Scottish Business Briefing – Thursday 9 May, 2013

Morrisons, the UK's fourth largest supermarket chain, has reported a fall in underlying sales. Picture: Danny Lawson
Morrisons, the UK's fourth largest supermarket chain, has reported a fall in underlying sales. Picture: Danny Lawson
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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.

INSURANCE

Aegon profits hit by industry reforms, say firm

Pensions firm Aegon UK has blamed sweeping industry reforms for a 20 per cent drop in first-quarter profits, despite enjoying a surge in sales. The Edinburgh-based group also pledged its commitment to its financial advice businesses, which saw their losses double compared with last year (Scotsman).

Read all today’s insurance news from scotsman.com

ECONOMICS

Aberdeen continues to dominate Scots scene

Aberdeen continues to dominate the Scottish commercial-property scene after the city and its environs accounted for nearly 50% of all office lettings in 2012, a new report says. In its 72nd Scottish property review, commercial market specialist Ryden, reported a further strong performance in and around Europe’s energy capital after a record 1,076,400-plus square feet of accommodation was let last year (P&J).

Read all today’s economics news from scotsman.com

INDUSTRY

Builders call for help after quarter of jobs lost

THE crisis facing Scottish construction has been laid bare by figures showing a quarter of jobs in the industry have been lost since the credit crunch began. Last night the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) said the figures proved the need for measures to stimulate the sector. Updated labour market figures from Scotland’s annual population survey show the construction sector shed a further 14,500 jobs in the course of 2012, taking total employment within the Scottish industry to 172,700 (Scotsman)

SCOTSMAN CONFERENCE

Defence Policy: Protecting Scotland & Preserving Jobs – 14 June, Edinburgh

Join delegates from the defence industry, legal, PR, academia and more at this hugely important conference. Top speakers will tackle the burning issues facing the defence industry, one of Scotland’s most economically significant sectors.

(The Scotsman Conferences)

Webhelp TSC creates 400 jobs across Central Belt

SCOTLAND’S largest call centre company is to get bigger with 400 jobs being created across the Central Belt. Nearly three-quarters of the jobs will be in the Glasgow offices of Webhelp TSC, the business formed earlier this year when French group Webhelp bought the TSC operations in a £77 million deal. A further 76 are destined for Larbert – Webhelp TSC’s UK headquarters – and 30 in Kilmarnock (Scotsman).

Read all today’s industry news from scotsman.com

MANAGEMENT

Private and public sectors launch £20m fund

INSURANCE group RSA and Vince Cable’s Department for Business are pumping £20 million into a new funding scheme for small companies developed by Artemis Fund Managers co-founder Lindsay Whitelaw. Urica, launching in Scotland today before being rolled out across the UK, is targeting “better-placed growth companies” turning over £5m to £100m a year (Scotsman).

Read all today’s management news from scotsman.com

RETAIL

Morrisons reports ‘solid start’ despite sales fall

Morrisons, the UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain, has reported a fall in underlying sales for the first quarter of its financial year. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of new store openings, excluding fuel fell 1.8% in the 13 weeks to 5 May, However, total sales excluding fuel were up by 0.6% (BBC).

Read all today’s retail news from scotsman.com