Catch up with the main breaking business stories of the day.
Royal Bank of Scotland will have to raise around £2 billion to boost its financial strength after failing the Bank of England’s annual health check of the sector. The Edinburgh-based lender, which is 72 per cent owned by the taxpayer, emerged as the worst performer in the stress test and has drawn up a plan overnight to bolster its resilience in case of a financial crisis. RBS chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson said: “We have taken further important steps in 2016 to enhance our capital strength, but we recognise that we have more to do to restore the bank’s stress resilience including resolving outstanding legacy issues.”
Belhaven-owner Greene King has reported record half-year revenue topping £1bn, but warned of a “more challenging” consumer environment as regulatory costs and weaker economic growth hit the industry. Group revenue rose 13.8 per cent to £1.04bn in the 24 weeks to 16 October, boosted in part by the ahead-of-schedule integration of its newly acquired Spirit Pub Company. Chief executive Rooney Anand said: “Looking ahead, increasing levels of consumer uncertainty, further cost pressures and the changing dynamics of eating out, mean the consumer environment is likely to become more challenging.”
Law firm Shepherd & Wedderburn is expanding its presence in Aberdeen with the acquisition of the city’s Commercial Law Practice (CLP). The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see CLP partners Mike Anderson and Keir Willox become partners at Edinburgh-based Shepherd & Wedderburn, which also has offices in Glasgow and London. Fellow partner Maaruf Razzak becomes a director. Shepherd & Wedderburn chief executive Stephen Gibb said that Aberdeen and the North-east remains a “cornerstone” of the Scottish economy, and the acquisition will be followed by further senior hires next year.
“It is to be hoped that the ‘high-level delegation’ going from supermarket group Iceland Foods to Reykjavik this week to try to resolve their dispute over its trademark name manages to thaw relations,” writes Martin Flanagan. “The nub of the dispute is that the government is unhappy at what it claims is the company’s aggressive legal actions against Icelandic businesses using the word ‘Iceland’ as part of their trademark even when the products and services do not overlap.”