{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"business","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/wednesday-market-close-footsie-edges-higher-ahead-of-us-meeting-1-4292657","id":"1.4292657","articleHeadline": "Wednesday market close: Footsie edges higher ahead of US meeting","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495645000000 ,"articleLead": "

The FTSE crept higher as investors turned their attention to the release of minutes from the latest US Federal Reserve meeting.

" ,"articleBody": "

Jasper Lawler, a senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said that details of the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) May meeting had stolen the attention of global investors.

“Dollar strength over the last 24 hours is likely a consequence of the consensus expectation that FOMC minutes will come down on the hawkish side and aid the expectation that there will be two more hikes this year and more talk of balance sheet shrinkage thereafter,” he said. The FTSE 100 ended the day up 29.61 points at 7514.9.

Marks and Spencer Group shares rose 5.7p to 393.4p, having recovered from a drop in early trading after posting a 63.5 per cent fall in annual bottom line pre-tax profits to £176.4 million. It also revealed that sales in its clothing business dropped 5.9 per cent in the last three months. Kingfisher shares slumped 25.2p to 334p, ending the day as the worst performing stock on the FTSE 100 after the B&Q owner posted a 0.6 per cent decline in like-for-like sales in the three months to 30 April.

Dixons Carphone shares topped the FTSE 250, rising 15.4p to 342p after reporting a 9 per cent rise in annual sales.

Hollywood Bowl jumped 8.25p to 175.25p as it cheered an 18.5 per cent surge in half-year earnings to £13 million after growing sales and revamping sites across the UK. Shares in ZPG rose 9.8p to 367.9p as the company behind Zoopla and PrimeLocation reported a 22 per cent rise in half-year revenue.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "businessdesk@scotsman.com" ,"author": "EMMA NEWLANDS"} ,"topImages": [ ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/tech-firms-on-cloud-nine-with-government-contracts-1-4454412","id":"1.4454412","articleHeadline": "Tech firms on cloud nine with government contracts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495630520000 ,"articleLead": "

A number of Scottish technology companies have secured places on the latest UK government framework to provide cloud computing services to the public sector.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454411.1495540606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Public sector work is of 'huge importance' to Edge Testing Solutions, said founder Brian Ferrie. Picture: Chris Watt"} ,"articleBody": "

Bellshill-based Edge Testing Solutions, Fife’s eCom Scotland and Glasgow-headquartered Iomart are among those to have been selected for the framework, dubbed G-Cloud 9, following a “highly competitive” procurement process.

• READ MORE: Iomart hails ‘exciting’ growth as earnings climb

Brian Ferrie, founder and chief executive of Edge Testing, said the deal was of “huge importance” to the firm, which has worked on previous frameworks and counts the likes of the Scottish Prison Service, Student Loans Company and South Ayrshire Council among its public sector clients.

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He added: “Not only is it a validation of our hard work for public sector clients through the existing schemes, but it also points the way forward for the business.

“We have been expanding our public sector business enormously year-on-year, reaching 40 per cent of our turnover in 2016, and that is a figure we look forward to growing in 2017.”

Under the new framework, Edge Testing will add “big data”, along with device testing and test “healthchecks”, to its existing suite of public sector services.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Meanwhile, Aim-quoted web hosting specialist Iomart, another major player in the public sector field, said it had won places on all three lots – cloud hosting, cloud software and cloud support – covered by G-Cloud 9.

Chief executive Angus MacSween said: “As we have seen recently with the WannaCry ransomware attack, there is a growing global threat to IT infrastructure. It is important that all organisations within and outwith the public sector take cyber security much more seriously.”

Edinburgh-based Commsworld is also among those selected for the framework, where it will compete alongside industry giants such as BT and Vodafone for a share of more than £700 million a year in contracts.

Commercial director Andy Arkle said joining the framework, which covers voice telecoms, network connectivity, cloud security and contact centre services, “puts us on a footing with the biggest service providers in the UK as we look to provide our high-quality service to more and more people across the country”.

Dunfermline-based eCom Scotland, run by managing director Wendy Edie, secured a place on G-Cloud 9 to offer its online learning and assessment products. The firm already works with organisations such as the NHS and Scottish Water.

Other firms on the framework include IT consultancy CDG Scotland and cyber security specialist My1Login, both based in Glasgow, and Edinburgh’s FarrPoint and Fernhill Systems.

My1Login chief executive Mike Newman said: “Local authorities and public sector organisations face a number of IT security challenges as a result of moving increasingly to cloud-based computing. They also need to find a secure way to allow third-party contractors to access their IT systems without compromising security.

“It is estimated that 65 per cent of data breaches are caused by weak password practices by employees. My1Login’s solution eliminates this risk.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454411.1495540606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454411.1495540606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Public sector work is of 'huge importance' to Edge Testing Solutions, said founder Brian Ferrie. Picture: Chris Watt","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Public sector work is of 'huge importance' to Edge Testing Solutions, said founder Brian Ferrie. Picture: Chris Watt","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454411.1495540606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/management/edinburgh-start-up-seeks-to-champion-part-time-workers-1-4455571","id":"1.4455571","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh start-up seeks to champion part-time workers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495627832000 ,"articleLead": "

With almost half of skilled employees looking for flexible working arrangements and only 7 per cent of advertised jobs in Scotland offering part-time hours, an Edinburgh-based start-up has launched a service for employers to find highly-skilled people.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455570.1495627829!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Many skilled people want to work part-time but struggle to find employers that will let them. Picture: Getty Images/amana images RF"} ,"articleBody": "

With organisations experiencing escalating skills shortages and increased competition for talent, companies employing part-time and flexible workers stand to benefit.

Part-time working is known to increase productivity, encourage more effective working, improve retention and make savings on property and travel, leading to lower overheads and a more efficient business.

• READ MORE: Management news

Having launched eight months ago, Part Time Professionals has built a network of experienced candidates searching for part-time positions in Edinburgh.

After analysing the quality of candidates, it found all held degrees, four in ten hold a post graduate qualification and 70 per cent had five years or more experience at management level.

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Director Claire Alexander, who has worked in the digital design and management field for more than 20 years, said: “Employers in Edinburgh are missing out on a huge pool of highly-skilled talent by not offering part time or flexible options.

“Since we launched we have been inundated with very high quality CVs from people looking for part-time, flexible and job share positions.

“We have found we could put forward three times the number of top quality candidates for part-time positions than we are currently able to do. From our discussions with employers we know that many want to offer more skilled part-time positions, but don’t know how to go about it. We can offer a solution.”

In last year’s Working Families, Top Employers for Working Families benchmark report, the current economic climate, resources and lack of line management skill and knowledge are identified as barriers to flexible working.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

In answer to this, Part Time Professionals partnered with Family Friendly Working Scotland to offer potential employers free advice and guidance.

Alexander said: “Analysis of the jobs market in Edinburgh shows a very low rate of skilled positions offered on a job share basis. Feedback from our candidates would suggest this is something they think employers are missing out on.

“We can help match the skills and personalities to offer two part time candidates for a full time position bringing resource and productivity benefits to employers in Edinburgh, something which remains largely unexplored.”

She and Judith Mackenzie launched the business when they discovered a huge pool of professional men and women, who wanted to work at a level that matched their skill sets and experience on a part-time basis, were struggling to find suitable positions.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "natalie.walker@scotsman.com" ,"author": "NATALIE WALKER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455570.1495627829!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455570.1495627829!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Many skilled people want to work part-time but struggle to find employers that will let them. Picture: Getty Images/amana images RF","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Many skilled people want to work part-time but struggle to find employers that will let them. Picture: Getty Images/amana images RF","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455570.1495627829!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/employers-urged-to-look-beyond-candidates-tech-skills-1-4455522","id":"1.4455522","articleHeadline": "Employers urged to look beyond candidates’ tech skills","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495625173000 ,"articleLead": "

Employers have been urged to “keep an open mind” and look beyond candidates’ technical abilities to help close Scotland’s digital skills gap.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455521.1495625325!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'A job in digital doesn't necessarily require people to be 'coders',' says Sam Wason of Cathcart Associates, right, with fellow joint MD Gordon Kaye. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

With almost 13,000 jobs available each year in the country’s digital economy, Edinburgh-based IT recruitment specialist Cathcart Associates said firms need to consider potential employees’ wider background experience given the ongoing shortage of people with “high level” skills.

• READ MORE: Powering up Scotland’s digital tech skills base

Research cited by Skills Development Scotland shows almost a third of graduates entering the digital sector come from non-computing backgrounds, such as design, business or physical sciences, hinting at the existence of a “hidden pipeline” of digital talent.

