Business briefs: Business confidence | Saltire Foundation

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CONFIDENCE among small businesses in the UK has increased to the highest level in three years, according to a new report.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said financial services firms were the most optimistic, while conditions seemed to be improving in manufacturing.

A survey of more than 2,400 firms showed more expected to hire staff in the coming months.

The federation also urged the Chancellor to build on the positive outlook by announcing initiatives to boost business in the Spending Review later this month.

sees record uptake

• Record numbers of students have signed up for places on the Saltire Foundation’s undergraduate programme.

The scholarship scheme, which offers students the chance to gain experience with some of the world’s top companies, has attracted 100 people. They will become interns in 36 towns and cities across four continents, with

35 host companies.

Sandy Kennedy, chief executive of the Saltire Foundation, which is set up as a charitable organisation, said: “This is a fantastic response which beats all previous years.”

• Boeing’s extraordinary effort to solve battery problems that hit its 787 Dreamliner plane earlier this year did not disrupt progress on other aircraft programmes.

Boeing commercial airplanes boss Ray Conner, speaking ahead of the start of the Paris air show, said that, despite doing three years of work in three months to fix the problem of overheating batteries, “it didn’t slow down development”.

The firm expects to deliver 11 or 12 Dreamliners by the end of the first half, counting from when the grounding of the 787 ended in April.

• Cinven has agreed to buy CeramTec for €1.49 billion (£1.26bn), beating rival private equity firm BC Partners to win the Germany-based industrial ceramics unit of US chemicals maker Rockwood Holdings.

A statement issued yesterday by Rockwood said Cinven had obtained fully committed financing for the deal, which was expected to close in the third quarter of this year once it obtained regulatory approvals.

CeramTec is a manufacturer of high performance ceramics for applications in the medical, automotive, industrial and electronic markets.