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#UK £200m office development for Cambridge proposed


Mark Glatman’s Abstract Securities reveals that its wholly owned subsidiary – Abstract (Cambridge) Limited – has exchanged contracts to acquire a 9.17 acre site at Fulbourn Road in Cambridge, with University of Cambridge College, Peterhouse, from the Wright’s Clock Land Charity. 

Abstract proposes to speculatively build around 300,000 sq ft of offices with car parking, subject to detailed discussions with the local planning authority.

The value of the completed envisaged development will be in the order of £200 million Abstract tells Business Weekly.

Following on from several successful speculative office schemes across the UK over the last seven years, this project represents a major investment by Abstract in the Cambridge office market where supply constraints, coupled with demand – especially from life sciences, biotechnology and other more traditional office users – remains high.

Abstract has been granted a long leasehold interest by Peterhouse which will retain the freehold ownership of the land.

The site, currently comprising open farmland zoned for business use, is adjacent to Peterhouse Technology Park, also owned by Peterhouse, which is the location of the global headquarters of superchip architect Arm plc. The land lies south east of the city centre, around 2.5 miles from the railway station and gives easy access to the M11 and A14.

Abstract has retained Scott Brownrigg to design its proposals for the site which will provide a range of grade A office buildings capable of being occupied by a variety of users for multi or single occupation, but particularly focused on the technology, science and knowledge based sectors.

As with all Abstract schemes, a highly sustainable and environment focused approach will be adopted, while providing flexible space suitable for a range of end user needs, particularly important given the diverse range of target occupiers in the Cambridge market.

Mark Glatman, chief executive of Abstract Securities, says: “We are really excited to be developing in Cambridge. This is a location which we have followed closely for many years and, against a backdrop of so much uncertainty in the world today, we have no hesitation in committing to speculatively build here at the current time. 

“Our blend of occupier focused skills, and tried and tested delivery platform, means that we can quickly deliver first class space into a unique market and befitting its highly skilled workforce. We believe Cambridge will be a key engine room to growth as our economy recovers over the coming years.

“We are delighted to have worked on the purchase with Peterhouse, the oldest College in Cambridge, founded in 1284, and we will be maintaining a close relationship throughout the development process in order to realise our aligned ambitions for the land.”

Bidwells represented Abstract and Peterhouse in the acquisition. Cheffins represented the vendor. Abstract was advised by Pinsent Masons and Peterhouse by leading law firm Mills & Reeve.

For information about the proposed development you can email mark.glatman [at] abstractsecurities.com (Mark Glatman) or christopher.mcpherson [at] abstractsecurities.com (Christopher McPherson) .

Established in April 2000 by Mark Glatman, the Abstract Group of Companies specialises in commercial property development and venture capital financing. 

The management team at Abstract is highly experienced at working directly with major property owners and corporate end users and has developed in excess of 1.2 million sq ft of new office buildings across the UK in the last seven years, providing new offices for companies including Babcock plc, KPMG, Aker Solutions, Pension Protection Fund, Zurich UK and Wood plc, amongst others.

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Publié dans #UK

#UK Private Equity firms poised to aid recovery and fuel M & A activity


It’s clear that we’re in for a long and bumpy ride and a very gradual transition to ‘normal’, writes Tom Gallop, Corporate Finance partner at Ashcroft Partnership LLP.  

Many businesses face an uncertain future and some will not survive, but those that went into the crisis with a strong balance sheet and an effective management team should emerge, albeit weaker and perhaps in need of capital and a fresh strategy.  

What does this mean for the M & A market? Many business owners will be reluctant to abandon the valuations they might have enjoyed before the pandemic, so for those vendors for whom maximising value is the objective and timing is not critical, thoughts of a complete exit will have been delayed. 

Those other sellers of businesses, PE firms, who are sitting on assets they might have been expecting to sell shortly, will also be delaying processes. 

Trade buyers are likely to focus on rebuilding their own balance sheets and rethinking strategy, whilst a few will be eyeing distressed assets. 

The banks will be reluctant to lend to new customers whilst they grapple with their new COVID-19 related loan books and work with existing borrowers to avoid default. 

Scrutiny during underwriting is likely to increase dramatically and a whole new range of scenarios (global disruption to supply chains, for example) could be modelled during due diligence.

Despite this, we are not in for a repeat of 2008 when the deal-making tap was turned off. In 2008, one of the chief characteristics of the post-2008 period was a lack of liquidity. The banks could not lend and many PE firms were hamstrung, having invested heavily in leveraged buy outs. In short, there was no money.

In 2020, by contrast, there has never been so much ‘dry powder’ waiting to be deployed and private equity firms are ready to step in. Mid-market private equity firms such as LDC and August have funds raised and ready to be deployed, whilst Foresight’s recently launched East of England Fund boasts a £100 million pool of patient capital set up to assist companies in the East of England.

As Matt Mcloughlin, senior investment manager at Foresight, explains: “Recent months have presented a great challenge for businesses in the region, across all sizes and market sectors. We have an important role to play as investors, partnering with entrepreneurs to secure their businesses, achieve their growth potential, and maximise opportunities through uncertain market conditions. 

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that high growth SMEs are connected with the capital and support they need. We are actively seeking opportunities to discuss investment with interested shareholders and management teams.”

Having spent the last couple of months supporting their portfolio businesses and reworking business plans, PE firms are now looking at buying and investment opportunities. 

The race is on to find quality assets in resilient sectors such as technology, business services and software.  

In addition to providing capital to rebuild balance sheets, private equity firms will be keen to provide an element of cash out to vendors who might be seeking to de-risk after recent traumatic events.

They are also looking to support buyouts of non-core divisions from larger organisations. Valuations should hold up well where private equity is concerned, as they can afford to invest now and take the risk of short-term underperformance – it is the potential valuation in five years’ time that will interest them.

Mark Nunny of Business Growth Fund (BGF) agrees: “Equity investment has a key part to play in the recovery. Balance sheets will require strengthening, debt built up will require refinancing and companies will require growth capital to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves. 

“Having backed over 300 management teams to help them grow their businesses over the past nine years and with considerable capital to invest, BGF is well placed to work alongside management teams to grow their businesses and shareholder value.”

Various terms have been used to describe private equity firms over the years, some not entirely complimentary. But in the months and years to come they could prove to be knights in shining armour. 

By bringing much needed capital, long-term vision and operational expertise, they will be welcomed by many of the region’s entrepreneurs as they try to get things moving again.  

• For further information on how private equity could help your business, contact Tom Gallop, Corporate Finance Partner at Ashcroft, on 01763 209113.

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Publié dans #UK

#UK Cambridge impact unknown as Arm divests IoT business to parent SoftBank


Superchip architect Arm has declined to go into the potential impact on its Cambridge UK headquarters of a major restructuring by its Japanese parent company SoftBank.

ARM is set to to transfer two of its Internet of Things (IoT) businesses to SoftBank, subject to board approval. SoftBank would then directly oversee those divisions. 

Arm told Business Weekly that the move is strategic and designed to promote improved growth and profitability.

A spokesperson added: “If the proposed transfer is completed we will deepen our focus on our core semiconductor IP business and accelerate the returns on our investments in client, infrastructure, automotive and embedded/IoT devices.

“We are not sharing any additional details or commenting on future plans at this time.”

Business Weekly has recently reported a number of new technologies developed within these core categories which will be directed from Arm’s massively expanded Cambridge headquarters. Arm’s IP across these segments is huge and global and it has leading international players leveraging the enhanced technology.

Arm was sold to SoftBank for $32 billion in September 2016 and CEO Simon Segars believes the newly announced strategic pivot will significantly enhance the bottom line.

He said: “Softbank’s experience in managing fast-growing, early-stage businesses would enable the IoT Services Group to maximise its value in capturing the data opportunity.

“ARM would be in a stronger position to innovate in our core IP roadmap and provide our partners with greater support to capture the expanding opportunities for compute solutions across a range of markets.”

ARM expects to complete the switch before the end of September and I understand it intends to continue collaborating with the divisions moving to SoftBank control after the handover.

Arm smashed its own record for the number of chips circulated to customers worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2019. Arm silicon partners shipped a record 6.4 billion Arm-based chips, the third record quarter for unit shipments in the past two years.

Arm saw growing demand for embedded intelligence in endpoint devices as demonstrated by the record 4.2 billion Cortex-M processors shipped across the planet.

