Agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew has announced grant awards to four industry-led research and development projects.
These are the first awards under the DARD Research Challenge Fund and represent over £500,000 of new investment in commercially focused research and development. The grants will be match-funded by the industry partners. AgriSearch and PigRegen will lead the projects to address dairy, beef and pig issues in collaboration with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute.
Armour firm in administration
A COMPANY which supplies body armour to soldiers in Afghanistan and some 25 police forces in the UK has gone into administration. More than 60 staff at Shieldtech, and its subsidiary Aegis Engineering, have been made redundant after RSM Tenon Recovery was brought in as administrators. Gareth Roberts, one of the administrators, said Shieldtech's contracts are still intact but "non-performing" as they seek a potential buyer or investor.
Uniq aims to cool funding fears
CHILLED foods firm Uniq unveiled radical plans to transfer 90% of the firm's equity to its pension scheme in an attempt to resolve a funding deficit. The group, which supplies Marks & Spencer and The Co-operative, said it had reached agreement with trustees of the group's pension fund on the proposed deficit-for-equity swap, but the plan still needs to be approved by the Pensions Regulator.
Haulage firm fails to deliver targets
THE owner of the Eddie Stobart haulage business delivered a jolt to investors after it reduced its expectations for full-year profits. Stobart Group blamed the "slight" downward revision on the impact of Network Rail spending cuts at its rail infrastructure maintenance operation. It also reported shorter lead times and volatility in volumes at its core transport business and said it was concerned that business may be affected by January's VAT increase and the government's spending review.
Stena voted top ferry company
STENA Line has been voted the top ferry company for an eighteenth time at the annual Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards. Paul Grant, Stena Line's Belfast-Stranraer route director said they had invested millions across its Irish Sea routes at a time when travel companies were cutting back.