Thursday 30 December 2010

Customers don’t trust price comparison websites despite using them to search for deals.

A survey carried out by Which? Money magazine in August revealed that 77% of people had used a price comparison site in the past six months, with seven out of 10 using the site for comparing car insurance quotes.

Out of the 1,703 people questioned, the survey revealed that half of the people who used the sites for comparisons went back and bought the product from the provider directly, instead of through the comparison website with only 21% of people trusting the sites to find the best deal.

The survey showed overall customer satisfaction was very low with ratings ranging from 47% to as low as 38% - a disappointing number.

Chief executive of Which?, Peter Vicary-Smith said comparison websites needed to do more. He added: “Comparison websites are part and parcel of renewing insurance or finding new financial products so they really need to do a better job at keeping their customers happy.”

National Express awarded c2c extension.

Following threats from former transport secretary Lord Adonis to terminate National Express from operating, the group has now won a two-year extension to its c2c franchise.

The c2c commuter line, which runs between Essex and Fenchurch Street in the City of London, has been granted an extension to May 2013. The contract was previously due to expire in May 2011.

The line which sees approximately 30 million passengers every year will prove very important during the 2012 Olympic Games as it will provide the London, Tilbury and Southend services until 2013.

National Express won the two-year extension after achieving record-breaking punctuality across the c2c franchise. Chief executive, Dean Finch said: “It is testament to our highly professional team who have made the c2c one of the best performing train operators in Britain.

“We are resolute in our commitment to customer service and are determined to continue delivering the highest standards of train service performance.”

Paddy Power to buy remaining Sportsbet shares.

Paddy Power invested in 51per cent of Sportsbet in 2009, and boosted their stake to 61% last February. The Irish bookmaker will now pay £86.2m for the remaining 39.2per cent shares in Sportsbet.

Chief executive, Patrick Kennedy said the acquisition would mean an easy platform for further expansion in Australia. He said: “It gives us the ability to develop further in Australia. For as long as we owned 61 per cent of the business it wasn’t easy to make further acquisitions because you had minority shareholders so I think it positions us to do other things.”

It is expected that the deal will be completed by the end of February 2011. Patrick Kennedy added: “This is a good deal to acquire the remaining shares early, which will allow us to drive development and investment and secure full participation in the upside of the business.”

Monday 20 December 2010

REC says the UK is facing a skills shortage

A survey carried out by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) revealed the jobs market grew at its fastest rate for three months in November. Recent months saw the UK job market remain at a loss, however the latest report from the REC revealed a rise in both temporary and permanent job placements.

But the REC warned this boost in jobs also showed a skills shortage across many areas. REC chief executive, Kevin Green said: “As the jobs market grows, skills and talent shortages are starting to emerge. Our members have identified specific job categories that are already in short supply, including HGV drivers, engineers, IT specialists and chefs.”

Mr Green added that the changes to the immigration policy would only make things worse. He said: “We need to build pipelines into growth sectors through better support and guidance to job-seekers and a targeted skills agenda.”

With unemployment remaining low as a whole following the economic crisis, Mr Green said the report at least revealed hope among the private sector: “The jobs market remains fragile – especially in the light of the public sector squeeze – but confidence does seem to be returning among private sector employers.”

Stagecoach report high profits despite recent heavy snowfall.

The bus and rail operator reported pre-tax profits in the six months to the end of October had risen to £108.7m, an increase of £33.2m from last year.

The company saw an increase in their UK bus division with profits rising by 16.5 per cent thanks to increased passenger numbers

As the company’s revenue increased by 5 per cent to £1.1bn, chief executive Brian Souter said: “These are a strong set of results and we are encouraged by the increased demand for our services in the UK and North America.”

The company’s US business, also had a boost with profits up 9.7%. Ahead of the increase in fuel prices, Mr Souter said the group would “monitor closely the rate and sustainability of economic recovery.”

He added: “The group has a strong financial position and we remain focused on robust cost control. We have made a good start to the second half of the financial year and current trading remains in line with management expectations.

“We look forward with confidence and believe the outlook is positive for our bus and rail services.”

Tesco reports strong sales as consumer confidence continues to grow.

With Christmas approaching, Tesco revealed like-for-like UK sales have risen 1.5% in the three months to 27 November.

Chief executive, Terry Leahy said of the increase: “It’s not party time, but people are recovering in confidence.”

Total sales across the group’s 5,000 stores rose by 8.8 per cent. Tesco’s Finest line also saw a boost as sales increased by more than 10 per cent compared with two years ago in the run up to Christmas.

With 30.7% of the market share, Tesco finance director Laurie McIlwee said: “The build up to Christmas is going well. We have given Finest an extra push and we are seeing consumers trading up. Non-food is also going well which is a good sign of consumers’ confidence.”

Wednesday 8 December 2010

BP to sell stake in Pan American Energy to pay for oil spill.

 Continuing its plan to rid itself of $30bn by 2011, BP has sold its 60% stake in Pan American Energy (PAE) for $7bn. In selling its shares in the Argentine oil company, BP will have raised more than $20bn since July. The oil spill crisis is estimated to cost the company $40bn in total.

BP chief executive said the sale showed BP was strong enough for the company to continue despite its large liabilities.

He said: “This agreement further demonstrates both the high quality and attractiveness of the assets throughout BP’s global portfolio and also the company’s ability to meet our significant financial commitments arising from the Gulf of Mexico tragedy.

“We now have agreements in place that should secure the majority of our divestment target. We will continue to identify further assets that may be strategically more valuable to others than to BP as we complete the programme.”

UK household spending drops for first time in 10 years.

Figures released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the impact the recession had on households across the UK. Data from the ONS annual Family Spending Report showed the average household spent £455 a week in 2009, lower than the £471 seen in 2008.

The report showed just how affected consumer confidence was in 2009 following the recession, as spending hit a 21-month low.

Interestingly, the figures revealed high earners were hit particularly hard during the economic crisis, with families in the top tenth income bracket reducing spending by nearly 12 per cent.

ONS statistician and report editor, Giles Horsfield said: “Higher expenditure on some housing related costs such as rent, electricity and gas [was] offset by lower spending on mortgages.”

Further figures from ONS revealed consumer spending in 2010 is on the rise with data leading to an increase in 7%, despite the looming VAT increase and the announcement of comprehensive public spending cuts.

BA wins 99% shareholder approval for Iberia merger.

