Thursday business round-up: Seven key stories of the day

Wood Group won a five-year engineering deal with oil major BP

Wood Group won a five-year engineering deal with oil major BP

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Here are seven of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

Energy services firm Wood Group secured a “multi-million” dollar contract with oil major BP. Under the five-year deal, the Aberdeen-based group’s Kenny division will provide engineering services to BP’s existing subsea infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico, UK and Norwegian continental shelves and offshore Azerbaijan.

The UK government sold another 1 per cent slice of Lloyds Banking Group, reducing its holding in the bailed-out lender to below 10 per cent. Chancellor George Osborne said the sale of almost 770 million shares to institutional investors brought the total recovered for the taxpayer to £16 billion.

Barclays reported a 29 per cent slide in third-quarter profits to £861m after taking a hit from foreign exchange transactions and the sale of mortgage securities. The results came the day after the banking giant confirmed that Jes Staley will become its new chief executive from 1 December.

Insurance giant Aviva, which has about 2,500 staff in Scotland, said the value of its new business jumped by 25 per cent to £823m in the first nine months of the year following its acquisition of rival Friends Life. The firm has so far achieved £91m of savings from the merger.

Shell unveiled a $6.1bn (£4bn) loss for the third quarter, compared with a $5.3bn profit a year earlier, which it blamed on lower oil and gas prices. The oil major also said that it had halted exploration activities offshore Alaska and stopped the construction of the Carmon Creek oil project in Canada.

Lord Davies said a target set in 2011 for women to make up 25 per cent of FTSE 100 boards by the end of this year has been met, with the figure currently standing at 26 per cent and none of the boards remaining all-male. But he said Britain’s biggest firms need to do more, and women should account for a third of boardroom positions within the next five years.

Property developer Chris Stewart was named as the new chairman of the trade organisation for Scotland’s £6 billion commercial property sector. The entrepreneur succeeds Winchburgh Developments chief executive John Hamilton at the helm of the Scottish Property Federation (SPF).

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