Here are six of today’s key business stories in one handy package.
Motor dealer Park’s of Hamilton expanded its footprint with the acquisition of north-east rival Macrae & Dick, in a deal backed by Bank of Scotland. The takeover adds a further 12 dealerships to the Park’s network and takes its number of franchise partners to 23 – including marques such as Ford, Mazda and Toyota.
Scotland’s retailers were given some welcome cheer after putting in the strongest performance in two years thanks to healthy festive food sales. The latest sales monitor from the Scottish Retail Consortium and KPMG showed that total takings dipped 0.2 per cent last month compared with December 2014, when they had declined by 1.8 per cent.
Oil giant Shell said its earnings are expected to more than halve for 2015 after being hammered by plunging crude prices. The group, which is weeks away from completing a $55 billion (£39bn) deal to buy BG Group, expects full-year underlying earnings to tumble to between $10.4bn and $10.7bn. This is slightly below City forecasts and marks a sharp fall on the $22.56bn reported for 2014.
Aberdeen-based Plexus Holdings won a contract in Oman worth about $600,000 (£420,000). Under the deal, the oil and gas technology group will supply explorer Masirah Oil with its Pos-Grip wellhead system, designed to prevent the type of blowout behind the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster that killed 11 people.
Life sciences firm Collagen Solutions warned that its annual sales will fall short of City hopes after it was hit by lower-than-predicted order volumes, customer delays and cancelled projects. The Glasgow-based company predicted it would deliver revenues of about £2.8 million for the year to 31 March – well below previous market expectations of £3.6m.
Partners at Brodies unanimously re-elected Bill Drummond as managing partner for a seventh three-year term. The former chairman of the Scottish Council for Development & Industry, who has been with the law firm for 35 years, was first elected to the role in 1998.