UK News ALEX BRUMMER: Attack on British aerospace industry

02:25  08 may  2021
02:25  08 may  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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ALEX BRUMMER : An estimated one million people watched as Alan Cobham landed his plane on the River Thames in 1926, having travelled to London 'by way of Australia'. This issue does not just affect the aerospace industry . Private equity firms are running — or ‘running down’ — a host of businesses and are insufficiently monitored by stock market authorities or the Government. A notorious example of how things can go wrong was when British Steel collapsed under its owner, investment firm Greybull — which had a reputation for buying companies cheaply, milking them for cash, then abandoning them.

By Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail. Published: 22:36 BST, 6 May 2021 | Updated: 23:13 BST, 6 May 2021. Veteran chairman Will Samuel and chief executive Ben Loomes, having presided over transformation, should not surrender at the first smell of cordite or see a bid as an opportunity to fill their boots. Selling off the fabric of British industry has already left the nation looking threadbare.

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The aerospace sector and the technology it generates is a powerhouse of the UK economy. It employs more than 120,000 people, most of them outside London and the south-east.

In normal times, it generates an annual turnover of £35billion, most of which comes from exports.

The toxic combination of the pandemic, which has deeply scarred the aviation industry, and an invasion by overseas (and domestic) bargain hunters threatens to demolish it before our eyes.

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Latest in the sights of a foreign predator is Meggitt, which is being stalked by acquisitive US engineering outfit Woodward.

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Alex Brummer (born 25 May 1949) is an English economics commentator, working as a journalist, editor, and author. He has been the City Editor of the Daily Mail (London) since May 2000, where he writes a daily column on economics and finance.

ALEX BRUMMER : The fact is that, as Britain looks to become more global in the post-Brexit era, it desperately needs more runway capacity in the prosperous south-east if we are not to lose out. It saves the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who once threatened to lie down in front of the bulldozers, from having to make an embarrassing U-turn. It is a great victory for British Airways owner IAG, which controls an astonishing 51.5 per cent of the take-off and landing slots at the airport and has such a dominant position that Virgin Atlantic and the myriad of other global carriers find it hard to compete.

Meggitt has a British heritage which dates back to 1850 when its forerunner developed the altimeter for the world's first generation of large hot air balloons.

Now it supplies high-tech instruments to civil aviation, and components for America's cutting edge F-35 Lightning fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin. The pandemic has had a malevolent impact on Meggitt as it has on the whole aerospace sector from Rolls-Royce to Melrose-owned GKN.

Just how serious the crisis has proved is evident from British Airways -owner IAG's latest financial results showing a £1bn loss in the first quarter. BA is counting on the opening of air routes between London and North America to power recovery.

Winning sectors such as aerospace require not just national champions such as Rolls-Royce and BAE but clusters of suppliers and other firms which provide science, technology and components. As a result of shameful neglect by successive governments, the country is in danger of selling the pass. In the last few years, satellite firm Inmarsat has been sold to private equity firms Warburg Pincus and Apax. Flight refuelling pioneer Cobham was sold to another private equity buyer, Advent, in spite of national security concerns. It is currently being dismantled and sold on by the new owners. Private jet group Signature fell to a private consortium headed by Blackstone and including Bill Gates.

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ALEX BRUMMER : There is one 'misstep', however, that stands out as profoundly stupid.That's the decision to quarantine incoming passengers to our airports The disastrous loss of revenues for airlines, airports and airport retailers, such as travel specialists WH Smith, is just a microcosm of the tragedy awaiting the UK’s brilliant tourism industry . No wonder that 78 key British players in the travel and tourism industry felt compelled to appeal directly to Home Secretary Priti Patel in a letter this week, urging her to think again about her ‘unworkable, ill-thought out’ quarantine plan.

ALEX BRUMMER : Boris Johnson's Government has finally listened to this country's businesses and given the hospitality industry a chance of survival by easing the stifling two-metre rule. On top of that, more good news can be found in the signs of life among the sclerotic economies of our European neighbours, which remain the biggest combined market for British goods and services. But while many will be toasting the easing of lockdown, perhaps with an uplifting, socially distanced pint of beer with their reunited family, no one should kid themselves that life in the UK, household incomes, shopping

GKN went to UK industrial group Melrose where the motto is buy, improve and sell. Covid, and stipulations imposed by government, means there will no sale any time soon. But the eventual destination will be to the highest payer. And with such disposals, when they are eventually completed, goes valuable R&D, intellectual property and a history which includes making Spitfires, a symbol of Britain's triumph over evil in the Second World War.

When Boris Johnson tore up industrial strategy in favour of 'building back', he could not have envisaged the destruction of aerospace manufacturing. If a bid or merger for Meggitt does materialise, it could become the first critical test of the workings of the new National Security & Investment Act which seeks to make sure that offers for strategic assets are properly scrutinised. It may be hard to topple an US buyer on national security grounds given US-UK shared interests. Losing command and control of another aerospace group would nevertheless be a body blow to a strategic, innovative industry.

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ALEX BRUMMER : The Chief Rabbi's broadside against Jeremy Corbyn is undoubtedly the result of deep reflection of the feeling of dread being felt by Britain's Jewish community. The hardest thing for me to understand about Labour’s anti-Semitism is the sheer ignorance. It is as if people don’t know how destructive, harmful and potentially dangerous is the monster they have unleashed. Alex Brummer is chairman of the Jewish News and a former vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

More from Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail New kings of the British aisles: Return of Asda to UK ownership will bring a fresh dynamic to the grocery market, says ALEX BRUMMER 02/10/20. ALEX BRUMMER : Government throws a lifeline to Rolls-Royce and Britain's beleaguered aerospace industry Horrifying moment stranger punches Honey, I Shrunk the Kids star Rick Moranis, 67, in the head in unprovoked attack on NYC's Upper West Side. Nick and Vanessa Lachey joke around with a spooky 'Lachey Boneyard' decoration outside their Los Angeles mansion: 'We LOVE Halloween'.

Adios Amigo

It is not just secretive financier Edward Bramson who has egg splattered all over as a result of a vicious campaign to persuade Barclays to pull out of investment banking. Backers of Bramson's vehicle Sherborne include some of the City's best names, Aviva and Schroders. Aviva recently sought sainthood by leading criticism of the Deliveroo float.

Bramson argued that investment banking income is less stable than commercial banking. An era of super low interest rates and the pandemic turned that wisdom on its head. Under Jes Staley Barclays has emerged as Europe's top investment bank, scoring highly in trading, M&A and floats.

Staley's stay at the top of Barclays has been marred by past association with disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein. But he, and successive chairmen John McFarlane and Nigel Higgins for showing him patience, deserve credit and seeing off an unscrupulous boarder.

Virus beater

Emma Walmsley will need victories if the Glaxosmithkline chief executive is to see off corporate vultures Elliott Partners.

It is encouraging that the European Medicines Agency has begun a rolling review of the effectiveness of VIR-7831 (sotrovimab) a medicine which has shown dramatic results in reducing hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19.

It is a potential lifesaver in more ways than one.

Read more

Alex Jones celebrates son Kit's second birthday as pregnant The One Show star shares sweet throwback snaps .
Mum of two Alex, who is expecting her third baby with insurance broker husband Charlie Thomson, took to Instagram to share a snap of a giant blue two balloon for son KitMum of two Alex, who is expecting her third baby with insurance broker husband Charlie Thomson, took to Instagram to share a snap of a giant blue balloon, captioned: “Time flies.

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