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New Vice Chancellor for University of Cambridge

New Vice-Chancellor for Cambridge


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<p><span style=font-size: 14px;>On October 1st Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz  became the 345th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, succeeding Professor Dame Alison Richard.</span></p>
<p><span style=font-size: 14px;>He was formally admitted to the position this morning at a ceremony, known as a Congregation, in the Senate House.</span></p>
<p><span style=font-size: 14px;>The new Vice-Chancellor was previously Chief Executive of the UK’s Medical Research Council from 2007, and from 2001 to 2007 was at Imperial College London, where he served as Principal of the Faculty of Medicine and later as Deputy Rector.</span></p>
<p><span style=font-size: 14px;>In his inaugural speech to the University following his admission, entitled ‘Shared Values and Visions’, the new Vice-Chancellor said: I am excited about the challenges and yet awed by the responsibility of this position. I am indeed privileged to rejoin the Cambridge community from which I gained so much earlier in my career.</span></p>
<p><span style=font-size: 14px;>The challenge to the new Vice-Chancellor is clear. It is to lead the University in a competitive and difficult economic environment, to secure our financial base despite short-term fluctuations, develop an infrastructure commensurate with an internationally leading university, and ensure the best possible environment to recruit and retain academic staff of the highest quality.</span></p>
<p><span style=font-size: 14px;>He first came to Cambridge in 1987 as a Wellcome Trust Senior Lecturer at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, then a year later joined the University as a lecturer in medicine and a Fellow of Wolfson College. He moved back to his birthplace, Cardiff, in 2001 where he served ten years as Professor of Medicine at the University of Wales College of Medicine.</span></p>
<p><span style=font-size: 14px;>Professor Borysiewicz was knighted in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List for his contribution to medical education and research into developing vaccines, including work towards a vaccine therapy for cervical cancer.</span></p>
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Incubation Experts Sought as Government Throws Open Empty Buidings to Startups

Incubation experts sought as government throws open empty buildings to startups

Blenheim Court is one of 20 buildings that will offer low cost flexible space to startups

The government has revealed 20 government buildings standing empty which will be made available for entrepreneurs in the early stages of growing their businesses.

The government says it is working with landlords to offer the space at a low cost. The intention is to open up the properties on flexible, short-term arrangements.

The closest building to Cambridge lies within the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough local enterprise partnership (GCGP LEP) at Peterborough’s Blenheim Court.

However, the challenge now is to find incubation and business start-up organisations which can help new and existing small businesses to manage and allocate these spaces, presumably groups such as ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator and Future Business.

The 20 buildings represent over 200,000 sq ft of space and are spread across 18 locations including London, Colchester, Rugby, Leeds, Runcorn, Birmingham, Oxford and Bristol. According to the announcement, the UK government has exited over 900 properties since May 2010.

They are generally buildings where it is not possible to sell or exit the lease immediately once the space has been vacated.

Anyone interested in managing the spaces can register their interest at The process will be open until 29 June 2012.

Non-tech rules at ?30k Big Pitch startup competition

Non-tech rules at £30k Big Pitch startup competition


Big Pitch 2012 winners: (L-R) Paula Albiñana of CB Ale, Original Truffles’ Laszlo Csiba and James and Eddie Shevlin from Hammer and Tongs Productions

With the fat beats of the Chemical Brothers’ ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl‘ fading out, veteran startup doyen, Walter Herriot, looked like he’d taken a substance or two himself as he bounced on to the stage with greater animation than normal for the introduction of Anglia Ruskin University’s Big PitchFinal.

Stopping just short of doing the running man across the floor, Herriot helped build a lively atmosphere out front while the pressure mounted backstage, but not just for the finalists.

The competition is now in its second year and part of a wider push by Anglia to build a nationally recognised startup culture: the Big Pitch needed to justify the £30k on offer by showing last year’s strong performance was not just a flash in the pan.

On numbers it has been up to the task with 64 video entries, well above the previous year. Thirty two were shortlisted compared to 20 in 2011, half of them chosen by popular vote on a web site that attracted almost 17,000 visits and over 4,400 votes.

The 32 shortlisted ideas were whittled down to the seven that pitched last night in pursuit of a cut of the prize money, this year split into £15k, £10k and £5k awards for first, second and first.