The £4.5bn tie-up will introduce Europe’s second largest airline under the name, International Airlines Group (IAG).  Plans for the collaboration began two years ago after both airlines suffered financial difficulties during the global economic crisis.

Antonio Vazquez, Iberia’s chairman said the joining of the companies would form a “historical agreement that will create a global group to lead a future consolidation process in the airline business.”

With more than 99 per cent of the vote from BA shareholders for the merge to go ahead, BA will own 56 per cent of IAG with Iberia taking control of the remaining 44 per cent.

BA said of the merger: “We have taken a big step toward our merger with Iberia. This will create a stronger business for the long-term benefit of our customers, our shareholders and our employees.”

It is expected the merger will be completed on 21 January with shares in the new company listing in both London and Madrid on 24 January. 

The banks are right – many UK Tour Operators just aren’t worth lending to

Many UK Tour Operators are bemoaning the scarcity of bank lending to businesses but market analysts Plimsoll argue that the banks are right – many UK based operators are just not worth the risk.

High profile failures throughout 2010 have shown the danger of operating on micro profit margins and there could be more to follow. 643 of the UK's 1000 largest operators exist on profit margins of less than 1.5% - 322 of them are making a loss. Any bump in the road will be enough to see them fail because they cannot rely on cheap credit to see them through anymore.

Of course, banks have been guilty of being too harsh in turning away some perfectly healthy companies and it is essential that they play their part in getting business moving again. However, nobody should blame them for refusing credit to operators that might not be able to pay it back. Many are turning up at the bank saying “We spend almost as much as / more than we make”.

The financial sector was correctly vilified for reckless lending that lead to the economic crisis but in the case of many Tour Operators they are right. If banks are to meet government and electorate demands to lend responsibly then companies with consistently low margins just pose too big a risk.

It also seems that debt levels have little to do with the ability to secure funding. Even companies with minimal or no debt are struggling to get credit if they have thin margins. There is simply too much risk attached. We picked 212 companies who have little to no debt but have profit margins that are just too thin.

On the flipside, there is good news for 177 prudent companies that made tough decision early and focused on the bottom line instead of chasing sales over the last few years – they now have the edge in the market. Ironically, these are the companies that the banks are most willing to lend to. One or two of these solid companies should look to capitalise on this advantage and borrow money to invest in their future through a couple of smart acquisitions.

Click here for more information on Plimsoll’s latest assessment of the UK Tour Operators market.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Britons in rural areas must earn 20% more than those in urban surroundings.

A study conducted by the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) revealed country dwellers must earn around £4,600 more annually than those living in urban areas in order to sustain an acceptable standard of living.

The results have been blamed on those in remote areas needing to spend extra on fuel and transport as well as urban dwellers benefiting from cheaper and more accessible utilities.

Executive director for the CRC, Nicola Lloyd said: “Although it is now widely recognised that one in five rural households experience poverty, this is the first time we’ve also had reliable data to show the minimum cost of living in the countryside is higher than in the city.”

Figures from the study also revealed that in order to afford a minimum standard of living, someone living in a rural village would need to earn at least 50% above the minimum wage, just to make ends meet.

Ms Lloyd added: “The rural minimum income standard clearly shows that many ordinary families living in rural areas will struggle to afford the everyday essentials; for some this will make rural life unsustainable.

“The CRC’s recent work on fuel poverty and promoting greater energy efficiency offers ways for government and others to help reduce these costs.”

Train travellers angry as fares may rise nearly 13%.

 The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) revealed rail fares would go up by an average of 6.2% in the New Year. As regulated fares are expected to rise by between 5.8 and 7.8 per cent, the increase has sparked criticism from travellers.

Leader of the TSSA rail union, Gerry Doherty said: “It is simply outrageous that hard-pressed commuters are being forced to pay fare hikes when they are themselves facing pay freezes and job cuts.

“Passengers will regard that as a sick joke seeing as we have the most expensive and overcrowded railway in Europe.”

As regulated fares are tied to an annual price cap formula, they can increase every January depending on the previous year’s RPI inflation rate plus 1%.

Atoc defended the price increase and said the fee hike was important for investment in British railways, making room for improvements in customer satisfaction and punctuality.

Chief executive of Atoc, Michael Roberts said: “We know times are tough for many people but next year’s fare increase will ensure that Britain can continue investing in its railways.

“Even with these fare increases, the money passengers spend on fares covers only half the cost of running the railways – taxpayers make up the difference.”

Experts warn Irish crisis could have knock-on effect on the rest of the eurozone.

 As the Irish government unveiled their four-year plan to save 15bn euros, financial experts have voiced their fears that the problems will spread across the rest of Europe and will be detrimental to the future of the euro altogether.

While it may not mean the death of the euro as a whole, Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times said a “change in the structure and make-up of the eurozone may be necessary to ensure its survival.”

The euro has fallen by 1.9% against the dollar to less than $1.34 leaving investors fearing that other European countries may seek financial help in the near future.

Mr Barber added: “We are not seeing the death of the single currency; there are a lot more cards to play. What we may be seeing if the beginning of a change in the eurozone, so in other words the euro may survive but the eurozone in its present form, with its present membership, may not.”

Klaus Regling of the European Financial Stability Facility has rejected claims of a failure in the eurozone, branding it “inconceivable”.

Mr Regling said any countries giving up the euro would only face “economic suicide.”

Monday 29 November 2010

Total Rok redundancies hits 2,600.

Following a collapse in the sale of some parts of its business, construction firm Rok has announced that a further 1,800 jobs have been cut. Rok plc and Rok Building Limited were put into administration earlier this month after findings showed the company had failed in controlling its financial and operational aspects.

After an initial flurry of interest in the purchase of the maintenance division across the UK and the company construction business in Scotland, buyers lost interest following a review of Rok’s overall cost.

PwC administrator Rob Hunt said: “Regrettably, the redundancies made today were necessary as it became clear in the last 24 hours that we were not going to be able to find a purchaser for these parts of the Group.”

He added: “Operations cannot continue and hence we have had to take steps to close both the maintenance and improvements division as well as the Scottish construction division.”

Rok is still looking to sell its English construction and social housing division, which employs 500 people.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Cheaper fuel and rising passenger numbers lead to Easyjet profits soaring.