To date, Arm partners have shipped more than 160 billion Arm-based chips, and an average of more than 22 billion over the past three years.

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Publié dans #UK

#UK Xaar’s 30th birthday: Now, where to stick the candles!


Management at Cambridge inkjet innovator Xaar plc say they have sent champagne to all the team to mark the company’s 30th anniversary. But the harsh truth is that for shareholders the bubbly went flat years ago.

Xaar would be well advised not to ask stockholders where to stick the candles destined for the birthday cake.

At the time of writing, at close of the UK market on Monday night, the share price stood at 57.80p and the market cap was £45.23 million, hardly a bottom feeder taking in the broader scheme of things.

Then you look at the 52-week profile and see a high of 99p and a low of 18.70p. Then you review September 2019 and see that the stock nosedived 40 per cent after a poor set of results, news of a painful restructuring and notification that CEO Doug Edward was one of several executives standing down.

Oh – and there were likely to be as yet unspecified job losses from a related decision to review the Printhead business. First half revenue was down £12.8m to £22.5m year-on-year and the underlying loss was £7.6m.

We had reported at the end of June 2018 that Xaar had made an unspecified number of job cuts as part of a cost-slashing exercise in a bid to meet profit targets. 

That followed a fall in revenues in the Cambridge Science Park company’s ceramics business and poor visibility regarding a diversification strategy. Back in October 2014, Xaar cut a fifth of the workforce – around 160 jobs – after problems in China.

So the only way is up – right? Not necessarily. On April 23 this year – a calendar month after the coronavirus lockdown – Xaar reported a revenue fall and much-widened loss for 2019, but added it was yet to see a fall in customer demand due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Revenue was 18 per cent lower in 2019 at £49.4m from £60.5m. Xaar’s pretax loss ballooned to £71.9 million from £15.1 million. The company decided against paying a dividend.

The naked truth is that at the last count, the stock had declined 89 per cent in three years. Pass the champagne flute – and keep on passing it down the line! A more sobering brew would appear to be required.

Business Weekly has championed Xaar since it was founded in the same year as ourselves – 1990 – by a team of four including Mike Willis and Mark Shepherd. 

The vision was to commercialise the work done at Cambridge Consultants by Steve Temple and David Paton, the inventors of Xaar’s piezoelectric Drop-on-Demand technology; both of whom also joined the company shortly after Xaar began life. 

The company signed its first commercial agreement in 1991 with Brother Industries who licensed the technology to develop home office printers and fax machines. 

By 1992 Xaar had reached a significant milestone, surpassing £1m in sales achieved from license fees, the sale of evaluation kits and technical consultancy. 

In 2013 after a fabulous previous 12 months in terms of generating cash and cracking global markets the company was named this newspaper’s Business of the Year. Its ability to innovate in the inkjet world is not and never has been in question. 

The company continues to have world-class technology at its fingertips. The fact is that it has been too accident prone – too often.

Xaar has spent the lockdown hunkering down and says it is well placed to execute a bounceback. Time will tell.

Recent innovations have included High Laydown Technology, which enables deposition of large quantities of fluid at high line speeds, and Ultra High Viscosity, which allows fluids with significantly higher viscosities – up to 100 centipoise at typical operating temperatures of around 40˚C to 50˚C – to be jetted. 

Such developments have increased the flexibility of the Xaar ceramics portfolio and opened growth in new cutting-edge sectors such as 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.  

John Mills, CEO of Xaar said: “30 years is a significant milestone for any business and we were all extremely keen to mark the occasion and celebrate our accomplishments as a team – despite many of us still working in separate locations. 

“It has been a real joy reviewing the many achievements from over the last 30 years and through this, acknowledging the unique heritage we have in the development and use of inkjet technology worldwide.

“We are proud to be a leader in inkjet technologies and very much look forward to achieving our next significant milestones.”

As someone who has championed Xaar for the best part of three decades, no-one would be more thrilled than I if the company emerges from the current pandemic as a stronger and more sustainable business. But shareholders are expecting action rather than words from here on in: now sustained success really would be the icing on the cake.

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Publié dans #UK

#UK GeoSpock to unveil seminal funding round to fuel global expansion


GeoSpock, the Cambridge extreme data technology pioneer, is set to wrap up a megabucks and transformational investment round within weeks to underpin further international expansion.

