Here are six of today’s key business stories in one handy package.
Plans were unveiled to bring Scotland’s biggest Next store to an Edinburgh retail park in a move that will create more than 100 jobs. Peel Retail Parks, owner of the Straiton development, said the 80,000 square foot development has been pre-let to the fashion and furnishings retailer. Building work has already started on the site, which previously housed a Homebase branch, and the new store is set to open in June.
Publishing group Johnston Press agreed to buy the i newspaper for £24 million in cash. Chief executive Ashley Highfield hailed the deal as a “transformational acquisition” for the Edinburgh-based owner of The Scotsman. The sale was agreed as i owner ESI Media said the print versions of its sister titles, the Independent and Independent on Sunday, are to close, leaving an online-only edition.
Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline was fined almost £38m for breaching competition law in relation to the supply of an anti-depressant. The Competition & Markets Authority, which handed out penalties totalling £45m over the issue, said GSK had agreed to make payments “and other value transfers” of more than £50m to suppliers of generic versions of paroxetine in a bid to delay the potential entry of rivals to the market.
The former “executive wing” at Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters opened its doors to an initiative aimed at supporting fledgling firms. State-backed RBS has teamed up with Entrepreneurial Spark (ESpark) to create the free business accelerator hub, or “hatchery”, in its Gogarburn building that once housed the plush offices of former chief executive Fred Goodwin.
Edinburgh tech spin-out Pyreos said it was aiming to treble sales in the United States and is eyeing growth in other key markets as it prepares to launch new applications for its passive infra-red sensors. The company – which develops high-end technology used in devices such as motion sensors, gas detectors and food safety – will begin its US drive next week in California as part of an alliance of firms attending the Photonics West trade show with Scottish Enterprise.
Engine maker Rolls-Royce said annual profits tumbled 12 per cent to £1.4 billion as the business was hit by civil aerospace cuts and falling commodity prices that have impacted output at its marine division, which supplies the oil industry. The fall in earnings was less severe than analysts expected, but the group halved its final dividend to 7.1p a share as it seeks to conserve cash.