The company reported profits of £154m since last September, tripling the £55m revenue made in 2009. Over the past year, passenger numbers increased by 8% bringing the total to 49 million, and as fuel costs dropped by 9%, the company saw a serious overhaul in takings.

Chief Executive, Carolyn McCall said: “We see clear opportunities for Easyjet to continue to take market share as charter traffic continues to decline, as weaker short-haul carriers retrench or fail and as new infrastructure capacity comes on stream.”

As well as these benefits, Easyjet is profiting from more and more European passengers opting for the British preference of flying via budget airlines.

McCall added the company would see added competition in the next year as budget airlines strive to win passengers in the new market.

The company also revealed its intentions to pay a dividend to shareholders in 2012.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

CBI announces new leader as John Cridland.

The Confederation of British Industry announced ‘veteran’ John Cridland had been appointed as the new director general. Mr Cridland has worked within the company for many years and was passed over for the job when he previously applied five years ago.

Taking on the £310,000-a-year post, Mr Cridland recognised the difficult time ahead for businesses. He said: “There are many challenges ahead in getting the economy growing and no one thinks that securing the UK’s economic future will be easy, but business people across the country are rolling up their sleeves and getting on with the job.”

Insiders have welcomed the news after fears a newcomer would disrupt internal affairs.

Former CBI director general, Lord Jones said appointing Mr Cridland would be beneficial to the business world, adding that his “knowledge, experience, popularity, contacts and prodigious hard work and application to the task will make an enormous contribution to the country in the hard years ahead.”

Thursday 18 November 2010

Google has seen setbacks following Fox TV turndown.

Google TV, launched in October this year, allows viewers to view websites and internet video on their television sets but after four major broadcast networks failed to agree in allowing access to their content, things aren’t looking good.

Following in the footsteps of ABC, CBC and NBC, American TV network Fox, has denied Google TV the right to air their programmes. With fears an online channel would mean advertising revenue would suffer, Fox refused Google in preference of TV adverts.

Reports have shown that Google were vague in their intentions to make profit from the venture and the major networks aren’t convinced.

Despite the recent setback, Google has remained confident, product manager Rishi Chandra said: “The web is a technology and it’s not unheard of whenever there is a new technology that a lot of incumbents in the space are trying to understand what that technology is going to mean for them.”

GE purchases 25,000 electric cars in a bid to boost the market.

In an attempt to “push the emerging technology and profit from its widespread rollout”, General Electric will invest in the fleet over the next five years. Manufacturer of electric charging stations, GE will convert at least half its 30,000 fleet to electric.

Beginning this month, GE hopes the purchase will lead to “wide-scale electric adoption and generate growth for its businesses.” Believing we are on the verge of an electric vehicle ‘boom’, GE will use the first 12,000 Chevrolet Volts as company cars for corporate customers.

GE Chief Executive and chairman Jeff Immelt said: “By electrifying our own fleet, we will accelerate the adoption curve, drive scale and move electric vehicles from anticipation to action.”

Predicting that the investment could lead to $500million in revenue over the next five years through sales of its electric-car recharger and other products, GE also said the purchase would not “reduce the number of Volts available to the public.”

FSA says UK investment firms must have mobile phone calls recorded starting next year.

Currently, landline phone conversations and e-mails regarding orders or transactions must be recorded but the Financial Services Authority says this must be extended to company mobile phones starting next November.

In a bid to “promote cleaner markets”, the FSA hopes to get rid of insider trading and warned steps should be taken to ensure private phones are not used by traders to carry out transactions.

The FSA said: “Removing the exemption will provide an extra source of voice and electronic communication evidence, which can be used to help us counter the key priority of market abuse and increase the probability of successful enforcement.”

With phone conversations recorded and stored for six months, the plans would mean the FSA could demand to hear the recordings at any time, minimising market abuse.

Although a positive step for safer business, financial firms have criticised the proposals branding them too expensive - with a start up cost of around £11m, companies would see figures reaching £18m annually to keep the plans running.

Friday 12 November 2010

Following the Gulf of Mexico crisis, BP is finally out of the red

The oil giant recorded a massive loss of nearly £11bn in their report of the last quarter after the monumental costs of the oil spill disaster.

After writing off over £20bn of the charges from the crisis in July, BP has reported they are back in profit after making revenues of £1.1bn this quarter.

The newest figures comes after a £4.8bn charge to the oil spill fund, proving revenue for the firm would have been higher still. 

Although a positive step for BP, it is still disappointing when compared with the £3.13bn profit the company saw in the same period for 2009.

Chief Executive, Bob Dudley said the results showed “good progress” for the giant adding: “This strong operating performance shows the determination of everyone at BP to move the company forward and rebuild confidence after the terrible events of the past six months.”

Boots sees improved profits thanks to sales of anti-ageing creams.

The company said half-year figures for its health and beauty division has seen profits rise by 2% thanks to the Protect and Perfect creams.

Despite revenue for the company as a whole rising by 6% to £8.9bn, Boots has announced its plans to cut 900 non-store UK jobs in order to cut costs.

With plans to save £56m per year by 2013-14, Boots has announced the majority of cuts will take place in Nottingham, the headquarters of Alliance Boots in the United Kingdom.

Chief executive, Alex Gourlay said the move would allow the company to “have a stronger and more agile support infrastructure fit for the long-term future.”

Thursday 11 November 2010

The Times editor positive about online paper despite falling readership

Following the risky decision to introduce a paywell to their websites, The Times and The Sunday Times has revealed that more than 100,000 people have paid joint subscriptions for content.

Before the paywall was introduced, T|he Times Online saw around 21million users a month, this number has dropped to 2.7million.

Despite the readership dropping, The Times editor, James Harding said the figures were hopeful. He said: “It’s very early days but we’re hugely encouraged by what we’ve seen. We’re seeing that those people who are reading the digital editions of The Times and The Sunday Times really like them, if they sign up for a trial they tend to stick with us.

“We’re at the beginning of transforming the economics of journalism.”

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Banks are right to withhold lending to some businesses

The vogue line from politicians of all colours at the moment is “we need to get banks lending to business again”. Well, at the risk of siding with the banks, many of the companies that are seeking loans and overdrafts are just not a viable risk.

Plimsoll, the leading financial analysts, contests that the reason companies such as Goldtrail Travel Ltd, and more recently Rok Plc, got into trouble was they existed on micro thin profit margins and the first serious bump in the road crippled them. Without the ability to borrow and paper over the cracks at what had become a barely profitable business model, they failed.

