Business news in brief: BTO| Glencore Xstrata| Howies

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Penalties issued to companies based in Britain for the late filing of accounts surged by 55 per cent in the wake of the financial crisis, according to analysis by corporate law specialists at Pinsent Masons.

Companies House collected £82.3 million in 2012-13, up from £53m in 2007-08, the firm said. In the first three months of this financial year, £20.1m has been collected.

Experts say a more stringent penalty regime is responsible for the increase, with SMEs suffering the most as they grapple with increasingly complex accounting requirements.

BTO expands with two new partners

Law firm BTO Solicitors has expanded its commercial property team with the appointment of two partners.

Scott Buchan and Peter Graham, who both have more than 20 years’ of property industry experience, have joined the firm from DWF Biggart Baillie. BTO has 101 lawyers among its 205 staff, split between offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Alan Borthwick, senior partner in BTO’s commercial property team, said: “Both Scott and Peter will be significant assets to the firm and we are delighted to have them.”

Big writedown for Glencore Xstrata

Glencore Xstrata is expected to write down the value of assets inherited from Xstrata by as much as $7 billion (about £4.5bn) when it reports first-half earnings this week – the first full set of results since the takeover that created the mining giant in May.

Glencore’s management team has been reviewing Xstrata’s assets as owners over the past three months and had been expected to book a hit alongside maiden results.

Analysts said yesterday that the writedown, mostly on the value of former Xstrata assets, would likely be $5bn-$7bn.

Howies bypasses the banks for cash

A Perthshire eatery has become the first business run by a sole trader to tap into the market for “peer-to-peer” business lending.

Howies Bistro in Dunkeld raised £35,000 within six days through the Funding Circle website to fund a new site in Perth. Owner Graham Howie said: “We wanted to get the business up and running as soon as possible and couldn’t afford to waste six months waiting to hear back from banks.”

Peer-to-peer business lending, which matches investors to borrowers, was previously only available to limited companies.

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