We expect GeoSpock to close the new round towards the end of July or early August at the latest. I understand that the company has new lead strategic investors and that existing backers will all continue to support the business as it scales to fresh heights globally.

The new finance has been obtained despite the handicap imposed on negotiations by the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m told GeoSpock has some exciting strategic investors lined up that are well positioned to ensure the company represents the de facto database powering telco IoT and Smart City deployments globally. 

I’m further assured that the company has some major lines of business ‘cooking’ in Asia where appetite for GeoSpock’s technology continues to grow.

As Business Weekly reported in June 2019, GeoSpock leveraged growing demand in Asia by opening operations in Tokyo and Singapore. It plans to hire 30 staff in Asia by June 2021. The company raised a fresh £10m in January 2019; Japanese investors Global Brain and 31Ventures along with data tech company KDDI Supership chipped into the round which took the total raised by GeoSpock to date to £19.5m – just under $25m – and was designed to fast-track transformational GeoSpock engagement with the massive Asian markets of Japan and Singapore.

There is no gain without some pain and GeoSpock made an unspecified number of redundancies in February with a further headcount review in progress.

However, anonymous emails from disgruntled ex-employees sent to Business Weekly claiming that half the workforce have been laid off have been described as way off the mark by inside sources.

The lay-offs are said to be more to do with the company pivoting key elements of its technology offering away from visualisation and back towards a deep-tech core-database focus.

One reliable source told me: “Being able to articulate, sell and build mission-critical digital infrastructure for running future data and IoT platforms for nations, global telcos and automotives requires very deep technical training and is unfortunately not a journey for everyone. 

“Our recent benchmarks put us firmly ahead of Google and Amazon database offerings so we’re now in the process of hardening the product to be suitable for large enterprises – which will require quite a bit of extra work, but the potential payoff is huge.”

• Photo by fabio on Unsplash

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Publié dans #UK

#UK Pfizer leads $15m raise and expands alliance with Mission Therapeutics


Cambridge drug discovery business Mission Therapeutics has raised $15 million in equity investment in a round led by existing backer Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wall Street-quoted Pfizer Inc.

Perhaps more importantly looking to the long term, the companies have also expanded their relationship. 

Mission focuses on selectively inhibiting deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) and the partners have extended the alliance to include an evaluation and option agreement for DUB target validation.

Pfizer Ventures has been an investor in Mission Therapeutics since 2013. Today it has invested a super pro rata amount. 

All other existing investors within Mission joined the round on a pro rata basis. No further financial details have been disclosed.

The new capital will support development of Mission’s world-leading DUB platform, as well as growth of its pipeline of DUB inhibitor programmes.

DUBs have attracted significant interest as potential drug targets. Playing an integral role in protein homeostasis, this large family of enzymes is involved in diverse cellular processes and many disease pathologies.

Under the terms of the evaluation and option agreement, Pfizer will access specific DUB inhibitors from Mission’s platform and test these compounds in phenotypic screens to validate promising drug targets. Pfizer will then have the option to negotiate target exclusivity for each of the DUBs of interest. The agreement does not include any of Mission’s own lead DUB programs, such as USP30.

Dr Denis Patrick, managing partner of Pfizer Ventures and a member of Mission’s board said: “Since our initial investment in Mission seven years ago, the company has grown tremendously and the depth of its scientific expertise and capability has grown alongside it. 

“We are proud to expand our relationship with the company and our scientists are looking forward to a successful collaboration in this important area of research.”

Dr Anker Lundemose, CEO of Mission Therapeutics added: “We are pleased to expand our relationship with Pfizer, one of the world’s premier biopharmaceutical companies. 

“We have benefitted from the valuable contributions of Dr Patrick as a member of our board and look forward to working with the wider Pfizer team.”

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Publié dans #UK

#Asia #Japan Your Japanese textbooks are lying to you


They probably mean well. They are telling you something that is easy to understand and that seems like it’s true at first, but it’s still a lie.

I received an overwhelming response to my recent episode on success via public humiliation, and more than a few people tried to set me straight about how Japanese keigo is supposed to be used, so today I’m going to return the favor.