But, why should the banks be there to save unprofitable (or barely profitable) businesses? They have been quite correctly vilified for their reckless lending in the property market yet now they are being unfairly criticized for being prudent. Politicians, business leaders and the wider public must decide – either the banks are to lend responsibly or not, you can’t have it both ways.

It is up to business owners to build a “rainy day fund” to get them through the tough times and if they can’t then the bank is not to blame. Would you lend money to a company that exists on wafer thin margins and has to borrow money just to survive a slow couple of years?

Banks were wrong to lend to high risk individuals so recklessly - but refusing credit to risky businesses is what they must do if they are to fulfill government and electorate demands to lend more responsibly.

Friday 5 November 2010

Which industries are the most "dangerous" in the UK economy?

Latest statistics from the Justice Ministry show that number of companies going into administration has  fallen again in the latest quarter and is now down 35% on last year. Across whole sections of the UK economy, companies are getting their balance sheets in order as condition in their relative markets improve.

However, for many companies this improvement in conditions must seem a long way off. Market analysts Plimsoll have named the Top 20 most dangerous UK industries. Having rated every company in the UK across 1,500 different market sectors, we have been able to pick out the sectors with the high percentage of their participating companies in difficulty. This is the Top 20:

  1. Football Clubs
  2. Registered Social Landlords
  3. Care Homes
  4. Hotels
  5. Residential Care Homes
  6. Golf Courses & Clubs
  7. Public Houses, Bars & Inns
  8. Property & Estate Management
  9. Property Developers
  10. Health And Fitness Clubs
  11. Contract Hire
  12. Night Clubs
  13. Renewable Energy
  14. House Builders
  15. Commercial Estate Agents
  16. Van & Truck Hire
  17. Commercial Property
  18. Amusement Parks & Arcades
  19. Letting Agents
  20. Restaurants

These are the UK sectors with the highest percentage of companies in trouble. Click here to find out how many companies are in trouble in your market

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Government says all UK firms must offer pensions by 2016.

The new scheme will mean all UK businesses will be required to offer a company pension scheme to all staff aged over 22 and earning above £7,475 per annum.

With intentions to benefit those who have no retirement fund-currently between four and eight million people-the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) will mean even those who often change jobs will have build up a pension for their retirement.

The scheme will begin next year and the government hopes all companies will be registered by 2016.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said the move would help many UK employees who currently have no retirement fund to look forward to: “NEST will be the new low-cost pension scheme that will be the vehicle for saving for millions”.

Small businesses have reacted badly to the news, claiming the cost would not be enough for their books to handle. After the government announcement that the private sector would need to pick up where the public spending cuts left off, the new scheme would mean more financial hardships for ‘micro’ firms.

British Airways offers to restore cabin crew perks in a bid to end strike action.

The 12-month dispute between BA and the Unite union has been a long and gruelling process for BA, one that has cost the airline £150million.

Staff at BA previously received a 90% discount on stand-by tickets but following strike action from crew members, the company revoked the privilege.

It seems now that some BA employees involved with the strike action will have their travel benefits reinstated, but this will not be true for all as BA considers employee loyalty.

BA said that restoring the travel perks would only come into play if Unite agreed to abandon any legal action against the airline.

The Unite union will put the BA offer forward to members with results due in mid-November. If the employees involved agree to the deal, it would end one of the UK’s longest industrial disputes.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Which UK Airports can cope with soaring security costs

With security costs at UK Airports set to soar in response to the recent Al Qaeda bomb threats, Plimsoll asks the question, "Which of the 138 companies that operate the UK's Airports can absorb the increased cost?"

85 of these companies are already in a precarious state financially and there is a fear in the industry that any new legislation or rules (from what Michael O'Leary calls "securicrats") will push up operators costs to a tipping point.

1 in 3 operators are now making a loss so they have little choice but to increase their prices accordingly, further adding to the cost of flying from the UK. With other European airports not being hamstrung by the controversial Air Passenger Duty intorduced by the UK coalition govetnment, there is a real danger that foreign carriers will look to other major European hubs for their key routes.

So, coupled with even more tax and now these extra security, is the UK set to lose its valuable trans-atlantic hub status and what effect will this have on the companies that run our Airports?

Click here to learn more about Plimsoll's unique assessment of UK Airport operators

UK left behind in top ten most successful countries.

The Prosperity Index by the Legatum Institute conducted the survey across 110 countries revealing the UK was behind in terms of economy and well-being.

The UK came in at number 13 on the list, lagging behind thanks to poor health and education services, although some areas in the economy remain average.

Senior fellow at the Legatum Institute, Dr Ashley Lenihan said: “Despite the recession, the UK continues to perform well on a number of important economic indicators.”

As the figures come in while the government announces the extent of the public spending cuts, it is not good news for Britain.

Dr Lenihan added: “There are signs of weakness in some areas of the UK. Measurements of healthcare, domestic security, and quality of education are the areas in which the UK ranks lowest.”

The group said that although the results were gloomy, the banking crisis was a big factor in the country’s performance as public confidence in financial institutions faltered.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Government warns that private sector must pick up the slack from public spending cuts.

The Government has said that the public spending cuts announced by George Osborne could bring 490,000 public sector job losses to the UK and the private sector should benefit.

Along with the cuts, the Chancellor announced that businesses would see a £7bn tax cut in the budget with hopes to instil the promise that taxes will be lower in future.

The Telegraph reported that chief economic advisor to the Ernst & Young ITEM Club, Peter Spencer said: “The Government has bent over backwards to produce business-friendly policies…Companies now have to step up to the plate.”

Forecasting a positive economy, Spencer added: “Large companies are in excellent shape, with plenty of opportunities for investment and employment and the financial strength to exploit them.”

General secretary of the TUC, Brendan Barber disagreed, claiming that regions with weak private sectors will suffer from the cuts as they struggle to provide the resources.

Barber said: “Public sector job losses are likely to occur in some of the UK’s more depressed regions where private sector job creation is already extremely poor. Job losses will depress local economies even further.”

The UK Advertising Agencies industry – a review of 2010

As we approach the end of a turbulent 2010 for UK Advertising Agencies, Plimsoll have taken a look back at the highs and lows of the last 12 months and looked forward to the threats and opportunities facing the market in 2011.

