT with a portfolio of 1.5 million sq ft of commercial property, managed by a highly-experienced property team with over 100 years of combined experience of operating in the Midlands property market across all sectors.

The Company’s strategy is to invest in well located, real estate assets in the established and proven markets of central Birmingham and the Midlands, with income and capital growth potential, realisable through active portfolio management, refurbishment, change of use and lettings.  The portfolio has no material reliance on a single asset or occupier.

Last chance for employers to claim £3,000 apprenticeship grants before end-of-month deadline

Top Midlands training provider Performance Through People (PTP) has warned employers to act before the end of March to secure £3,000 grants for hiring new apprentices.

PTP, part of the BCTG group, is urging employers to start new apprenticeships before the extended deadline of 31 March so they do not miss out on the incentive scheme launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last year as part of his £500 million jobs support package.

PTP is also reminding firms that have already taken on a new apprentice between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022 must apply for the £3,000 payment before the deadline or they may not qualify.

Gill Durkin, business executive at PTP, said: “We are reminding everyone that March is the deadline for employers to claim their £3,000 incentive for any apprenticeship start that was employed between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022.

“It’s a great scheme as anyone who has been signed on to an apprenticeship programme can be claimed for before 31 March 2022, but once that deadline is gone the grants will be difficult to access.

“Remember, these £3,000 grants are for every single apprentice signed up, and they can be related to new trainees of any age, working for any level and at any standard, so they could add up to some major funding for organisations with several apprentices.”

PTP is a key partner in the hugely successful Ladder programmes in the Black Country, Staffordshire and Greater Birmingham, encouraging more companies to increase their involvement in apprenticeship schemes.

Ms Durkin explained that PTP was already dealing with a surge of more than 70 employers’ applications for the £3,000 grants, and that recently three claims had come in on the same morning.

She added: “With less than three weeks to go, employers should act now and we are only too happy to support businesses in any way that we can.”

For information on apprenticeships and accessing the incentive scheme, contact PTP Training by emailing skills@ptp-training.co.uk or telephoning 03332 408302.

Ends (334 words)

For further information, please contact:

Gill Durkin, Business Executive

Phone: 01543 460050  Mobile: 07734 814905

Email: gill@ptp-training.co.uk

www.ptp-training.co.uk

Prepared and issued by ASAP PR – 07990 978257.

Note to editors:

PTP Training Ltd is part of the BCTG Group, a West Midlands-based training organisation which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults each year.

The group has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and also includes The Apprenticeship Works, BCTG Ltd, Eurosource Solutions and Further Training.

Overall, the group offers 166 different types of apprenticeship, 84 different adult upskilling and reskilling courses and 27 pre-apprenticeship programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds. These include everything from healthcare and early years care to construction, engineering, manufacturing and logistics, through to business skills in IT, management and team leading.

DM & Co. Premium is home from home for luxury million pound properties

An astonishing 15 homes worth more than £1 million each are on the books of fast growing Solihull-based agent DM & Co. Homes.

The millionaires’ pads are being sold by DM & Co. Premium, a division of DM & Co. Homes which was launched in March 2019 by founder and managing director Dominic Murphy and has since continued to grow under the direction of Head of Premium Kathy Griffiths.

DM & Co. Homes is a local, independent estate agent covering Solihull, Dorridge, Lapworth, Tanworth-in-Arden and the surrounding areas.

And the total of 15 £1 million plus homes does not even include properties being marketed under their “Low Profile Listings”.

Kathy explained: “Low profile properties are discreetly marketed, not plastered across the portals.

“Many of our clients do not want their home to appear to the masses online but respect that we have the right connections in the local market to attract buyers via a much more subtle and personal approach.

“These homes are introduced to potential buyers through good old-fashioned relationship building, not replying on Rightmove and similar property portals. It’s a focused personal approach which makes buyers and sellers feel all the more special!”

She said that one in four top-end properties are now sold “off market” where they are only offered in the first instance to those who have registered specific requirements.

Those that you can view include two distinctively different styles of luxury home.

For just £1.9 million, you could choose 37 Alderbrook Road, Solihull , built in 2014, a stunning modern five bedroom family home – all bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms.

The huge home– at just under 5,000 sq ft – in Solihull’s most sought-after road, has a fabulous open plan kitchen and dining area and comes with underfloor heating and air conditioning throughout.

The private electronic gate entry leads into a large paved area allowing space for several cars with a garage and prestigious entrance in the impressive frontage.

For those looking for a more rural setting, Packwood Farmhouse is a charming Grade II listed home with five bedrooms and three en-suite bathrooms, encompassing nearly 2,800 sq ft.

