Guy Hands’ View

17 March 2014

Government is loading SMEs with too many costs and regulations

George Osborne’s Budget speech this week is, as usual, shrouded with secrecy. But I think we can all anticipate it will include a hefty section on the Government’s support for the hi-tech industries of the future and the high-skilled jobs they would provide. This has, after all, become as much part of the Budget tradition as the photograph of the Chancellor posing outside No 11 with his red box.

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28 January 2014

No matter what the politicians say, GDP is a distorted guide to economic performance and a bad way to measure prosperity

When running a business, you learn that nothing matters more than setting the correct objectives and making sure you keep a very close eye on the balance sheet.

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1 November 2013

Japan’s elderly must get a yen for change

Japan’s recent economic history has haunted Europe ever since the global financial crisis first hit. With every quarter of weak or non-existent growth, the country’s two lost decades of stagnation was seen as a terrible warning of what the future held for Europe and the UK.
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25 October 2013

Driving Value Through a Commitment to Operational Excellence

Earlier this month, we at Terra Firma were very pleased to receive the Operational Excellence Award from Private Equity International (PEI) for the European Large-Cap category. This was a wonderful recognition of the years of hard work Terra Firma has spent transforming Deutsche Annington, which ultimately transformed the business from a quasi-state-run entity to a world-class company which is now listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

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11 September 2013

Why Unions Must Be Part of Our Long-Term Economic Solution

The Trade Union Congress, like a Seventies revival band, rolled into Bournemouth this week. There will, I predict, be few surprises. From the conference floor, we will hear all the old hits replayed with industrial action threatened, government failure and employer callousness slammed by a succession of speakers. In response, the media, politicians and business will react by painting unions as out-of-touch and a brake on progress. It is a familiar if depressing narrative.

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15 July 2013

A Focus on the Customer is Essential for Unlocking Value

The Garden Centre Group was recently recognised by the consumer magazine Which? as giving the best advice to customers after the publication’s mystery shoppers visited a number of garden centre chains. This is a wonderful recognition of the company’s staff at garden centres across the UK, who work very hard every day to make each customer’s visit a positive experience.

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24 May 2013

British energy security is in doubt without new generation capacity

For those who oppose the renewables industry, the discovery of shale gas is like the US Fifth Cavalry thundering into view. Just when it was becoming difficult to dismiss the role of the renewable sector in easing energy security fears, another argument arrives. We have no need to support or expand other renewables when energy needs can be met cheaply and efficiently through fracking.

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17 April 2013

Private Equity’s Ability to Build Successful Businesses Can Contribute to UK Economic Recovery

The Sunday Times recently published its Profit Track 100, a league table ranking the 100 British firms with the fastest-growing profits in the last three years. The list reveals a few interesting facts about these fast-growing firms: they are typically medium-sized, managed by founders or family directors and have between 100 and 1,000 employees. The most notable figure for me, though, is that approximately 25% of the companies ranked have private equity backing.

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15 April 2013

Lessons Learned: Pragmatism vs. Ideology in Financial Regulation

The global financial system has been transformed over the last couple of decades. Beginning in the 1980s, a wave of deregulatory reforms reshaped the markets along the lines of laissez-faire philosophy. This liberal approach to regulation paved the way for the unforeseen interdependence of financial institutions and resulted in global banking consolidation.

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18 March 2013

Private Equity Has a Vital Role to Play in Revitalising the European Economy

Today’s world is very different from the pre-2007 world of consensus, market economy based politics. Investors are adjusting to a new reality. They are recognising that, despite stagnant economic conditions, the best GPs are still driving real returns. They are becoming less distracted by the chaotic politics in countries across Europe. Read more.