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Acquisition couldn’t help square Circle

Oh, how the might have fallen. Again. The abrupt bankruptcy of Helio Charleroi at the end of January. The ‘fire sale’ of CPI Group. Further sell-offs, further closures. And now, the end.

More power to the comeback kids

Here in the UK we’ve got a proud history of sporting comebacks: Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan, England against Australia in the 1981 Headingley Ashes Test or Red Rum in the 1973 Grand National to name but three.

Osborne backs business but faltering growth needs action

While the coalition's efforts to tackle the tricky subject of welfare reform have been filling column inches ever since last month's Budget, the lack of significant debate on the more important task of helping business and getting the economy moving again is indicative of the fact that the chancellor probably did just enough in this department to avoid opprobrium.

It is time to shout about the steps the industry has taken

With recent research finding that only 7% of respondents felt print was conveying its sustainable message to buyers, it's clear the sector is failing to address the perception that print is not as sustainable as other methods of marketing and communications.

Confused energy strategy is hobbling UK manufacturing

The recently published BIS report on future electricity costs for energy intensive industries (EIIs) only reinforces the view that many have held for some time - that current costs are higher here than in many of our global competitor nations and that this gap will only grow due to the implementation of a range of climate change measures here in the UK between 2013 and 2020.

Greek lesson to be learned from Pindar pre-pack sale

Pindar's sale brought to mind the financial crisis in the Eurozone, which has led to another bailout for the heavily indebted Greek government. This has rightly been termed a 'selective default' by ratings agencies, resulting in further downgrades for Greece's already junk-level bonds.

Innovation, not rock-bottom pricing, key to print success

While debating the finer points of the differing UK and German attitudes to manufacturing last weekend, one point of universal agreement was that innovation is always the most important factor in determining the success of a business - regardless of any tax breaks or other support offered by the state.

Lending and investment will return to changed landscape

To my mind, the three key UK factors that have hampered growth since the recession are lack of funding, end of the housing bubble and the stodgy state of the public sector. Other elements have come into play, such as rises in commodity prices as emerging markets absorbed raw materials, and the inflationary environment has been compounded by the quantitative easing and collapse in sterling in the recession, although this has been good news for exporters, providing there is enough added value in their UK production/cost base.

Many schemes available to help print plan for changes

The government is introducing far-reaching changes to the pension landscape which will impact on every UK employer and have cost implications for most. In a nutshell, every employer with one employee upwards will be required by law to automatically enrol all employees of 22 years old and over, earning at least 7,475 gross a year into a suitable qualifying pension scheme, and also pay in employer contributions. This starts in 2012 and will impact on the print industry in stages, finishing in 2016.

State banks appeal to SMEs, but there are better options

The economist Adam Posen is a man that few printers will have heard of before this week. Known primarily for being the arch-dove on the Bank of England's nine member Monetary Policy Committee, Posen has long been advocating (loudly and in isolation) a further bout of quantitative easing.

The packaging proposals are dangerous and unprecedented

In addition to being heavy handed and without giving due consideration to previous regulation introduced into the sector, this legislation would give the UK a reputation as a bad place to do business, making it harder to attract investment. The proposal is also an open invitation to black market trade.

Vocal opposition likely to scupper most of Beecroft's ideas

The report on employment law produced by venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft for the government last week has polarised opinion and, due to the ensuing furore, its proposals are unlikely to be adopted wholesale any time soon. However, the government may attempt to implement some of the proposals independently, with many people suggesting that 'compensated no-fault dismissal' is a likely option.

Buy presses now, or wait for the next generation?

What is more important: the future or the present? At Drupa 2012, the answer depends on who you're talking to and where they are in their product development cycle. Digital manufacturers like Xeikon and Landa, who are several years away from commercial availability with their Trillium and Nanographic presses respectively, talk about the future of print - the inference being "don't buy now what you'll regret later".

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