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Grouch 19/08/2010

Etihad to land somewhere, clever money at MIDAS, condom release, big planes and stadium shenanigans

Published on August 19th 2010.


Grouch 19/08/2010

City fighting with itself over Etihad requirement
Two of the law firms that picked over the bones of collapsed law firm Halliwells signed up for new offices this week.

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, the insurance law specialist that took Halliwells' Manchester practice, has taken 31,000 sq ft at Chancery Place, while HBJ Gateley Wareing signed up for 31,000 sq ft at Ship Canal House on King Street.

Nice chunky deals for the agents’ end of year take-up figures but the real issue is the 180,000 sq ft or so that will be coming back onto the market in 3 Hardman Square thanks to Halliwells’ demise.

Will it shift? There are a few requirements that may make a dent in it – KPMG, Pannone and PriceWaterhouseCoopers are all on the lookout for new offices - but the one the city really wants is Etihad.

The airline business is looking for 150,000 sq ft in Manchester but a private row is developing over whether it should be based in the city or near to the airport. Over in East Manchester, some may feel there is case for the firm to be based near Sportcity and the area’s Middle Eastern revolution.

Wherever the airline ends up, it’s good news for the city and should mean a jobs boost – so let’s not fall out over it eh?

Quango spends wisely shocker
Credit where it’s due. Midas, the inward investment agency juggling the Etihad requirement, surprised The Grouch this week.

We’d lodged a Freedom of Information request asking for the total expenditure on foreign travel (air, rail and bus fares), hotel booking costs, the bill for client entertaining and a list of countries visited in 2009.

The information that came back detailed nine countries – France, USA, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, China, Japan and India.

Total expenditure was as follows: air and train fare, £30,060.72; accommodation, £14,394.70; meals and client entertaining, £10,212.67.

That’s around £60,000 in travelling expenses, or £5,000 a month. Given the average MPs expense claim, we’re moved to suggest that’s actually not too bad.

Maybe we should have asked for the costs of private speedboats, helicopters and pimped out limousines. That’s where the real big bucks are probably hidden... Or at least in the Confidential accounts.

Local clubs shun football agents
Football League clubs in Greater Manchester were among those who contributed the least to agents during last season.

The Football League published a report of how much all clubs playing in the Championship, League 1 and League 2 spent with agents on transfers.

Stockport County and Macclesfield spent nothing while Bury paid out £3,000 and Rochdale £4,000. Oldham Athletic spent £22,000 on agents fees.

Football League clubs spent a total of £12.7m on agents’ fees last season and the biggest contributor was Middlesbrough, who racked up £1.4m. And look where that got them. Eleventh.

New new new Salford Reds stadium plans revealed
Following last week’s news that the plans are about to go in for the new Salford Reds stadium in Barton, one eagle-eyed ranter spotted that the picture we used wasn’t the most up-to –date image available.

The design has only changed 492 times since it was originally drawn up so we hope you’ll forgive us, but we’ve just managed to get our hands on the latest redesign hot off the presses – click here for the latest images of the Peel Group 15,000 capacity stadium.

Durex deal to be rubber-stamped in weeks
Shareholders in SSL International, the firm that makes Durex condoms and Cilit Bang and Scholl shoes, have until September 16 to agree the terms of a £2.5bn takeover by Reckit Benckiser Group Plc.

Reckit Benckiser, which makes Cilit Bang cleaning products and Lemsip-branded cold remedies, posted the offer document to shareholders today which underlines its offer of 1163p per share in the Trafford firm.

SSL Shareholders on the register before 6 August will also receive the final dividend of 8p per SSL share for the year ended 31 March 2010, which will be paid on 2 September, and a lifetime supply for free ribbed condoms. Well, maybe not the last one.

Big Bird plans touchdown in Manchester
Manchester Airport is getting ready for the arrival of the A380 super jumbo on September 1, which touches down at 12.25pm and is already getting the spotters in a flap.

Emirates, which normally runs the A380 to London Heathrow, Paris, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, Seoul, Bangkok and Jeddah, will be using the plane for its Manchester to Dubai route and the plane will then become a regular arrival at the airport.

Andrew Cornish, Managing Director of the airport, said the arrival was “on a par with the last flight of Concorde to Manchester. This is a really significant day for aviation in the North West and we aim to celebrate it appropriately,” he said.What exactly an appropriate celebration might involve is one to watch.

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