203 agencies are finishing the year in financial difficulty according to the latest Plimsoll Analysis examining the health and prospects of the top 708 companies in the market. Having clung on through the bad times many of these struggling agencies are running out of time and will fail unless a sustained recovery takes hold. Sadly, some of them are just too weak to carry on and there will be a spike of failures in the New Year. On the flipside, their demise will bring a welcome reduction in competitive pressure for those left.

However, there are still some good stories in the market despite the persistent gloom. We have picked 345 strong companies that prove success can still be achieved in the market despite difficult trading conditions. They also prove that bad companies fail in a recession; good companies simply do not. These companies will lead the industry out of recession with some smart acquisitions to help maintain their recent success.

The market is due further consolidation with the number of companies in trouble leading to heightened takeover activity. With too many companies chasing weakened demand it is inevitable that there are likely to be a number of high profile mergers and takeovers. Further consolidation is needed to sort out the remaining dead wood. We have named 59 companies as the best acquisition prospects in the market.

In addition, a band of reckless companies continue to chase sales despite mounting losses, 137 serial loss makers are operating in the market. For the 2nd and even 3rd year running these companies have made a loss. While the rest have taken painful but necessary decisions to refocus on the bottom line, these reckless companies have continued to chase sale regardless. These companies have to cut their cloth accordingly or face the consequences.

The new Plimsoll Analysis shows a buffeted market emerging from recession with 1 in 3 of its participant companies in financial difficulty. If you are going to make a success of 2011, you need to learn the lesson of the last 12 months. There are going to be lots of takeovers, a number of high profile failures and even the odd surprise or two along the way.

Click here for more information about the Plimsoll Analysis - Advertising Agencies

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Feeling the strain of competitors, Nokia announces plans to cut 1,800 jobs.

The mobile phone maker announced the extensive cuts in a bid to push out smartphone competitors. New boss, Stephen Elop has made his intentions to reassess the business known within the company with the job slash. 

With plans to focus on customer demands rather than introducing new products into the market, HR boss Juha Akras said: “We are committed to managing these changes in a way that reflects Nokia’s values, and will support affected employees with alternative solutions, such as helping them find new positions within the company.”

In terms of smartphones, sales may have risen by 61% compared to last year, but Nokia is up against fierce competition with Apple’s iPhone and the introduction of Google’s Android. 

Meanwhile, Apple has seen profits soar by 70% as the iPhone remains stable in the smartphone market.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

September’s figures show Britain sinking deeper into debt.

Hours before George Osborne’s announcement of the massive spending cuts across the UK, figures revealed the UK borrowed over £16bn in September.

Although a rise of £0.7bn in comparison to the same month last year, it saw Britain’s net dept reach a total of £842.9bn. While the figure is still a decrease from September 2009, economists had predicted the amount to be lower.

IHS Global Insight Economist, Howard Archer said that although the increase in borrowing was disappointing, it was still a “modest” overall improvement for the financial year.

Archer also said: “The government will highlight this as a key reason to why there should be no delay in enacting measures to improve the public finances.”

Are UK companies missing out on the Wind Energy gold rush?

“I want us to be a world leader in offshore wind energy,” said David Cameron as his government estimates that 70,000 jobs will be created in this sector and announces support to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds. The problem is - UK companies appear to be missing out of what promises to be something of a "gold rush" in the market.
Of the 120 UK registered Wind Energy companies involved in the market:
  • 64 are in trouble
  • 78 are vulnerable to takeover
  • A third are making a loss
Are these companies being squeezed out of the market by larger foreign competitors enticed here by generous government subsidies and grants or are native companies in this market just not dynamic enough to compete? This week Skycon, a Swedish based manufacturer failed with the loss of 120 jobs in Kintyre - all after receiving a £10m cash from the Scottish Assembly.

With the UK economy so desperate for growth sectors and job creation is the government better using tax payers money to entice big foreign companies to the UK market or use development grants to give UK companies a chance to compete?

Click here for more information about Plimsoll's latest assessment of UK Wind Energy companies

Thursday 21 October 2010

More worries for UK economy – are we heading for a double dip recession?

A worrying report from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warned that UK economic growth in the third quarter of this year was “considerably” slower than the previous quarter and businesses could still face trouble in months ahead.
With Christmas fast approaching and the VAT increase being introduced in January, it was thought that shoppers would try and get their festive purchases early but it seems the report has rejected the assumption.

A survey from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed similarly concerning results showing that growth in the UK retail market slowed from 1% in August to 0.5% in September.

Although of course, these figures could change very quickly, it is a clear sign that the UK is not out of the water just yet.

Director general of the BRC, Stephen Robertson said: “We’ve now had six straight months of low growth thanks to persistently weak consumer confidence and worries about the future.”

He added: “It’s clear people are cautious and major spending is largely on hold.”

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Which region in the UK is the most dangerous to do business in?

Companies based in the Northern Home Counties are the most likely to be in financial difficulty according to research from market analysts Plimsoll. Almost a third of companies across all areas of the UK economy that were based in this region were rated as Danger by Plimsoll.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the same research flagged unfashionable regions such as West Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East as having the least percentage of companies in trouble - averaging just over a quarter. Are directors based in these much maligned regions better at running their companies than their counterparts in more fashionable areas?

Here is the full breakdown of the number of companies analysed per region:

Plimsoll assessed 240,000 as part of this UK wide study. We produce over 1,500 specific UK market reports. Click here for more information about Plimsoll and the reports and services we provide.

Friday 15 October 2010

More bad news for UK Retailers - 1 in 4 are already in dire financial trouble

Plimsoll's latest analysis of the UK Retail sector echoes the sentiment of accountants BDO recent assessment that thousands of UK shops will close by 2015. Such is the dire state of many UK Retailers, we would even contest that it needs to happen sooner.

Our research shows that 1 in 4 major British Retailers are in already in a precarious financial state and with demand predicted to fall as consumers make drastic cuts in spending, things can only get worse.

Our latest research shows:

- A third of Retailers are already making a loss
- 1 in 4 are are already in dire financial trouble
- Half are struggling to improve their position
- Consolidation is long overdue with most exposed to takeover

However, for those Retailers that come through the other side, the difficulties of the next few years could actually turn out to be a good thing. The specialist niches that most retailers serve means that the failure of a close competitor often means they have something a monopoly on the High Street.

