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.
Co-op pulls insurance sale as probe is launched
THE Co-operative Group did a U-turn on the planned sale of its general insurance arm today, as the accountancy regulator launched a probe into the auditing of the distressed mutual’s books by industry giant KPMG. The dramatic developments came ahead of the appearance today before MPs of Lord Levene and Gary Hoffman, the chairman and chief executive respectively of the former NBNK Investments banking consolidation vehicle. (Scotsman)
Lansdowne Oil & Gas shares hit by negative talk
SHARES in Lansdowne Oil & Gas fell sharply yesterday amid speculation that farm-out discussions over a key oil field may not be progressing to plan. mThe reports also said that further appraisal drilling may be required at the Barryroe field in the north Celtic Sea which Lansdowne is a 20 per cent partner in. Lansdowne, demerged in 2006 from Aberdeen-based plc SeaEnergy which still owns a significant stake in the company, issued a statement referring investors to a response by its partner in the field Providence.
Longannet win for Fergusson secures hundreds of mining jobs
STIRLING-based Fergusson Group has won a multi-million-pound contract to supply electricity generator ScottishPower with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of coal for Longannet power station in Fife. The solid fuel supplier declined to put a value on the contract with ScottishPower, which it said would extend into 2015, but declared the agreement would help secure hundreds of mining jobs in Fife and West Lothian. (Herald)
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 wbsite for more details.
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
BrewDog founder draws line on selling to bigger company
BREWDOG co-founder James Watt has declared the rapidly growing brewer and bar firm would never sell to a major, stating that such a move would be “the opposite” of everything it set out to achieve. (Herald)
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TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY
Brick & Stone deal paves way for expansion
A MATERIALS supplier that has provided cobbles for Edinburgh Castle and granite for Sumburgh lighthouse on Shetland has secured a £275,000 financing deal from Lloyds Banking Group to help it capitalise on the up-turn in the construction industry. Broxburn-based wholesaler Brick & Stone – which lists Keyline, Jewson and Travis Perkins among its clients – sealed a £175,000 deal with Bank of Scotland to increase its stock of bricks from 300,000 to 500,000. The company also signed a £100,000 deal with Lloyds Commercial Finance to help it buy a truck.
MEDIA, TECH & LEISURE
Touch Bionics ‘back in black’ after i-limb launch
ARTIFICIAL limb maker Touch Bionics is poised to swing back into the black following the launch of the world’s most advanced prosthetic hand. The Livingston-based company, which was spun out from NHS Scotland in 2003, grew its sales by 23 per cent last year to £12.3 million, accelerating from the 17 per cent rise during the previous 12 months.