UK manufacturers cut jobs at fastest rate since 2012: PMI

The British manufacturing sector was hard hit due to concerns about disruption to supply chains after the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. (AFP)
Updated 02 December 2019

UK manufacturers cut jobs at fastest rate since 2012: PMI

  • Britain’s economy has slowed since the referendum decision in June 2016 to leave the European Union
  • Manufacturing was especially hard hit due to concerns about disruption to supply chains

LONDON: British manufacturers cut jobs last month at the fastest rate since 2012, a survey showed on Monday, as pressures from Brexit and a global trade slowdown caused the sector’s longest decline since the financial crisis.
The IHS Markit/CIPS manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) sank to 48.9 in November from 49.6 in October, a slightly smaller decline than an initial flash estimate of 48.3.
But the PMI stuck below the 50 level that divides growth from contraction for a seventh consecutive month, the longest such run since 2009, as the country headed for an early election on Dec. 12 intended to end a parliamentary logjam over Brexit.
“November saw UK manufacturers squeezed between a rock and hard place, as the uncertainty created by a further delay to Brexit was accompanied by growing paralysis ahead of the forthcoming general election,” IHS Markit economist Rob Dobson said.
Britain’s economy has slowed since the referendum decision in June 2016 to leave the European Union, with manufacturing especially hard hit due to concerns about disruption to supply chains, on top of pressures from the US-China trade war.
Britain faced the risk of leaving the EU without a transition deal on Oct. 31, prompting many manufacturers to build up emergency stocks of raw materials, before a last-minute delay until Jan. 31.
In November, factories reduced stocks at the fastest rate since June 2018, weighing on overall demand, the PMI showed.
The PMI’s employment component sank to 46.8 from 47.1, representing the biggest loss of jobs since 2012, though less of a fall than in the flash estimate.
Although the unemployment rate is its lowest since 1975, official figures have shown that British employers in the third quarter cut jobs by the most for any quarter in the past four years. Monday’s data suggest this risks continuing.
Manufacturing makes up around 10 percent of Britain’s economy. In the third quarter output in the sector fell by 1.4 percent from a year earlier, while growth in the economy as a whole slowed to 1.0 percent, its weakest since 2010.
Earlier on Monday, the Confederation of British Industry forecast economic growth of 1.2 percent for 2020 and 1.8 percent in 2021, assuming Britain leaves the EU with a Brexit transition deal on Jan. 31 and then strikes a deal to preserve tariff-free trade.
Trade association Make UK cut its forecast for manufacturing growth to 0.1 percent for 2019 and 0.3 percent for 2020, down from a previous forecast of 0.6 percent.


Saudi fund shells out to help US cellular seafood pioneer

Updated 27 February 2020

Saudi fund shells out to help US cellular seafood pioneer

  • KBW Ventures joins ‘visionary’ $20m backing for San Diego food innovator

JEDDAH: A California innovative food company that produces seafood directly from fish cells is stepping up expansion plans with backing from “visionary investors” including KBW Ventures, the Saudi investment fund founded by Prince Khaled bin Al-Waleed bin Talal.

BlueNalu, based in San Diego, on Wednesday announced the completion of its $20 million Series A round of funding.

The financing will allow the company to develop a pilot production facility in San Diego, expand its worldwide staff, implement strategic alliances for global operations and prepare for its market launch.

The Series A round is co-led by Stray Dog Capital, CPT Capital, New Crop Capital and Clear Current Capital, each of which took part in BlueNalu’s seed round. The company secured $4.5 million in 2018 and has attracted investors from 11 nations so far, demonstrating global interest in the firm’s potential.

New investors include KBW Ventures, which supports innovative companies, such as BlueNalu, that have potential for growth and can sustainably feed the world.

BlueNalu’s A round attracted a significant number of strategic investors offering expertise and infrastructure in supply chain, operations, sales, marketing and distribution.

Strategic investors include global supply chain leaders that will provide guidance and raw material expertise to BlueNalu. These include Nutreco, a global leader in animal nutrition and aquafeed, and Griffith Foods, a global product development partner to the food industry, with expertise in market insights, food science, culinary and sensory optimization.

Strategic investors also include organizations with expertise in operations, sales, and distribution, including Pulmuone, a leader in healthy lifestyle and sustainable food products with distribution in Asia and North America; Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, a global investor and supplier of goods and services, including foods; Rich Products Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Rich Products Corporation, a leading supplier of icings, cakes, pizza, desserts, appetizers and bakery products.

FASTFACTS

• BlueNalu announced the completion of its $20 million Series A round of funding.

• The financing will allow the company to develop a pilot production facility in San Diego, expand its worldwide staff, implement strategic alliances for global operations and prepare for its market launch.

• The company secured $4.5 million in 2018 and has attracted investors from 11 nations so far, demonstrating global interest in the firm’s potential.

“BlueNalu has made considerable progress toward bringing cell-based seafood products to the world,” said Lou Cooperhouse, the company’s president and CEO.

“We have designed and executed a platform technology in which we will ultimately offer a broad array of sustainable cell-based seafood products to consumers, and our team has been extremely focused on implementing systems and processes that will be needed for cost-effective, large-scale production.

“We are thankful to the committed group of visionaries who participated in our earlier financing round and have invested again in this round, and we are eager to form partnerships with these five strategic investors, so that we can launch our cell-based seafood products in nations around the world,” he added.

“BlueNalu has demonstrated global leadership in cell-based seafood, and has the team, expertise, strategy and networks that are key to its success,” said Chuck Laue, co-founder and chair of Stray Dog Capital.

“As global demand for seafood continues to increase, and our supply continues to be compromised, we are excited at the potential for BlueNalu to play a significant role in feeding the planet in the decades to come.”

“BlueNalu has achieved a number of milestones in a short period of time, and we are proud to have backed this company since its origins,” said Chris Kerr, chief investment officer of New Crop Capital.

“We have seen extremely rapid global growth in plant-based foods, and BlueNalu is clearly at the forefront of this next generation of alternative proteins that many are predicting will have considerable growth and significant market penetration in the coming years.

“BlueNalu will offer a sustainable solution to consumers, free of mercury and environmental contaminants that will support the health, sustainability and biodiversity of our ocean. This is clearly a win-win-win for human health, sea life and for our planet,” he said.