UK employees see wage growth of 62% over 25 years

Full-time employees in the UK are earning 62% more than they were 25 years ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said today.

As of April 2011 the average full-time wage had risen to around GBP12.62 per hour excluding overtime. This represents a cash increase of 226% compared with 1986, when the average wage was GBP3.87 per hour. After adjusting for price increases over the 25-year period, full-time employees were on average 62% better off in 2011 than in 1986.

Importantly, the increase in pay was not evenly spread and earnings grew most for those at the top end of the scale. The top 1% of earners enjoyed the biggest increase between 1986 and 2011, at 117%, and the top 10% saw an increase of 81%.

The bottom 10% saw wage growth of 47%, although the very lowest earners did better – especially after the introduction of the National Minimum Wage in 1998. Across the 25 years the bottom earners had a 70% increase in pay. Since 1998 those at the very bottom end of the earnings distribution have seen a real increase of 51%, compared with an increase of 30% for the top 1%, the ONS reported.

The UK’s national trade union centre, the TUC, noted that the minimum wage has provided an important pay boost to the very poorest workers, but that inequality has risen throughout the UK over the last quarter of a century.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said that the cost of the economic crisis has been passed on to workers on average incomes, with those near the bottom suffering the greatest loss, and he called for the minimum wage to continue rising in order to help the very poorest workers. More employers should pay a living wage to help the low-paid, he added.

Looking specifically at the effects of the economic downturn of the last five years, the ONS report reveals that people at all income levels experienced drops in real earnings in the period 2007-2011, with wage growth failing to keep pace with price rises. This stands in contrast to the four-year period covering the recession of the early 1990s, in which real wage growth was positive across the scale.

A separate report released yesterday by Incomes Data Services, part of Thomson Reuters, showed that total earnings for FTSE-100 directors have increased by around 10% over the last year. Although salary growth was in line with inflation and bonuses were down on the previous year, there was a big rise in the value of vested long term incentive plan awards.

Simon Walker from the Institute of Directors commented that the level of FTSE directors’ pay in some cases remains excessive, and incentives are often not properly linked to the long-term fortunes of the company. He said that shareholders have a role to play in working with boards to make sure that directors are judged on a range of criteria that reward genuine long-term performance, not just on fluctuations in the stock market.

Abramovich invests in UK waste solutions firm W2T

UK-based waste solutions provider Waste2Tricity Ltd, or W2T, said today that businessman Roman Abramovich’s Ervington Investments Ltd had taken a 10% stake in the company in exchange for an undisclosed sum.

As a result of the stake buy, Paul Heagren will join Waste2Tricity as a non-executive director. Heagren is a long standing employee of Abramovich.

The investment follows Ervington’s purchase of a 15% interest in British industrial fuel cells developer AFC Energy Plc (LON:AFC), which is a strategic shareholder in Waste2Tricity. As part of that transaction, carried out last month, Abramovich’s investment vehicle subscribed for nearly 32.6m new AFC ordinary shares at GBP0.266 (USD0.425/EUR0.331) apiece, thus helping the company raise almost GBP8.3m net of costs.

Furthermore, in early November Canadian plasma gasification company Alter NRG Corp (TSE:NRG) said it had agreed to raise gross proceeds of some USD10m (EUR7.8m) by issuing nearly 30.8m common shares to three new strategic investors, including Ervington. Abramovich’s firm took a stake of about 18.2% through that transaction.

Waste2Tricity’s chairman Peter Jones noted that the British company has longstanding relationships with both of these entities. W2T combines AFC’s new generation alkaline fuel cells with Alter NRG’s plasma gasification and other existing technologies with the goal of implementing the most efficient energy conversion process available.

UK transport group Stagecoach acquires Manchester operator Bluebird

British bus and rail public transportation provider Stagecoach Group Plc (LON:SGC) said today it will acquire the north Manchester bus activities of private operator Bluebird for GBP2m (USD3.2m/EUR2.5m).

The deal was signed and will be carried out by Stagecoach’s wholly-owned indirect unit Greater Manchester Buses South Ltd. It involves the purchase of a leased depot site in north Manchester along with around 40 vehicles.

With this acquisition, Stagecoach will grow its own bus operations in the Greater Manchester region, where the company has some 630 buses and 1,850 employees. According to Stagecoach UK Bus managing director Les Warneford there is scope to develop the operation and lure more clients.

To take over the target business, Stagecoach will first need to get the Office of Fair Trading’s approval. The company anticipates to close the transaction in the first quarter of 2013.

Bluebird’s business operates commercial and supported bus services in north Manchester, where it has a staff of about 80 people. It booked an operating profit of GBP330,000 and EBITDA of GBP480,000 on revenues of GBP4m in the 12 months to 31 January 2012. The acquired operations will become part of Stagecoach Manchester, while employees will be transferred to Greater Manchester Buses South.