Unlike last year when four of the seven finalists were web-based ventures including all three eventual winners, this year only a Skype-based language web site (LiveTalk) came close to being a ‘digital’ business, which will surely be welcomed by non-tech entrepreneurs and Herriot who has consistently spoken of the need to ‘democratise’ startup competitions.

LiveTalk didn’t place in the top three however, those were taken (in descending order) by The Original Truffles Company, CB Ale and Hammer and Tongs.

The charismatic Laszlo Csiba was the one pitch with more bounce than Herriot. His business is based on his own passion for truffles – I know how to make the customer happy – as well as a source for a range of truffle based products from his home country, Hungary.

With the UK increasingly opening up to new and more sophisticated foods, by tilting at everyday consumers, Csiba seems to have identified a market opportunity and is already selling in Cambridge on weekends. The judges suggested he develop a well thought out marketing strategy on an already strong brand, but it was the force of personality, a deep understanding of his product and a natural sales patter that surely clinched it.

I have experience in catering, ordering, preparing and serving food, but most importantly, I know how to make the customer happy, said Csbia, who convincingly outlined how he would help people slow down and enjoy the good things in life, such as his truffle products.

Csiba says he plans to use the money to upgrade his distribution equipment and partner with a soil and water engineer on an East Anglian truffle production project.

Second placed Paula Albiñana also has an existing product, a low-alcohol beer aimed at women that sells in pubs in Cambridge.

Another strong pitch, the story behind Albiñana’s CB1 beer sounds like something straight out of Hollywood. Albiñana’s grandmother came to the UK in 1940, fell in love with a brewer and produced a beer to impress him. Unfortunately he died and she returned to Spain. The grandmother’s dream came back to life however when Albiñana came across her diary however, found the recipe and recreated it.

Again, and ability to sell and passion stood out for the judges with Paddy Bishop in particular suggesting that the product stands a strong chance of success as long as it is able to transition from a beer on tap to a bottled product.

Third placed Hammer and Tongs delivered something quite different to the warm attractive offerings of the first two winners. There was nothing cuddly here, no big doe-eyed web icons, Hammer and Tongs Productions is a social enterprise that works with ex-offenders through music, drama and film making.

The inevitable question was where’s the money going to come from? One answer is government, another is philanthropy, but something more sustainable in the same vein of Ipswich’s Red Rose Chain was suggested.

Hammer and Tongs is looking to distribute films such as ‘The Crack’ and new documentaries. The money will also help with this summer’s planned production of Charles Dickens’ tale, Oliver.

It’s difficult to imagine Hammer and Tongs or any of the other winning companies starring at any of the other Cambridge startup competitions. We’ll see whether it’s a permanent trend next year as The Big Pitch confirmed it will be running in 2013.


Cambridge Biotechnology Proves Worth with ?356.8M Acquisition

Cambridge Biotechnology proves worth with £356.8m acquisition


Babraham Research Campus, R&D home of CBT, then Proximagen and now Upsher-Smith

A 93-year old US pharmaceutical company is to spend up to £356.8 million on acquiring a fully functioning drug discovery division by acquiring Proximagen, a move that provides the latest instalment in the story of what was previously Cambridge Biotechnology Ltd (CBT).

Set up in 2001 and backed by biotech entrepreneurs Dr Andy Richards and Sir Chris Evans’s Merlin Biosciences amongst others, CBT raised £10m before it was acquired by Biovitrum in 2005, which then offloaded it to Proximagen. Upsher-Smith will become its third owner in as many years.

The Minnesota firm aims to become a leader in the central nervous system (CNS) space, treating diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and is not just after Proximagen’s product pipeline, but an R&D engine it can couple to its own product development and commercialisation expertise to create a vertically integrated pharmaceutical, a company that goes from early drug discovery right through to market.

Upsher-Smith’s existing product portfolio is centred on women’s health, dermatology and cardiology, which helped generate $451m (£290m) in revenues and $151m (£97m) in pretax profit in its last financial year.

However, it wants to expand its CNS drug discovery work where it already has one treatment in Phase III clinical trials. Proximagen has 15 drug candidates its pushing through the development process, nine of which originate from what was CBT including the group’s most advanced candidate, a treatment for obesity and diabetes which has completed Phase IIb clinical trials.