Cathcart Associates, led by joint managing directors Gordon Kaye and Sam Wason, said more employers could stand to benefit by tapping into this pool of skills, particularly if they have the resources to provide on-the-job training.

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Kaye said: “With 12,800 jobs available every year and an average wage of £37,000, it’s hardly surprising that people from all kinds of professional backgrounds are keen to get involved in one of the country’s most innovative sectors.

“It’s important for employers to keep an open mind when recruiting for digital roles given the continuing shortage of people with high level digital skills. There is much to be gained by employers who can invest in re-skilling professionals and graduates who enter the tech sector from different backgrounds. Indeed, they can often bring a different perspective along with transferable skills that make them very valuable.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Cathcart said it has seen a rise in the number of companies, especially start-ups, seeking transferable skills such as commercial, business and project management experience, alongside pure technical abilities alone.

• READ MORE: IT recruiter Cathcart aiming to double Thailand team

More than 91,000 people are employed in digital technologies roles across the Scottish economy, with 60,000 employed directly by digital businesses. The average full-time salary in the sector has risen from £28,000 in 2010, showing stronger growth than median full-time salaries in Scotland over the same period.

Wason said: “While it is important for companies to adopt a more flexible approach to recruitment, job seekers can take action to boost their chances of working in the sector. A job in digital doesn’t necessarily require people to be ‘coders’ but there are resources available to help people teach themselves key skills like programming.”

He added: “Initiatives like CodeClan are doing a great job at producing a pipeline of talented developers and the Scottish Government’s £36 million fund to support digital skills training for businesses really shows that Scotland is pulling its weight when it comes to supporting the sector.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455521.1495625325!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455521.1495625325!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "'A job in digital doesn't necessarily require people to be 'coders',' says Sam Wason of Cathcart Associates, right, with fellow joint MD Gordon Kaye. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'A job in digital doesn't necessarily require people to be 'coders',' says Sam Wason of Cathcart Associates, right, with fellow joint MD Gordon Kaye. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455521.1495625325!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/how-deloitte-is-firing-up-fintech-innovation-in-scotland-1-4443872","id":"1.4443872","articleHeadline": "How Deloitte is firing up fintech innovation in Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495623953000 ,"articleLead": "

Throwing open the glass-panelled door, Kent Mackenzie leads the way into a corner room on the top floor of Deloitte’s Saltire Court offices in Edinburgh, with its dramatic view of the castle across the road.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4443870.1495111348!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ideas incubator: Deloitte uses the Edinburgh Greenhouse to take people out of their everyday environment to spark creativity and find solutions."} ,"articleBody": "

“Welcome to the Greenhouse,” he says with a flourish. It’s not what you’d expect from an accountancy firm.

With brightly-colour chairs, whiteboards and break-out spaces, it looks more like a science education centre than the realm of tax advisers and corporate financiers.

Mackenzie is quick to point out: “Describing Deloitte as an audit and accountancy firm, is like calling Amazon a bookseller – of course we do audit and accountancy exceptionally well – like Amazon and its books – but we also do a whole lot more.”

He explains how the firm and its clients use the Edinburgh Greenhouse and its counterparts in other parts of the world to take people out of their everyday environments and come together to solve problems, sparking their creativity and allowing them to think about how disruptive technology can help them address everything from age-old challenges in the business, to grappling existential questions about the future of the industry and the role of technology.

With virtual reality goggles and a 3D printer on hand, participants can take their ideas further than scribbling notes on a whiteboard by starting to develop prototypes and work through how they come to life in their business.

The Greenhouse is just the tip of the iceberg though; it’s the public face of what’s going on behind the scenes.

Mackenzie is the director of a 15-strong team (“hand-picked and all with an incredible skill”) that is developing its own fintech solutions.

The team is also forming partnerships with start-up companies to work together on creating customer-facing solutions and smart technology that can reduce cost, automate decision-making, or analyse large swathes of data in far more intuitive ways.

Mackenzie is fresh back from Glasgow, where he’s been quizzed by auditors about how the latest fintech products and services work, and talking about how one gets to grips with the range of emerging solutions that come under the fintech banner.

If auditors are getting interested in fintech it shows how seriously the sector is being taken by the wider business community.

“People often ask me what makes me so interested in fintech,” says Mackenzie. “One could always argue that it has been around for years.

“But I think there are three reasons why it’s important now, and why we have a once-in-a-career opportunity to explore how new technologies can address market failures in financial services and create a more financially inclusive world.

“The first is regulation – with the introduction of the Second Payment Services Directive and open banking.

“The second is customer sentiment – consumers want to be able to access services at any time and in any place,” says Mackenzie.

“The third is the exponential growth in technology.

“Together, those three elements mean that there’s a great opportunity for fintech to thrive.” Closer to home Mackenzie is passionate about the opportunity Scotland has to burst on to the stage.

Indeed some of this work is well underway in the Fintech Scotland strategy he has been working with Scottish Financial Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise to develop and deliver.

Last year, Mackenzie and his Deloitte team were commissioned by Scottish Enterprise to compile a report into how the nation could be turned into an international fintech hub. The 100-page study that was published last May.

Its recommendations included creating a physical hub at which events could be held and people from different backgrounds – from programmers and developers through to bankers and insurers – could meet and increase the number of “collisions” for new ideas to be developed, just as Bill Gates described during the early days of Microsoft.

His other suggestions included protecting the stream of talent that Scotland already has in the tech sector by working with teachers in secondary schools to encourage pupils to consider careers in fintech.

He also wants to find ways to bring the under-represented – such as women, parents returning to the workforce, experts and revolutionaries in remote parts of the country – to the centre of fintech.

Mackenzie talks about Scotland’s first “datathon”, which Deloitte held in March as part of the Data Lab’s DataFest17.

He spoke there to pupils who had become engrossed in technology and have “incredible” ideas about what financial services of the future could, and should, look like.

“We also need to be a bit ‘less Scottish’ when it comes to promoting ourselves,” says Mackenzie adding he was born in Jedburgh and so he is allowed to say this.

“We have world-class universities in Scotland, exceptional and well-established technology talent and our financial services industry has a long track-record of innovation – we invented the automated telling machine (ATM) – we should be pointing out that we are the original fintech pioneers.

“We need a Liam Gallagher for the fintech sector – someone who will make some noise and shout about our potential.”

Alongside his core advisory business and product development venture, playing a part in the wider fintech ecosystem is an important part of the work being undertaken by Mackenzie and his team.

Two of the most exciting areas of the firm’s work involve creating its own products and services in house and working with start-up companies to co-develop technology.

Examples of the in-house work including using artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive analytics.

“We’re testing some specific AI initiatives with two of our biggest financial services clients at the moment.

”It’s very exciting: the potential use of AI to augment decision-making in financial services is huge.

“Our work is considering customer sentiment and how AI can be used to truly understand the ‘heartbeat’ of customers and configure services and products that will work for them, adapting to respond to the different challenges or financial ‘rhythm’ of their everyday lives.

“We are also embarking on pilots to look at how lending and affordability can be fine-tuned and more appropriately assessed using AI.

“I am very keen to focus on how we use AI for ‘good’ in financial services – it’s all about the customer.

“The next step is to use AI to make predictions instead of simply modelling past data.

“Imagine being able to make dynamic predictions about what insurance or investment products a customer might need, hour by hour, day by day, and then offering them to customer in really consumable formats.”

Mackenzie is equally as excited about the collaborations that are taking place.

“We’ve worked with James Varga and the ID Co to develop bolt-on services that help give users different perspectives on the data it has gathered,” he explains.

“The ID Co helps customers by creating a digital identity based on their banking persona, that can then be used to confirm identity when changing banks accounts, or applying for other services where proof of ID is required.

“What I love about the ID Co is the simplicity and applicability of the solution – the whole challenge of ‘identity’ in the financial services market is huge.”

Working in fintech has meant assembling a team that brings together skills not normally found in an accountancy firm.

So, why is one of the “big four” consultancies getting this excited about fintech, which is often seen as the preserve of the banks or tech start-ups?

“In my view you need three things to succeed in fintech – access to market, technology skills and an understanding and experience of the problem you’re trying to solve,” Mackenzie explains.

“There aren’t many tech start-ups that have all three, but as a firm we have all three of those – so why wouldn’t we create technology based on the skills we have in house?

“The beauty of it is that sometimes it is not quite as easy as that and I love the projects where we work with start-ups and our clients to do something together.

“We get in a room, share the problem, shake each other’s hand and agree to share the IP, and then get to work on creating something really cool – and in classic Jonathon Ive style we try not to come out of the room until we’ve created a blueprint.”

One of the areas in which Mackenzie thinks fintech can make a real difference to people’s lives is by making the world of finance more inclusive.

