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.
Childcare will create 2,000 jobs, Swinney promises
About 2,000 new jobs in childcare are to be created in Scotland as part of a £3.5 million drive to help more women find work, finance secretary John Swinney revealed yesterday. It comes after plans to extend free childcare to more than 15,000 two-year-olds were announced by the Scottish Government this week. ,Childcare has been thrust into the centre of the referendum debate in recent months after the SNP pledged to effectively introduce full-time universal provision after independence and get a generation of mothers back into work. (Scotsman)
Firm’s big thinking pays off
International expansion pushed Aberdeen-based energy service company Hydrasun through the £100million turnover barrier in 2013. Although UK North Sea operations continued to be the firm’s largest single operating region, it reported further progress in its ambitions for global growth, with success achieved in key oil and gas regions. (Press & Journal)
The Digital Fabric of Scotland: The Challenge of stitching it together - 29th January – Edinburgh
Join us and the Scottish Council on Archives as we bring the first event of its kind to Scotland. Fiona Hyslop MSP Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs and Annelies van den Belt, CEO of DC Thomson Family History are among some of the expert speakers that will aim to raise awareness of digital records among key decision makers across different sectors, help build a Scottish digital records community to collaborate on finding the best technological solutions and securing investment and examine the options for ensuring long term access to valuable digital resources. Visit the Scotsman Conferences website for more details.
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
Greenvale firm eyes Jersey Royal Company
SHARES in AIM-listed Produce Investments have surged by nearly 13% after the owner of the Greenvale AP potato business revealed it was in talks to acquire The Jersey Royal Company. Produce Investments, which has its head office and one of its three UK packing sites in the Scottish Borders, is expected to pay around £12 million for the business. (Herald)
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Ortak rescue hits the rocks putting 100 jobs at risk
No buyers have been found for troubled Orkney jewellery firm Ortak leaving the jobs of over 100 employees in doubt. The company, which operates retails stores across Scotland, went into administration last March, blaming difficult trading conditions leading to a downturn in fortunes. James Stephen, BDO business restructuring partner and joint administrator of Ortak Jewellery, said since March, they had retained staff and continued to trade the business while they explored all options to secure the future of the business.
Tesco and Morrisons hit by festive sales slump
Supermarket giant Tesco today posted a fresh drop in sales for the key festive season, while smaller rival Morrisons warned its profits will miss City expectations after it suffered an even steeper decline. Tesco, which is undergoing a £1 billion revamp as part of chief executive Philip Clarke’s efforts to revive its fortunes, blamed the weak grocery market for a 2.4 per cent drop in UK like-for-like sales during the six weeks to 4 January.
TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY
House builder Persimmon in Scots sales rise
PERSIMMON has announced it sold around 1100 homes in Scotland during 2013, which was slightly ahead of expectations. The house builder said continued strong trading towards the end of the year saw it end more than 29% ahead of the 850 units completed in 2012. The company had predicted, in November, that Scottish sales would be around 25% ahead year-on-year.