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BANKING & INSURANCE
Rock reveals 1.4bn losses as it confirms mortgage return
TAXPAYER-OWNED bank Northern Rock yesterday revealed full-year losses of 1.4 billion as it confirmed it would be in the vanguard of government efforts to restart the becalmed UK mortgage market (Scotsman). Figures released yesterday showed that the nationalised lender wrote off 900 million from the value of its loan book, largely due to customers defaulting on their mortgages. It also disclosed writedowns on Treasury assets, taking a further 300m off its balance sheet. The company, which is set to reveal its full set of accounts for 2008 next week, yesterday formally confirmed plans to offer 14bn of new mortgage lending over the next two years, funded by the taxpayer.
Read all today's banking news from scotsman.com
ENERGY & UTILITIES
Scots unions warn over green jobs
Energy workers risk being left behind in the fight against climate change unless they get training to broaden skills, Scotland's unions have warned (BBC). Staff in the sector are facing major change in the type and location of jobs as the drive towards renewable energy increases, said the STUC. The concerns came as MSPs continued scrutiny of the Scottish Government's proposed climate change legislation. It hopes to see an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The STUC has backed the government's aspiration to make Scotland a world leader in environmental standards, but warned there could be a big impact on the Scottish economy if the risks were not understood.
Vattenfall's Dutch offer ends talk of bid for SSE
Speculation that Vattenfall planned to buy Scottish & Southern Energy died yesterday after the Swedish utility said it had made an 8.5bn (6.8bn) cash offer for Dutch energy firm Nuon (Herald). Vattenfall said that, upon approval by Nuon shareholders and European Union competition authorities, it will buy 49% of the shares. It will buy the remaining 51% in the coming six years. The Stockholm-based company said the pay-out of 2008 dividends will bring the total cost of the deal to 10.3bn. Nuon's network unit Alliander is not included in the takeover. There had been talk in the energy industry that state-owned Vattenfall was considering a bid for Perth-based Scottish & Southern if it failed to take over Nuon. However, industry sources told The Herald last week that SSE had not held discussions with the Swedish group.
Read all today's energy and utilities news from scotsman.com
Axeon shares power ahead on battery test success story
AXEON shares jumped by two thirds yesterday after the firm revealed that it had developed a new battery which almost doubles the range of a ground-breaking electricity-powered van (Scotsman). The Dundee-based green energy company's shares soared after it released the results of a two-year study into its new battery. Axeon said tests on Scottish roads, supported by the Energy Savings Trust, showed the new batteries increased the range of a delivery vehicle by 97 per cent to 241km, compared to its previous battery packs. Such was the success of the trail, which used a 3.5 ton electric vehicle built by Coventry-based Modec, that the manufacturer now plans to use the packs in the second half of this year. Shares in Axeon, which have slumped in recent months on funding concerns, opened higher yesterday morning, before surging when it released a statement on the tests yesterday afternoon.
Aquamarine teams up with Airtricity
Aquamarine Power, the Edinburgh-based marine energy company, yesterday said it had struck "the biggest deal in the history of marine energy" in a plan to team up with Airtricity to develop one gigawatt of wave and tidal power off the coast of the UK and Ireland by 2020 (Herald). Under the the terms of the deal, Airtricity, the wind power business acquired by Scottish & Southern Energy last year for 1bn, will enter into a 50-50 joint venture using devices and site-procurement software from Aquamarine. The capital for the project will come from Airtricity - although Aquamarine would not disclose the level of investment it would need to raise to develop one gigawatt of wave and tidal power. Aquamarine said that work on the first two sites has already begun, although it would not disclose the location of any of the areas it is currently investigating. Martin McAdam, Aquamarine's chief executive and a former chief operating officer at Airtricity, said: "This contract is the biggest deal in the history of marine energy.
Read all today's industry news from scotsman.com
Craneware welcomes Obama's health focus
CRANEWARE, the medical billing software company, yesterday predicted it will benefit from President Barack Obama's massive US economic stimulus package, as it reported a 59 per cent rise in first-half profits (Scotsman). Livingston-based Craneware provides software to audit hospitals' billing systems. It is stands to benefit as the US government and insurance companies step up pressure on the healthcare system to improve the accuracy of bills. Yesterday chief executive Keith Neilson said that around $100 billion of Obama's $787bn package had been earmarked for improving healthcare "with a large portion of that loosely defined as for improving IT systems". Craneware yesterday reported more strong growth for the six months to 31 December, revealing that the number of hospitals using its software has reached 1,000.
Read all today's technology news from scotsman.com
Scotsman Business Club
Get to the heart of the issues affecting Scottish business at www.scotsman.com/businessclub. Features include blogs from The Scotsman's formidable team of business writers - including Bill Jamieson, Martin Flanagan, Peter MacMahon and Scott Reid, a diary of forthcoming company announcements and networking events and video interviews with leading business experts covering a wide range of useful topics."
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east