Click here for more information on Plimsoll's latest assessment of UK Retailers

Wednesday 13 October 2010

77,828 UK companies are now rated as "Zombies"

77,828 UK companies are classed as “Zombie” businesses. These companies, have seen their performance deteriorate to such as extent that they now exist merely to pay off their debts and survive.

Every corner of the UK economy is blighted by Zombie companies. They are posting growing losses and, despite the freeze in the credit markets, increasing their debts. A Zombie company typically has debts of 51% of their turnover – they merely exist to service their out of control liabilities. Many are also using their suppliers to finance their growing losses, by taking an average of 149 days to pay their bills.

They are falling behind the rest in their respective markets. They are extremely unproductive and their cost base is just too high. As a result, investment plans have been mothballed meaning their aging assets are further restricting their ability to remain competitive.

So can these Zombies be saved? The first thing they need to do is sort out their immediate finances. They have to convince their banks and suppliers to keep supporting them or not pull the plug. If they can pull that off then the hard work really starts. They urgently need to stem their losses and control costs. The longer it takes them to address these issues, the harder and less likely it is they will ever fix them.

However, there are some attractive takeover targets hidden among the Zombies and canny investors are seeing an opportunity to pick up a bargain. Some of these companies, stuck in a zombie state because of their balance sheet, have lots of potential for new owners to turn it around. Across the whole of the UK economy we have flagged 40,614 such companies.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Punch Taverns set to sell 1300 pubs - Which other operators will follow suit?

Punch Taverns has made the bold move of selling off the parts of its business that are no longer profitable. In the face of difficult trading conditions and falling profitability across the group, the board have taken the necessary steps needed to get their business back into good shape.

But Plimsoll has asked the questions - Which other operators need to follow suit and how many pubs will be lost as a result. The Plimsoll Analysis has picked out the following findings that point to the depth of the issues facing pub operators in Britain today:

- The average profit margin is down to just 0.4%
- 372 operators have posted a loss for at least 2 years running
- 265 companies have seen the value fall by over 30% in the last year

With so many pubs and their operating companies in difficulty it seems inevitable that the speed with which to good old British pub is disappearing will increase in 2011. The question is - which pub will be next?

Monday 11 October 2010

How many of the UK's Public Sector Recruitment Agencies will survive 2011

Recruitment in the Public Sector is set to be hit particularly hard over the next couple of years as Government cuts really bite. As a result Recruiters servicing this sector are in for a very rough ride in the next few years.

With this in mind, market analysts Plimsoll have looked at how prepared each of the UK's 298 Public Sector Recruitment Agencies are for a difficult 2011. We looked at how each agency is currently performing and how resilient they will be in the face of a massive downturn in their market. Here's what they found:

- 75 are rated as Strong and are best placed to come through the next few years in tact

- 58 others are in dire trouble already and will be the first to fail when demand slows

- A marked fall in demand will accelerate consolidation in the market with
96 agencies exposed to takeover

Click here to see how Plimsoll's latest report will show you which UK Public Sector Recruiters could disappear in 2011 and who is set to survive

Friday 8 October 2010

What effect will the Thomas Cook & Cooperative Travel merger have on the market?

The merger of Thomas Cook and Cooperative Travel is a further sign that there are too many companies chasing too little market.

This move will allow the new group to dominate a sector of the economy which analysts predict could be heading for another difficult year in 2011. Their ability to streamline operations, reduce cost and expand their collective reach on the High Street will see them dominate in a market where profit margins are still barely above zero and growth is uncertain. Sadly, there will be job cuts but on the whole its a positive move.

So how will this affect the rest of the market? There are still some excellent independent businesses in this sector. Companies like Southall Travel are a great example of companies that have performed well in recent years. However, if predictions are correct and demand remains subdued into next year how many of industry's weaker agents will be survive?

178 agents are already struggling and another bad year could see a bigger wave of consolidation. Who will be buying and who will be desperately selling?

Thursday 7 October 2010

Liverpool FC - the start of a takeover tidal wave in British football?

Liverpool FC looks set to be bought out in the coming days but what about the rest of Britains football clubs - could we be set for a tidal wave of takeovers and maybe even further administration sagas?

Many of our treasured clubs are a house of cards - a web of shell companies, often based in tax havens that hide the true extent of the debt. Many owners, both foreign and home based, have gambled with the future of their clubs for either prestige, ego or personal financial gain.

Plimsoll has released a hard hitting report into the health and acquisition attractivenss of all the leading British football clubs and the results should act as a wake up call to the game and its boardrooms. Some of the eye opening findings include:

Many clubs are exposed to takeover and would struggle to repel potential suitors. Many need new owners to bring new capital and ideas into the business to get it back on an even keel

Over half of clubs have been given a Danger rating - they have aspects of their performance that should concern both the fans and the owners. Most of these clubs will struggle to trade their way out of the mess

Post your thoughts on the health of your club below:

Wednesday 6 October 2010

After the collapse of Crown Currency Exchange - should consumers stick to buying currency from the bank or post office?

The collapse of Crown Currency Exchange this week highlights the dangers of operating in a speculative market whilst existing on wafer thin margins. Any fluctuation in exchange rates or other minor blips can spell disaster - the company has an inherent inability to respond to adversity.

Crown Currency Exchange was a high profile, heavily marketed business that existed on high volume transactions. It generally offered the best exchange rates in the market. However, for a company that processed £150m worth of currencies transactions in the last 5 years it had almost £200,000 worth of deficit in its shareholders funds. Clearly an unsustainable position.

With Plimsoll issuing a health warning for 22 Bureaux de Changes companies it begs the question - Should travellers forego the slightly better exchange rates and get their travel money from the bank or post office?

Click here to see Plimsoll's current assessment of the Bureaux de Changes industry

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Which UK Food Manufacturer will sell out next?

With its famous brands seemingly in demand from overseas suitors, undercapitalization still prevalent and profit margins remaining squeezed, a wave of takeovers is set to change the UK’s Food Manufacturing sector forever.

The ongoing story of United Biscuits being courted by prospective new owners suggests that British brands remaining in high demand from major overseas players. Overall, UK based Food Manufacturers are facing weak growth and the prospect of a double dip recession. So, should UK based manufacturers be openly courting the attentions of buyers now to get the best value for their shareholders?

For example, should other major players such as Northern Foods (who posted their half year results today) also explore the possibility of attracting outside investment into the company to help it prosper in a difficult market?

