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.
SSE profits drop as retail arm falls into the red
Energy firm SSE today reported an 11.7 per cent slide in first-half profits as its retail division, which serves about 9.4 million customers, slumped to a loss. Along with other major power suppliers, Perth-based SSE is under intense scrutiny after hiking its prices, but it blamed higher wholesale gas prices and a drop in energy consumption during the summer as its retail arm recorded an operating loss of £115.4 million for the six months to the end of September, compared with a £48.3m profit a year ago. (Scotsman)
Clitheroe claims profits reflect risk for ScottishPower
SCOTTISHPOWER is having to take account of political risk for the first time when making investment decisions for the UK, amid the recent furore over energy prices, its retail chief executive Neil Clitheroe has warned. He defended profit margins of up to 4.6% at the Glasgow-headquartered utility firm, as a reflection of the risks taken by the business. (Herald)
Shoppers hang on to cash in run-up to Christmas
CONSUMERS kept their money in their pockets last month as they continued to save for Christmas, according to data published today. Scottish like-for-like retail sales, which take into account stores opening or expanding, fell by 0.5 per cent in October, slowing from the 0.8 per cent drop during September. October’s total sales grew by 2.1 per cent, accelerating from the previous month’s 1.8 per cent increase. (Scotsman)
TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY
Menzies shares fall as print sales slide
John Menzies, the Edinburgh-based baggage handler, saw its shares fall heavily today after it warned that its full-year profits would fall short of target because of disappointing sales of magazines and sticker albums.The group said the outlook for its Menzies Aviation cargo and baggage handling business was “positive”, boosted by a recent five-year contract with Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific, covering five sites across Australia and New Zealand.
MJM profits warning follows Mone split
MJM International has reported a retained loss of more than £231,000 for a three-month period and warned it would not be back in profit for at least the following year. The loss at the East Kilbride lingerie business, co-founded by Michelle Mone, was revealed in a filing of an abbreviated financial statement at Companies House. The document covers the trading period from October 31 last year to February 7 this year.
Thirty jobs at risk at Stoneywood paper mill
THIRTY jobs are under threat at the Stoneywood paper mill in Aberdeen as a result of Arjo Wiggins plans to sell off its casting papers business to Italian group Favini, it was revealed today. Arjo Wiggins announced last week that it had entered into an agreement for the transfer of the casting papers business to Favini. (Scotsman)