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Scottish Business Briefing – January 17th

Shell has issued a surprise profit warning. Picture: PA

Shell has issued a surprise profit warning. Picture: PA

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.

ENERGY

Shell shocks City with surprise profit warning

Oil major Shell’s new boss today admitted the oil giant’s performance was “not what I expect” as he issued a shock profit warning just two weeks after taking the helm. Ben van Beurden, who succeeded Peter Voser at the start of the month, said the firm’s fourth-quarter figures were expected to be “significantly lower than recent levels of profitability”. Shell’s fourth-quarter underlying earnings are now expected to almost halve to around $2.9 billion (£1.8bn), well below market expectations of $4bn. (Scotsman)

Industry facing ‘structural shift’ in balance of power

The former boss of oil and gas explorer Dana Petroleum last night urged UK policy makers to take heed of major shifts on the global energy landscape to ensure the North Sea remained competitive. Marcus Richards, in his first public speaking engagement since he left his role as chief executive of the Korean-owned firm, said the oil and gas industry was witnessing a “structural shift” in the balance of power among industry players, host governments and national oil companies. (P&J)

Read all today’s energy news from scotsman.com

Scotsman Conference

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. (The Scotsman Conferences)

FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE

Diageo in £30m Clynelish whisky expansion

SCOTLAND’S biggest whisky maker has increased its investment in the Highlands to nearly £150 million after yesterday unveiling a £30m expansion at its Clynelish site in Sutherland. Diageo – which produces blends including Bell’s, J&B and Johnnie Walker – has submitted a planning application to Highland Council and will consult with residents next month. The expansion is part of a £1 billion investment unveiled by the FTSE 100 spirits giant in 2012 to help meet rising demand for Scotch in overseas markets. (Scotsman)

BrewDog ready to open chain of off licences

Craft beer firm Brewdog has confirmed plans to launch a chain of off-licences this year following the success of its branded bars. The Aberdeenshire-based firm expects to open its first “BottleDog” shop in London in March. The plan was unveiled in June but the company missed its deadline of last October for the first shop to open. Another three or four are pencilled in for this year, with the company looking at sites in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Manchester. (Scotsman)

Read all today’s food, drink and agriculture news from scotsman.com

TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY

FirstGroup cheered by recovery in UK bus division

Aberdeen-based transport giant FirstGroup today said all of its operations had turned in a good performance during the third quarter, with the exception of its US school bus business, which was hit by a slowdown in margin growth. The firm, which is under pressure from activist shareholder Sandell Asset Management to spin off its US assets, said its UK bus division enjoyed a 2 per cent rise in revenues during the three months to the end of December, despite “challenging economic conditions” across many of its local markets. (Scotsman)

Rolls-Royce plant to axe 200 jobs

Rolls-Royce is to axe 200 jobs at its aerospace plant in Renfrewshire. The engineering firm said it had transferred some work out of the Inchinnan factory, while reviewing its supply chain. It said it was facing challenging market conditions. The workforce was informed on Thursday. The union, Unite, has called for urgent talks with management, as well as support from the Scottish government. (BBC)

Read all today’s transport and industry news from scotsman.com

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