News in Brief

Power for Port

National Power is to build and operate a £50m combined heat and power plant at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire. It will supply 58MW of electricity and 290 tonnes of steam an hour to Bridgewater Paper’s nearby mill under a 15-year contract. Kvaerner Construction has an alliance contract with National Power to commission and build the plant.

French connection 2

Weir Group has bought French pump-manufacturer Schabaver for £5m, the group’s second bolt-on acquisition in France within a month.

Irlam under threat

Packaging group Low & Bonar could close its Irlam, Manchester factory with the loss of 225 jobs unless a buyer can be found. Last week, packaging group David S Smith said it planned to close one of its plants with the loss of 400 jobs as a result of restructuring its John Dickinson Stationery subsidiary.

Pound halts Hoover

Hoover is to stop production at its Merthyr Tydfill washing machine plant in South Wales for a week, blaming the high pound and a downturn in the UK market.

Britax to buy

Car components and safety group Britax plans to spend £100m over the next two years on acquisitions. It reported a 21% rise in pre-tax profits for the first half of the year to £26.8m.

Tool sales sink

Machine tool sales in the UK continue to fall, according to government figures, adding further evidence of a downturn in manufacturing. There was an 11% drop in UK sales, offsetting a 4.2% rise in export turnover in the three months to July.

Awards announced

The winners of the Manufacturing Industry Achievement Awards will be announced in The Engineer next week.