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.
Scotland’s private sector is growing, but weaknesses remain
SCOTLAND’S private sector economy returned to growth last month, but failed to allay concerns of underlying weakness and stagnation. The latest purchasing manager’s index (PMI), published today by Bank of Scotland, shows firms eked out growth thanks to an expansion in the services sector – but it was mostly a result of progress on backlogs rather than new orders, and almost no jobs were created (Scotsman).
ENERGY & UTILITIES
Sea power bid to link Norway to north-east
A MULTIBILLION-pound bid has been tabled for a subsea power link between the north-east and Scandinavia. A consortium of energy firms is behind the supercable project, which would run from Peterhead to Norway (P&J).
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
Hiccup for Irn-Bru maker Barr’s Britvic deal
A PROPOSED £1.4 billion merger between the owner of Irn-Bru and the maker of Robinsons was facing uncertainty yesterday after a key investor reportedly hit out at the terms of the deal. Britvic, whose brands include Robinsons and Tango, has been in talks with AG Barr, the maker of Irn-Bru, to create a soft drinks powerhouse (Scotsman).
Accountancy firms seal £10m merger deal
Accountancy firm French Duncan, headquartered in Glasgow, has swallowed Stirling-based rival Macfarlane Gray to create one of the largest indigenous accountancy practices in Scotland, with a combined fee income of £10 million (Scotsman).
Ministers get just 5/10 in CBI report on procurement
PRIVATE-SECTOR companies have delivered a verdict of “needs improvement” on the UK government’s reform of how it procures contracts in the wake of the aborted West Coast mainline rail franchise, a new survey out today shows. The government’s implementation of procurement reform was given an average score of only five out of ten by businesses surveyed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) (Scotsman).
FirstGroup offloads two bus businesses for £4.5m
Transport giant FirstGroup today said it has agreed to sell its bus operations in Birkenhead and Chester to Perth-based rival Stagecoach for £4.5 million. Today’s deal is the second in as many weeks between the two groups – on 31 October, Stagecoach said it would pay £12m for FirstGroup’s Wigan bus business, which has around 120 vehicles and 300 employees (Scotsman).