“Financial inclusion is often wrongly caricatured as extending capitalism and creating more consumers – but that’s not it at all,” he says.

“In this country an estimated two million people don’t have a bank account, and therefore often simply can’t get access to the welfare they need to support themselves and their families.

“The lack of financial inclusion has a huge societal impact.

“Sixty-five per cent of people in the UK don’t have enough in savings to last them two months if they lost their job, or had an accident, or had to take leave from their employment.

“By creating even small improvements in financial education people could create more financial security for themselves.”

Mackenzie adds: “There is a huge amount to think about in how fintech can help address some of the most existential questions around how we create a more financially inclusive world.

“When I dream about fintech futures, I wonder if Scotland can not only become a fintech super-power, but also take the lead in looking at how we use fintech to solve some of society’s challenges with financial services.”

For more information visit Deloitte.

" ,"byline": {"email": "jackie.mitchell@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Peter Ranscombe"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4443870.1495111348!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4443870.1495111348!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ideas incubator: Deloitte uses the Edinburgh Greenhouse to take people out of their everyday environment to spark creativity and find solutions.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ideas incubator: Deloitte uses the Edinburgh Greenhouse to take people out of their everyday environment to spark creativity and find solutions.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4443870.1495111348!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4443871.1494579843!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4443871.1494579843!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Greenhouse is just the tip of the iceberg though; its the public face of whats going on behind the scenes.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Greenhouse is just the tip of the iceberg though; its the public face of whats going on behind the scenes.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4443871.1494579843!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/tesco-issue-urgent-recall-for-lipstick-and-lollipop-pens-1-4455446","id":"1.4455446","articleHeadline": "Tesco issue urgent recall for lipstick and lollipop pens","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495622792000 ,"articleLead": "

TESCO has issued an urgent product recall notice for a range of pens due to fears that they could cause asphyxiation if accidentally swallowed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455445.1495622789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Customers are advised to stop using the products and return them to the store for a full refund. Picture: Contributed."} ,"articleBody": "

The Lipstick Pens - which come in a pack of two, with model #: MF9864792PK - and the Lollipop Pens, Model #: MF986829 sold as a pack of four items - have been found to fail to comply with required safety standards.

Although there have been no reports of injuries being caused by the products, the manufacturer - Amscan International Ltd - are recalling affected pens from customers.

Customers are advised to stop using the products, and return them to the store where a full refund will be given. No receipt is required.

Further details can be obtained by contacting Amscan Customer Services directly on 01908 288 500.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DIANE KING"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455445.1495622789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455445.1495622789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Customers are advised to stop using the products and return them to the store for a full refund. Picture: Contributed.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Customers are advised to stop using the products and return them to the store for a full refund. Picture: Contributed.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455445.1495622789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/amazon-launches-expanded-tv-package-1-4455444","id":"1.4455444","articleHeadline": "Amazon launches expanded TV package","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495622677000 ,"articleLead": "

MORE than 40 subscription TV channels including Discovery and ITV Hub+ are now available to watch for Amazon Prime members as part of the new Channels service.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455443.1495622840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amazon is going head to head with streaming rival Netflix and pay-TV competitior Sky. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The new TV subscription service will offer reality television like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, hundreds of shows for kids and the upcoming French open Tennis 2017 on Eurosport Player.

There are also top movie channels like BFI Player+, MGM and Heera – Amazon’s own, curated Bollywood channel, offering more than 500 movies.

Amazon Prime is already enjoyed by tens of millions of people around the world for a subscription service starts at £1.49 per month with anytime cancellation. It’s now going head to head with streaming rival Netflix and pay-TV competitor, Sky.

Power back to customers

“For the first time, Prime members in the UK and Germany will be able to choose to watch premium TV channels without having to sign up to a bundle or a contract, giving them the freedom to pay for only what they want to watch,” says Alex Green, MD, Europe, Amazon Channels.

“From live sport to Bollywood, art-house cinema to reality TV, and award-winning TV shows from popular channels like Discovery and ITV, Amazon Channels gives power back to customers to choose exactly what they want to watch.”

The Amazon Channels service is also the first time that some of the channels, such as Discovery, have been made available independently of any ‘bundle’, enabling customers to only pay for the premium TV they want to watch.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "AIMEE STANTON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455443.1495622840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455443.1495622840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Amazon is going head to head with streaming rival Netflix and pay-TV competitior Sky. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amazon is going head to head with streaming rival Netflix and pay-TV competitior Sky. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455443.1495622840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/start-ups-the-catalyst-for-innovation-in-scottish-fintech-sector-1-4443849","id":"1.4443849","articleHeadline": "Start-ups the catalyst for innovation in Scottish fintech sector","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495622535000 ,"articleLead": "

There are lots of innovative products and services being developed in Scotland’s fintech sector, from the borrowing platform created by LendingCrowd to the identity and data protection provided by Payfont through to the refinement of even smarter apps by the big high street banks.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4443847.1495111403!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Work tactics: Lorna Finlayson and Chris Gotts of Burness Paull are seeing support for start-ups coming from established financial services companies."} ,"articleBody": "

But it’s something far subtler that has caught Lorna Finlayson’s attention.

“The word that jumps out at me whenever I think about fintech is ‘collaborative’ – that’s almost the most disruptive element in some sense, because it’s not about people sitting in silos working away on their own; by their very nature they’re collaborative people,” explains Finlayson.

“It is being said that fintech will democratise financial services. It’s very client-driven, with the product coming second.

“A key fintech objective is to widen the accessibility of the financial system.

“That’s one of the ways in which we see fintech start-ups interacting with the large, established financial services companies.

“The technology they are developing may be disruptive, but it’s also very collaborative. The big businesses that turn their backs on fintech will be at a significant competitive disadvantage.

“Fintech is going to touch most areas of financial services, so if they don’t embrace it then they are going to be left behind.”

Finlayson has first-hand experience of what it’s like to disrupt the world of finance. As company secretary at Direct Line Financial Services, she was at the forefront of pioneering the telephone-based services that have now become commonplace across the industry.

One of the ways in which large and small players in the fintech sector can collaborate is through established financial services companies supporting start-ups.

“A great example of that in action is Scotland’s first fintech accelerator, which Entrepreneurial Spark is opening at Royal Bank of Scotland’s Gogarburn head office this month,” says Chris Gotts, head of Burness Paull’s corporate finance division.

“Having an accelerator based inside a large financial services company gives the opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to gain access to the expertise of a larger firm, through mentoring and the interactions that come from sharing an environment like that.

“It also gives the start-ups access to a potential large customer and an environment to market test their products or services.”

It’s not just about big financial service companies supporting fintech start-ups, though.

Gotts is passionate about the need for advisers – whether they are lawyers or accountants or other professionals – to lend a hand, too.

He points to Burness Paull’s involvement with Aberdeen-based Elevator, the business support service covering the former Grampian and Tayside regions.

“We are working with several of the companies that have passed through Elevator’s incubator space,” Gotts adds.

“It’s about advisers taking a holistic approach and looking at the client’s whole business, and in our case more than just providing legal advice.”

Once fintech companies are past the start-up stage, access to finance becomes one of the major challenges that they face.

Gotts is optimistic about the funding landscape in Scotland, highlighting the role that high net worth individuals and business angels play in financing businesses.

He also points to the support available from the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of public agencies Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise, especially through its co-investment fund, which provides capital alongside business angel syndicates and other partners.

“At the later stage, once a company is bringing in revenue, there is also development capital available from the likes of the Business Growth Fund and Maven Capital (including the Scottish Loan Fund),” he adds.

“Business angel syndicates are also starting to club together so they can invest alongside one another, which should help to plug the ‘venture capital gap’ – that space above around £2 million that used to be filled by venture funds.

“With London and the south-east of England being such a large financial services hub, it can be difficult to attract investors to Scotland.

“That’s why initiatives such as Informatics Ventures’ Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) event in Edinburgh this month and in London later in the year is so important.”

FreeAgent, the Edinburgh-based accounting software developer, joined the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) last November, which Gotts hopes will prove to be a milestone for the Scottish fintech community and which could lead to other businesses considering the capital markets as means of delivering funding and growth.

“Listing on the stock market isn’t just about the money you raise through your initial public offering (IPO) – it also gives you access to institutional shareholders that can help to fund your growth and gives you the ability to offer shares alongside or instead of cash when it comes to strategic acquisitions,” he points out.

“It also raises the profile of your business and brings it to the attention of potential customers, partners or acquirers.”

Outside the fintech space, Gotts believes the acquisition of Sky- scanner by Chinese peer Ctrip for £1.4 billion in November 2016 will raise the profile of the wider digital technology community in Scotland, which he hopes will bring further investment and other benefits.