The acquisition will be welcomed by many in the UK biotech industry and the Cambridge cluster, not least of all Proximagen CEO, Kenneth Mulvany: This deal demonstrates that the UK biotechnology sector can, with supportive investors, bring together scientific excellence, business acumen and generate significant retunes for shareholders.

Staff are also believed to be excited about the deal, not only will many hold shares, but Uphser-Smith is regarded as a good company to work for.

With no drugs yet commercialised, Proximagen financial situation is fairly typical for a biotech – its revenues are low and its annual loss in the millions. Less typically though, Proximagen is cash rich, having only spent a fraction of the £50m it raised in 2009 when it acquired CBT and Minster Pharma.

Upsher-Smith though will initially pay £223m potentially going to £356.8m for Proximagen. The company says it intends to retain the Cambridge and London operations, integrating them to form a robust research and development platform for future growth.

That R&D platform has been entirely based at the Babraham Research Campus since last year when Proximagen consolidated its entire research operation into one space and the site accounts for over three quarters of all Proximagen staff.

Here’s how it got there. CBT was founded by a combination of researchers from a Pfizer Global R&D drug discovery team in what had previously been the Parke-Davis Neuroscience Research Centre in Cambridge as well as key academic collaborators.

Following an early stage investment, the company raised further seed funding in 2002 from the Cambridge Gateway Fund, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Avlar Bioventures and Merlin Biosciences.

Soon after Avlar was replaced by Northern Venture Managers in a £6 million Series A funding round, the last equity round before its 2005 acquisition by Sweden’s Biovitrum for an undisclosed amount. CBT continued as an autonomous drug discovery firm within Biovitrum working on pain, inflammation and obesity.

In 2009 however, Biovitrum’s own difficulties led it to restructure the business including bringing an end to its small molecule work – CBT would either be divested or closed. Months later Proximagen, a King’s College London spin-out, which had just raised £50m on the stock market, came in with its undisclosed offer as it looked to widen the breadth of its CNS offering and bought CBT, subsequently bringing it in closer to the Proximagen family than it had been at Biovitrum.

ARM spin out sold for ?10.6m

ARM spin-out sold for £10.6m


Cognovo, the Cambridge wireless technology company founded by the team that built TTPCom and sold it to Motorola over £100m, has been acquired by quoted Swiss firm, u-blox for $16.5m (£10.6m).

Cognovo specialises in ‘software defined modems,’ an approach that treats the various wireless standards as ‘apps’ running on an operating system, potentially saving OEMs a great deal of time and money on chip development.

Cognovo was founded in 2009. The foundation of the technology is Ardbeg Vector Signal Processor technology, spun out from ARM, which also contributed investment and representation on the company’s board.

u-blox said that Cognovo’s 30 strong team and business would be integrated into its organisation.

“This is a very exciting acquisition for u-blox as it positions us as an agile and cost-effective supplier of high-speed wireless modem products based on our own chip IP. This allows us to meet market demand for connected systems that require positioning, connectivity and application specific functionality on a single integrated circuit,” said Thomas Seiler, u-blox CEO in the press statement.

“This new foundation broadens our serviceable market, and will increase our margins in the automotive, consumer and industrial sectors. Our first 4G product is planned for 2013.”

Executive chairman of Cognovo is Tony Milbourn, latterly founder and  CEO at TTPCom, while CEO is Gordon Aspin, formerly COO at TTPCom.

ANT loses CEO

ANT loses CEO



Former ANT CEO, Simon Woodward

Simon Woodward has left ANT plc after more than 15 years spent as CEO, during which time the company he helped grow the company into an international brand, listed on the London Stock Exchange.

No reasons have been given for Woodward’s departure, which is immediate with ANT finance director, Pauline Ingram, stepping in as interim CEO. However, with non-executive directors stepping in to support the management team and undertake executive duties until a new CEO is appointed, it appears the decision was fairly sudden.

ANT began life in 1993 producing ethernet cards for the Acorn Archimedes. It added related client software including web browsers, FTP and email, what was known then as the internet suite.

Simon Woodward’s arrival coincided with a repositioning of the company away from hardware and onto software – the UK home-grown computer industry had begun to fade and the Acorn market evaporate – which eventually focused on TV.

