Business in brief: UTV | EICC | Thorntons

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TALKSPORT owner UTV is hoping for a “game of two halves” after a disastrous first half of the year saw earnings plunge amid a weaker advertising market.

Operating profits at the group’s British radio arm were down 63 per cent to £2.5 million with revenues also hit by an unfavourable year-on-year comparison with a period including the Euro 2012 tournament.

TalkSport, which recently lured presenter Colin Murray from BBC’s 5 Live, will be hoping an expected economic recovery can help bolster its fortunes for the remainder of 2013.

EICC plants trees to offset its pollution

THE Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has planted 213,000 trees near Moffat to off-set the carbon dioxide emissions from the venue and its visitors.

Reynaldo Guino-o, who is responsible for EICC’s sustainability practices, said: “We and those organisations that use our facilities bring an unavoidable carbon footprint through international air travel, air conditioning, lighting and catering.”

The deal was brokered by Forest Carbon and the 350-acre woodland was planted by the Borders Forest Trust.

Thorntons appoints Edinburgh partner

LAW firm Thorntons has appointed Linsey Barclay-Smith as a partner in its Edinburgh office’s land and rural team.

Barclay-Smith, who was previously a senior associate at rival Turcan Connell, is the second member of the team to join the Dundee-based firm this summer, following in the footsteps of Kenneth MacKay.

Jack Robertson, chairman of Thorntons, said: “It has been a busy summer for the Thorntons’ land and rural team. We are delighted to be welcoming Linsey to the firm this week and her experience of agricultural law will be invaluable.”

New boss checks in at hotels firm Accor

Hotels giant Accor has installed its third chief executive in less than three years in a move expected to accelerate its property disposal plans.

Sebastien Bazin, who has left his role with property investor and Accor shareholder Colony Capital, replaces interim chief Yann Caillere, who took up the post in April following the ousting of Denis Hennequin.

Accor operates under the Ibis, Mercure and Novotel brands and has more than 3,500 hotels. In a bid to improve shareholder returns, the firm has been selling properties to focus on managing or franchising venues.