Business roundup

JCB has marked its 70th anniversary today by giving employees around the world an extra day’s holiday and by launching a limited edition version of its 3CX backhoe loader in livery last seen 40 years ago. 

Following announcement of job losses at Tata’s Scunthorpe plant and closure of SSI at Redcar, a Government’s steel summit last week has come up with a three point plan consisting of three working groups chaired by ministers. They will look at public procurement – to drive up contracts won by UK steel manufacturers; international comparisons; and competitiveness and productivity to look at energy and environmental costs, business rates and regulation along with skills and training to see how business can drive up its competitiveness.


Wates Group has closed the deal to buy Shepherd Engineering Services (SES) and Shepherd FM including a number of contracts and strategic frameworks from Shepherd Construction. Wates aquires 1200 Shephed staff with turnover of around £300M. Shepherd Group will retain the reputable Shepherd Construction name and focus on the remaining parts of the business, including the Portakabin Group.  

Manufacturing output growth stalled in September – for the first time in two and a half years, according to the latest CBI Monthly Industrial Trends Survey. That came as total and export orders also deteriorated, the latter falling back to the lowest level in six months. Manufacturers’ expectations for growth in the volume of output over the coming three months are the weakest since October 2013. Meanwhile, firms expect average prices to edge down further in the next quarter, to the greatest extent since August 2009.

Outgoing Cisco CEO John Chambers has said more than one-third of businesses today will not survive the next 10 years. The only ones that will survive will turn their companies into digital, techie versions of themselves, and many of will fail trying, he said. "40% of businesses in this room, unfortunately, will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 years," he told the 25,000 attendees at the Cisco customer conference, adding that 70% of companies will "attempt" to go digital, but only 30% of those that try it "will be successful." More here 

AECOM has announced it has diversified into and is targeting commercial and residential construction work between £5M and £40M. A statement from AECOM said:  “We have recently added a UK construction arm to our list of services to support us in delivering construction services to our clients, and to lead our design and build offering in a targeted manner within the UK commercial and residential market. Recently we have been successful in expanding our UK construction business by securing a number of project awards from clients we have an established relationship with and have served elsewhere previously.”

The government is to hold a steel summit on 16 October 2015 following the closure of SSI UK founded by iconic construction business Dorman Long. Steel companies, MPs, trade unions, Welsh and Scottish government representatives will be invited to look at how best to work together to find solutions to the challenges being faced in the current difficult global market conditions. It will also start mapping out a path to a sustainable future for the industry.