Listed at £1.5 million, Packwood Farmhouse is bursting with original features, and is set in just under five acres in a fabulous setting close to Packwood House.

Kathy Griffiths said: “This is a rare and fabulous opportunity to invest in something quite special.

“Packwood Farmhouse is a beautiful period property oozing charm and character has numerous feature fireplaces and fabulous beams – the potential here to add value is enormous.”

Entering into the front door of the timber frame and brick constructed house, you come to a bright and light 30 foot lounge with two enormous fireplaces and a generous ceiling height.

This leads through to a large family kitchen with views out on to five acres.

Across a courtyard covered area, there is another room that has served as a utility area but could easily be used as a home office. There is also another large reception room at the front of the house, serving as an additional sitting room.

A central staircase leads to five well-proportioned bedrooms on the upper floor. There is one large suite of two rooms which could be transformed into a fabulous principal suite with a dressing or reading room looking out to the rear.

The opposite side of the property has three further bedrooms, two doubles and one single, each with their own bathrooms.

Kathy said: “Whatever your taste in luxury properties, DM & Co. Premium is here to help you find your dream home, and remember, if you can’t see it on our website, ask about our Low Profile Listings, as we may have just the property for you.”

For more details, see https://dmandcohomes.co.uk/premium-property-for-sale

Ends (624 words)

For further information, please contact:

Kathy Griffiths, Head of Premium, DM & Co. Homes

T: 01564 777 314 E: kathy.griffiths@dmandcohomes.co.uk

Unit 2, Forest Court Shopping Centre, Dorridge, Solihull, B93 8FG

www.dmandcohomes.co.uk

Editors’ notes:

DM & Co. Homes is a local, independent estate agent covering Solihull, Dorridge, Lapworth, Tanworth-in-Arden and the surrounding areas.

The company has traditional high street offices at The Forest Shopping Centre, Station Road in Dorridge and at The Pavilions, Cranmore Drive in Solihull, along with a recently launched Land and New Homes division that is quickly growing.

It has made a major investment in its head office, based on Cranmore Drive, where its land & new homes, lettings, financial advisors, sales progressors and administration teams are based.

DM & Co. Home’s media team also operates from the Cranmore Drive offices, providing photography, video and content planning that attracts more than 100,000 views a month via YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Siddall Jones named top dealmaker in the West Midlands

Siddall Jones is the West Midlands’ top commercial property agent – and that’s official!

The Birmingham-based property consultants handled almost double the number of deals of their nearest rival in the annual EG Radius On-Demand Rankings.

The firm, founded by Ed Siddall-Jones in 2012, notched up 156 deals including sales and letting – on average three a week – in 2021.

Siddall Jones has two offices covering the West Midlands region, in The Mint, Icknield Street, Birmingham, and with a Black Country focus, at King Charles House, Castle Hill, Dudley.

Managing director Ed Siddall-Jones paid tribute to all his staff who had helped achieve such an “outstanding result”.

“When Covid hit, we just knuckled down and got on with it. We have a young, energetic team who share an enthusiasm for commercial property and getting deals done for our clients. They all share in what is an outstanding result for us against all the big firms in the City and nationally.

“As well as deals done, we have also seen a significant increase in our management portfolio, including Whitehall House, the former Mucklow plc headquarters, which we acquired for £2.6 million and have been retained to manage.”

He highlighted major deals throughout the year including:

  • A 160,000 sq ft sale of a freehold industrial unit in Stockport for £7.2 million
  • A 70,000 ft2 leetting of a new build warehouse in Smethwick at £500,000 per annum
  • A 42,000 ft2 office sale in Erdington
  • The former Bogie Shed building off St Pauls Square for £1.6 million

that had contributed to the huge total of 156 transactions.

And he said that as a result of continuing enquiries for space across all sectors, office, retail, leisure and hospitality, but particularly industrial, the firm is actively recruiting and looking for surveyors and valuers who share the enthusiasm of the current Siddall Jones team.

Ends (258 words)

For further information, please contact:

Ed Siddall-Jones, Managing Director,

Siddall Jones, The Mint, 95 Icknield Street, Birmingham B18 6 RU.

0121 638 0500

www.siddalljones.com

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner, ASAP PR – 07990 978257.

Editors’ Notes

Siddall Jones, which has offices in Birmingham and Dudley, was launched by Ed Siddall-Jones in 2012 and has grown steadily from one office to two and from one member of staff to six. In 2020, the firm was named Most Active Agent in the West Midlands in the Radius Data Exchange survey produced in conjunction with EG, the commercial property market magazine. In 2019, Siddall Jones was named Most Active Single Branch Agent by number of deals done by CoStar and was a Top Five finalist in the overall CoStar awards.

