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Asian entrepreneurs are positive about the prospects of growth in 2007 according to research conducted by Barclays Business Banking. More than nine out of ten (95 per cent) Asian entrepreneurs believe that their company will continue to grow over the next twelve months despite the fact nearly a third cited finding and entering new markets as one of the top challenges facing their business this year and more than one in five admitted financing growth would be an issue.

L: Mike Jatania of Lornamead; R: Sahar Hashemi

The findings, which were the result of a Barclays ‘all about business’ conference held for Asian owner-managers of mid-sized companies, also reveal four in ten owner/managers plan to spend less time on day to day management in order to develop and expand operations. At the conference, successful entrepreneurs Mike Jatania, CEO of international personal care business Lornamead and Sahar Hashemi, co-founder of Coffee Republic provided guidance and insight on how to successfully turn a mid sized business into a bigger, better company.

For Mike Jatania, important considerations were; defining a core focus, developing a financing strategy in line with business strategy and using PR to promote the business when looking to grow. Sahar Hashemi said that recapturing the entrepreneurial spirit and reviewing the business from the customer’s perspective would help identify where change was needed.

Satish Kanabar, Area Corporate Director at Barclays Business Banking, commented:

“A positive ‘can-do’ attitude is a hallmark of Asian entrepreneurs but finding new markets and financing growth is a challenge for any owner/manager. From improving sales to developing personnel, our research shows many business owners now recognise the need to take a step back from day to day management issues and review where they want to be in five or ten years time.”

Barclays surveyed 65 owners of mid-size Asian-owned businesses at the conference which centered on how companies can manage growth and take their business to the next level.   The conference was part of a series of events hosted by Barclays as part of its ‘all about business’ initiative. This is an exclusive club designed to provide Barclays customers with access to financial and management expertise, a wealth of information around business growth, local business seminars and networking opportunities.

Mr Mike Jatania is Chief Executive of international personal care business Lornamead and nominated the Eastern Eye Businessman of the Year 2006. Mike has driven expansion of Lornamead into a global marketer of over 30 brands by acquiring and revitalizing well known heritage brands including Lypsy, Harmony and Yardley.

Ms Sahar Hashemi was co-founder of Coffee Republic built up one of the UK’s best known high street brands with a turnover of £30m. She was named as one of the most influential women in Britain in 2003 (Daily Mail).

Corus Steelworkers to benefit from Employee Share Scheme

At least 7,000 Corus Steel workers will get payouts averaging more than £6,000 each as a result of being in the Corus sharesave scheme. The scheme enabled employees to buy up to £150 worth of shares each month at a discounted rate. In addition, around 6,000 were also in an employee share ownership incentive plan.

ifs Proshare, a not for profit organisation concerned with the issues of employee share ownership and financial education in the workplace, have welcomed the news as yet another example of the benefits of giving employees a stake in the company’s they work for.

Fiona Downes, Head of Employee Share Ownership at ifs Proshare, said,

“ifs Proshare are naturally pleased that once again thousands of UK workers are to benefit from an employee sharesave scheme. This news follows the fact that 12,000 employees at M&S are to receive payouts of between £1,000 and £45,000 as a result of their membership of a sharesave scheme.

2007 will see an increasing number of companies and employees benefit from such schemes and we hope this will act as an incentive for other companies to offer their employees a stake in their organisation.”

Many steelworkers who took advantage of Corus's Sharesave scheme bought up to  £150 worth of shares a month for as little as 19p. The takeover bid values each share at £6.08. 

A Sharesave scheme is an arrangement under which an employee has the right (known as an 'option') to buy shares at a future date at a price determined shortly before the options are granted.

The company can discount the price of the shares by up to 20% off the market value. The scheme has to be open to all eligible employees of the company although a qualifying period of employment can be set. Employees who do not miss any of their monthly payments also receive a tax-free bonus when the scheme matures.

Tax warning for UK Indians with overseas income

Many Indians who live in Britain, but were born abroad, face unexpected UK tax bills on worldwide income and gains.

When most individuals are accepted as resident in the UK for tax purposes, they must pay tax on all income no matter where in the world it is created.

The warning comes from Alan McCann, director of tax at UK top 30 accountancy and professional services firm DTE. He is urging Indians who receive offshore-generated earnings to seek advice from specialist advisers to ensure they complete annual tax returns correctly.

“Many Indians who were born outside the UK, or have parents born outside the UK often mistakenly believe that any income or gains arising overseas are not taxed in the UK, or of interest to the UK tax authorities. They could not be further from the truth,” ? says Alan McCann.

“Where an individual fails to understand UK tax law and does not disclose worldwide income and gains, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will not only seek the tax arrears, but also pursue interest payments and, in many cases, impose stiff financial penalties.”?

As HMRC devotes more of its resources to collecting tax arrears, people who fail to disclose overseas income and gains will be increasingly targeted.

Alan McCann continues: “Opportunities are available people resident in the UK who are ‘not domiciled’ to reduce UK tax liabilities. The legal definition of an individual’s domicile situation can be a complex issue and the need to seek specialist advice can hardly be overstated. 

“Some individuals who might expect to benefit from being ‘non-domiciled’ may nevertheless fail crucial tests by HMRC, while others who assume they will not be treated as ‘domiciled’ may be surprised by the ruling.”?

Alan McCann adds: “With large scale immigration to the UK in recent times, all UK residents who receive income or gains arising from abroad should ensure they take advantage of all reliefs and concessions made available to them by the UK tax authorities.”?

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