Scottish Business Briefing - Friday October 4, 2013

Energy services giant Wood Group today said it was confident of delivering good growth. Picture: Comp
Energy services giant Wood Group today said it was confident of delivering good growth. Picture: Comp
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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.

FINANCE

RBS lifts loans to small firms to ‘rebuild trust’

Royal Bank of Scotland says it has upped the pace of lending to small firms north of the Border this year as it unveils efforts to “rebuild trust” with its business customers. Gordon Merrylees, managing director for business banking in Scotland, said lending to businesses with turnovers up to £2 million is 29 per cent ahead on last year, although he admitted he would “like it to be more” (Scotsman.

Read all today’s finance news from scotsman.com

ENERGY

Wood Group says ‘good growth’ continues

Energy services giant Wood Group today said it was confident of delivering “good growth” for the current year, with operating cash flows expected to improve during the second half. The Aberdeen-based firm, which in August posted an 18.6 per cent rise in first-half profits, said its engineering division remained on track to deliver earnings growth of between 10 and 15 per cent for the full year, boosted by onshore pipeline work for the US shale industry (Scotsman).

Read all today’s energy news from scotsman.com

TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY

Skyscanner valued at £500m in new deal

One of Silicon Valley’s most highly- rated venture capital firms has invested an estimated £50 million to £100m to acquire a stake in one of Scotland’s fastest-growing technology companies. Edinburgh-based flight comparison search engine Skyscanner’s deal with Sequoia Capital values the Scottish firm at about £500m and represents a massive return for its original shareholders (Scotsman.

Thales Optronics to axe up to 60 jobs as orders fall

DEFENCE systems designer Thales Optronics has signalled its intention to cut up to 60 jobs in Glasgow by the end of this year in light of falling orders from the UK and overseas. The company, which employs hundreds of staff at Linthouse near Govan, is involved in continuing talks with trade union and employee representatives over voluntary redundancies, its directors reveal in accounts newly available at Companies House (Scotsman).

Arnold Clark seeks takeovers after record sales

Arnold Clark is to continue down the acquisition trail after a string of takeovers last year helped it generate record sales of almost £2.5 billion. The eponymous motor dealership, founded in the 1950s by Sir Arnold Clark, who remains chairman and chief executive, warned of an “uncertain” economic backdrop but said it expected to grow organically and through “strategic” acquisitions (Scotsman).

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

MEDIA, TECH & LEISURE

Scots firm in deal with US giant Dow Chemicals

A young Scottish firm that is developing technology to control genes has won a vote of confidence from a US chemical giant. Synpromics said it had agreed an important collaboration deal with The Dow Chemical Company to develop the Edinburgh-based firm’s technology for application in plant science (Herald).

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