Costa acquires Coffee Nation

first_imgUK coffee retail chain Costa Coffee has acquired self-service coffee chain Coffee Nation for £59.5m. Costa plans to launch a new brand, Costa Express, which will target the self-serve coffee bar sector.Parent company Whitbread said the “acquisition provides Costa with access to new types of location and creates a growth opportunity in the UK’s emerging self-serve coffee bar sector”. This market currently comprises around 2000 units of which Coffee Nation operates 900.“Customers increasingly want great-tasting coffee on the go, which makes the self-serve coffee market very attractive,” commented Whitbread chief executive, Andy Harrison.“This acquisition provides an exciting launch pad to develop 3000 Costa Express bars across the UK, providing an additional growth lever for the Costa brand and making Costa available to more customers in more locations.”Coffee Nation’s coffee bars use fresh milk and freshly ground coffee. Costa Express’s coffee will be supplied by the Costa Roastery in London. Coffee Nation’s existing customer base includes Tesco, Moto and Welcome Break.Costa Limited will purchase Coffee Nation, which has an annual turnover in excess of £20m, from Milestone Capital and Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance and members of the existing management team.In March 2008, Milestone Capital Partners (‘Milestone’) led the £24m secondary management buyout of Coffee Nation, backing the existing management team. Investec provided a preferred equity investment of £5.25m in support of their bid. The £59.5m cash payment, includes the entire issued share capital of Coffee Nation including the repayment of Coffee Nation’s existing debt.In a trading statement from Whitbread today, Costa reported overall sales were up 28.5% for the 50 weeks to 17 February 2011. Like-for-like sales in the UK were up 7.9% over the same period.>>Barracuda welcomes Costa into pubslast_img read more

News story: Universities told to end grade inflation

first_img Our universities are world-class and world leading, with four ranked among the top ten in the world, and attracting thousands of international students. At the heart of that global reputation is a trust in the quality and high standards of the education provided. Unjustifiable, artificial grade inflation threatens that. It cannot be right that students in one year are awarded higher grades for the same level of achievement than those in previous years. We owe it to the hardworking students who have earned those top grades to stamp out this unfair practice. I expect the Office for Students – when they have their full range of powers – to challenge those institutions that record an unjustifiable rise in the proportion of top degrees being awarded. The OfS’ statutory powers are on course to be strengthened through new regulations due to be laid in Parliament later this year, which once agreed allow the OfS to levy fines of up to £500,000 or two per cent of a university’s income (whichever is higher).Universities found to be damaging students’ interests could be subject to sanctions such as placing additional conditions on their registration, fines, or in the worst case scenario removing a university’s powers to award degrees.The UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment, is developing sector-recognised standards to ensure that all degree awards are consistent and fair – due to be completed this academic year.Universities UK, GuildHE and QAA have been undertaking this work as members of the committee on behalf of the full committee and the sector.Together, these measures will strengthen the regulator’s ability to challenge universities with unwarranted grade inflation and hold them to account.Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: Universities must end the steep-rise of ‘unjustifiable’ first class degrees to maintain the UK university sector’s world class reputation, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has said today (24 March).In the second in a series of interventions across higher education, Mr Hinds wants action taken across the sector to put a stop to artificial grade inflation starting from the next academic year – in a bid to reset the proportion of firsts and 2:1s awarded by universities.Analysis published by the Office for Students (OfS) in December 2018 showed that 27% of students obtained a first-class honours degree in 2016/17, up from 16% in 2010/11. Of all university students, 78% now obtain an upper degree (first or 2:1), up from 67% in 2010/11. Analysis of these figures concluded that the scale of this rise cannot be attributed to the rise in pupils’ prior attainment or changes in student demographics alone.The OfS data also revealed that 50.1% of students at the University of Surrey were awarded a first class degree in 2016-17, while at the University of Huddersfield 37.9% of students were awarded a first class degree in 2016-17.Mr Hinds has today announced a clear expectation that the OfS should directly challenge institutions where they find clear evidence of artificial grade inflation occurring.Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:center_img Universities are determined to tackle unexplained grade inflation. The sector’s collective will to take ownership of this challenge is strong, as we recognise it is crucial that we keep the confidence of students, employers and the public, in the value of a university qualification. It is important to draw a distinction between grade inflation and grade improvement, where increased investment in teaching and facilities, as well as students working harder than ever, are leading to legitimate increases in grades. Questions raised by this debate will not halt efforts to ensure every student has the opportunity to get the best outcome from their study – a priority shared by the government and the Office for Students. We will shortly be publishing the results of a wide-ranging consultation, carried out with sector partners, which includes a statement of intent from universities on how to protect the value of qualifications across the UK.last_img read more