Don’t worry, this is not a Japanese lesson, at least not in the pedantic sense, but it might clear up a few of the lies you’ve been told, and perhaps even repeated about how honorifics are used in Japan and in Japanese business in particular.

Please leave a comment because I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Show Notes

Feedback on Failure
How you are being lied to
Why keigo is not about social status or individual respect
How to insult by being polite
Actually showing respect

Leave a comment
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs.

I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

While the coronavirus lockdown continues to disrupt Disrupting Japan’s production schedule, whatever stage of lockdown or reopening you might be in right now, I hope you’re doing well.

Today I’m going to point out something that every Japanese language textbook I have ever seen gets completely wrong.

Feedback on Failure
But before that, I want to thank you for all the emails and messages you sent in response to last month’s episode on how public humiliation has been my secret to success in Japan. It was a hard one to make, but it seems like it really resonated with a lot of listeners, and the feedback was really overwhelming. So, thank you for that.

There was also, however, some comments about my difficulties speaking keigo and my description of it as a “mind-boggling complex protocol of honorific and humble forms whose use depends on a non-linear, three-dimensional matrix of formality, in-group out-group status, and the role you are playing in that particular interaction.“

OK. I admit I was a bit overdramatic there, but quite a few people emailed to tell me that keigo was actually quite logical and very straightforward as long as you keep in mind a few simple rules. It is something, they asserted, that can be mastered in a few years of serious study.

OK. Yeah, maybe. But it’s interesting to note that all the emails telling me how easy keigo is, came from non-Japanese. Among the emails I got from my Japanese fans, only two mentioned my keigo comments at all, and they both sympathized, saying that they also make mistakes sometimes. In fact, one of them even mentioned that she can’t understand why anyone thinks rakugo is funny either. So hey, maybe it’s my sense of humor, and not my language ability that’s the problem here.

But to those non-native speakers claiming keigo is simple and straightforward. Well OK, perhaps you have a gift for it. Perhaps its really clicked for you. You almost certainly have a better command of it that I do, but maybe you should consider, that just perhaps, you don’t understand it as well as you think you do.

How you are being lied to
In fact, I will go further than that.

Every Japanese language textbook I have ever seen completely misrepresents both what keigo is and how it is used. It’s almost always defined as a “means fo showing respect to individuals with higher social status”.

And that’s just wrong!

It is not about showing respect to individuals and it has nothing to do with social status. Sure, that definition might be useful for people with short attention spans or who know little about Japanese society. But fortunately, Disrupting Japan listeners have proven themselves as having long attention spans and they know a thing or two about Japanese society.

So let’s dig into this. If you are a non-native speaker, by the end of this short episode, I promise you’ll have a new way of looking at keigo.


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Canada becomes next silicon Valley, billion-dollar companies seek for friendly space – Lessons for African countries

After the global pandemic, the world will not be the same. The global economy is going to change and billion-dollar companies are ready to change everything. US, UK, and EU companies are ready to take manufacturing from China to other countries. Donald Trump asks local companies to focus on different states, but many giant companies in the tech industry are willing to close offices in China and establish their business in Canada or African countries. Nigeria has to be ready for global market changes and the government should send offers to China-based tech companies for establishment. Canada’s government already took the action and has offered many tech-giants to have a safe place in Toronto and Montreal. Nigeria’s government should replicate the successful blueprint from Canada. 

Canada is becoming one of the most attractive places for billion-dollar tech companies and start-ups. In recent years, it has attracted many of the most successful technology companies in the world. One is Deep Genomics, a genetics medicine company that makes use of artificial intelligence to find a cure for rare genetic diseases. When they first thought of the idea, Canada was not ready for their developments, but after a few years, they welcomed the idea of setting up a lab in Toronto.

