Bellshill-headquartered independent software testing company Edge Testing Solutions has signed seven new clients in the first quarter of this year including several multi-year contracts valued at over £3 million.

Spanning a variety of public and private sector contracts, the new contract wins include a high street retailer, two universities, NHS Blood and Transfusion service, Department of Education, a Glasgow based e-commerce start-up and a gas distribution network provider.

Testing services will be delivered from its Lanarkshire offices, in Manchester, Birmingham and London.

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Edge Testing will be managing testing services for a Manchester based university, combining both onsite and remote delivery from its digital test hub, while another new contract with a West London university will be supported by Edge Testing’s London team.

For the universities, Edge Testing has been appointed as a software testing partner following highly competitive bids and the new contracts build on the company’s experience and full testing service offer for the universities sector, where it has been active since 2015. 

From Edge Testing’s Birmingham office, testers will be providing the NHS Blood and Transplant Service with a specialist test automation and performance testing, while also providing test consultancy services for the Midlands-based gas utility organisation.

The NHS contract with Edge Testing sees the software testing company provide consultancy, and automated and performance testing services, to support the growth and optimisation of blood donation, transplantation, and diagnostic and therapeutic services.

Sharon Hamilton, of Edge Testing, said: “All of the new contract wins have provided a significant boost to our plans for growth in England. They are also a strong indication of our expertise, track record and reputation within the public sector, retail, utility and education sectors.”

The firm had a record year of growth in 2019, which saw Edge Testing increase its presence in England by 50 per cent, and the company intends to continue its expansion in the north of England, creating an additional 60 new jobs.

The firm's original Digital Test Hub was opened in Scotland in 2013, followed by Birmingham in 2017, and Manchester in 2019.

Around 3,000 staff at online electricals retailer AO World could share a £240 million bonus pot as part of a reward scheme unveiled by the group.

AO World said its new scheme - called the value creation plan - would pay out bonuses to staff for share price rises above £5.23 a share - equivalent to a £2.5 billion stock market value and marking a rise of around 30% on current stock prices.

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Executive bosses will share up to £20 million in bonuses under the plans, although founder and chief executive John Roberts has pledged to donate any rewards he receives to help disadvantaged young people in the UK.

The scheme will be measured over a five- to seven-year period, but the share price has to hit at least £9.41 for staff to get the full payout and the price must be maintained for at least a further two years.

Mr Roberts said: "The decision to create an opportunity for every AO employee to receive a meaningful reward for the value they create is one that I'm proud to tell my mum about.

"It is a vote of confidence in our people and the future we're building as well as the embodiment of our One AO model because it rewards the exceptional value that the AO team is capable of creating together."

Telecoms group TalkTalk has said it expects annual underlying earnings to remain stable or grow after trading bounced back in June and July as lockdown restrictions eased.

The group said headline revenues fell to £358 million in the three months to June 30 from £387 million a year earlier due to trading restrictions and cancelled live sports due to Covid-19.

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TalkTalk is expecting a hit of £15 million from the coronavirus crisis.

But the group said that, as the reliance on broadband for home-working becomes "even more important" amid the pandemic, it is confident over the first-half outlook and its plan to deliver stable to growing full-year earnings.

Tristia Harrison, chief executive of TalkTalk, said: "As with many businesses, we have seen a short-term Covid-19 impact, primarily due to lockdown trading restrictions and cancellation of live sports.

"Revenue, fibre net adds and ARPU (average revenue per user) trends have all improved in June and July as lockdown restrictions have eased.

"Encouragingly, customer payment trends are in line with the pre-Covid-19 period and we continue to see an ever-increasing demand for our higher speed fibre and ethernet products."

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