Scottish Business Briefing – September 24th 2013

Chief executive of Irn-Bru makers AG Barr, Roger White, has brushed off speculation over moves to break up rival Britvic. Picture: PA
Chief executive of Irn-Bru makers AG Barr, Roger White, has brushed off speculation over moves to break up rival Britvic. Picture: PA
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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.

ECONOMY

Thousands of firms trade without liability insurance

HUNDREDS of thousands of small businesses are risking hefty fines or financial collapse because they have no insurance, research yesterday warned. Insurance firm LV said that more 350,000 small businesses have no employers’ liability insurance and risk being fined £2,500 a day. By law, all businesses employing staff must have employers’ liability insurance otherwise they can be fined by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

£20m blueprint could bring town 1,200 jobs

PLANS for a multimillion-pound development have been revealed for Stonehaven. The proposals feature a supermarket, petrol station, primary school, space for community facilities, playing fields and a business park. Deeside-based Bancon Developments and the Dunnottar Trust have submitted a notice to Aberdeenshire Council letting the authority know they will be putting forward an application for land that is allocated for development in the authority’s local plan.

FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE

AG Barr pours cold water over Britvic break-up talk

AG BARR chief executive Roger White yesterday brushed off City speculation over moves to break up rival Britvic, maintaining that the maker of Irn-Bru “doesn’t have to do a deal”. Profits at the Cumbernauld-based firm took a £4.9 million hit after its proposed reverse takeover of Pepsi-bottler Britvic collapsed in July due to delays caused by a Competition Commission probe.

RETAIL

Coffee bars and charity shops replacing traditional stores on Britain’s high streets

A new report today claims the high street is already transforming from a pure shopping destination to a centre for “leisure and services” as the dramatic rise of the internet changes the retail landscape. PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which commissioned the report, said there were more 3-star hotels, convenience stores and coffee shops on the high street than at the start of the year. There are also more bookmakers and cheque cashing centres.

TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY

Scot JCB targets sales record

A prominent supplier of heavy equipment for construction work is on course to set a fresh sales record this year amid signs the recovery in the key housebuilding market is gaining momentum in Scotland. Scot JCB expects to grow sales from the record £91 million set last year following a big increase in activity among housebuilders.

MEDIA, TECH & LEISURE

Cupid says future looks positive as profits halve

Dating website operator Cupid today insisted that the future for the industry “remains positive”, despite seeing its profits more than halve during the first half of the year. The Edinburgh-based firm posted an underlying pre-tax profit of £2.6 million for the six months to 30 June, down from £5.9m a year earlier, although revenues grew 12.4 per cent to £43.4m.

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