Canada is preparing for ‘best chance’ from 2017

Justin Trudeau became the leader of the country in 2016. As soon as he became the prime minister, the government decided to start focusing on technologies, 5G, and the crypto revolution. Justin Trudeau decided to focus on the digital economy as he believes that the digital industry would run the world’s economy in the next decade. All the companies are welcome in Canada with a very liberal law and tech-ready guidelines. Canada’s government has created a tech roadmap for Canadian companies. Trudeau’s team is implementing a roadmap in every 3-5 years. With the help of a digital roadmap, many online industries transformed and increased the revenue, therefore, the contribution to the economy. iGaming space was first to get many benefits from the digital roadmap. After the start of the first cycle, online casino companies increased their reputation due to the government’s decisions. First of all, Trudeau’s team allowed online casinos to offer international players games of different-genre. International gamers can play the best online slots and roulette on the same website. It’s a big advantage for gamers who love managing online games in one spot. The Bitcoin revolution was another decision that helped iGaming space to flourish and grow exponentially. Online casinos have contributed up to 20 billion CA dollars in 2019 and it happened because of the government’s liberal decisions. The Crypto revolution was a big benefit not only for iGaming but also for tech and shopping companies based in Canada. The Bitcoin revolution has been the biggest benefit for Shopify and other online shopping companies. Experts believe that Shopify will be the main competitor of Amazon and eBay in a few years. Due to the liberal legal framework, Canada offers safe places to business giants. 

The lever is the first successful example of Canada’s strategy to obtain US-EU companies

Lever, a software company that uses analytics to match clients with potential hires, became attracted to Toronto. They brought their business to Toronto to service clients that were on the East Coast of the USA. Why Toronto?

Lever wanted to be near Toronto’s newly acclaimed technology sector. CBRE Group, a US-based real estate, and investment firm confirmed in its Tech Talent Report that Toronto had become North America’s very own Silicon Valley. But one of the characteristics that genuinely attracted Lever to Canada is its diversity and inclusion. They could hire from the budding talents locally that were guided by the technological universities Canada is known. Canada has also opened its immigration to powerhouse talents and welcomes them to the country, and businesses can hire as well from other countries.

However, what’s genuinely making Canada so attractive to investors and tech companies is their bold move to provide principles guidelines on how everyone should utilize and share digital information. These are principles that businesses, governments, and citizens must follow. Canada’s Digital Charter promotes trust, safety and security, and fairness between companies and citizens, and the government.

The Charter also highlights a precious piece of agreement that the Government of Canada will encourage businesses in all sectors to embrace technology to help them compete and progress in today’s digital world. Apart from this, the promise of transparency allowed Canadians to warm up to the Tech Industry. These principles would create a symbiotic relationship between government, people, and businesses. However, this would only be effective if this is a legal document.

This Charter, although not legal, has given Canadian a sense of peace that they are protected and that their information would not be shared. The challenge now is on businesses on how they will respect this Charter and follow it. Companies are known to be notorious and demanding to have access to personal information of their users.

Still, with this charter model, businesses are being challenged to be creative and more innovative on how they can improve their services without compromising trust. When Canada’s Digital Charter becomes legal, many businesses will be affected if they violate any of the principles. When a company complies, perhaps an incentive will be provided. However, when found to have violated, financial consequences may also take effect.

The Canadian government knows what to do and how to do it. However, their lack of a healthy muscle to implement the Digital Charter and make it into a legal document can be worrisome. With or without the Digital Charter, Canada would still be attracting more business start-ups and tech companies, because of its value placed on inclusivity and diversity.

#UK Huawei commits £1bn to first phase of Cambridge optoelectronics nervecentre


Huawei has won planning consent for the first phase of a new optoelectronics R & D and manufacturing centre in Cambridge.

It will invest £1 billion in the first phase of the project which includes construction of 50,000 square meters of facilities across nine acres of land and will directly create around 400 local jobs.

Once fully operational, it will become the international headquarters of Huawei’s optoelectronics business. The investment is a major boost for the continued growth of Cambridge as a world-leading technology hub.

The first phase of the project will focus on the research, development, and manufacturing of optical devices and modules – an integrated model that promises to bring innovation faster to market. 

Optoelectronics is a key technology used in fibre optic communication systems and this investment aims to bring the best of such technology to data centres and network infrastructure around the world.

Victor Zhang, Vice-President of Huawei, said: “The UK is home to a vibrant and open market, as well as some of the best talent the world has to offer. 

“It’s the perfect location for this integrated innovation campus. Through close collaboration with research institutes, universities, and local industry, we want to advance optical communications technology for the industry as a whole, while doing our part to support the UK’s broader industrial strategy. Ultimately, we want to help enshrine the UK’s leading position in optoelectronics and promote UK technology on a global scale.”