93 UK based manufacturers would benefit from being taken over – Click here to find out who.

Monday 4 October 2010

UK Food Brands - How many more will be lost to overseas suitors?

With news that Premier Foods is open to offers for Quorn (its meat free brand) as part of a debt reduction strategy, it poses the question, "Are UK's Food Manufacturers set to clean out their cupboards?"

Plimsoll has identified 153 of the UK's leading food manufacturers that need to to take urgent and radical steps need to be taken. With so many manufacturers in difficulty, there is a growing sense that we will see some famous brands changing hands as companies try to get debts back under control.

How many of these brands will be lost to overseas suitors is difficult to say but the recent flirtations between United Biscuits and Bright Foods seems to indicate a serious appetite for western brands among eastern groups. Plimsoll has also identified 93 other UK companies that are vulnerable to takeover. In many cases, whole companies will be acquired rather than just individual brands.

The latest Plimsoll Analysis has analysed the 500 largest Food Manufacturers in Britain and rated each one on its performance, likelihood of being taken over and what its future prospects are.

Click here to find out which companies could be bought out, those set to fail and those powering ahead

Wednesday 29 September 2010

United Biscuits – Are Bright Foods set to pay too much for their Jaffa Cakes?

United Biscuits – Are Bright Foods set to pay too much for their Jaffa Cakes?

With Bright Foods, the Chinese food giant in talks to acquire United Biscuits we have to ask one pertinent question - Is United really worth the reported £2bn?

According to our calculations, the company is probably worth closer to £1.5bn. After its assets and liabilities have been taken into account its equity value is probably closer to £1.2bn. So, while United has increased in value in each of the last 2 years, the current owners, it is worth considerably less than the rumoured price – the current owners are getting a good deal.

Clearly, Bright Foods are after United for its portfolio of brands rather than for short term financial gain and they are prepared to pay a premium for it. Hopefully, the jobs and investment will stay in the UK and not be moved overseas like in other takeovers of this type. Will new owners at United Biscuits do the same thing that Kraft did at Cadburys?

Click here to see which of the UK’s Food Manufacturers is likely to be the next big takeover story

Monday 27 September 2010

‘Green tax’ rises will spell disaster for UK Road Hauliers

Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne has backed plans for an extra £22billion in green taxes, meaning fuel prices could increase massively and spell the end for many UK based hauliers.

The Liberal Democrat minister has backed a call to see 10 per cent of all Government revenue to come from green taxes within the next five years. Forecasters have predicted that revenue from green taxes is to fall from 6.9 per cent of the total to 6.5 per cent over the next five years, in order to raise the amount to 10 per cent; an extra £22 billion would be needed.

While the increase could see fuel costs rise by an unprecedented amount, the party have argued that it would allow them to lower other taxes. Mr Huhne said: “All the evidence is that the green tax switch is popular as long as people can see the extra revenue being used to cut other taxes. Green taxes make so much sense in the current financial climate. Whatever we do with the revenue, green taxes help us meet our climate targets and our environmental goals”.

Fuel price in the UK are already considerably more expensive than on continental Europe and, coupled with change in EU regulations, British hauliers simply cannot compete in their own market. New research by market analysts Plimsoll points out that 295 UK based Hauliers are already in dire financial difficulty – they simply cannot afford further taxation.

Click here to see which Hauliers are most vulnerable to these proposals

Thursday 23 September 2010

The recession has cost 392 UK based Independent Financial Advisors a third of their value in the latest year

392 of the UK’s leading Independent Financial Advisors are worth a third less than they were a year ago in the clearest indication yet of the damage the recession has wreaked on the market. However, in a sign that the recovery is gaining traction, 360 companies in the market have actually increased in value.

It’s certainly been a tough few years. Values have fallen markedly from their peak but the number of companies that are worth more this year than last is encouraging”.

In all we identified 360 companies that have increased in value - quite an achievement considering current market conditions. Their performance adds to the growing belief that the market has stabilised and companies with their house in order can once again prosper and add value.

However, as with all recoveries there are those that struggle to recover and 392 other firms have seen their value slump by at least 30% in the latest year. They have such a lot of ground to make up and many are in such dire straits that we have issued 284 of them with a Danger rating. The post recession market is so highly competitive I would expect a number of these companies to be bought out on the cheap or decline further and eventually be wound up.

The new Plimsoll Analysis – Independent Financial Advisors will tell you instantly which companies are prospering in the post recession market place, those set to be bought out and those heading for trouble – across the whole of the market and in the individual regions.

Click here to find out which IFA's are in trouble and those powering ahead in the current market

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Tuesday 21 September 2010

Best Western Blunsdon House Hotel, UK has launched the first ever booking engine useable through Facebook.

Hotel marketing via Facebook has been criticised in the past, with some believing that it would not be useful to generate new bookings unless the hotel in question hoped to target the under-30’s. Blunsdon House Hotels have taken on a different view completely, hoping their new feature will interest some new customers, as Facebook becomes a stronger platform for businesses.

While Facebook continues to allow businesses to connect more personally with their customers, Best Western Hotels have taken it one step further. This new feature allows users to complete their entire booking process, from choosing a hotel to defining the number of travellers, completely through Facebook.

BA boss warns Middle East airlines could be a threat to UK carriers

As the European Union funds the growth of Middle East airlines, British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, has warned this could pose a threat on our own carriers.

Walsh has referred to an agreement between the US and Europe that prohibits government credit guarantees to airlines in the home countries of Airbus and Boeing, yet allows credits to be exported to the Middle East, leaving them with greater opportunities to expand. He said: “We have been slow in the UK and in Europe to recognise the competitive threat. We should be concerned about what is happening.”

In 2010, the UK saw a string of travel operators suffer bankruptcy after the recent economic trouble; Walsh has warned the EU is providing a threat to European airlines. He said: “We are financing our competitors by providing them with cheap access to capital. This is a very significant threat.”

The new Plimsoll Analysis - Global Passenger Airlines, gives a concise assessment of the top 300 major Airlines from around the world. Click here to see how British Airways compares to its key rivals.

Retail sales in the UK see first drop since January this year.

While John Lewis may have seen some positive figures as their profits rise by 28%, threats to the retail market are still looming. Chariman of the John Lewis Partnership, Charlie Mayfield warned there may be trouble ahead in the retail sector as public spending cuts and tax rises are still to come.

