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Scottish Business Briefing – January 24th 2014

Rip-off: SSE has said it will increase payouts to shareholders. Picture: PA

Rip-off: SSE has said it will increase payouts to shareholders. 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.

FINANCE

Delay in pension charge cap gives firms breathing space

PLANS to impose a cap on “rip off” charges for workplace pension schemes have been pushed back a year to give employers more time to adjust. Pensions minister Steve Webb had previously promised a “full frontal assault” on fees, even though the Office of Fair Trading stopped short of calling for a limit on charges following its recent review into the £275 billion market.

Read all today’s finance news from scotsman.com

ENERGY

SSE accused of ‘rip off’ over £1.5bn profit

ENERGY giant SSE has revealed it expects profits to soar to £1.5 billion this year and that it will increase payouts to shareholders, further inflaming a row among politicians and consumer groups over the impact of bills on households. Just two months after a major price rise came into effect for its nine million customers, the Perth-based firm said it was on course to deliver a pre-tax profit increase of 8.8 per cent for the year to the end of March and would be likely to increase dividends handed out to its shareholders by 3 per cent.

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.

FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE

Irn-Bru maker Barr eyes 6% rise in sales

SOFT drinks maker AG Barr has said it is on track to grow full-year revenues by 6 per cent to about £252 million after a strong final quarter. The owner of brands including Irn-Bru and Tizer added that trading in the final three months of its financial year is expected to be ahead of the overall market, with revenues up 5.5 per cent.

(http://www.scotsman.com/business/food-drink-agriculture|Read all today’s food, drink and agriculture news from scotsman.com|Click here}

TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY

Specialist launches new hire division

Back-deck equipment specialist Maritime Developments has launched a new equipment hire division the meet “heightened demand”. The firm, which has its base in Peterhead and an office in Aberdeen, said it was on track to achieve a £12million turnover in its current year, more than doubling its business in 2013 when it reached a turnover of £5.7million.

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

MEDIA, TECH & LEISURE

SEP doubles its money after IT firm backing

SCOTTISH Equity Partners (SEP) is thought to have more than doubled its money in less than four years after investing in an IT firm which was yesterday sold in a £39.4 million cash deal. The Glasgow-based investor had provided £6m funding to Control Circle in 2010 for it to pursue an aggressive global growth strategy in return for a stake thought to be around a third of the company.

Read all today’s media. tech and leisure news from scotsman.com

Arria losses double to £13m despite 1200% revenue growth

DATA translation company Arria NLG has seen annual losses double from £6.5 million to £13m in the run up to its listing on the Alternative Investment Market. Revenue grew in excess of 1200% from £62,554 to £816,178 in the 12 months to September 30, 2013 which Arria said was mainly because the software product the business provides was taken on by oil and gas giant Shell.

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