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.
ENERGY & UTILITIES
Wood Group heads to former war zone to bring giant oilfield online
WOOD Group’s Middle Eastern joint venture with Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) is taking on 200 workers after a deal to get one of the world’s biggest oilfields up to full production. Oil giant Shell has spent the past three years clearing land mines and other explosives from the massive Majnoon oilfield near Basra in war-torn Iraq, as well as building production facilities (Scotsman).
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
Walsh to step down as Diageo chief executive
A DOYEN of the international drinks industry, Paul Walsh, is to step down as chief executive of Diageo after a 13-year reign at the helm of a group that includes Scotland’s biggest whisky business. The company said that Walsh, who has overseen a trebling of Diageo’s share price in his tenure, will be replaced in July by chief operating officer (COO) Ivan Menezes (Scotsman).
Profits rise 54% at Booth Welsh following buyout
Booth Welsh, the ambitious Ayrshire-based engineering services business, has reported a 54% increase in profits to just under £1 million in its first year following a management buyout. Sales were constant at £13.6m but profits jumped from £637,000 to £969,000 as the company targeted higher-end engineering and design and hiked exports from £100,000 to £1.3m (Herald).
Macfarlane bids to sell more to online retailers
SCOTTISH packaging company Macfarlane Group is aiming to more than double its annual sales to the internet retailing sector from about £23 million to £50m within the next three to five years, its chief executive has revealed. Peter Atkinson unveiled the ambitious growth target at Macfarlane’s annual meeting in Glasgow yesterday, as chairman Graeme Bissett said the company’s profits so far in 2013 were “slightly ahead” of the same period of last year Herald).
Sainsbury’s full-year profits fall despite rising sales
Sainsbury’s has posted a fall in pre-tax profits despite rising sales, as conditions remain “challenging”. Profits fell 1.4% to £788m ($1.2bn; 931m euros) for the year to 16 March, while sales, including fuel, rose 4.5% to £23.3bn. The supermarket also confirmed that it will pay Lloyds Banking Group £248m for the remaining 50% of Sainsbury’s Bank it does not already own (BBC).
Scottish car sales switch to fast lane
SCOTLAND has enjoyed a “remarkable” jump in car sales as new models and lower running costs attract buyers into showrooms. Industry leaders said that the good start to the year had continued into April, with a year-on-year increase of almost 27 per cent during the month. The rise was well ahead of the 14.8 per cent improvement registered for the UK as a whole (Scotsman).