 

Forty years on and John Truslove is still topping the rankings

Redditch commercial property agent Ben Truslove has been ranked second most successful dealmaker in the UK in the 2021 EG Radius On-Demand Rankings.

He negotiated 89 sales and lettings during the year in a top ten dominated by partners from all the UK’s leading property agencies.

He was the top industrial and commercial property agent in the West Midlands.

The agency, John Truslove, came first in Worcestershire and third in Warwickshire.

Ben, who is joint managing director of John Truslove with Ian Parker, said it was “an outstanding result”.

“To be honest, during the year we are so busy dealing with new instructions and understanding clients’ requirements to watch the ‘meter’ but it is highly rewarding to see John Truslove, founded in Redditch by my father 40 years ago, battling it out with the big boys,” he said.

Top deals of the year included the letting of 22 Aston Road, Bromsgrove, a 15,902sqft factory/warehouse to Cardinal Steels and the sale of a residential development site at Easemore Road, Redditch, to Damson Homes for £1 million.

The result follows on from and exceeds the firm’s results in 2020 when John Truslove was named Most Active Agent in Worcestershire, and joint managing director Ian Parker was named both Worcestershire Dealmaker of the Year and Warwickshire Dealmaker of the Year.

In 2021, John Truslove saw a marginal increase in deals over 2020 which, in itself, was a new record for the company at that time.

Based in Redditch but covering the West Midlands including Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Birmingham, the agency now employs 8 staff and has recently recruited James Haynes as an apprentice surveyor.

Ends (271 words)

For more information, contact:

John Truslove, Daralbee House, Archer Road, Redditch, B98 8DJ

01527 584242

Editor’s Notes

Redditch-based chartered surveyors and valuers John Truslove was established by John Truslove in 1981 and has become the market leading independent agent for commercial property in North Worcestershire and North Warwickshire as well as the wider West Midlands.

The firm was named Most Active Agent in Worcestershire in the Radius Data Exchange survey produced in conjunction with EG, the commercial property market magazine.

Joint managing director Ian Parker was also named Worcestershire Dealmaker of the Year AND Warwickshire Dealmaker of the Year for 2020. The survey year, which runs from August to August, saw John Truslove record a 36% increase in deals negotiated over the 12 months.

Issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, mobile 07990 978257.

Crowe teams up with Chamber to analyse Sunak’s sums

Specialists from national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe are teaming up with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce to provide live commentary on Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement on Wednesday 23 March.

Johnathan Dudley, managing partner of Crowe in the Midlands, said: “The Chancellor will be presenting his economic and fiscal forecast after one of the most troubled times in the UK economy in the past year, and against the backdrop of the current situation in Ukraine.

“The Conservative Party has traditionally been the party of low tax but, notwithstanding the economy is picking up faster than some anticipated, he still has some serious holes in his budget.

“Add to this domestic issues such as the growth of electric vehicles reducing his Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) take, albeit there is a rise in VED from April 2022, and he has some critical issues to face in coming years.”

Mr Dudley and Crowe partner Rob Gunn will be joined at their Midlands office by senior officers from the Black Country Chamber of Commerce who will help analyse the key outcomes and how they may impact business leaders and their companies.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: “On the back of what we long hoped would be a period of gradual recovery as we learned to live with COVID, we’ve entered 2022 in a very precarious position for the economy.

“On the one hand, some sectors are rebounding strongly yet, for many, the escalating costs of doing business, supply chains and world events continue to cause concern for those trading across the region and beyond.

“We’re delighted to working be working with Crowe to bring reaction and analysis following the Chancellor’s remarks of this keenly anticipated economic forecast which will likely frame forthcoming decisions in businesses across the Black Country.”

The event will start with a working lunch from 12:00 before the Chancellor stands up to speak. There will be the opportunity to take part in a question and answer session with Crowe and Chamber specialists on the panel.

There is no cost to attend the event. To register, email nathan.sanghera@crowe.co.uk or call 0121 543 1900.

Ends (359 words)

Contacts:

Miriam Sherwood, Director, People Communications & Marketing

Crowe UK. Tel: (0)121 543 1900, miriam.sherwood@crowe.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, one of the top 10 accounting networks in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk


Crowe industry recognition

  • UK Member of one of the top 10 accounting networks in the world (International Accounting Bulletin World Survey 2021)
  • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Auditor Benchmarking and Charity Finance Audit Survey, 2009 – 2020)
  • Ranked 5th in the AIM auditors ranking by number of audits (AIM Advisers Rankings Guide, January 2022)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (UK fee income of audit firms that audit PIEs – by fee income on audit, FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, Figure 33, July 2021)
  • Risk Consultancy of the Year 2021 for the second consecutive year (InsuranceERM) – Crowe was recognised to be at forefront of two key areas of focus for insurers in 2020: operational resilience; and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, including climate change.
  • Awarded Bronze for Accountancy Firm of the Year – Large (2020 Citywealth Magic Circle Awards)
  • Global Mobility Provider of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2020)
  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)

 

Post-lockdown recovery continues with house sales 28% up across Worcestershire

There has been a 28% rise in house sales across Worcestershire in the last 12 months, which top regional estate agent Nicol & Co says reflects an increasingly strong post-lockdown recovery.

