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.
Grim times ahead as 25 Scots firms go under every week
EXPERTS last night warned of “grim” times ahead for Scotland’s businesses after official figures revealed that the number of companies going bust last year hit its second-highest ever level. Nearly 25 firms went to the wall each week during 2012 (Scotsman).
ENERGY & UTILITIES
Bowleven hits ‘potential’ oil off Africa
SHARES in Bowleven closed up nearly 7 per cent last night after the Edinburgh-based explorer made a “potential” oil discovery off the coast of Cameroon. The Aim-quoted driller said the initial test result from its “IM-5” well in the Etinde gas field “suggests the presence of liquids rich hydrocarbons, although further evaluation is required” (Scotsman).
Royal Dutch Shell profits hit by oil price volatility
Annual profits at Royal Dutch Shell have fallen to $27bn (£17bn), from $28.6bn in 2011. Profits for the last three months of the year rose to $7.3bn, against $6.5bn, but Shell was hit by generally weaker oil and gas prices during 2012 (BBC).
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
Di Maggio’s owners to expand empire
DI MAGGIO’S Group, which bills itself as Scotland’s largest independently-owned restaurant chain, plans expansion in Aberdeen and a move into Belfast, having defied grim economic conditions with a hike in profits in its last financial year (Herald).
FanDuel taps investors for £7m as it ramps up products and headcount
A SCOTTISH “fantasy sports” game company has secured a bumper £7m funding package to expand its product range and talent pool. Edinburgh-based FanDuel raised its latest round of financing from a consortium of investors which, for the first time, includes the backing of one of the big three US commercial cable television networks (Scotsman).
MEDIA & LEISURE
BSkyB profits up as more customers choose extra services
BSkyB said it had added an extra 88,000 customers in the last three months of 2012, bringing total subscribers to 10.74 million, up 271,000 for the year. The pay-TV broadcaster also said more customers were paying for extra services such as On Demand and Sky Go. It helped BSkyB report pre-tax profits of £642m for the six months to 31 December, up from £597m a year ago (BBC).