Wednesday business round-up: Four key stories of the day

The Shetland plant can process 500 million cubic feet of gas per day. Picture: Guillaume Perrin

The Shetland plant can process 500 million cubic feet of gas per day. Picture: Guillaume Perrin

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Here are four of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

Oilfield services contractor Petrofac revealed its annual profits had been hit by losses stemming from work on a delayed gas plant on Shetland. The firm delivered a net profit of $440 million (£314.9m) before losses linked to the Laggan-Tormore project, which it had been due to complete for French energy major Total in July of last year. Production at the facility began earlier this month. However, once the Laggan-Tormore losses were taken into account, net profits for 2015 dropped to $9m, down from $581m the previous year.

Some 1.7 million metres of Harris Tweed were produced last year – enough to stretch from the Isle of Harris itself to London and back. The figure – which compares with just 455,000 metres of cloth produced in 2009 – was revealed during an event at London Fashion Week, where Scottish Secretary David Mundell said Harris Tweed was “setting trends right across the world”. Norman L Macdonald, chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority, added: “We are so proud to see the cloth which is hand-woven at the homes of just 175 weavers on the islands of Lewis and Harris transformed into stunning collections which are shown on catwalks of the world’s fashion capitals.”

Glasgow-based engineer Weir Group said it aims to cut a further £40m of costs this year after seeing its annual profits almost halve. The firm, which said it is facing “unprecedented” market challenges, delivered annualised savings of £110m during the year to 1 January as orders fell across the oil and gas and minerals sectors. Overall revenues dropped 21 per cent to £1.9 billion, with pre-tax profits tumbling by 46 per cent to £220m as a result.

Broadcaster STV set out plans for a 25 per cent hike in its total dividend after overcoming a fall in revenues to deliver higher annual profits. The Glasgow-based group saw pre-tax profits for 2015 rise 10 per cent to £19.1m – up from £17.3m the previous year and in line with City forecasts – despite revenues dipping 3 per cent to £116.5m. STV said its production arm, which makes shows such as Antiques Road Trip and Catchphrase, missed its growth targets after securing fewer commissions than forecast.

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