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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Coreena Ford

North East deals of the week: key acquisitions, contracts and investments

Parker Bioscience Filtration is set for expansion following a multimillion-dollar investment from its owners.

The company, part of the global Parker Hannifin group, is set to receive the boost for its Birtley base, to help it increase production capacity. The investment comes as the firm sees growing demand from the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries and comes two years after the business expanded its manufacturing facilities to supporting the production of vaccines.

The latest investment includes enhancement of the site’s filter capsule and filter cartridge manufacturing facilities, and installation of a new water treatment plant this year to more than double the site’s water plant capacity. Parker Bioscience Filtration also has sites in Oxnard, US, and Jangangongdan, South Korea, which support customers both locally and globally in improving process control, efficiency and supply chain security.

Read more: Find more North East business news here

Laurent Pouchard, general manager at Parker Bioscience Filtration’s Birtley site, said: “This investment in our Birtley site is testament to Parker’s commitment to our European customer base and further strengthens our manufacturing capabilities. It will enable us to meet growing demand from the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries for our solutions, and builds on the ongoing success of the site.”

Bowburn North Industrial Estate which has been acquired by Ward Group Investments (Ward Group Investments)

Ward Group Investments snapped up a major industrial site in a multimillion-pound deal.

Ward Group Investments, which is headed up by entrepreneur Andrew Ward, has purchased four buildings on Bowburn North Industrial Estate which had been on the market with a £4.5m price tag. Comprising a total of 200,343 sq ft of workspace, the four units are next to the A1(M) and sit close to the new Integra 61 development, home to Amazon’s Durham fulfilment centre.

Three of the four buildings are already let, with PC Henderson Limited, Katem Logistics and Personal Hygiene Services Ltd all having operated from the estate for over five years. The fourth unit, Unit 2, stands vacant, but the team at Ward Group Investments are confident that, once refurbished, it will offer an appealing proposition to businesses seeking to capitalise on the area’s growing reputation for last mile logistics.

Mr Ward said: “We are delighted to have closed this deal. Over the past two years, we’ve grown our portfolio significantly with a number of strategic acquisitions across the UK and the UAE and this is yet another high-quality development to add to our ever-growing list. The North East and particularly County Durham are perfectly placed for businesses seeking to capitalise on the growing demand for last mile logistics and investment opportunities don’t get much better than this. It’s perfectly placed adjacent to the A1, provides access to a skilled workforce and offers some of the most competitive business rates in the UK, it’s absolutely perfect.”

Michael Conville, chief customer officer at Newcastle Building Society, outside the Hexham branch (Newcastle Building Society)

Newcastle Building Society has cemented its future in a North East market town after acquiring the leasehold for its Hexham branch. The society opened in the market town four years ago, taking over the former Dickinsons site opposite Hexham Abbey as part of its multimillion-pound branch network investment programme. It has now acquired a 999-year lease for the branch, with freeholder Abbey View (North East) Ltd also set to invest in adapting the building’s upper floors into residential accommodation.

The society’s previous branch next door is also set to be occupied soon by a new tenant, having been empty for the past few years. The society’s commitment to Hexham is the latest phase of its branch investment programme which includes the launch of a UK-first pilot to install multi-bank technology in two of its branches.

Michael Conville, chief customer officer at Newcastle Building Society, said: “While other providers are closing branches on our high streets, we’re innovating and investing in our branch network, with a clear ambition to open more if our local communities tell us they need them. Our commitment to Hexham is a part of that investment and we’re delighted to have secured our long-term future in the town.”

Maxine Caine of Max Purpose Psychology (left) with a client (Max Purpose Psychology)

County Durham coaching business Max Purpose Psychology received a slice of a £4m digital fund aimed at helping fledgling firms to flourish. Business Durham’s Digital Drive County Durham, a £4m programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), supported the firm to buy new technology and develop new digital skills. The business was launched by Maxine Caine to support education leaders, psychologists and small business owners through one-to-one and group supervision and coaching. Ms Caine approached Digital Drive looking for funding support to buy the tech equipment she needed to run her firm.

The new kit allows her to conduct online group supervision sessions with clients from around the world, as well as create videos to feature on her website and in online modules, to support face-to-face training in schools. She praised digital adviser James Miller and the Digital Drive programme for their support.

Left to right: Susan Snowdon of NEL Fund Managers with Kathy Bevan and Dr Jennifer Cottam of Talk Works. (TalkWorks/NEL Fund Managers)

Tyneside workplace consultancy is set to grow with the help of a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund. Gateshead based Talk Works aims to help improve the mental health and well-being of individuals and organisations by delivering access to therapy, e-learning and training services both in person and online. The firm’s practitioners work alongside HR departments, occupational health teams and business managers to help employees work well, feel well and engage well at work.

Now the company has worked with Newcastle-based regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in the £50,000 investment, which will support a new business development and marketing drive, as well as the recruitment of the additional staff required to meet growing client demand. Four new jobs will be created within its head office team, while it is also looking to expand the network of specialist practitioners that support the delivery of its services.

Susan Snowdon, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “The Talk Works team recognised a growing workplace need and has developed a high-quality service that enables employers and their staff to gain substantial, tangible benefits.”

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