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.
Finance firms look for clarity ahead of independence
OPTIMISM within the financial services sector has hit its highest level since at least 1989 – but experts are demanding answers on currency, governance and regulation ahead of September’s Scottish independence referendum. More than two-thirds of financial services firms feel confident in the outlook for their sector, according to a quarterly survey published today by the CBI and accountancy firm PWC.
‘Best year ever’ for Haines Watts team in Glasgow
ACCOUNTANCY firm Haines Watts has said its Glasgow corporate finance team had its best ever year in 2013 The group in Scotland’s largest city worked on 30 projects in the year, with 15 of them concluding within the 12 months. Among the deals it has worked on recently were the £5.6 million investment by the Business Growth Fund to back the high street expansion of independent Scottish optical chain Duncan & Todd and its manufacturing operations. (Herald)
Starting salaries rising at fastest rate in decade
Starting salaries are rising at their fastest rate in more than a decade and permanent job placements are at a near 10-year high, according to the Bank of Scotland. A long-running survey of 105 recruitment and employment agencies signalled near-record increases in both permanent and temporary staff appointments in December. Permanent vacancies, in particular, rose at the fastest pace since July 2007 and were a factor behind the sharpest increase in starting salaries in the 11-year survey history, according to the bank.
Pentland Firth tides ‘can power half of Scotland’
THE Scottish Government’s target of generating all of Scotland’s electricity through renewable energy by 2020 has been given a boost, after a study found that a single stretch of water off Scotland’s northern coast could supply enough green energy to power half of the country’s homes. Research has revealed that tides in the Pentland Firth, between the mainland and Orkney, have the potential to generate 1.9 gigawatts of electricity, enough to meet the needs of more than a million households.
The Digital Fabric of Scotland: The Challenge of stitching it together - 29th January – Edinburgh
Join us and the Scottish Council on Archives as we bring the first event of its kind to Scotland. Fiona Hyslop MSP Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs and Annelies van den Belt, CEO of DC Thomson Family History are among some of the expert speakers that will aim to raise awareness of digital records among key decision makers across different sectors, help build a Scottish digital records community to collaborate on finding the best technological solutions and securing investment and examine the options for ensuring long term access to valuable digital resources. Visit the Scotsman Conferences website for more details.
TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY
I&H Brown lifts profits after sale windfall
I&H Brown, the family-owned civil engineer and developer, lifted its pre-tax profit from £4.3 million to £5.9m last year and believes its substantial land assets will play into Scotland’s housing market recovery. The sale of two farms near Kirkcaldy for Diageo’s new £46m bonded warehouse complex sparked a £5.4m windfall gain for the company last year.
MEDIA, TECH & LEISURE
Deals keep Lingo24 figures fit
WINNING contracts with sportswear brand Adidas and audio equipment maker BeatsbyDre helped Edinburgh-based translation service Lingo24 grow its turnover by 12 per cent last year to £7.5 million. The company – which already lists American Express, Orange and the United Nations among its clients – now brings in more than 60 per cent of its revenues from overseas. (Scotsman)