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£5 Million China Deal To See Midlands Group Double In Size



A major manufacturer of industrial automation and tooling systems – headquartered in the Midlands – is to open a new plant in China which will double its size.

Expert Tooling & Automation, which has plants in Coventry and the North East, has formed a partnership with Chinese firm Star Eagle Global and established a new company in Hefei, China.

It has secured a new 200,000 sq ft plant in the city, in the Anhui province, and won backing from regional government and has planned that production will begin before the end of the year.

It is expected that the new plant, which represents an investment of more than £5 million, will employ around 200 staff by the end of 2019, doubling the current workforce. Around 20 employees from within the Star Eagle Global group have already been transferred to the new venture named “Expert Automation Technology Co Ltd”

Expert is the UK’s leading manufacturer of industrial automation systems, assembly tooling, automated assembly, special purpose machinery and single and multi-robotic cells, including robotic assembly.

It works for many of the leading automotive OEMs including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Aston Martin and McLaren.

The Chinese venture – Expert Automation Technology Co Ltd – is designed to use its expertise in aluminium and composite vehicle assembly, battery pack assembly, power train and final assembly in the rapidly growing electric vehicle sector in China.

Managing director and founder Angelo Luciano said: “This is the culmination of in excess of 12 months of negotiations and between the companies and regional government in China.

“Our partners have significant interests in automotive equipment manufacturers across the world that fits extremely well with Expert’s highly-skilled and qualified workforce and our expertise and experience in key areas of the industry.

“It will allow the company to capitalise on the largest and fastest growing automotive market in the world with our knowledge and experience, all of which will be in high demand in the ever increasing EV sector in China.

“Expert has over the years had to compete with global organisations who can access low cost markets for design and manufacture, additional resource and utilise advantageous exchange rates to increase their competitiveness and meet customer demands in order to have a global presence.

“This move means that Expert will have access to all of these benefits and also be capable of meeting customers’ requirements in association with a global support network to maintain their future investment plans.”

The news comes after Expert announced a £10 million investment in a new state-of-the-art headquarters at Lyons Park in Coventry.

Luciano added: “The next few years will be very dynamic for the company and its employees and will prove challenging for the company as it grows its business internationally.

“We will increase headcount in key areas of the business that will not only firmly establish Expert as the UK’s largest automotive equipment manufacturer but offer some great opportunities for staff.”

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International Expansion for Warwickshire Recruitment Firm



A Midlands-based recruitment company has announced an international expansion after striking a deal with Volvo Car Corporation.

Apex Recruitment, which specialises in the automotive, engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors, has been engaged by Volvo – part of the Geely Group which owns LEVC, the makers of the London Taxi – to recruit staff to work at their Swedish operations.

Warwick-based Apex, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, worked with specialist consultants 52 Global in Coventry to negotiate the agreement with Volvo and will soon begin recruiting for a range of positions at its production and research & development facilities.

It has also reached agreement to recruit for roles at Geely Group’s subsidiary, CEVT (China European Vehicle Technologies), based in Gothenburg. CEVT was founded in 2013 to provide innovation and engineering services to automotive organisations within the Geely Group.

Richard Marchington, Sales and Marketing Director of Apex, which is based at Tournament Fields, Warwick, said the strategy was a recognition of the service that they provide in the UK and how this could be replicated in Sweden, supporting the automotive market in both countries to allow continued growth.

“We have been talking with Volvo for around 18 months with the possibility of helping them recruit staff and we have now reached an agreement,” he said.

“They have undergone considerable investment in recent times. Their new model ranges have been well received and they enjoyed record sales last year with a rise of seven per cent.

“Their announcement that all new Volvo models from 2019 will enjoy some form of electric propulsion has really upped the ante in the automotive world, and clearly there will be a great deal of work to make that happen.

“They realise that our reach within the industry extends globally and are keen to tap into the skills of the people we work with, as they have a need for a high level of expertise for some of the cutting-edge projects they are undertaking.”

Apex is now planning to open an office in Sweden to service the contract, and is also in talks with other international companies.

Marchington added: “There are several draws for Apex staff to move to Sweden to work. Volvo is undertaking some cutting-edge work across their model range and it is a very interesting environment.

“There is an appeal of working in a new culture and as well as being a beautiful country, they have a very attractive work-life balance with competitive salary levels.

“We are also in advanced talks with another company elsewhere in the world and hope to have positive news of that in the near future.”

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UK Trade Mission To Novorossiysk



A small delegation of business leaders from the South West of England are off to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk later this month from the 24 to 28 September.

The visit is being organised by International Trade Matters (ITM) working in partnership with the Novorossiysk Chamber of Commerce, and looking to develop future business, educational, and cultural opportunities between the two peninsulas.

Linda Middleton-Jones, managing director of (ITM), and director of the Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have been invited by the President of the Novorossiysk Chamber of Commerce Mr Igor Zharinov, for local companies interested in exporting to Russia’s largest sea port.”

Plymouth has been linked to Novorossiysk since 1956, and formal links were officially tied in 1990 between the cities.

“We are looking to visit companies in Novorossiysk, meet educational, cultural and political leaders, and sign a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ between the Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce and Novorossiysk Chamber in working together over the years to come,” she said.

Mr Zharinov, said: “I represent over 240 firms in Novorossiysk and we’re growing fast.”

“There are opportunities in our marine, navigation, freight, education, student exchange programmes, digital and creative media, food and drink, and many other consumer goods and sectors,” he said.

Mr Sergei Averin, UK representative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation in the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce (London), said: “We are supporting this South West visit to Novorossiysk which is unique to this area.”

“Our organisation would like to see more regions across the UK doing business in the Russian market place,” he said.

Firms from Plymouth and the South West already have experience forging contacts in Russia, and in June 2017, the Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce hosted a party of Russian delegates from Novorossiysk and the Tatarstan Chambers.

The Russian delegation took time out from the Russian-British Chamber’s conference in London to visit Plymouth to see the potential for promoting trade links between the two cities and regions.

The Russian group was taken on a tour of Princess Yacht’s base in Stonehouse, Plymouth, and given a cruise around the Sound in one of the firm’s vessels.

Kevin Kelway, director of Dorcas Media, and (ITM) specialist helping to coordinate the visit, said: “Yes, we are living in challenging times with Brexit and the ongoing political relationships between Moscow and London, but fostering long term business, educational, and cultural relations for the future must carry on.”

“The aim of the South West visit is to cement existing and new relationships and opportunities.”

“Over 600 British companies operate in Russia and the UK is the 10th biggest investor in Russia, and with plenty of scope to develop trade between our regions.”

(ITM) is an independent company based in Devon and works across the UK and overseas, and offers international trade services across sectors, geographies and disciplines.

The company has a raft of experts in advice on entry in new markets, international marketing and PR strategies, and delivers advice clinics for companies, educational, business organisations, and Chambers.

Anyone looking for more information about (ITM) can contact their web portal:

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UK’s Royal Mail Buys Canadian parcel Delivery Firm For C$360 Million




Royal Mail Plc’s international arm GLS has bought Canadian parcel delivery company Dicom Canada from Chicago-based private equity firm Wind Point Partners for C$360 million ($275.7 million), the British post and parcels company said on Monday.

The deal, which takes Royal Mail into Canada, was funded through existing borrowing facilities and will be earnings and cash flow accretive in the financial year ending March 31, 2019, the company said.

($1 = 1.3056 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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