THE loss of three major contracts in a matter of days spelled the end for the North East’s biggest call centre, as Garlands called in the administrators.
Garlands was set up two decades ago by Chey Garland, and employed more than 3,000 people at one stage, but more than 1,100 people in South Shields, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool lost their jobs after companies such as Vodafone and TalkTalk walked away.
Chey Garland said she was “absolutely shattered” by the turn of events.
LONGBENTON Foods was boosted by a £1.4m grant to allow it to start making Crispy Pancakes again at its North Tyneside home. Almost 400 jobs were lost a year ago when a fire spread through the production halls of the plant, but One North East supplied a grant to allow it to relaunch production. North Tyneside Council also provided a short-term loan and business rate relief to facilitate the move, which will provide nearly 150 jobs.
NEWCASTLE-BASED firm NVM Private Equity’s investment in Manchester-based company DxS was awarded Deal of the Year at the annual Private Equity Awards. NVM reaped £23m from its £3m investment in the companion diagnostics company, which was sold to German firm Qiagen last year. It said it may make another £17m inside three years for its most profitable deal ever.
NEWCASTLE Building Society announced plans to cut 126 jobs and shut branches in York, Crook, Yarm and Newcastle’s West Road in the second phase of its re-organisation. NBS’s first act in April was to set up a safety net in which £46m in funds would be converted in loss-absorbing shares. Its second act was to reduce the number of back office and senior management positions at the firm’s head office. Chief executive Jim Willens said it was the firm’s duty to its members to be “as effective and efficient as we can possibly be”.
INDEPENDENT game developer Eutechnyx announced it was poised to expand after winning £6m investment from Amsterdam’s Prime Technology Ventures. Darren and Brian Jobling, who run the Gateshead company, said it had sold a minority stake to the Dutch firm to allow it to invest in the growing market for free-to- play games, which could spark growth in North East job numbers in the long term from 85 to around 170. Eutechnyx later announced plans for its upcoming free-to-play Auto Club Revolution game, and a deal which saw it take on Nascar’s racing game licence from EA.