The total of 4,293 sales in the county include 1,881 sales in Worcester, a 36% increase, 632 in Malvern, up 27%, and 444 in Droitwich, which the Dataloft Land Registry has recorded as being almost identical to the previous year.

Average house prices have also increased significantly across Worcestershire in the last twelve months according to Dataloft, rising to £276,000 in Droitwich, £276,100 in Malvern and £242,700 in Worcester, where 43.8% of the sales took place.

Matt Nicol, the managing director of Nicol & Co, which has three branches in Droitwich, Malvern and Worcester, said: “The growth in sales and prices across Worcestershire reflect the resilience and increasing recovery of the local market.”

Mr Nicol explained that the picture for lettings has been more fluctuating over the last twelve months, with the Dataloft Market Rental Analysis recording an increase of 8% to £761 a month in the Worcester average.

He said: “The average in Droitwich is slightly higher at £772 despite cooling by 8% recently, while Malvern remains 10.4% ahead at £852.”

The comments come as Dataloft revealed an average UK house price growth of 10.8% in 2021, the strongest annual growth at the year-end since 2002, with the average UK home price now standing at £274,712, another record high.

Mr Nicol added: “A lack of stock has been putting a cap on sales activity, and house price growth is likely to continue due to the imbalance in supply and demand, meaning it is still a sellers’ market.

“More stock will unlock the system and by building chains, we are beginning to see the levels of instructions increase.

“This is a time when as a full-service agent with dedicated sales progressors in each of our three offices we can give clients peace of mind knowing they have an experienced agent keeping tabs on their sale or purchase every step of the way.”

Anyone selling, buying or renting in Worcestershire can find out more about Nicol & Co via www.nicolandco.co.uk.

Ends (360 words)

For further information, please call:

Matt Nicol, Managing Director, Nicol & Co, 226 Worcester Road, Droitwich Spa, WR9 8AY

Tel: 01905 779072

Prepared and issued by Steve Dyson at ASAP – 07990 978257

Experienced IT director appointed by Thursfields

The rapid growth of online services at Thursfields Solicitors has been boosted by the recruitment of a digital communications specialist as its new IT director.

Richard Webb joins the leading Midlands law firm from OOSHA Ltd, a specialist company that he founded to provide managed IT services, cloud and communication solutions to the legal and finance sector.

The appointment comes as Thursfields continues to expand digitally, with increased virtual meetings, marketing and staff working online from home.

Michelle O’Hara, managing director at Thursfields, said: “We are delighted to welcome Richard to our team and are excited by the technical expertise he is bringing to the company.

“We were already evolving our online technology, but the speed of this development increased dramatically from March 2020 when Covid-19 meant we had to focus on the virtual delivery of our services.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, there will be a gradual return to our offices and one-to-one meetings, but the benefits we have seen from online working means we are in an entirely different place.

“From home-working to meeting clients online, and from live digital marketing events to vodcasts hosted by our legal experts, the technological opportunities are now huge.”

Mr Webb, from Wombourne, South Staffordshire, has a wide experience of strategic planning and execution of IT, including developing cloud solutions, cross functional project management, staff development, training and leadership.

He is an expert in using Microsoft Azure technology for hosted networking, building data centres using Citrix systems and developing public, private and hybrid cloud solutions.

Mr Webb said: “I am thrilled to be joining Thursfields and am looking forward to designing and delivering the firm’s future digital and communications direction and technology needs.

“I’ve always had a key focus on technical architecture evolution, designing and initially building innovative solutions using the latest technologies to digitally transform a business.

“I have extensive experience in digitally transforming law firms, I so am now drafting the technical road map for Thursfields to evolve its IT platform.

“Having previously provided technical and strategic road maps to many organisations over the last two decades, I now want to focus on one specific law firm.”

Ends (358 words)

For further information, please contact:

Dani James, Business Development Manager, Thursfields Solicitors

Email: djames@thursfields.co.uk

Tel: 01905 677066

Or

ASAP PR – 07990 978257.

www.thursfields.co.uk

Twitter – @Thursfields

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors

Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and reputable law firms, with more than 140 staff in five offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands. Thursfields Solicitors provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. The firm has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Solihull and Birmingham.