NEWS IN BRIEF

Euro gloom

European manufacturers are gloomy about business prospects, the Union of Industrial Employers’ Confederations of Europe (Unice) has said. Most euro zone firms feel reform of the labour market and tax systems are more important than interest rate cuts. Prospects will improve in the second half of the year, Unice says.

World class

Bourne Tools of Walsall, a mould maker for plastics parts, has become the first UK toolmaker to be awarded world-class status from trade body the Gauge and Toolmakers Association.

Frigate launch

HMS Portland, the 15th of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 Frigates, was launched this week at Marconi Marine’s Yarrow Shipyard in Glasgow. The final Type 23, HMS St Albans, will be launched at Yarrow next May.

Welsh freight link

Construction of east Cardiff’s £15m Wentloog European rail freight terminal will start on 14 June. It is intended to spark further inward investment into Wales and help Welsh companies expand and export into Europe

Weapon contract

Strachan & Henshaw, part of Weir group, has won a £60m order to design and make a weapon handling and launching system for the Royal Navy’s Astute Class submarine. The contract will provide the firm with work for the next 10 years, with manufacturing of components scheduled to start in two years’ time.

Helicopter lift

UK helicopter builder GKN-Westland stands to benefit from a £900m joint-procurement programme to be signed next month between Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden to buy 90 military helicopters.