This comes just as the retail sector as a whole sees a surprise fall in sales after six months of growth within high street growth. Despite the difficult economic climate, UK shoppers have been surprisingly resilient in terms of high street spending until now.

Top economist at HIS Global Insight, Howard Archer, told Sky News: “The unexpected 0.5% fall in retail sales in August is a nasty shock and deals a significant blow to growth hopes.” It is thought that a combination of job loss worries and the intended VAT hike in January are causing shoppers to be more conscious of their spending.

The latest Plimsoll Analysis - Retailers, analysing the performance of the UK's top 500 Retailers shows that 139 are already in financial difficulty and likely to be the next High Street failure. Click here to find out who they are

Monday 20 September 2010

177 UK Tour Operators named as Zombies by Plimsoll

177 UK Tour Operators industry are now classified as “Zombie” businesses. These companies have seen their performance deteriorate to such as extent that they now exist merely to pay off their debts and survive.

They are posting growing losses and, despite the obvious freeze in the credit markets, increasing their debts. These Zombie businesses have debts at an average of 70% of turnover – they exist to service their out of control liabilities. Many are also using their suppliers to finance their growing losses, taking twice as long as to pay their bills as the industry average of 26 days.

What's worse is they are falling behind the rest and their productivity is well below the industry average. It’s hard for them to compete as their cost base is just too high. As a result, investment plans have been mothballed meaning their aging assets are further restricting their ability to remain competitive.

So can these Zombies be saved? The first thing they need to do is sort out their immediate finances. They have to convince their banks and suppliers to keep supporting them or not pull the plug. If they can pull that off then the hard work really starts. They urgently need to stem their losses and control costs. The longer it takes them to address these issues, the harder and less likely it is they will ever fix them.

However, there are attractive takeover targets among the Zombies - canny investors could pick up a bargain. Some of these companies, stuck in a zombie state because of their balance sheet, have lots of potential for new owners to turn it around. We picked 109 companies that we feel have the most potential.

Those unable to attract new buyers may have simply had their day. A combination of aging assets, rising losses and increasing debts mean they are unlikely to attract a suitor before the receivers are called. They will be forced back into negotiations with their lenders to buy more time but their future doesn’t look good.

Click here to see how the new Plimsoll Analysis - Tour Operators will give you this key industry findings instantly

It will tell you instantly which companies are prospering in the post recession market place, those taking a big gamble and those in trouble. It gives an instant performance rating on 1000 companies and highlights those ripe for acquisition.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

The union representing British Airways cabin crew, Unite, has threatened to increase the intensity of their dispute with the airline.

Earlier this year, BA cabin crew went on strike for a total of 22 days costing the airline approximately £150m. Although facing tremendous losses as well as having to cancel hundreds of flights, BA tried to make the best of a bad situation by bringing in employees from other parts of the company to take over cabin crew duties.

Unite has now warned that any further strike action would include any ground staff currently working for BA, including check-in workers and baggage handlers. Introducing these members of BA staff to strike action could potentially be catastrophic to the company.

The union needs to accept that conditions in the post recession industry are such that the airline simply cannot sustain the level of reward its members have become accustomed to. For example, salaries as a percentage of sales for British Airways are 26% compared to 14% at Virgin and 10% at Ryanair. Without a plausible alternative, the board have to cut staff, remuneration and perks if the airline is to survive.

To see how British Airways compares to other Airlines click here and read the following analysis on the Global Airlines

Monday 13 September 2010

Halifax has released their own version of figures relating to house prices in the UK, giving us a more positive outlook than Nationwide.

Halifax has said that due to lack of activity within the housing market, house price inflation has cooled. The group has predicted that by the end of the year, house prices will be back to the figure they entered 2010 at.

The report contradicts information released by Nationwide recently in which it was said that house prices have continued to drop and the falling market was causing a “perfect storm” for first-time buyers as well as those amid selling a house.

Housing economist at Halifax, Martin Ellis, told BBC News: “Prices are now at a very similar level to that at the end of last year. Activity has also been largely static since the start of the year. These developments suggest that the market is broadly stable, with house price inflation having cooled since last year, when supply shortages helped to push up prices.”

Not everyone has shared the positive outlook Halifax has taken on the health of the housing market for the future. Housing developer, Barratt Homes has said the improving conditions in the market are not helping financial earnings. They reported a loss of £33m this year and said that there was still a problem with housing shortage in the UK.

The latest Plimsoll Analysis, assessing the ability of Housebuilders to survive the next trading period, has issued a performance warning to 617 companies. If the market continues to stagnate or worse goes into decline again, what next for these struggling companies?

Acquisition activity in the UK could be the way to move forward in the current economy

BBC News reported this summer as having a record number of mergers and acquisitions and with so many companies feeling the heat after the economic downfall, it seems that this is the best way to ride out the storm.

This doesn’t just open doors for those that were hit hard recently. As the recession forced company spending to slow and brought on a newfound reluctance to agree any new deals, some UK businesses have now found themselves with an agreeable budget for opening new doors.

After experiencing such negativity in the business world in recent months it must be a warming feeling to know that there may be a bright side for all those months spent counting company pennies.

David Pattison, senior analyst at Plimsoll said, "Anyone on the acquisition trail needs to look first at the companies that have a decent gross margin but whose overall financial strength is compromised or has declined in recent years. These types of companies usually have solid fundamentals but their current owners have lost control of costs. They are often undervalued and with a little restructuring have big potential for their new owners.

If you want help finding these types of companies click here".

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Travel market - Airport hotels see guest numbers soar as travellers see benefit

Airport hotels used to carry the connotation of being a last resort after a cancelled flight or for convenience during a quick business trip, but it seems this is all changing.

Recent surveys have shown that travellers are becoming more likely to choose an airport hotel than the previously more popular city-centred option. As people try to keep an eye on their pennies, the option of cheaper airport hotels has proven to be more attractive to those not wanting to overspend following the economic crisis.

As more airport hotels offer useful amenities to their customers such as free Wi-Fi (an important factor when considering accommodation, business or pleasure), and extras like parking included in the price, budget-conscious travellers have seen convenient advantages in choosing an airport hotel.

Compared to the normal city-based hotel that visitors tend to opt for when choosing where to sleep, choosing an airport hotel can mean an average saving of 42%* for the traveller as well as the added benefits of extras included in the price.