Here are six of today’s key business stories in one handy package.
The initial public offering of Clydesdale Bank was pushed by a day back amid the possibility of a credit rating downgrade. Shares in Clydesdale, which also owns the Yorkshire Bank brand, had been due to begin conditional trading in London today under the CYBG banner. Trading is now expected to start tomorrow, with the shares priced at 180p – towards the bottom end of the 175p to 235p range announced last month. That would value CYBG at about £1.6 billion.
The founders of Big Partnership, Scotland’s largest public relations agency, agreed to sell the business in an £11 million management buyout. Alex Barr and Neil Gibson, who co-founded the firm in 2000 along with Graham Isdale, will transfer ownership of Big to six fellow board members over the next five years. Big, which employs 115 people, has five offices across the UK and generated turnover of £8.3m for the year to May 2015.
Oil major BP laid bare the impact of plunging crude prices as it slumped into the red by $5.2bn (£3.6bn) last year. The blue chip giant revealed losses of $2.2bn for the fourth quarter alone after its upstream business – exploration, drilling and well operations – suffered in the face of the tumbling cost of crude.
The owner of Tennent’s Lager announced a 12-month price freeze for independent on-trade customers in Scotland. Tennent Caledonian said the move was aimed at helping those pubs and restaurants “at the heart of our communities”. The price freeze was announced as the brewer said it was rebranding its Wallaces TCB sales and distribution arm under the Tennent’s banner.
Edinburgh software outfit QikServe, developer of an app dubbed “the waiter in your pocket”, unveiled a partnership with US technology giant Oracle. Under the tie-up, QikServe’s technology – which lets customers order and pay for meals in cafés and restaurants with their smartphones – will be fully integrated into Oracle Hospitality’s point of sale platform. The move follows a £750,000 fundraising for the start-up.
Recruitment firm C & P, which specialises in the property and construction sectors, weathered the industry downturn to post record revenues and open a branch south of the Border. The Edinburgh-based firm forecast a 49 per cent increase in sales to £7.5m for the current financial year and has opened for business in Newcastle, supplementing its HQ in the Scottish capital and an office in Inverness.