Disruptive technology such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and crowdfunding not only creates challenges and opportunities for players within the financial markets but also shines a light on the need for robust regulation.

Finlayson praises the work that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has carried out to engage with fintech firms.

“The FCA’s response to the wave of fintech developments has been its Project Innovate, promoting disruptive innovation which provides competition to established models and offers new services.

“One manifestation of this is the world’s first regulatory sandbox, where both start-ups and established firms can road test new products in a safe space – helping these new models get to market and at the same time allowing the regulator to gain a better understanding from which to develop its own regulatory framework to meet the challenges of new technologies.

“The concept of regulation technology or ‘reg-tech’ is also music to the regulators’ ears because software is being created that will not only help companies to monitor their own internal compliance regimes but also provide the details needed for more accurate regulatory supervision.

“A lot of the focus on fintech has been on the customer-facing elements – such as apps and websites – but there’s also a lot of excellent work going on in Scotland when it comes to the ‘back office’ functions, like making the internal processes more efficient and improving the infrastructure behind the technology.”

With all this technology comes concerns about the security of valuable customer data.

If companies get their data compliance wrong then the penalties can be severe. At present, the Information Commissioners’ Office can level fines of £500,000 for data security breaches – but this figure is due to rise to €20m (£17m) or 4 per cent of turnover when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is introduced in January.

But Scottish companies are rising to the challenge. “I’m blown away by some of the technology being developed to keep clients’ data secure,” admits Finlayson.

While Scotland is undoubtedly gaining a reputation as a fintech hub, both Finlayson and Gotts highlight the strong competition that’s coming from other locations, including traditional international financial services rivals such as Frankfurt, London and New York, alongside emerging fintech centres such as India, Ireland and Israel.

Yet they believe Scotland has both a strong ecosystem – made up of companies, public agencies and universities – and many historic strengths.

“It goes back to that question about ‘What is fintech?’ because it’s a relatively new badge,” says Gotts.

“Scotland has always been strong in financial services, while fintech is an emerging sub-sector of the digital technology sector with a truly global reach.”

“Bringing the two together provides a really strong platform – that’s why everyone is so excited about it, and that’s why businesses and business leaders in Scotland must act now to harness the incredible potential of fintech.”

For more information visit Burness Paull.

" ,"byline": {"email": "jackie.mitchell@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Peter Ranscombe"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4443847.1495111403!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4443847.1495111403!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Work tactics: Lorna Finlayson and Chris Gotts of Burness Paull are seeing support for start-ups coming from established financial services companies.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Work tactics: Lorna Finlayson and Chris Gotts of Burness Paull are seeing support for start-ups coming from established financial services companies.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4443847.1495111403!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4443848.1495111405!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4443848.1495111405!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chris Gotts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chris Gotts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4443848.1495111405!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/retail/ten-scottish-brewers-cheer-supply-deals-with-asda-1-4455394","id":"1.4455394","articleHeadline": "Ten Scottish brewers cheer supply deals with Asda","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495621138000 ,"articleLead": "

Asda is ramping up its craft beer offering across Scottish stores after collaborating with ten breweries.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455393.1495621498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Heather Turnbull, Asda's regional buying manager for Scotland. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

The supermarket major said it would bring an additional 25 product lines to its shelves, with a collective contract value of about £875,000.

• READ MORE: Gin-makers raise a glass to £800,000 deals with Asda

For five breweries – Alechemy, Bellfield, Black Isle, St Andrews and Tempest – it marks their first listing with Asda after being recruited through the group’s relationship with Craft Beer Clan.

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The other five breweries that will see their ranges extended are Deeside Brewery, whose 500ml bottled lager is exclusive to Asda, Belhaven Brewery, Lerwick, Williams Bros and WooHa.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Heather Turnbull, Asda’s regional buying manager for Scotland, said: “The craft beer culture continues to grow, and it’s clear customers are trading up to more premium beers, particularly ones which come from local brands.”

Asda said it had set its sights on becoming the “biggest craft beer retailer in the UK”.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT REID"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455393.1495621498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455393.1495621498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Heather Turnbull, Asda's regional buying manager for Scotland. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Heather Turnbull, Asda's regional buying manager for Scotland. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455393.1495621498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/edinburgh-s-exchange-place-1-offices-sold-for-47m-1-4455362","id":"1.4455362","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh’s Exchange Place 1 offices sold for £47m","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495619854000 ,"articleLead": "

The Exchange Place 1 office block in the centre of Edinburgh’s financial hub has been bought by a German investment fund for £47 million.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455361.1495619851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aberdeen Asset Management has sold the office block to a German investor. Picture: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

Fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) sold the building to GLL Real Estate Partners Pan European Property Fund in what is described as the biggest Scottish commercial property sale of the year so far.

• READ MORE: Property investors shrug off Indyref2 and Brexit fears

Nick Ireland, co-head of UK direct property at AAM, said: “The sale of Exchange Place 1 has brought this successful long-term project to a close for us.

“We were delighted with the quality of the tenants we secured and the level of investor interest clearly demonstrates the strength of demand for high quality assets in a strong city such as Edinburgh.”

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Brought to the market by AAM early last year, JLL and Cushman and Wakefield acted jointly on the lettings and the sale of Exchange Place 1, which is fully let to tenants including BlackRock and Evans Cycles. GVA James Barr acted for GLL on the purchase.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Completed in 2009, Exchange Place comprises three separate office buildings, totalling close to 215,000 square feet. AAM’s disposal of Exchange Place 1, which follows the sale of Exchange Place 2 and 3 earlier this year, brings the combined total for the campus to £83m.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455361.1495619851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455361.1495619851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aberdeen Asset Management has sold the office block to a German investor. Picture: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aberdeen Asset Management has sold the office block to a German investor. Picture: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455361.1495619851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/ineos-in-1bn-deal-to-buy-dong-s-oil-and-gas-division-1-4455337","id":"1.4455337","articleHeadline": "Ineos in £1bn deal to buy Dong’s oil and gas division","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495618553000 ,"articleLead": "

Grangemouth petrochemicals giant Ineos has agreed a deal worth up to $1.3 billion (£1bn) to buy the oil and gas business from Danish group Dong Energy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455336.1495618550!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jim Ratcliffe said the Dong business was 'very important' to Ineos. Picture: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

Ineos, which is controlled by billionaire chairman Jim Ratcliffe, said the move will propel it into a top ten company and the biggest private group operating in the North Sea.

• READ MORE: BP to sell Forties pipeline to Ineos for £199m

It will boost its so-called upstream division, seeing it add a portfolio of production, development and exploration sites off the coast of Denmark, Norway and West of Shetland area.

Around 440 staff will also transfer from Dong on completion of the deal, which is expected in the third quarter.

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Ratcliffe said the business was a “natural fit” for the group as it expands its upstream arm.

He added: “This business is very important to us at this stage of our growth plans and we are delighted with the expertise that comes with it.”

• READ MORE: Fracking ‘extremely safe’ says Ineos boss as shale shipment arrives

Ineos has agreed to pay $1.05bn and a further potential $250 million for the Dong division.

Henrik Poulsen, chief executive of Dong, said: “Since the decision in 2016 to divest our upstream oil and gas business, we’ve actively worked to get the best transaction by selling the business as a whole, getting a good and fair price for it and ensuring the optimal conditions for the long-term development of the oil and gas business.

“With the agreement with Ineos we’ve obtained just that.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The acquisition comes after Ineos recently snapped up a 235-mile pipeline from BP, which transports nearly 40 per cent of the UK North Sea’s oil and gas production, for up to $250m.

Ineos employs around 18,500 people across 105 sites in 22 countries. It is the 200th largest business in the world, with sales of $40bn a year.

When it launched in 1998, the group had 400 staff and annual sales of $200m.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Holly Williams"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455336.1495618550!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455336.1495618550!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jim Ratcliffe said the Dong business was 'very important' to Ineos. Picture: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jim Ratcliffe said the Dong business was 'very important' to Ineos. Picture: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455336.1495618550!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/laureate-barley-s-growing-recognition-in-drinks-sector-1-4455303","id":"1.4455303","articleHeadline": "Laureate barley’s growing recognition in drinks sector","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495617008000 ,"articleLead": "

With sales of the Laureate malting barley seed capturing more than 15 per cent of the Scottish total this spring, farmers who have sown the new variety will be relieved to learn it has gained full approval for both the malt distilling and brewing markets.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455302.1495617004!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Laureate barley has won approval in the key brewing and distilling markets. Picture: David Cheskin/PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Lorne Watson, chairman of the Agricultural Industries Confederation’s (AIC) seed sector in Scotland, said that with a single variety – Concerto – accounting for more than 80 per cent of the malting barley acreage in recent years, growers would be pleased that a new variety with favourable agronomic characteristics had been deemed fully acceptable to the maltsters.

