Business diary

Topland are top of the props

By Candice Krieger, June 4, 2009

It’s been quite a week for Sol Zakay, the property entrepreneur who runs the Topland Group together with his brother, Eddie. Their company was named Most Promising Newcomer of the Year at the annual Variety Club Property Awards, aka the Props. They beat RBS boss Stephen Hester and Philip Lewis — former senior director of both Hines and Heron. But the award is not enough to keep Sol Zakay in the UK, it seems.

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It pays off to be Frank... PR

By Candice Krieger, June 4, 2009

Mazeltov to Frank PR. The Jewish-run agency, which counts Sir Alan Sugar among its clients, has landed another award — Best European Marketing Campaign of the Year for the launch of KitKat Senses which featured Girls Aloud — at the Sabre European PR awards.

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'Opportunity' fund on cards

By Candice Krieger, May 21, 2009

Property veteran Leo Noe is seeking investors for a £300m “new opportunity” fund. Mr Noe will manage the Devonshire UK Opportunities Fund, which is being started by F&C Reit Asset Management, the outcome of the merger between Mr Noe’s Reit Asset Management and F&C’s property division last year.

Devonshire UK Opportunities plans to take advantage of the current property market, snapping up bargains. JP Morgan is acting as broker to the fund.

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Daring plan for Grosvenor Square

By Candice Krieger, May 21, 2009

Billionaire Richard Caring has had a busy week. The restaurant and clothing entrepreneur secured a 3 per cent stake in Carluccio’s last week and nearly became the new owner, according to reports. But alas, that crown has reportedly gone to Hutton Collins. Mr Caring, however, is said to be keen on acquiring more properties. He has been given the go-ahead by Westminster City Council to redevelop the ex-US Navy headquarters in London’s Grosvenor Square.

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Subway takes bite of Israel

By Candice Krieger, May 14, 2009

Good news for sandwich lovers. Subway restaurants — famous for its foot-long sarnies — is returning to Israel after a break of several years.

The sandwich chain has reportedly rented a 130 sq m branch in Herzliya Pituach.

Subway’s previous Israeli franchisee had 21 branches in Israel before it closed down. The new franchisee repotedly plans to open 130 Subway restaurants nationwide.

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Peston’s Barnet better than Brad’s

By Candice Krieger, May 14, 2009

The BBC’s business editor Robert Peston is known to many for his enthusiastic coverage of the credit crunch. But he has, it seems, become something of an icon for the would-be well-groomed, after being voted as having the best celebrity haircut. His barnet was deemed better than that of George Clooney, Daniel Craig and Brad Pitt.

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Nice one, Nick

By Candice Krieger, May 14, 2009

Nick Leslau has pulled off a property masterstroke. The founder of Prestbury, Mr Leslau has poached Mike Brown, deputy chief of Helical Bar, to join Prestbury — a move that surprised the market given his position as successor to Mike Slade.

Mr Brown will reportedly become chief executive of Max Property, Mr Leslau’s new £200m investment company that has the backing of hedge fund group Och-Ziff.

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Praise for Rabbi’s crisis initiative

By Candice Krieger, May 7, 2009

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of Mill Hill Synagogue, north London, has been praised by the Financial Times for the credit crunch initiative he launched in his community. Last year, he set up the Resource Committee, a network of businesses, employment experts and counsellors. It was highlighted in the FT’s report on Britons turning to religion during the recession. Rabbi Schochet also set up an emergency fund for members in immediate crisis, and a Shabbat fund which, as the JC reported, received a cash boost from Sir Philip Green.

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Sir Alan lands a £30m government contract

By Candice Krieger, May 7, 2009

Sir Alan Sugar’s IT company, Viglen, has beaten a string of overseas firms to secure a contract worth £30 million to supply equipment to government bodies.

Having been selected by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), Viglen will supply a range of computer equipment to the public sector. It will provide around 70,000 computers to more than 45 central and local government councils, including a number of NHS and local education authorities, over the next two years.

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Strong show for cinema chain

By Candice Krieger, May 7, 2009

When the going gets tough, we go to the cinema, it seems. Cineworld, the listed cinema group, has reported box office income up by 19.1 per cent and revenues up 13.2 per cent in the 17 weeks to April 23, offsetting a fall in advertising. Chief executive Steve Wiener said: “The overall figures demonstrate the resilience of our business in the current economic and financial climate. With an attractive lineup of film releases in the second half, we remain confident in the outlook for the year as a whole.”

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