Following an angel investment and three VC rounds, Woodward took the company public in 2005, raising £11.2m with a market capitalisation of £30m and it now provides embedded software solutions and services for the TV industry, similar to the ‘red button’ services seen on UK digital televisions.

However, it has since failed to fully realise its potential. Market cap is just over £4m and it is yet to generate a pretax profit. Revenues have only increased from around £2.5m in 2005 to £4.5m in 2011 with staff numbers stable at between 40 and 50 people. Following today’s announcement the ANT’s share price dropped 1.4 per cent, down 0.25p to 18 pence a share.

?30k funding opportunity to launch for Cambridge University staff as well as students

£30k funding opportunity to launch for Cambridge University staff as well as students

Written by Lautaro VaSource:


The Knowledge Wall by Alicia Bramlett. Credit: The Value Web

Cambridge University has teamed up with UnLtd to offer its staff and students up to £30,000 in funding support over the next academic year.

UnLtd is one of the leading providers of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK. It backs hundreds of projects throughout the year through its regular awards programme, but has now launched a series of Higher Education partnerships that cover 56 UK institutions including Anglia Ruskin University, offering grants and tailored support to selected social entrepreneurs at each institution.

Its first event in Cambridge is with the University of Cambridge however when it launches the awards programme on November 7 with an event for those interested in finding out more about how they can benefit from the scheme and potentially launch their own social enterprise.

The scheme is said to help students and staff at the University develop their expertise, skills, knowledge base and business support structures in social entrepreneurship and social enterprise activity.

Further support will be provided by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, which is offering a 12-hour ‘Starting a New Enterprise’ course during Lent term (January to March) to support social entrepreneurs in developing business models.

Decisions will then be made during Easter term to offer cash grants and 12 months’ of support to selected entrepreneurs, which includes consultations and advice from local partners, participation in mentoring networks and workshops, trainings and networking events offered through the nationwide Social Entrepreneurship Awards programme.

• UnLtd Social Entrepreneurs Awards Launch, Wednesday 7 November 2012, 6.30pm Emmanuel College Queen’s Building. RSVP to

ideaSpace launches new Cambridge city centre space and brings in Springboard IoT

ideaSpace launches new Cambridge city centre space and brings in Springboard IoT



Miller’s Yard.

The ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator, an incubation and coworking space for technology startups and entrepreneurs, has signed a lease for a new premises in the heart of Cambridge whose first tenant will be the Springboard Internet of Things programme.

Based at Miller’s Yard, the new offices are the first move outside of the Hauser Forum for ideaSpace, which recently celebrated two years of operation and is currently operating at full capacity.

Despite ideaSpace’s favourable rates, the lowest for a coworking space in Cambridge, some have found that its position on the fringes of Cambridge makes it difficult to access due to low levels of parking and public transport. The new premises is well served in this respect, but prices are expected to be higher though final rates are yet to be decided.

ideaSpace director, Stewart McTavish, hopes to have it fully up and running by May, but will need to have enough ready to host the 10 teams that will participate on the 13 week Springboard Internet of Things (IoT) programme by March.

The three year lease covers around 2,500 sq ft of space and sits across the road from the old Institute for Manufacturing facility that now holds the community ‘invention’ shed, Makespace, which Springboard will also be using. Miller’s Yard also houses the technology division of burgeoning technology company, Metail.

Demand for coworking space in Cambridge seems to be increasing. As well as ideaSpace’s already full operation at the Hauser Forum, Cambridge Business Lounge launched new coworking room two weeks ago, again in Cambridge’s city centre, while last year CamJelly relaunched the weekly free coworking space.

ideaSpace was set up two and a half years ago with funding from the now defunct East of England Development Agency and the Hauser-Raspe Foundation, a charity co-founded by entrepreneur Hermann Hauser.

Funding currently exists for another two years before the ideaSpace has to become self-sustaining. McTavish says they continue to look at the possiblity of setting up at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, but are no longer pursuing the option of the Broer’s Building.

CSR breaks $1bn mark for full year revenues

CSR breaks $1bn mark for full year revenues



Connected: CSR is now about more than Bluetooth alone

A 15 per cent increase in full year dividends, another $50m share buy-back, a $152m turnaround in pretax profits, its highest share price in two years and revenues surpassing $1 billion for the first time – things have gone very well for CSR in 2012.