Today’s approval follows over three years of work and planning. Huawei began the search for the ideal location back in 2017 and completed the acquisition of the 500-acre South Cambridgeshire site in 2018.

The company began its planning application process in early 2019. The site is located at the former Spicers paper mill and production facility located to the west of Sawston. The site includes over 50 acres of brownfield land.

Huawei employs 1,600 people in the UK and this year marks the company’s 20th year of operating in this market. Huawei supplies telecoms network equipment to all the major mobile and broadband service providers in the UK, as well as offering a range of world leading smartphones to UK consumers.

This is a remarkable coup for Cambridge considering that the UK government is considering reneging on a promise to let Huawei have a slice of the 5G implementation.

The Government OK’d Huawei’s involvement in creating the new 5G infrastructure despite opposition from the White House. Now it is threatening to renege on the undertaking after a revolt in its own ranks and renewed pressure from America.

The US fears Huawei links to the Chinese government could lead to security breaches – an accusation the company has consistently and vehemently denied.

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Publié dans #UK

#UK Commercial Leases: Gearing up as we emerge from the pandemic


I began writing this as we approached the June quarter day when the concerns of both commercial landlords and tenants were brought into sharp relief following the tough – or non-existent – trading circumstances this past quarter, writes Elizabeth Deyong, Property Partner at law firm Barr Ellison.

Many tenants will inevitably have much depleted cash reserves at their disposal and landlords – who may have allowed a rent postponement or waiver on the March quarter’s rent – will likely have understandable concerns about what the June quarter date (June 24) was likely to bring.

As we look to the future, tenants and their landlords will be having conversations about the benefits to each party of varying existing lease provisions.

Tenants will be looking for additional flexibility to futureproof their businesses.Landlords will be seeking a variation of lease terms which can add value and provide additional collateral for Lenders.

In the situation of a defaulting tenant, there are a number of remedies at a landlord’s disposal to take action against a defaulting Tenant – albeit that some of these have been amended by the Coronavirus Act 2020.

There will undoubtedly be circumstances where the landlord should take a tough line in order to bring to a close a relationship with a tenant that may have been going south prior to the pandemic.

However, for landlords who have the opportunity to think strategically about their individual investments or across their portfolio, then re-gearing existing leases will be an opportunity to improve relations with their tenants whose own businesses will have been suffering, and to futureproof investments going forward.

Extending lease term as a quid pro quo
For example agreeing a short suspension of rent to a tenant that is generally trading well and that is likely to bounce back once the economy is on an upward trajectory, could be agreed in exchange for an extension of the term for an additional three or five or even 10 years to the benefit of both parties to the lease.

Variation to rent payment terms
A landlord could consider varying payment terms to allow rent to be paid monthly. This is an obvious aid to the tenant’s cash flow.

Extending length of the term
Extending the length of the lease term can benefit landlords as it increases the capital value of their properties It can also be beneficial to the tenant who may have goodwill inherent in the property and require longer term security.

An extension of the term can be dealt with by way of a reversionary lease which will be based on the terms of the existing lease but may include more favourable terms or added incentives to entice the Tenant to stay longer.

Assignment and underletting
Regearing a lease presents an opportunity to look at all the existing covenants and how they might be amended to the advantage of both parties.

For example, a variation could be permitted to allow the tenant to underlet at a reduced rent, although the risk to the landlord would be that if the head lease came to an end the undertenant would be in place at that lower rent.  It is a matter of balancing the respective interests of the parties.

Similarly, a tenant who is only permitted to underlet the whole of the premises may be permitted to underlet part to allow greater flexibility for its use of the premises.

Time of crisis bringing landlords and tenants together
Times of crisis inevitably bring landlords and tenants closer together to understand their respective challenges better in a way that does not happen when the economy is running smoothly.

If landlords want to keep their premises occupied then they are going to need to have a dialogue with their tenants as to what lease provisions are no longer working and how leases may be regeared to the mutual benefit of both parties.

If you are considering lease variations, please contact the Barr Ellison Commercial Property team to talk through your proposals and how these can best be captured within a binding Variation Document that is SDLT efficient.

• For more information please contact Elizabeth Deyong – email: e.deyong [at] barrellison.co.uk

from Business Weekly https://ift.tt/3hZdYiQ

Publié dans #UK