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.
McColl says ‘No’ vote bad for Scotland
Jim McColl, one of the country’s leading business figures, has warned that a No vote in next year’s independence referendum would deal Scotland’s prospects a major blow, making it less likely that he and fellow entrepreneurs would want to locate north of the Border. In an interview with The Scotsman, the Clyde Blowers Capital chief executive said that if Scotland opted to stay part of the United Kingdom next year, it would be “looking into a very sad future”. Scotsman
Highlands on brink of an economic boom
The chairman of Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) believes the region is on the cusp of a major economic boom fuelled by faster broadband connections and renewable energy. Lorne Crerar also expects the creation of an Inverness campus for the University of the Highlands and Islands to boost education as well as creating a further hub for the growing life sciences sector in the area, which already has around 80 companies.
Investor backlash over senior pay ‘not repeated
Britain’s listed companies appear to have heeded the warnings from the “shareholder spring”, with new analysis showing there has been no repeat of last year’s investor backlash against excessive boardroom pay. Shareholder rebellions last year led to the resignations of Aviva chief executive Andrew Moss and Trinity Mirror boss Sly Bailey, but share registration firm Capita Registrars said no firms have seen their remuneration policies defeated by investors so far this year.
ENERGY & UTILITIES
SSE boss Marchant to focus on ‘smaller companies’
Outgoing SSE chief executive Ian Marchant is planning to invest in a number of small energy companies when he stands down from the Scottish Hydro owner next month. Marchant, who owns shares in Perth-based SSE worth more than £3 million, said he was in talks with firms in the marine and energy efficiency arenas “where I can add some value because of the contacts and knowledge I’ve picked up”.
Apex invests in more generators as trade picks up
Apex Generators, owned by the Pirrie brothers’ Nevis Capital, has invested about £1 million in extra machines to support growth amid signs of an upturn in the key construction market. The Milngavie-based firm also expects to enjoy a significant boost to trading after agreeing a deal with Haz Hire that gives it a presence in the buoyant North Sea oil and gas market.
Aldi to boost Scots brewers with beer festival
Scotland’s burgeoning micro-brewing industry is to receive a £120,000 boost after German discount grocer Aldi unveiled plans for its second “beer festival”. The chain’s first beer event, which took place across its 45 Scottish stores in November, saw 55,000 bottles being snapped up. So the firm has ordered some 70,000 bottles for the second festival from 30 breweries to keep up with demand, with 13 brewers taking part for the first time.