The Bluetooth pioneer has reported record revenues of $1,025.4m (£673m) for 2012, up 21 per cent on the previous year and is comfortably the highest revenue earner in the Cambridge technology cluster with almost £100m (around 16 per cent) more than ARM, the next largest.

The big difference between these two is that ARM’s pretax profits in 2012 were £221m and CSR’s £66m, but considering that in 2011 CSR had made a pretax loss of £33m, it is showing very healthy improvement in this area and at noon CSR shares were up 41.2 pence to 426.60 pence a share, a 10.7 per cent increase.

The company is using its resurgence to increase shareholder value. Following a $50m share buyback at the beginning of last year and a $285m tender offer that followed the Samsung deal, CSR has announced another $50m buyback plan, all with the aim of increasing earnings per share.

Overall revenues were boosted by the full integration of Zoran, which it acquired for £300m in 2011 and which accounted for $301m (£198m) of its full year revenues. Without it, revenues would have fallen one per cent.

Since it offloaded its location and handsets business (the ‘legacy’ business) to Samsung for £200m, a deal that closed in Q4 of 2012, the company has focused on five core sectors, where it says it has its strongest market position and best margins. With no new products coming through, legacy income is falling, but according to CEO, Joep van Beurden, has greater resilience than expected and still accounts for 36 per cent of revenues while the core business is 64 per cent.

In the core business there were marked improvements in Voice and Music, but a fall in Consumer products if you discount the massive Zoran contribution. CSR says this drop is largely to do with a shift in consumer-led behaviour – people are using their smartphone cameras more and more at the expense of dedicated digital cameras.

Van Beurden said: In 2013, we will continue to invest to develop our platforms in our five chosen markets of Auto, Voice & Music, Imaging, Bluetooth Smart and Indoors Location, which we believe hold good growth potential.

First quarter revenues are expected to be in the range of $215m to $235m for 2013 (Q1 2012: $227m).


Bango and MMIT introduce M-Ifl? – The Solution to Africa?s Complex Mobile Payment Landscape

Bango and MMIT introduce M-Ifl? – The Solution to Africa’s Complex Mobile Payment Landscape

Source: RNS

Bango (AIM: BGO) and MMIT have released M-Ifl?, a safe payment solution that enables online transactions for digital content. M-Ifl? navigates the complex mobile payment environment in Sub-Saharan Africa and is tailored to the needs of the industry leaders in mobile content.

Africa’s growing population of smartphone users are young, tech savvy and early adopters by instinct. But when it comes to payment for mobile apps and content, African consumers are shut out, excluded from mobile commerce because merchants are fearful of the risks of doing business in Africa. M-Ifl? addresses those concerns and will unlock a world of mobile payments in Africa.

Mobile billing has been held back across much of Africa, limited by a range of technological and political risk factors. Political instability in a number of Sub-Saharan countries has resulted in unclear regulatory environments and a lack of proper infrastructure to support stable carrier-grade billing systems. Settlement and collection of funds is complex, with rapidly fluctuating exchange rates, varying taxes, and transfer fees. Further, As Jide Akindele, CEO of MMIT commented “unfortunately corruption remains a substantial risk within the mobile money industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. This has resulted in a reluctance from the world’s app stores and mobile brands to engage the African market.”

Bango is a leader in mobile payments, powering payment for many of the world’s largest app stores. MMIT is an African based mobile payment software developer with a mission to revolutionize mobile money payment and transfers in Africa. The two companies have combined to build M-Ifl?, a billing mechanism and verification portal for digital wallets. M-Ifl? is designed to fit the cash-exchange culture of Africa and offer reassurance to app stores and digital merchants. M-Ifl? will give millions of Africans the ability to make mobile payments for apps, games and other smartphone content.

M-Ifl? is a payment verification portal that acts as a safe entry point for mobile content providers to reach the African market. M-Ifl? allows consumers with a mobile wallet account in Africa to pick their wallet provider as a payment option at the checkout page of a content site. The wallet holder enters their mobile wallet number for account verification and obtains the content.

M-Ifl? acts as an intermediary between mobile merchants and mobile wallet providers. In near real-time, the tool queries the accounts of mobile wallet subscribers to determine if the subscriber has enough value in their wallet account to facilitate a purchase. M-Ifl? also enables those without a mobile wallet to buy content on major app stores, using a top up card that can be bought in retail outlets, with codes to use at the checkout page of an app store or other merchant site.