• READ MORE: Farming news

He said that while the variety still had to prove itself fully to growers, a promised yield advantage of close to a tonne a hectare had been enough to convince many farmers to sow it this spring before it had received full approval.

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The variety’s breeder, Syngenta, said that promotion to full approval meant that Laureate was the highest-yielding spring barley on the current AHDB Recommended List to have gained full approval in both markets.

The company’s seeds and seedcare campaign manager, Mark Bullen, said that in recent years there had been an increasing yield gap between varieties approved for brewing and varieties for distilling.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

“The industry has definitely moved back to wanting single varieties suited to both markets, and Laureate puts growing for distilling back on a more equal yield footing with growing for brewing. It is a real breakthrough for growers,” he said.

“Encouragingly, Laureate also made progress in the brewing sectors in France and Germany earlier this year. It is also generating interest in the US, Canada and Japan.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Henderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455302.1495617004!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455302.1495617004!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Laureate barley has won approval in the key brewing and distilling markets. Picture: David Cheskin/PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Laureate barley has won approval in the key brewing and distilling markets. Picture: David Cheskin/PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455302.1495617004!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/cautious-welcome-for-new-farm-rent-review-contract-1-4455288","id":"1.4455288","articleHeadline": "Cautious welcome for new farm rent review contract","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495616209000 ,"articleLead": "

NFU Scotland has welcomed the eventual award of the contract to conduct the appraisal of how the new “productive capacity” measures to be used to determine farm rents – contained in last year’s Land Reform Act – will work in practice.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455287.1495616207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Tenant Farmers Association chairman Christopher Nicholson said a stakeholder group should be appointed to monitor contractors' work. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The work will be conducted by a consortium consisting of land agents Savills, legal adviser Hamish Lean, and Elgin-based agent Watson Bell.

However, while welcoming the fact that things were moving forward, the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) said the fact that many of its members viewed the main contractor as working chiefly for land owners might leave tenant farmers with “understandable concerns”.

• READ MORE: Farming news

STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said that while such concerns had been widely expressed in the sector, tenants should be reassured that the safeguards of the tight parameters set for the review together with the broad membership of the consortium and the transparency of the process would lead to a professional and balanced outcome.

“We have also suggested to cabinet secretary Fergus Ewing that a stakeholder group should be appointed to monitor the work of the contractors, guaranteeing transparency and impartiality,” he said.

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However, Nicholson added that the political slippage which had delayed the appointment could mean it could now be 2020 before the new procedures were actually used in rental determinations.

The consortium appointed to the job will be charged with assessing the proposals and turning the rent framework laid down in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 into a practical rent review system. Although the basis of the new formula is enshrined in statute, the act requires it to be tested on the ground to make sure it will be achieve its purpose of delivering a fair rent, before the secondary legislation, which will implement the changes, is passed by parliament.

• READ MORE: ‘Trees v tenants’ row resurfaces over planting targets

NFUS said that the appointment was a significant step forward in delivering a more transparent system for rents for 1991 Act agricultural tenancies, with union president Andrew McCornick stating that many farmers were awaiting news of how rents would be determined for secure tenancies.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

However, he added: “It is vital the new rent-setting mechanism is fit for purpose, and provides landlords and tenants with a fair and transparent system which allows both parties to understand how the rent is determined.”

McCornick also expressed concerns that there was some misunderstanding about when the new rent test would be introduced, admitting that it would be tight to have it in operation in time for 2019 reviews.

“I urge rent discussions between now and then to bear this in mind and for all to adhere to good industry practice during rent reviews,” he concluded.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "bhenderson@farming.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Henderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455287.1495616207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455287.1495616207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Tenant Farmers Association chairman Christopher Nicholson said a stakeholder group should be appointed to monitor contractors' work. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Tenant Farmers Association chairman Christopher Nicholson said a stakeholder group should be appointed to monitor contractors' work. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455287.1495616207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/regions/inverness-highlands-islands/beaches-makeover-in-highlands-finds-soviet-era-tin-cans-1-4455775","id":"1.4455775","articleHeadline": "Beaches makeover in Highlands finds Soviet-era tin cans","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495634240000 ,"articleLead": "

TWO scenic beaches north of Ullapool in the North West Highlands have been treated to a massive clean-up by almost 50 volunteers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455772.1495634236!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A tin can from a Soviet klondyker found during clean-up of Scottish beach. Picture: Scottish Wildlife Trust"} ,"articleBody": "

More than 300 bags of rubbish were gathered from two beaches at Dun Canna – enough to fill a 25 cubic metre skip.

Most of the rubbish was made up of fishing nets and ropes, plastic bottles and caps, as well as old toys and food packaging.

READ MORE: Eight hill walks with spectacular views of Loch Lomond

But tin cans from Soviet-era fish factory ships were also found among the rubbish. Known as klondykers, the ships which would anchor in Loch Broom off Ullapool to process mackerel in the 1970s to early 90s.

The clean-up effort was part of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas project.

Living Seas Communities Officer Noel Hawkins said: “Marine waste is an ever increasing issue.

“Not only does it spoil beautiful locations but it’s also a serious threat to marine life, and can injure pets and visitors to the beach.

“Access to the beaches at Dun Canna involves a mile and half long walk over hills and fields so removing the rubbish is a challenge, but we saw this as an opportunity to bring together different people and groups to try and tackle the situation.

“The two beaches which have been cleared are on either side of an Iron Age fort nestled on a headland on the shore of Keanchulish Estate.

“They have become covered and clogged in predominantly plastic waste, netting, containers, ropes and even old metal fish tins that date back to Soviet factory ships from the 1970s and ’80s.”

The beach clean was organised by the Trust’s Living Seas project in conjunction with the Highland Ranger Service and the Marine Conservation Society.

Volunteers included members of the local community as well as visitors. Staff from Keanchulish Estate kindly provided support including a tractor and trailer, quad and argocat to help get the rubbish from the shore to a skip donated by a local hire company.

READ MORE: Ilona Amos: Do yourself and nature a favour with a walk on the wild side

Noel Hawkins added, “Many of those who came along were shocked by the sheer scale of the litter. Hopefully taking part in beach cleans encourages people not only to come and help but also to look at how much plastic they use and how it is disposed of.”

The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Project is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455772.1495634236!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455772.1495634236!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A tin can from a Soviet klondyker found during clean-up of Scottish beach. Picture: Scottish Wildlife Trust","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A tin can from a Soviet klondyker found during clean-up of Scottish beach. Picture: Scottish Wildlife Trust","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455772.1495634236!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455773.1495634238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455773.1495634238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Volunteers collecting litter from Dun-Canna beach. Picture: Noel-Hawkins/Scottish Wildlife Trust","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Volunteers collecting litter from Dun-Canna beach. Picture: Noel-Hawkins/Scottish Wildlife Trust","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455773.1495634238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455774.1495634238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455774.1495634238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Litter collected from Dun-Canna. Picture: Noel-Hawkins/Scottish Wildlife Trust","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Litter collected from Dun-Canna. Picture: Noel-Hawkins/Scottish Wildlife Trust","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455774.1495634238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/regions/dundee-tayside/perthshire-s-famous-enchanted-forest-set-to-make-a-return-1-4455626","id":"1.4455626","articleHeadline": "Perthshire’s famous Enchanted Forest set to make a return","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495628894000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s premier sound and light event is set amidst the Autumn woodland of Forestry Commission Scotland’s Faskally Wood.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455625.1495628891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Enchanted Forest. Picture: Angus Forbes/Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The spectacular event is to return to this year, with tens of thousands expected to attend.

The Enchanted Forest is current winner of UK’s Best Cultural Event, as well as Best Large Event and the Chairman’s Award and three times winner of Best Cultural Event at the Scottish Event Awards.

The Enchanted Forest was also recently crowned winner of the Rural Tourism & Hospitality Award at the 2016 Scottish Rural Awards.

Their 2017 dates have just been announced.

READ MORE: Enchanted Forest named UK’s best cultural event

They are 28 September to 29 October and tickets will go on sale to the public on 16 June.

Woodland Experiences has again joined forces with Allan Associates, the producers and creative directors of the Enchanted Forest for the last several years, to put on another visually-stunning display at North Ballochruin Farm, Balfron.

The award-winning event attracted over 70,000 visitors last year and could top 100,000 this year.

The Enchanted Forest started life as a three-night attraction for 1500 people. It is believed to be worth more than £3 million for the Perthshire economy.

