News in brief

Siemens’ float plan

German group Siemens plans to float its semi-conductor business by late next year. Divisional chief Ulrich Schumacher has also ruled out further plant closures. The company is still in talks with a small group of potential buyers for its microchip plant in the north east of England.

Tooling up

Machine tool manufacturer The 600 Group recorded pre-tax profits of £3.89m for the six months to 30 September a 3% rise. Its UK-based machine tool division performed strongly, said the company.

Flexible investment

Flextronic has invested £1.7m in a photo-imageable, high-volume flexible circuit reel-to-reel manufacturing facility to automate and boost production.

Lift BS standards

A new British Standard on safety rules relating to passenger and goods lifts has been published by the British Standards Institution. Call BSI on 0181-996 9001 for details.

Rail moves backed

The proposed Strategic Rail Authority will encourage business to move more goods by rail, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott told the House of Commons this week. The SRA would look at developing a multi-modal approach, involving rail and roads, to cut the amount of goods travelling exclusively by road, he said.

Enterprising bid

Warwick University may bid to become an Institute of Enterprise, along the lines presented in the Government’s pre-Budget statement this month. Such institutes are designed to strengthen links between industry and academia.

Showroom plotted

CAD plotter supplier RES of Wokingham has invested £350,000 in a 2,500sq ft showroom to allow design engineers to try out different computer peripherals on their own work files.