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.
TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY
Fears for Clyde jobs as BAE is set to wield axe
Finance secretary John Swinney last night demanded “urgent clarity” on the fate of Scottish shipbuilding workers, amid fears for the future of hundreds of jobs in UK yards. Workers on the Clyde face an anxious wait after indications that BAE Systems is set to announce job losses in Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow this week, as well in as the shipbuilding operation in Portsmouth.
FirstGroup ‘returning to strength’ as profits rise
Transport giant FirstGroup today said its turnaround strategy was beginning to bear fruit as it posted a 10 per cent rise in profits for the first six months of its financial year. The Aberdeen-based group, which raised more than £600 million through a rights issue in June to shore up its balance sheet, has pulled out of the London bus market in an effort to focus on faster-growing areas, and chief executive Tim O’Toole said the early signs from its restructuring were encouraging.
Investment in fleet helps Craig Group profits grow
Shipping and energy services firm Craig Group has marked its 80th anniversary with a strong rise in turnover and profit. The Aberdeen-headquartered firm, a privately owned business now employing a fourth generation of the Craig family, said revenues reached £146.8 million in the last financial year, up from £123.3m. Operating profits of £17.4m in the 12 months to 30 April compare to £15.2m the year before.
Rise in business confidence but at slower pace than UK
BUSINESS confidence rose again in Scotland in the third quarter, but at a slower pace than in the UK as a whole, a survey shows. It also revealed finance professionals in Scotland are more sceptical about the prospects for recovery and about government economic policies than their peers elsewhere in the UK.
Primark shows M&S how to sparkle as profits jump
PRIMARK turned up the pressure on Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland with a sparkling performance that outshone its older rival. M&S, which launched its latest multi-million pound advertising campaign this week, announced its ninth consecutive quarterly fall in non-food sales and a fall in profits, while Primark unveiled a 22 per cent rise in annual revenue. The contrasting fortunes of the two firms comes as M&S opposes Primark’s bid for permission for a store close to its flagship outlet at the Gyle in Edinburgh.
MEDIA, TECH & LEISURE
Linn makes big noise with R&D despite profit fall
LINN Products, the high-end audio specialist, has vowed to continue investing millions in new products despite recording a fall in sales and profits. The privately-owned firm – one of the most revered names in hi-fi – said it had also invested “substantially” to grow its presence in China, where it is targeting well-heeled audiophiles. Turnover fell 5 per cent to £16.4 million in the year to June.