Organisers say around half the event’s visitors choose to stay overnight in the Perthshire area.

Ian Sim, chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust. which runs the event, said: “People travel from all over the world for the show and it generates lots of positive press for Highland Perthshire.

“We’re delighted to be attracting so many visitors to the area at what has traditionally been a quiet time of year.”

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of national tourism agency VisitScotland said: “As a former winner of our prestigious Thistle Award for Best Event, The Enchanted Forest continues to go from strength to strength and is a truly worthy winner of this award.

“The creative team has an exceptional way of refreshing their approach every year to create a unique event that showcases Scotland’s natural landscape at its very best. It is a must-see event for people of all ages.

READ MORE: Drone footage reveals Enchanted Forest in all its shimmering glory

“Events like this don’t just provide entertainment - they boost the local conomy and represent a multi-million pound opportunity to increase jobs as well as deliver cultural and social benefits.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455625.1495628891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455625.1495628891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Enchanted Forest. Picture: Angus Forbes/Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Enchanted Forest. Picture: Angus Forbes/Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455625.1495628891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/regions/glasgow-strathclyde/b-q-colleagues-take-on-96-mile-west-highland-way-for-charity-1-4455357","id":"1.4455357","articleHeadline": "B&Q Colleagues take on 96-mile West Highland Way for charity","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495620639000 ,"articleLead": "

Three colleagues from B&Q Port Glasgow are to tackle the famous trek in just 36 hours for Pancreatic Cancer Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455376.1495620636!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael smith, Adam McAlpine and Matt Carnegie are taking on the West Highland Way for Pancreatic Cancer Scotland. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Michael Smith, 37, Adam McAlpine, 23, and Matt Carnegie, 26, are taking on this herculean task to raise £5,000 for the charity in honour of one of the company’s regional managers, Thomas (Tommy) Clancy, who passed away from the disease two years ago.

READ MORE: Family campaign to bring critically injured cyclist home

Tommy had worked for B&Q for over 30 years and was a much loved and respected member of the team, having worked closely with thousands of B&Q colleagues.

Michael, Adam and Matt’s challenge will start at midnight on Saturday and over the 36 hours they will to walk at an average pace of 2.6 miles per hour. The route rises from sea level to 550m (1800 ft) at its highest point and the average time taken to walk the route is 7 days.

Michael, who is the main driving force behind the walk, said: “Tommy was a great manager and two years on since he sadly passed he’s still remembered fondly by everyone at B&Q. I’m proud of our band of three for taking on this challenge for a very worthy cause.”

The West Highland Way runs from Milngavie to Fort William taking in spectacular countryside and some amazing challenges such as the Devil’s Staircase. It is one of Scotland’s four Great Trails.

To follow their progress and donate

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455376.1495620636!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455376.1495620636!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael smith, Adam McAlpine and Matt Carnegie are taking on the West Highland Way for Pancreatic Cancer Scotland. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael smith, Adam McAlpine and Matt Carnegie are taking on the West Highland Way for Pancreatic Cancer Scotland. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455376.1495620636!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/house-prices-in-glasgow-suburbs-set-to-soar-in-value-1-4455079","id":"1.4455079","articleHeadline": "House prices in Glasgow suburbs set to soar in value","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495619360000 ,"articleLead": "

Homes in the suburbs of Glasgow are set to soar in value over the next five years, according to financial experts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455078.1495619356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

The latest UK Property Predictor, from Barclay’s bank, suggests East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire will see some of the largest house price increases in the country.

Edinburgh and Stirling will also experience bigger rises than other parts of Scotland.

A jump of 23.8 per cent is expected in East Renfrewshire, followed by 22.5 per cent in East Dunbartonshire.

East Renfrewshire is the only Scottish destination to rank within the top 20 areas of highest growth across the UK, joining the likes of Westminster, Cotswold and Warwick.

Analysts say economic growth and employment opportunities in Scotland are pushing up property prices in many areas, but access to good schools and short commuting distance from the city centre have seen places such Giffnock, Newton Mearns, Milngavie and Bearsden becoming increasingly desirable.

The average cost of a house in Scotland will go up by nearly 6 per cent by 2021, rising from £168,000 to nearly £180,000.

Across the UK, a 6.1 per cent increase is foreseen, making the average home worth £290,714.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ILONA AMOS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455078.1495619356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455078.1495619356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455078.1495619356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tax-relief-specialist-jumpstart-teams-up-with-eef-1-4455262","id":"1.4455262","articleHeadline": "Tax relief specialist Jumpstart teams up with EEF","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495614939000 ,"articleLead": "

Manufacturers’ organisation EEF has struck a deal with Scottish tax relief specialist Jumpstart to aid firms with their R&D tax credits.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455261.1495614935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jumpstart managing director Scott Henderson. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The move will see Edinburgh-headquartered Jumpstart provide advice to EEF members to ensure they secure their full entitlement of research and development tax relief, as well as guidance to those companies applying for the credit for the first time.

• READ MORE: Tax relief specialist Jumpstart opens up first regional UK office

The firm said the partnership and advice would benefit “all sizes of business”, from FTSE 100 giants with complex R&D programmes through to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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Jumpstart will be named as an official EEF “Advantages” partner – joining the organisation’s scheme of third-party providers.

Last year, UK manufacturing companies benefited to the tune of £770 million through the tax credit scheme. However, the EEF – which represents 20,000 companies – is said to be concerned that a “significant number” of businesses are either not taking advantage of the scheme or maximising its value.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Charles Garfit, EEF membership engagement director, said: “Our role is to support UK manufacturers and help them realise their growth ambitions in an ever more competitive environment.

“Investing in R&D is vital to attempts by manufacturers to do just that by increasing their innovation performance and productivity.”

Jumpstart managing director Scott Henderson added: “Building on our significant strength in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, we welcome this opportunity to contribute to the developing dialogue on innovation and we look forward to supporting both large and small companies submit robust claims for tax relief.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Scott Reid"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455261.1495614935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455261.1495614935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jumpstart managing director Scott Henderson. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jumpstart managing director Scott Henderson. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455261.1495614935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/lomond-capital-expands-presence-south-of-the-border-1-4455235","id":"1.4455235","articleHeadline": "Lomond Capital expands presence south of the Border","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495613596000 ,"articleLead": "

Lomond Capital, the Edinburgh-based property investor and consolidator, has bolstered its presence south of the Border with the acquisition of a Midlands lettings and estate agency.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455234.1495613594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'We are very excited about our new Birmingham city centre office,' said Lomond Capital chief Stuart Pender. Picture: Jane Barlow"} ,"articleBody": "

Wolf’s manages more than 750 properties, bringing the number of units managed by the Scottish group’s Birmingham operation, John Shepherd, to about 2,000.

The deal is the second since Lomond Capital completed a recent fund raising process that provided the group with £37.5 million of financial fire-power to expand its existing regional network and extend its reach to the south coast of England and London. It follows the acquisition of Brighton-based agent Brand Vaughan.

• READ MORE: Lomond Capital launches first foray into southern England property market

The Birmingham deal will see the John Shepherd business extend its footprint into the key Harborne market by retaining and rebranding Wolf’s branch in the area. Wolf’s city centre business, meanwhile, will join with John Shepherd’s new central branch when it opens next month. The staff will also transfer over to the new owner.

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Lomond Capital chief executive Stuart Pender said: “Not only is Wolf’s an excellent business bringing a strong lettings portfolio and high quality staff but it also fills in the remaining gaps in John Shepherd’s geographic coverage in the area.

“We are very excited about our new Birmingham city centre office. We have a strong pipeline of further acquisitions across the country and more approaches every week.”

Lomond Capital, which was set up less than seven years ago, has built up a £2.5 billion portfolio of residential assets, sells more than £600m worth of property a year and employs some 365 staff. It currently has businesses in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Brighton, Edinburgh, Manchester and St Andrews and is planning further investments across the south of England and London.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Richard Crathorne and Gary Black, joint chief executives of John Shepherd Lettings and Estate Agents, said: “We have admired the Wolf’s business for many years and we are therefore delighted to welcome it and the Wolf’s staff into the John Shepherd family.

“Wolf’s brings with it a high quality lettings and sales operation and a reputation for strong customer service.”

Radovan Vuckovic, the former owner of Wolf’s, added: “The John Shepherd and Wolf’s businesses are an excellent fit. I know the Wolf’s team will relish the new opportunities that working with Lomond’s local firm, John Shepherd, will bring.

“I will continue growing the Wolf’s block management business independently and look forward to working with John Shepherd in future.”

