Scottish Business Briefing – July 15th 2013

Picture: AP
Picture: AP
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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.

ECONOMICS

Retail and jobs figures boost Scots recovery

A RAFT of figures published today will stoke renewed optimism in the outlook for Scotland’s economic recovery. The Bank of Scotland’s monthly labour market barometer – which measures the outlook for the jobs market – hit 58.5 last month from 54.7 in May, marking its biggest jump since the early days of the credit crunch in October 2007.

Hopes rise for hundreds of jobs at Lomondgate

THE chief executive of the regeneration company behind the Lomondgate development believes hundreds of extra jobs can be attracted to the site before the end of the decade. David Hastings, from the non-profit Strathleven Regeneration Community Interest Company, was speaking after the latest economic impact study on the area, close to the A82 by Dumbarton, was published. The research showed Lomondgate, set up following the closure of the J&B whisky bottling plant and the loss of 470 jobs in 2000, is now supporting more than 700 jobs and has attracted £62 million of capital investment.

Sick days cost UK economy £15bn a year

SICK days cost the British economy nearly £15 billion a year and workers are faking up to one in eight of them, business leaders have warned. Another study suggested the cost of sick days closer to £29bn a year and that British workers took twice as many sick days as those in the United States. A survey, commissioned by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), found that overall, absences incurred an annual cost to the economy of £14.92bn.

Read all today’s economics news from scotsman.com

FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE

AG Barr silent over talk of private equity

IRN-BRU maker AG Barr remained tight-lipped last night over reports it will team up with private equity firms Blackstone and Lion Capital to buy the Lucozade and Ribena brands from drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline. The Cumbernauld-based firm refused to comment on reports that it was mulling a bid for the drinks labels, which Glaxo has identified as being “non-core”.

SCOTSMAN CONFERENCE

Scottish Food & Drink: Keeping it in the family – 10 Sept, Edinburgh

20% Early bird discount until 19 July

Join us as we examine the success of Scottish family food and drink business. Hear experts share their strategies for growth and how to avoid pitfalls along the way. If you have an interest in the sector, whether as a producer, policy maker or someone setting up a new business, you can’t afford to miss this event.

(The Scotsman Conferences)

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

INDUSTRY

SNC Lavalin aims to create 3,000 jobs in the UK

CANADIAN engineering giant SNC Lavalin is to quadruple the number of its UK employees to 4,000 in the next 12 months as part of a major expansion across Britain.

Neil Bruce, who left energy services firm Amec to lead SNC’s UK expansion, expects the group to target an array of engineering projects, including rail transport projects in the West of Scotland and oil and gas projects in Aberdeen.

Read all today’s industry news from scotsman.com

RETAIL

Jewellery firm hopes to add extra sparkle

CHISHOLM Hunter, Scotland’s biggest independent jeweller, signalled its intention to hit the £30 million turnover mark this year as it seeks to maintain growth through store openings and refurbishments. The ambitious target was disclosed shortly after the retailer, whose origins date back to 1857, unveiled a new retail concept at its store in Falkirk.

Read all today’s retail news from scotsman.com