Scottish Business Briefing – May 31st 2013

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WELCOME to scotsman.com’s Scottish Business Briefing. Every morning we bring you a comprehensive round-up of all news affecting business in Scotland today.

INDUSTRY

Scottish engineering sector sees strong quarter

ORDERS and output levels in the Scottish engineering sector have moved back into positive territory amid increasing optimism. The latest quarterly review from industry body Scottish Engineering also found recruitment levels continue to be strong.

Read all today’s industry news from scotsman.com

BANKING

RBS trims bid teams list for branches up for sale

THE Royal Bank of Scotland has whittled down its shortlist of bidders for the 316 branches it has been forced to sell by European regulators. A shortlist of three bidders remains, including a consortium led by former Tesco finance director Andrew Higginson and another from Corsair Capital backed by Standard Life. A third from Anacap Financial Partners has also confirmed it is still involved in the bid process which is required to complete by the end of the year.

Santander chief plans more Scots branches

Santander UK chief executive Ana Botin says she remains committed to growing the branch network and staff numbers in Scotland but has again ruled out bidding for Clydesdale Bank. Ms Botin, in Glasgow to speak to customers and deliver a lecture at Strathclyde University, confirmed Santander UK is focused on ambitious organic growth plans.

Read all today’s banking news from scotsman.com

ENERGY & UTILITIES

Cross offer low, say Lochard investors

TOM Cross faces a battle for control of Lochard Energy after a group of investors said a bid of £14.5 million for the firm by the Parkmead Group he runs undervalued it. A consortium of investors represented by Cornhill Capital and accounting for 20.37% of the outstanding shares in Lochard Energy in total said they do not intend to accept the all-share offer for Lochard Energy tabled by Parkmead Group last week.

Read all today’s energy and utilities news from scotsman.com

FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE

Scots salmon company is big winner at Food and Drink Excellence Awards

An Arran smoked salmon company is the toast of Scots cuisine after scooping three top prizes at the 2013 Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards. St James Smokehouse picked up Scottish Food and Drink Entrepreneur, Business of the Year and Export Business of the Year at the awards, which were held in the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. Others big winners included The Highland Chocolatier and Plenta Foods Limited, who received two awards each.

Read all today’s food, drink and agriculture news from scotsman.com

TECHNOLOGY

PhotoBox contract will create 110 Glasgow jobs

More than 100 multi-lingual jobs are to be created with the expansion of a Glasgow call centre operation.The move follows the signing of a contract between French group Webhelp TSC and PhotoBox, an online company that creates personalised albums, gifts and wallpaper from digital photos.

Read all today’s technology news from scotsman.com