Lomond received private equity backing from MML Capital Partners in 2014 to accelerate expansion in the residential rental property market. In April of this year, it secured £37.5m of capital funding from Clydesdale Bank and Tosca Debt Capital. Lomond recently appointed Bruce Evans as managing director.

Pender was previously chief executive of Paymentshield, an insurance business which he acquired in 2004 with the backing of Bank of Scotland Integrated Finance.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "sreid@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Scott Reid"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455234.1495613594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455234.1495613594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "'We are very excited about our new Birmingham city centre office,' said Lomond Capital chief Stuart Pender. Picture: Jane Barlow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'We are very excited about our new Birmingham city centre office,' said Lomond Capital chief Stuart Pender. Picture: Jane Barlow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455234.1495613594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/future-scotland/tech/jim-duffy-unicorns-don-t-exist-in-real-world-for-start-ups-1-4455230","id":"1.4455230","articleHeadline": "Jim Duffy: Unicorns don’t exist in real world for start-ups","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495612774000 ,"articleLead": "

I was delighted this week to read that (at last!) many in the serious start-up world are shunning the term “unicorn”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455229.1495619858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'$1bn valuations are becoming less frequent and less fashionable,' says Jim Duffy. Picture: Ian Howarth"} ,"articleBody": "

For many of you out there starting and building businesses, if you were planning to raise equity-style investment this should be a major relief to you.

It’s time to get real: unicorns are outliers in the real world. $1 billion valuations are becoming less frequent and, indeed, less fashionable. In my view, they distort reality and almost have an elitist tone that leaves many out.

Own an innovative start-up? Find out how to win £5,000 for your business

If anyone in Scotland manages to start, grow or scale a business and goes on to sell it for, say, £10 million and the founder gets a nice £2m cheque in her back pocket, then this is a success… right? Wrong!

In the world of those peddling mega valuations and venture capital-led deals that inflate valuations (just because the venture capitalist wants to) this founder is deemed a “failure”. How can this be right? How can we perpetuate the myth that exiting your business after ten years of hard graft is a failure? It’s time to wake up and get real.

One the most successful entrepreneurs – and a very decent bloke that I rate highly as a businessman and human being – is Mike Welch OBE of Blackcircles fame.

• READ MORE: Mike Welch set to drive Blackcircles tyre firm into Asia

Mike built Blackcircles from scratch and sold it to Michelin for £50m, pocketing a nice fat cheque for himself in the process. Mike very kindly came to speak at Entrepreneurial Spark a few years back. He talked about perseverance and hard work.

There’s no doubt that his story is a great one. It’s inspiring, it’s human, it’s clever. Mike has been applauded by his peers and recognised at many award dinners. In my book, his story is a brilliant one that should and does inspire many.

And guess what, he is not a unicorn. Who knows where Mike will go, but I’m sure that he will undoubtedly have even more success. But, the point here is that he and others like him are the real face of what entrepreneurial success looks like.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

I recall John Huston of the Ohio Tech Angel syndicate visiting Scotland about five years ago. LINC Scotland had brought him over and I was lucky enough to be at the talk. John was great to listen to. Essentially, he would take about six to ten start-ups into his short programme.

He would sit the entrepreneur down in front of him and make it clear what the deal was. It went something like this: ‘Would you like a cheque for $5m in your back pocket in three to five year’s time?’ Yes, I would. ‘Good to hear. If you want that you will work your socks off for the next three years and work with us to help you to get there. Are you in?’ And guess what… 100 per cent said yes.

To my mind and many others who enable early stage ventures, this is a great deal and I wish we had more and more of this rather than the current distortion of crazy VC, unicorn, “enter my name in the annals of fame” brigade. There are two points to note about what the Ohio Tech Angels, led by John, did.

The first is that he set a realistic vision for what may be achieved in five years: a cheque for $5m. And how many of us would not love to deposit that in our bank accounts?

This is touchable, tangible, achievable money. And it allows the entrepreneur to go and start and fund their next adventure should they wish to do so. The second learning point here is even smarter. John set the expectation – that he was not simply going to seed fund the entrepreneur. He and his team were in it with them for the long term.

This is where the real magic is found in this proposition. Far too many start-ups get invested and then left to their own devices. They go to events and listen to “gurus” wax lyrical about scale and how wonderful it all is.

But this skews reality and can distort perceptions of what success is. Having a gutsy enabler working with you for the long term – that exit – is gold dust. And that is where I am headed in my thinking. So too, many others.

It’s time to get real… get rich.

• Agitator and disruptor Jim Duffy is head of #GoDo at Entrepreneurial Spark

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Duffy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455229.1495619858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455229.1495619858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "'$1bn valuations are becoming less frequent and less fashionable,' says Jim Duffy. Picture: Ian Howarth","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'$1bn valuations are becoming less frequent and less fashionable,' says Jim Duffy. Picture: Ian Howarth","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455229.1495619858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/government-borrowing-in-april-highest-for-three-years-1-4455225","id":"1.4455225","articleHeadline": "Government borrowing in April highest for three years","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495611841000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK government borrowed a surprise £10.4 billion in April in the last update on the public finances before the general election next month.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455224.1495611838!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond has vowed to put the public finances back in the black 'as early as possible'. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, rose by £1.2bn last month to reach the highest amount borrowed for the month since 2014. It came in higher than economists’ expectations of £8.8bn.

• READ MORE: General election news

Martin Beck, senior economic adviser for think tank EY Item Club, said the new fiscal year has “began on a disappointing note for the public finances. The culprit for April’s weakness partly lay with tax receipts. Total central government revenues rose by 3.9 per cent compared to 6.2 per cent in March, the slowest rate of increase in 12 months. Meanwhile, income tax receipts were up by only 1.4 per cent.”

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However, the statistics agency gave the government a boost ahead of the election on 8 June by revising down last year’s deficit.

It said government borrowing, excluding banks, for the last financial year dropped by £23.4bn to £48.7bn,from the previous year. It was the lowest annual borrowing figure since March 2008 and below the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) prediction of £51.7bn.

The government will face a stiff challenge to balance the books in the coming months as economists expect rising inflation to eat into consumer spending, causing the UK economy to slow.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said April’s borrowing figures suggest the drop in gross domestic product (GDP) to 0.3 per cent growth in the first quarter “won’t be just a blip”.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

He said: “Admittedly, the OBR expects borrowing to rise this year to £58.3bn in 2017-18, from £51.7bn in 2016-17 and it anticipates tax receipts rising only by 3.7 per cent. But this forecast reflects the fact that the surge in self-assessment tax receipts in January and February 2017 will not be repeated this fiscal year.

“Tax receipts growth, therefore, would have to significantly exceed the OBR’s full-year forecast in the first few months of this fiscal year in order to suggest that the fiscal consolidation is on track.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond had ditched his predecessor’s target of balancing the books by 2020, and vowed instead to put the public finances back in the black “as early as possible” in the next parliament as part of a new Charter for Budget Responsibility.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "businessdesk@scotsman.com" ,"author": "ben woods"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455224.1495611838!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455224.1495611838!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond has vowed to put the public finances back in the black 'as early as possible'. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond has vowed to put the public finances back in the black 'as early as possible'. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455224.1495611838!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/retail/m-s-profits-slump-as-clothing-sales-go-into-reverse-1-4455216","id":"1.4455216","articleHeadline": "M&S profits slump as clothing sales go into reverse","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495610990000 ,"articleLead": "

Retail giant Marks & Spencer has seen annual profits tumble by nearly two-thirds and revealed sales across its under-pressure clothing arm have plunged back into reverse.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455215.1495610984!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marks & Spencer said the timing of Easter weighed on its clothing business. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Chief executive Steve Rowe admitted the group’s overhaul has “come with a cost” as it posted a 63.5 per cent plunge in bottom line pre-tax profits to £176.4 million. Underlying pre-tax profits were 10.3 per cent lower at £613.8m in the year to 17 April.

• READ MORE: Marks & Spencer to axe 30 clothing stores as profits plunge

The group said sales in its clothing business dropped 5.9 per cent in the last three months, with falls compounded by the timing of Easter, marking an abrupt end to the revival seen in the third quarter, when sales rose by 2.3 per cent.

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M&S said the timing of its December sale also knocked fourth-quarter trading which, when combined with the Easter impact, knocked around 3.8 per cent off clothing and home sales and around 1.9 per cent off food sales. This left like-for-like sales in its food halls 2.1 per cent lower in the quarter.

The profits plunge comes as Rowe has invested heavily in slashing prices and overhauled its clothing ranges to win back customers.

Its results were also hit by the cost of its swingeing UK store closure programme, its move to pull out of ten international markets and the decision to shut its defined benefit staff pension scheme to future accrual.

