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.
Bank of England split drives talk of further QE by spring
OUTGOING Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King surprised the markets yesterday by calling for more money to be pumped into the struggling British economy. Analysts believe that the central bank could restart its programme of quantitative easing (QE) or launch fresh stimulus measures as early as the spring, despite fears the move could stoke inflation (Scotsman).
Scotland’s housing market remains ‘muted’, says bank report
Scotland’s housing market remains “muted”, with only a slight rise in prices over the last year, according to a report from Lloyds TSB Scotland. The average price of a property rose by 0.2% to £151,320 during 2012. But the number of sales fell towards the end of the year because of a small number of festive-period sales (BBC).
Lomond Advisory wins several mandates in first six months
A boutique advisory firm has won around half a dozen “substantial” mandates for corporate and private equity clients in its first six months amid signs of “a stronger marketplace for corporate activity”, its founder has claimed. Glasgow-based Lomond Advisory started trading in September 2012, offering “ongoing advice, rather than simply transaction management” (Herald).
Weir Group shells out £55m on trio of acquisitions
Weir Group has further extended its reach into emerging markets with a clutch of acquisitions valued at £55 million. The deals will give the Glasgow-headquartered engineer new production capacity in Malaysia and South Africa, allowing sales to expand along with the fast-growing mining markets of Africa and the Asia-Pacific region (Scotsman).
Countrywide takes £500m float gamble on housing market lift
Estate agent Countrywide is set to trump Crest Nicholson’s recent £550 million float after unveiling plans to join the FTSE 250. The company, which was listed for 21 years before being taken private at the top of the market in 2007, is hoping a fragile housing market recovery will be enough to tempt investors amid growing demand for new issues (Scotsman).
MEDIA & LEISURE
STV eyeing return to dividend list
STV’S directors will consider reinstating its dividend payments to shareholders after the Glasgow-based broadcaster continued to slash its debt pile and grow its production business. Chief executive Rob Woodward told The Scotsman that STV’s debt-to-profits ratio will fall below 2.5 later this year, at which point the board will look at a return to the divi list (Scotsman).