M-Ifl? minimizes risk and allows merchants to be paid up front, neatly sidestepping the complexity of doing business in Africa. The result is that app stores and other merchants no longer need to fear that payment will be held up in another country based on bureaucracy, fraud or changes in regulation. Meanwhile African consumers can look forward to full participation in the mobile commerce explosion.

Beginning in key Sub-Saharan markets, M-Ifl? will initially be available in Kenya and Nigeria, quickly followed by Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia.

M-Ifl? is already integrated with some of the major mobile wallet providers in Africa, including Mobipay in Kenya, Stanbic IBTC Mobile Money in Nigeria and further announcements are imminent.

Bango CEO Ray Anderson said: “There’s a smartphone boom in Africa and a frustrated demand for digital content. App stores and other merchants have been waiting for the reassurance of M-Ifl?, which limits the risk of doing business in Africa, and has been designed to suit the ‘cash up front’ instincts of the African market.”

Jide Akindele, CEO of MMIT “Merchants in the western market are yearning for a suitable payment process platform that minimizes their risk in the African market. We believe that our M-Ifl? platform gives our clients that capability to do so. We look forward to opening up access to content store owners that are looking at the African market via Bango and MMIT’s Mobile money payment processing platform.”

‘Ifl?’ is a Yoruba word for content or information. Yoruba is the language of the largest ethnic group in Nigeria and the most commonly spoken language after English.

Jonathan Milner makes shock exit as Abcam CEO



Dr Jonathan Milner has resigned as CEO of Abcam to focus exclusively on building partnerships and investigating new technologies, bringing an end to his reign as boss of one of the most successful biotechnology startup stories the UK has seen in recent years.

Milner led the protein supplier since its formation in 1998, a startup journey that at one point had him traipsing round the laboratories of his former colleagues at Cambridge University with iced buckets full of antibodies for sale in an effort to raise cash. With the help of Abcam co-founder, David Cleevely, over the next 16 years he built the company into Cambridge’s largest biotech firm, breaking through the celebrated $1 billion mark.

Milner will continue active service within Abcam in the newly created position of deputy chairman with responsibility for business development. This essentially sees him heading the company’s pursuit of product-complementing partnerships, be that through licensing, co-developments, equity investments or acquisitions.

An Abcam spokesperson said Milner had been considering the move for some time. It means Jonathan can focus on the stuff that he really enjoys doing, which is looking at the new technology and also looking at partnership opportunities, said the spokesperson.

The company’s at quite a different place now than it was when Jonathan founded it in terms of the kind of skill set it needs. Jonathan felt that someone who had more of the consumer focused background would actually be a better fit for where it is now.

Milner won’t work full time and will be freed of the responsibility of daily management, allowing him to focus on the partnership side of business development and looking at different technological advances. He also remains the company’s largest shareholder with a stake of around 13.8 per cent in the firm.

Former chief marketing officer, Alan Hirzel, has been installed as Milner’s replacement with immediate effect. Milner said: I have worked closely with Alan over the last year and he has been inspirational in the evolution of our strategy. Alan brings a rich and deep background in both life sciences and management, with an impressive knowledge of our markets.

He has my full confidence and I believe there is no one better to take the company forward on the next phase of our journey. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him and the strong leadership team at Abcam in my new role as deputy chairman, helping to seek out new technologies and opportunities which will further strengthen the company.

Abcam managed to counter any fears the stock market may have had regarding the succession by announcing it on the same day as its full year results – by mid-morning, the company’s share price was up over 6.5 per cent to 435.9 pence a share, an increase of 27.7 pence.

The company’s results revealed an 8.6 per cent rise in revenues on a constant currency basis (4.7 per cent on a reported basis) to £128.0m (FY 2013: £122.2m) and a 10.1 per cent rise in dividend to 7.75 pence per share. Pretax profit increased marginally to £43.6m (FY 2013: £42.9m).

It was also announced that after nine years as a non-executive director, Peter Keen would not seek re-election to the board at the forthcoming AGM. This follows the March appointment of Lady Louise Patten as a non-executive director and June’s announcement that Mike Redmond would step down as chairman after the AGM with Murray Hennessy taking on the role.