Rowe said: “As we anticipated, the planned restructuring of M&S has come with a cost and has impacted profits. Looking ahead, we will continue our programme of self-help in a tough trading environment.”

• READ MORE: Halfords boss Jill McDonald to head M&S clothing arm

The group cautioned that the outlook remains “uncertain”, following a clothing market slump over the past year, but pledged to continue focusing on improving its clothing arm and keeping prices low despite cost pressures from the pound.

M&S said it plans to cut store space devoted to clothing and home products by around 1 per cent to 2 per cent and revamp around 25 per cent of its non-food shop space in the current financial year, while growing its Simply Food chain by around 90 new stores. It wants to add around another 250 new Simply Food outlets by the end of the 2019-20 financial year.

But the cost of its turnaround will continue to weigh on results, the group warned, particularly in the first half of the new financial year.

The group’s disappointing fourth quarter left overall UK like-for-like sales 3.6 per cent down in the year to 17 April, with a fall of 3.4 per cent across clothing and home and a more resilient 0.8 per cent decline in the food business.

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M&S insisted it was “encouraged by early evidence that our strategy is working”, with full-price sales up 2.7 per cent with strong growth in the second half, and total market share stabilising at the end of its financial year.

Rowe has already warned that profits would take time to recover as its clothing turnaround beds in, following moves to update its ranges and cut the number of promotions in favour of lower everyday prices.

M&S recently poached Jill McDonald, the chief executive of Halfords, to lead the turnaround in its clothing business.

She has been recruited into the new role of managing director for clothing, home and beauty, joining the retailer in the autumn of this year.

The group has also named former Asda boss Archie Norman as its new chairman from 1 September, to succeed Robert Swannell, who is retiring after six years in the role.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Holly Williams"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455215.1495610984!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455215.1495610984!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Marks & Spencer said the timing of Easter weighed on its clothing business. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marks & Spencer said the timing of Easter weighed on its clothing business. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455215.1495610984!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/wood-group-in-59m-swoop-for-us-automation-firm-cec-1-4455193","id":"1.4455193","articleHeadline": "Wood Group in $59m swoop for US automation firm CEC","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495609662000 ,"articleLead": "

Oil and gas services giant Wood Group is making further inroads into the automation and controls market with the $59 million (£45.5m) acquisition of a US company that counts car-maker General Motors among its clients.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455192.1495613947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Wood Group is buying Michigan-based CEC Controls, which works with car-makers General Motors, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler. Picture: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Aberdeen-based Wood, which already has a robotics arm that works with the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, is paying an initial $44m in cash for Michigan-headquartered CEC Controls, with a further $15m payable over the next three years.

• READ MORE: Wood Group earnings hit by tough oil and gas market

CEC was established in 1966 and has more than 220 staff across 12 offices in North America and a site in Romania. As well as General Motors, the management-owned firm – which specialises in industrial and process control systems for the car industry and made an underlying pre-tax profit of $9.6m last year – has clients including Ford and Fiat-Chrysler.

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Robert Scheper, president of CEC Controls, said: “Wood Group’s global footprint and breadth of capabilities offers us the opportunity to enhance our client solutions and access significant international growth opportunities.

“We believe our extensive expertise in the automotive manufacturing industry, married with Wood Group’s two decades of experience in automation and control, creates a powerful solution-driven service offering for clients.”

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Wood chief executive Robin Watson said: “Bringing 50 years of expertise in delivering services to the automotive sector, CEC Controls significantly complements and strengthens the innovative technical solutions we provide to clients within automation and control.

“The acquisition supports the geographical broadening of our footprint within the automotive sector particularly in the US; deepening our presence in the key automotive hub of Detroit, where CEC Controls is headquartered.”

He added: “It also provides us the opportunity to further enhance the industrial process and control capabilities we offer to this industry and adjacent sectors including aerospace, logistics, water, and pharmaceuticals.”

Aberdeen-based energy services company Proserv has been awarded a series of contracts worth a total of more than $11m in the Middle East.

In the UAE, the firm is set to engineer and manufacture wellhead control panels, hydraulic power units and chemical injection systems to national oil companies, service businesses and engineering, procurement and construction specialists. Earlier in the year, Proserv officially opened its new Saudi Arabia facility.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455192.1495613947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455192.1495613947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Wood Group is buying Michigan-based CEC Controls, which works with car-makers General Motors, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler. Picture: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Wood Group is buying Michigan-based CEC Controls, which works with car-makers General Motors, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler. Picture: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455192.1495613947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/financial/rbs-case-judge-expected-to-hear-if-legal-action-resolved-1-4455188","id":"1.4455188","articleHeadline": "RBS case: Judge expected to hear if legal action resolved","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495608891000 ,"articleLead": "

A High Court judge is expected to hear today whether a multimillion-pound legal action brought by thousands of shareholders against Royal Bank of Scotland has been resolved.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455187.1495611700!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The much-anticipated civil trial was due to begin on Monday and last for 14 weeks, but it has not started due to on-going talks. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Justice Hildyard was told at a hearing in London on Tuesday that the “majority” of claimants had indicated a willingness to settle the case.

He granted an adjournment of the proceedings until today for settlement discussions to continue between the claimants and the bank.

The much-anticipated civil trial was due to begin on Monday and last for 14 weeks, but it has not started due to on-going talks.

READ MORE: Martin Flanagan: RBS legal action hangs in the balance

Jonathan Nash QC, for the claimants, told the judge: “The present position is that the majority of claimants have indicated their willingness to accept the latest offer from the defendant.”

He said on Tuesday: “There now appears to be a good prospect that within the course of today the remaining claimants, or nearly all, will confirm they will also agree in principle so as to bring a practical end to the proceedings.”

The legal action centres on a rights issue overseen by former boss Fred Goodwin in April 2008 when RBS asked existing shareholders to pump £12 billion into the bank after leading a consortium that spent £49 billion on Dutch lender ABN Amro.

Shareholders claimed they were left nursing hefty losses following the cash call after RBS shares plunged 90% and the Government was forced to step in with a £45.5 billion bailout when the deal turned toxic.

The judge said: “There is obvious interest in the court in seeking to facilitate a full and final settlement agreeable to the parties.”

Mr Nash said if the trial does go ahead the parties were confident it could still be heard within the allotted time.

If the litigation does proceed disgraced former chief executive Mr Goodwin - who was stripped of his knighthood following the bank’s near collapse - and a raft of former executives are expected to be questioned as part of a £700 million lawsuit brought against the lender by 9,000 retail investors and 18 institutions in the RBS Shareholder Action Group.

The bank has previously settled compensation claims brought against it by other shareholder groups in connection with the 2008 rights issue.

But the lender, which is still 73% owned by the Government, stressed payments were made without any admission of liability.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Cathy Gordon and Ben Woods"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455187.1495611700!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455187.1495611700!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The much-anticipated civil trial was due to begin on Monday and last for 14 weeks, but it has not started due to on-going talks. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The much-anticipated civil trial was due to begin on Monday and last for 14 weeks, but it has not started due to on-going talks. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455187.1495611700!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/testing-outfit-exova-cautions-over-modest-growth-1-4455186","id":"1.4455186","articleHeadline": "Testing outfit Exova cautions over ‘modest’ growth","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495608154000 ,"articleLead": "

Exova, the Edinburgh-based materials testing specialist that recently agreed to a £620 million takeover, today said its growth this year will be “more modest” than that seen in 2016.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455185.1495608151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh-based Exova has about 200 staff in Scotland. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The group, which employs more than 4,200 people around the world, said total revenues during the four months to the end of April edged up 2 per cent, with a string of recent acquisitions helping to offset a decline in organic growth.

• READ MORE: Edinburgh testing group Exova agrees to £620m takeover

In a trading update, Exova told investors that conditions in the oil and gas market remained “challenging”, but it enjoyed “strong” growth in the aerospace segment and its transportation business had performed better than its board expected.

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Exova has about 200 staff in Scotland and last month agreed to a takeover approach from Dutch rival Element Materials Technology. Shareholders are due to vote on the deal on 9 June.

Chief executive Ian El-Mokadem said today: “The group has generally performed as expected in the first four months of 2017.

“We continue to generate organic growth outside of our oil, gas and industrials sector, albeit to more modest levels than in 2016 as we expected.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

He added: “We continue to make good progress with acquisitions, with an encouraging pipeline which should continue to contribute to overall revenue growth.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "gareth.mackie@scotsman.com" ,"author": "GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455185.1495608151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455185.1495608151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh-based Exova has about 200 staff in Scotland. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh-based Exova has about 200 staff in Scotland. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455185.1495608151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}