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Home » North East Deals Of The Week: Key Acquisitions, Contracts And Investments

North East Deals Of The Week: Key Acquisitions, Contracts And Investments

North East accountancy company Leathers LLP has been snapped up by leading London based wealth management and professional services group Evelyn Partners.

Newcastle city centre based Leathers was launched in in 1990 by Michael Leather and has grown to become a well respected firm of chartered accountants and tax specialists.

The company is focused on advising high net worth individuals, families, business owners and corporates, with expertise in personal and business tax planning, succession planning, as well as property and business structuring. It offers a range of audit, accountancy, tax compliance and corporate finance services.

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Michael Leather, senior partner and founder of Leathers LLP, said: “Forward planning, client service and development of the team have been at the forefront of our success but in a changing environment, it is time for the business to gear up, extend the resources available to clients and to further develop the client service offering. Identifying the best way to do this has been challenging, but Evelyn Partners’ clear commitment to developing the business and their range and depth of resource have been key to the decision we took.”

Johnson Fernandes, founder of Equiwatt (Image: Jonathon Manning) Gateshead software firm equiwatt secured funding from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to ramp up development of its innovative technology.

Equiwatt has been awarded more than £630,000 from the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund (EEF) through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP), to aid the expansion of its community of UK households that power its virtual power plant. The company’s technology allows households to connect appliances and electric vehicles to its energy management system, using its free smartphone app and existing smart technology, including smart meters. It enables both homes and energy companies to reduce the costs and carbon footprint of peak-time home energy use.

Equiwatt’s technology is creating a growing network of connected homes, that collectively act together to help create a more efficient and flexible energy system. When demand on the grid is high, users are notified to take part in energy saving events, called ‘equivents’, during which they switch off or avoid the use of high energy use devices.

Jane Siddle of NEL Fund Managers with Anthony Wilson and Don Robinson of Advanced Composites Engineering. (Image: NEL Fund Managers) Advanced Composites Engineering has opened up a new revenue stream following a second investment from NEL Fund Managers. The firm was launched at the start of 2021 by a team of engineers who had previously worked together, to manufacture composite tubing for businesses across sectors including defence, aerospace, sports equipment and marine.

The Cramlington company has now taken on responsibility for manufacturing and supplying a customer’s 50-piece industrial cleaning kit that is used by household names around the world. The contract gives Advanced complete control of the production process, allowing it to respond quickly to customer needs and manage the manufacturing process much more efficiently.

Two years ago, the team at Advanced worked with Newcastle based business investors NEL to secure an initial £95,000 investment the North East Small Loan Fund, helping it to reach bigger clients. Now it has gone back to NEL for a further £150,000, this time from the North East Growth Capital Fund Loan Fund, to support the delivery of its new service.

Director Don Robinson said: “2022 was a challenging but successful year, and we’re now well set to build on what we’ve achieved so far.”

The site in Blyth, Northumberland, where Britishvolt had plans to build a gigafactory. Photo credit Owen Humphreys/PA Wire (Image: PA) A coming lithium hydroxide factory on Teesside could supply the company looking to rescue plans for Britishvolt’s £3.8bn gigafactory in the North East.

Tees Valley Lithium, which is building a £200m facility in Redcar, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Recharge Industries, an Australian start-up which administrators chose as buyer of the failed battery company. In an update to investors, Tees Valley Lithium – owned by Alkemy Capital Investments – said it would continue good-faith negotiations with the firm, aiming toward a definitive offtake and supply agreement.

It is hoped that Tees Valley Lithium will provide lithium hydroxide to a future Northumberland plant and another gigafactory operation Recharge is looking to launch in Geelong, Australia. Both firms have also agreed to work together on jointly sourcing lithium spodumene – a raw material – to be used at Tees Valley Lithium’s refinery in Port Hedland in Australia, where it will be converted to lithium sulphate and shipped to Teesside to be turned into lithium hydroxide.

The announcement came hours after Recharge was announced as the preferred bidder for Britishvolt, which ran out of money and collapsed into administration. There are hopes that the deal will revive plans for a 3,000-job gigafactory making batteries for electric vehicles near Blyth, Northumberland.

Recharge founder David Collard said: “This MOU links two like minded companies to enable the critical mineral supply chain needed to build significant battery manufacturing capability in Australia, the US and the UK and underscores our intent to revive the fortunes of Britishvolt. We look forward to integrating lithium hydroxide from TVL into our established and high performing supply chain.”

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