News in brief

Mine clearance

The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency has licensed Pains Wessex to produce and market Dera’s FireAnt humanitarian mine clearance device. It works by burning out the interior of anti-personnel mines.

Cut rates pressure

Industry has repeated its call for the Bank of England to cut interest rates following a fall in the underlying rate of inflation last month from 2.8% to 2.6%, close to the Government’s target figure of 2.5%.

Mini mill on offer

An undisclosed number of offers have been made for Kent mini mill Co-Steel, according to management sources. The mill has been put up for sale by its Canadian owners, having made a £4m loss last year.

TCI bought out

AEA Technology has acquired Transport Consultants International for £12.2m. TCI was formed two years ago following a management buyout by BR Projects. In the year to June last year, TCI made an operating profit of £0.7m on turnover of £11.6m.

Pay stays steady

Pay settlements in the engineering industry remain in line with the rate of inflation, according to the EEF. It reports that figures for the three months to the end of July showed that pay deals averaged 3.5%.

Joint supply venture

British Aerospace and Sweden’s Saab have announced plans to develop joint supply chain and customer support operations. BAe recently bought a 35% stake in Saab.

Polyhedron sale

Sheffield-based power tools maker Polyhedron is to be sold to US hand tool firm American Tool for £33m. Polyhedron employs 800 people and has plants in Sheffield, Wigan, Rochester in Kent and Stevenage, Herts. Last year it recorded a pre-tax profit of £4.1m on turnover of £53.5m.