THE world of cloud computing may once have been a product of some blue sky thinking but it has developed into a core business function with some solid credentials.
One company taking a lead in the category is Iomart, which yesterday showed it was stepping up its ambitions by making its biggest acquisition to date.
Thus far it has been content to mop up one or two of the smaller players to supplement its organic growth. Now it seems to see value in the market and has made a move that signals a shift in its plans.
Angus MacSween, its co-founder and chief executive, has built a solid business and made a fortune in the process as the company has moved from niche into the mainstream and now rates as one of Scotland’s key technology players.
The shares have risen by about 50 per cent over 52 weeks and MacSween sold a few yesterday to add to earlier sales. As an investment, Iomart has been a proven performer over most timescales, though analysts wonder if there is much upside in the valuation on present forecasts and guidance. Analysts at Cannacord Genuity reckon the £23 million paid for Backup Technology is a bit pricey and have downgraded the shares from “buy” to “hold”.
That looks a little harsh given the company’s record to date and the board’s clear intention to step up a gear.
Ministers need to take Rosyth doubts on board
The controversial proposal to build a container terminal on the Forth at Rosyth will be debated in the Scottish parliament today, a move welcomed by those who believe the Scottish Government is ignoring their pleas for further discussion of some important issues.
There are claims that no proper environmental assessment has been completed and that Babcock’s plans for Rosyth will only add to the overcapacity problems that will get worse with the opening of new facilities in England.
As I have stated in previous columns, Grangemouth is facing a double blow. The port is among those currently working under capacity and there are also threats to the future of a chemicals plant in the town.
Finance secretary John Swinney is the second Scottish minister to refuse a meeting with Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports, who believes that approving the Babcock plan would go against a growing chorus of evidence that it is not required.
The government appears to have accepted the recommendations of the national planning framework which contradicts this evidence and argues that there is a need for more facilities.
Both cannot be right, but this also emphasises the need for further discussion rather than closing the door to those with differing views.
Poundland breathing life into high street
The death of the high street may have been exaggerated. Certainly as far as Poundland is concerned. The discount retailer is planning to more than double its portfolio of shops to about 1,000.
Some will turn up their noses at the prospect of more bargain shops flooding shopping areas, but it’s a sign of the times, and in doing so Poundland is providing jobs and taking up a lot of empty space left by those who have suffered in the retail crash.