A Foxtons estate agent sign is seen outside a branch in north London September 3, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

While Britain’s housing market has been boosted by signs of an improving economy as well as help from the government and the Bank of England to ease access to finance, the pace of recovery has raised concerns about a new property bubble. Data last week showed British house prices recorded their fastest rise in almost seven years. However, despite being wary of proposed further government stimulus measures, housebuilding analyst Tony Williams said London was not yet experiencing a market bubble and rising interest rates in coming years would act as a natural brake. “A bubble is when you have people buying and flipping within the space of months. What you have in London is a shortage of supply and a planning system that gums up the works,” he said. “This particular run will end some time between the back end of 2014 and 2016, as rising mortgage rates will cause the market to plateau,” Williams added. Foxtons, which last year earned more than half its revenue from its lettings business, is focused on expansion within London, home to 40 of its 42 branches, and has said it is aiming for five to 10 new branch openings a year between 2014 and 2018. But analyst Anthony Codling at brokerage Jefferies said that while estate agents were the best way to gain exposure to the UK housing market, prospects were better for nationwide firms. “We see more significant potential for house price growth outside of London than inside,” he said in a note. Jefferies worked on Countrywide’s float. CHEQUERED HISTORY House prices fell 16.3 percent in London after the financial crash and by 16.6 percent across England and Wales, according to Land Registry data. While London prices have recovered to 6 percent above their pre-crash peak, in the rest of the country they are still 10 percent below. Foxtons’ offering, which was oversubscribed, raised 335 million pounds for selling shareholders, including majority owner private equity group BC Partners, and company employees. BC Partners reduced its stake from 75 percent to 28.3 percent through the sale and if an overallotment option – whereby more shares can be sold if there is strong enough demand – is exercised this will drop further to 22.3 percent. Foxtons Chief Executive Michael Brown stands to pocket 52.3 million pounds from reducing his stake to 8.1 percent.

IXYS UK Westcode Ltd. Launches Range of Precision Bar Clamps for Press-Pack Semiconductors

This range is available with clamp forces from 900kgf (9kN) to 5000kgf (50kN) and has a maximum height allowance of up to 120mm to accommodate busbar and cooling arrangements. These clamps can be used for both single-side and double-side cooling. Each clamp in the range has a single, high accuracy, calibrated force which applies a constant pressure to the press-pack device and is simple to install. A two-rod system is used with Belleville washers to give even clamping force on the device. This range of precision bar clamps, specifically designed to suit the IXYS UK range of press-pack semiconductor devices, fills the gap in our range of complementary products. Each product in the range is pre-calibrated and designed for simple, no-hassle installation without the need for specialist tools or torque wrenches. This range further enables IXYS UK to provide a total solution to our customers, commented Nicholas Tarling, Product Engineer at IXYS UK. For more information, details of the different options available and help to select the correct clamp for the semiconductor you wish to use, please go to the IXYS UK web site at www.ixysuk.com or please contact us at e-mail: sales@ixysuk.com or telephone: +44 (0)1249 444524 for quotation. About IXYS UK Located in Chippenham, England, IXYS UK Westcode Ltd. is the IXYS leading manufacturing site for very high power thyristors, SCRs and rectifiers ranging up to 6500 Volts and 15,000 Amps. IXYS UK continues to supply high technology components for a wide range of applications such as wind and solar energy, welding, AC and DC motor drives for oil, marine and water treatment facilities, uninterruptible power supplies, motor soft starters, transportation, induction heating, mining equipment and many other industrial applications. About IXYS Corporation Since its founding, IXYS Corporation has been developing power semiconductors and mixed signal ICs to improve power conversion efficiency, generate solar and wind power and provide efficient motor control for industrial applications. IXYS, and its subsidiary companies, offer a diversified product base that addresses worldwide needs for power control in the growing cleantech industries, renewable energy markets, telecommunications, medical devices, transportation applications, flexible displays and RF power. Safe Harbor Statement Any statements contained in this press release that are not statements of historical fact, including the performance, features and suitability of products for various applications, may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause the results of IXYS to differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements, including, among others, risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s SEC reports, including its Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2013.

UK critics pan ‘Much Ado’ but love a comic ‘Dream’

JILL LAWLESS 40 minutes ago LONDON (AP) The word “ageless” is often applied to Shakespeare’s plays, which are still packing in audiences after 400 years. But age is very much on the agenda in two new London productions. Both are well-loved comedies, both feature star casting and that’s where the similarities end. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” at the Noel Coward Theatre, puts the emphasis on youth; the Old Vic’s “Much Ado About Nothing” on maturity. Age first. “Much Ado” has a pedigree to make theater-lovers swoon: Directed by Tony-winning actor Mark Rylance, a former artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, it stars Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones as sparring partners Beatrice and Benedick, two resolute singletons forced to admit they are in love. Redgrave, 76, and 82-year-old Jones are among the great actors of their generation, and showed terrific chemistry onstage in “Driving Miss Daisy.” They are also much older than actors who normally play the Bard’s bickering duo. It’s not ageist to point this out Rylance has said age is a central theme of the production. And the casting certainly gives some lines an extra kick, as when Benedick greets Beatrice with “Are you yet living?” The critics agreed: it was unconventional. Many also felt it was unsuccessful. The Guardian’s Michael Billington awarded just one star out of five on Friday, calling it a “senseless” production of “misdirected oddity” ineffectively staged and puzzlingly cast.