News in brief

Laval switch

Cliff Atherton, managing director of Everton’s Laval Engineering has bought the precision manufacturing company from his partners, Arthur Gallagher and John Jopson, with the support of £200,000 from the Merseyside Special Investment Fund and £160,000 from Barclays Bank.

Shefcut harmony

Shefcut Tool & Engineering, a division of Cogsdill-Nuneaton, manufacturer of precision reaming and fine boring tools, this week changed its name to Cogsdill-Shefcut as part of a move by the group towards harmonisation of its corporate image.

Training tank

Building work on the British Army’s new Combined Arms Tactical Trainer began this week in Wiltshire. The Lockheed Martin CATT simulator is designed to replicate the interior of armoured vehicles. To be ready in 2000, the building will house 80 simulator units in a £180m facility the size of two football pitches.

Debts Bill

The Late Payments of Commercial Debts (Interest) Bill has had its third reading in the House of Commons. The measure, designed to give small firms the right to statutory compensation of late payment of commercial debts now returns to the House of Lords before being made law.

Confident no longer

Confidence in the electronics industry has fallen over the last 12 months, says a new report by Schroder Ventures. Executives claiming to be happy with their company’s performance fell to 43% from 76% last year. More than 28% reported sales as decreasing which compares with 12% in 1997.