Private equity firms in talks to take London-listed Corin Group private

British orthopaedic products and services provider Corin Group Plc (LON:CRG) confirmed advanced negotiations over a potential deal to be taken over by 2IL Orthopaedics Limited for GBP0.70 (USD1.12/EUR0.90) a share in cash.

Under UK’s takeover rules, the buyer has been given a deadline until 4 December to decide whether to make a firm offer for Corin, the latter said, adding that the deadline could be extended with consent from the country’s Takeover Panel.

2IL Orthopaedics is a new company, set up by a consortium of private equity investors, including IP Investimenti & Partecipazioni Srl and IDeA Opportunity Fund I in Italy and Hunt Capital SA.

Corin, which issued this statement in response to a recent movement in its share price, warned that there could be no guarantee that the ongoing talks would result in a firm offer being made for its stock.

The company engaged the advisory services of NM Rothschild & Sons Limited.

With operations in the UK, Germany, Austria, Europe, Australia, Japan and the US, Corin makes and distributes orthopaedic devices including mobile bearing total knee replacement, total ankle replacement, soft tissue internal fixation, bone conserving stem and advanced bearing acetabular systems.

Tesco’s Turkish unit in talks to acquire a controlling stake in local grocer Uyum Gida

Tesco Kipa Kitle Pazarlama Ticaret ve Gida Sanayi AS (IST:KIPA), the Turkish subsidiary of British retailer Tesco Plc (LON:TSCO), is in preliminary discussions about buying a majority stake in Turkish grocer Uyum Gida ve Ihtiyac Maddeleri Sanayi VE Ticaret AS (IST:UYUM), the buyer said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

At the end of September, the target had 55 stores in the Marmara region of Turkey, most of which are located in Istanbul.

The announcement comes after in June 2011 Tesco Kipa’s CEO Paul Ritchie told Reuters that his company would look into acquisition opportunities when they emerged. Later, Uyum Gida unveiled a one-year confidentiality agreement with a foreign investment fund to consider options for the company. In July 2012 Turkish daily Vatan reported that the British retailer was interested in acquiring a majority stake in Uyum Gida, adding that Tesco was the main suitor for the Turkish firm.

Tesco made its first step into the Turkish market in 2003 when it bought five Kipa stores. At present it has 181 stores in 24 Turkish cities including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Tesco Kipa generated revenues of GBP693m (USD1.1m/EUR863.4m) in fiscal 2011/12.

Founded in 1919, Tesco currently operates in 14 countries across Europe, Asia and North America, with over 500,000 employees. It engages in retailing books, clothing, electronics, furniture, petrol and software, as well as in providing financial services, telecoms and Internet services, DVD rental and music downloads.

Italy’s ALI acquires Scotsman Industries from sponsor Warburg Pincus

Italian foodservice equipment manufacturer ALI Group SpA announced its entry into a definitive agreement to buy Scotsman Industries Inc from US private equity major Warburg Pincus LLC.

The parties did not volunteer any information on financial terms or other deal specifics. Brookwood Associates LLC and Alston & Bird LLP were involved in the transaction as advisors to ALI, while Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP provided counsel to Scotsman Industries.

The Illinois-headquartered target has been operating as Scotsman Industries since May 2009, when Warburg Pincus bought the Enodis Ice Group and changed its name. The company specialises in the manufacture of commercial ice machines and claims to be the global leader in its field. Scotsman Industries sells its products in over 100 countries through a network of more than 1,000 distributors. The company has six manufacturing facilities and employs more than 800 people.

Luciano Berti, chairman and CEO of ALI, said that his organisation was excited at the prospect of adding Scotsman Industries to its family. This acquisition is a strategically important move on ALI’s part because it will enhance the company’s leading position among commercial foodservice equipment suppliers.

Given Scotsman Industries’ market leadership in the ice machine business, ALI will also be able to seize new opportunities and strengthen its capabilities to serve customers. The deal will bring in very well-known brands, which will help ALI enhance its global presence and visibility, Berti stated.

ViaSat 2Q 2013 shows revenue over $282 million

ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) said financial results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 include new contract awards and revenues of $548.0 million and $282.8 million, adjusted EBITDA of $44.6 million and a net loss attributable to ViaSat common stockholders of $0.04 per share on a non-GAAP diluted basis or $0.18 per share on a diluted GAAP basis.

ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) said financial results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 include new contract awards and revenues of $548.0 million and $282.8 million, adjusted EBITDA of $44.6 million and a net loss attributable to ViaSat common stockholders of $0.04 per share on a non-GAAP diluted basis or $0.18 per share on a diluted GAAP basis.

Year-to-date, ViaSat reported new contract awards and revenues of $880.6 million and $524.6 million, respectively, Adjusted EBITDA of $74.1 million and a net loss attributable to ViaSat common stockholders of $0.22 per share on a non-GAAP diluted basis or $0.51 per share on a diluted GAAP basis.

ViaSat, Inc. provides fixed and mobile broadband services, and satellite and wireless networks, as well as secure networking systems, products, and services for government and commercial customers worldwide.