Friday business round-up: Six key stories of the day

The Queen arrives with Captain Michael Hepburn to embark on the Hebridean Princess for a cruise to celebrate her 80th birthday in 2006. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
The Queen arrives with Captain Michael Hepburn to embark on the Hebridean Princess for a cruise to celebrate her 80th birthday in 2006. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
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Here are six of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

A luxury cruise ship chartered by the Queen to celebrate her 80th birthday is changing hands in a £2.9 million deal. Hebridean Princess owner All Leisure Holidays is selling the vessel and “certain related assets” to a new company, HP Shipping, from which it will lease back the former car ferry.

Three international restaurants chose Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square for their first sites outside London. New York steakhouse STK Rebel, barbecue and lobster shack Big Easy and Bombay-style café Dishoom are to open their doors at the £75m South St Andrew Square development, a joint venture between Standard Life Investments Pooled Pension Property Fund and developer Peveril Securities.

The UK government sold £13 billion of Northern Rock mortgages to investment firm Cerberus Capital Management. TSB Bank revealed it would take on £3.3bn of the mortgages and loans from Cerberus, meaning it effectively becomes the lender to an additional 34,000 homeowners across the UK.

Empiric Student Property signed a deal to buy a development in Glasgow for a total of £9.6m. The 155 George Street scheme, which sits opposite Strathclyde University’s main John Anderson campus, will see a vacant office building converted into 87 self-contained studios and a two-bed apartment.

Research commissioned by Heathrow highlighted its contribution to Scottish exports as the battle for a new runway between London’s largest airport and rival Gatwick ­continues. The airport surveyed key business figures in Scotland on their attitudes towards selling abroad, and 46 per cent said exporting allows them to expand and directly hire new staff.

Department store chain John Lewis said sales fell last week, despite the launch of its latest high-profile Christmas advertising campaign. Overall takings in the week to 7 November were down 0.4 per cent compared with the same period last year, and all three of its Scottish stores were in negative territory.