News in brief

Lack of lift

Almost 200 jobs were lost this week as US lift company Otis Elevator closed its Kirkby, Merseyside factory blaming lack of orders for custom-made lifts in the Middle and Far East. Otis has already closed two other factories.

Money talks

A prototype talking cash machine developed by NCR of Dundee was unveiled this week. Nicknamed Stella, it recognises people by the patterns in their irises, and greets them by name. The first talking machines are expected to appear on the streets within three years.

Competition gurus

Seven out of 19 members of the Government’s new Competitiveness Council advisory body have a manufacturing background. They include GKN chief executive CK Chow, British Aerospace chairman Sir Richard Evans and Warwick Manufacturing Group director Kumar Bhattacharyya.

Shotton CHP deal

Alstom has won a Ee130m (£85m) contract to design and build a 215MW gas-fired combined heat and power station at Shotton Paper Company’s Deeside mill in Flintshire, North Wales. The plant will supply steam and electricity to the mill and is scheduled for completion in mid-2001.

BOC bitten twice

UK industrial gases company BOC has described a £2bn second joint takeover bid from Air Liquide of France and Air Products of the US as `not satisfactory’. But the latest bid, disclosed this week, will be explored further by the company’s board, in contrast to its flat rejection of June’s £6-7bn approach.

Output up

Manufacturing output rose for the third successive month in May, according to official figures released this week. Output was 0.2% higher than in June, but 1% down on the previous year.

Copyright: Centaur Communications Limited