News in brief

Bluebird flies in

Bluebird Electric, driven by Don Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell, set a new British land speed record for electric cars of 116.41mph in its latest attempt at Elvington airfield, Yorkshire.

Plant plans

Contract chemicals manufacturer Chemoxy International is investing £1m to convert plant at its manufacturing complex in Middlesborough, Teesside to a 10,000 tonnes per annum hydrogenation plant.

Proton raises stake

Proton, Malaysia’s national car manufacturer, is to raise its stake in Group Lotus, the Norfolk-based engineering consultancy and sports car maker, to 80% by buying the 16.25% personal holding of Yahaya Ahmad, Proton’s chairman who died last year in a helicopter crash.

Wipac acquired

Carclo Engineering Group has acquired automotive communications and lighting equipment manufacturer Wipac from Wolseley. Wipac had a turnover of £16.3m in the year to July 1997 and will join Carclo’s £90m turnover technical plastics and moulded components division, CTP.

Airbus orders

Aer Lingus has ordered six Airbus A320 airliners and one wide-bodied A330-200 for around £250m. The A320s were bought in preference to Boeing 737s. Tunisia’s Nouvelair has ordered one A320 and has options on two more. An A321 forms part of an order for three A320-family aircraft for TAP Air Portugal.

Business trip

The Defence Manufacturers Association is conducting a two week visit to Australia to seek business and develop industrial links. The mission includes all sectors of the UK defence industry, including GKN Westland, Matra Marconi Space and the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.