The Journal Annual North East Business Review 2014: April

We look back at the North East business news from April 2014

Nigel Smith of Ringtons Tea
Nigel Smith of Ringtons Tea

After news that Siemens was to establish a wind turbine factory in Hull, the company confirmed the North East would also benefit from another significant jobs boost.

As the firm’s service renewables business continues to grow, around 300 jobs were set to be created in Newcastle during the current financial year, bringing the total number of employees in that strand of the business to 1,000

A heady year at family tea brand Ringtons saw the Newcastle-based business break its own records, to post sales of £47.3m, following 12 months driven by investment and building upon customer relationships.

The North East tea and coffee company has revealed annual accounts which show operating profits have increased by 26% to £4m on turnover of £47.3m for the year ended June 2013.

The record-breaking figures – the highest since the firm began over a century ago – have been achieved through continuing to focus on delivering high-quality products in its door-to-door-service, and through investing in the company’s facilities.

Dianne Sharp
Dianne Sharp

Also this month, a new regional director was announced for the CBI North East – former managing director of SCM Pharma Dianne Sharp.

And Dianne told us she was determined to give North East businesses a voice, to help them make a difference. She said: “I’m just not one for sitting on the sidelines.”

Engineering business The Reece Group bolstered its portfolio of companies with the launch of a new research and development division.

A holding company for a number of innovative North East engineering firms, The Reece Group incorporates the likes of Pearson Engineering in Walker, Responsive Engineering in Gateshead and Velocity UK in Sunderland, which operate in the defence, subsea, construction, and oil and gas markets.

Reece Innovation was launched to innovate and develop new products, led by Dr James Martin, a highly-respected industry figure who will spearhead the development and growth of the company.

Group chairman John Reece said: “Reece Group is continually evolving to meet market demands and create new markets through the innovation of new products.”

Simon Dewhurst Photography Kevin Brennan, Chief Executive of Quorn Foods, is pictured at the company's premises in Stokesley
Kevin Brennan, Chief Executive of Quorn Foods, is pictured at the company's premises in Stokesley

BIG expansion plans were launched at vegetarian product producer Quorn Foods, which announced a £30m investment programme at its Teesside site, creating 400 new jobs across the business.

The company is building a third fermenter at its Billingham site to keep up with growing global demand for its meat-free products, an extension which boost production at the site by 50%.

The Journal was also first with news of how local enterprise partnerships for the North East and Teesside had joined forces in efforts to create a “Jeremie 2” investment programme, potentially ploughing a further £160m into the region’s businesses.

Tees Valley Unlimited and the North East LEP had already held initial meetings at North East Finance in Newcastle, designed to create a programme board who would manage the fund. Since April, the fund has unveiled Estelle Blanks as its full-time deputy project director.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer