News in brief

Employment costs

Top business executives have criticised the Government for lack of consultation over new employment laws and for failing to take into account their impact on business. Executives on Assignment, a temporary management firm, said 220 chief executives canvassed felt the new laws would mean more red tape and higher costs.

On the bright side

A council tower block in West Bromwich has been fitted with solar cells in a bid to provide enough electricity to power lifts, communal lighting and ventilation. Tenants in the nine-storey block are in temporary homes while Bowater House gets a £2m face lift, including photovoltaic cell cladding down one side.

Viyella power deal

Eastern Group has signed a contract worth £11.7m to supply electricity to Coats Viyella’s 273 UK sites for the next year. The deal extends the existing power-supply agreement to cover the fabrics and precision engineering group’s 206 sites with a requirement of under 100kW.

DuPont buys Herberts

DuPont has bought coatings company Herberts from Hoechst for $1.9bn (£1.19bn). The company plans to merge Herberts with its own coatings business and name it DuPont Performance Coatings.

Alstom in Finland

Alstom has won a £17m turnkey contract from Enso Publication Papers in Finland for a natural gas fired 70MW gas turbine generator set.

Data problem

Companies in the UK are more vulnerable to data loss than those in Europe. Some 14% of UK companies have suffered significant data loss in the past two years, according to a survey by computer giant Hewlett-Packard, and 36% have lost data two or more times.