Business briefs: Alliance Trust | Main Group | Sigma Seven | Vattenfall

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ALLIANCE Trust yesterday celebrated its 125th annual general meeting (AGM) in Dundee where all resolutions were passed by shareholders with ease.

Karin Forseke, chair of the venerable £2 billion trust, said: “Over the last year, [chief executive] Katherine Garrett-Cox and her team have accomplished an enormous amount. The business is now well positioned to capitalise on these changes and continues to focus on delivering improved performance for its shareholders.”

The company’s shares closed up 1.8 per cent or 8.1p at 450p.

• Hedge fund giant Man Group has reported “disappointing” trading for the first quarter, but the firm said earnings in 2014 would be boosted by a change to its regulatory status.

Assets under management fell to $54.8 billion (£35.2bn) at the end of March, from $57bn at the start of the year, as more clients pulled out cash.

Chief executive Manny Roman said the global economy faces significant challenges but market conditions have become “more stable” and the group expects to save up to $78 million from next year as a result of reduced interest costs.

• Sigma Seven, the Edinburgh technology company, has won a “significant” contract with electricity distributor Northern Powergrid.

The company said it won the contract to provide an accessible network for Northern’s 250 field workers through a competitive tender, beating much larger firms.

The £500,000 deal, which includes support and maintenance over a three-year period, takes the total of new projects won by the mobile and mapping technology specialist this year to more than £1 million.

• Vattenfall, the Swedish company which has significant renewable energy interests in Scotland, yesterday reported a “stable” start to 2013.

It reported first-quarter operating profits equivalent to £1.1 billion, similar to last year.

Although chief executive Oystein Loseth described the performance as “strong” he said the market outlook remained weak and the company would continue with a group-wide cost-cutting programme, which has so far cost some 2,500 jobs. Vattenfall is involved in a £230 million offshore wind farm development in Aberdeen Bay.

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