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FEWER businesses are expected to have gone bust in 2004 than in any of the previous six years.

The latest BDO Stoy Hayward Industry Watch research reveals an 8% drop in the number of companies going bust from last year's figure of 17, 550. This brings the number of failures for 2004 down to 16, 150, equivalent to an average of 310 businesses going bust per week. It is predicted 16, 250 businesses will fail in 2005, that's 312 firms per week. This increase remains well below failure rates recorded in recent years. UNITED Utilities, the Warrington-based multiutility group, is selling its green energy operational assets for pounds 63m in cash to Novera Macquarie Renewable Energy.

The deal involves 40 projects including 2 9 landfill gas sites, 10 small-scale hydropower sites and a mine gas site. It does not include UU's wind development portfolio.

BOOTLE-based waste collection company Gaskells Waste Services is expanding its vehicle fleet following a major pounds 400, 000 investment in two Mercedes Benz Econic collection vehicles. They are the first stage of a replacement fleet with more wag ons arriving in the new year.

Managing director Jonathan Gaskell said: ``These new vehicles reflect our commitment to providing a cleaner, more environmentally friendly service for our customers. ''

ONLY 35% of north west firms have introduced a new product or service in the past three years. The north east fared worse with a figure of only 13%. The Design Council surveyed 1, 500 companies.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 21, 2004
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