Business Round up

Technology helps centralisation

• Life assurance group Britannic is to cut 350 jobs as part of a plan to
centralise its administration and cut costs. The jobs will be cut across the
Britannic branch network as paper work is moved to the group’s head office in
Birmingham. Centralisation would use the latest telephone and computer
technology to link the administration centre to the sales force, said the
group. PA

Pressure on as service sector booms

• Growth in Britain’s booming services sector continued in January, putting
pressure on service providers who are finding it increasingly difficult to
expand capacity and meet demand. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and
Supply says demand is so strong that service providers are reporting output
bottlenecks and intensifying inflationary pressures. "Shortages of staff were
again linked to rising salaries, and higher wage costs remained a significant
factor driving a further sharp rise in input prices," the CIPS says in a
report today. London Evening Standard

Firm cuts 141 jobs as factory closes

• Clothing manufacturer Martin International Holdings Plc is further
restructuring by closing an underwear and leisurewear factory. At least 141
jobs will be lost at the factory in Shirebrook, Nottinghamshire. About 100 of
the 241 staff are to be offered alternative employment at other sites in the
county. The company, which is a supplier to struggling retail giant Marks &
Spencer, said the restructuring would cost around £1m.

All-share deal clinches takeover

• The world’s biggest takeover was rubber-stamped last week after Vodafone
AirTouch won the backing of the board of Germany’s Mannesmann for a £114bn
deal. Weeks of talks ended when Vodafone chief executive Chris Gent finally won
the support of Mannesmann chairman Klaus Esser for an all-share deal. The move
will create the world’s biggest mobile telephones group with a customer base of
42 million.

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