Business briefs: Co-op | Siemens | Asda | CBI

THE latest business news, as Siemens creates 30 jobs in Livingston and Asda chief Andy Clarke planning a further 500 supermarkets.

Co–op denies ‘black hole’ allegations

THE Co-operative Group has denied allegations from a bondholders’ action group that it exaggerated the size of the black hole in its finances in order to force through the rescue deal for Co-op Bank.

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In a letter to Co-op Bank chairman Richard Pym, the bondholders ask why £230 milllion of tax losses had been written off during last month’s half-year results, along with £150m from the value of an information technology system.

The Co-op said it would engage with bondholders once it has completed the prospectus for its rescue package.

Siemens creates 30 jobs in Livingston

GERMAN engineering giant Siemens is to open an onshore wind turbine projects “hub” in Livingston, creating 30 jobs.

The company – which already employs about 600 staff in Scotland at sites in Aberdeen, Cumbernauld, Leith and Wishaw – said that a further 100 posts would be supported by the hub in the wider renewable energy supply chain.

Grant Walker, managing director of onshore wind in Great Britain and Ireland for Siemens, told a Sunday newspaper that the hub would be a logistics centre for the British Isles.

Clarke eyeing 500 further Asda stores

ASDA chief executive Andy Clarke is mulling plans to double the size of the chain’s footprint by opening a further 500 supermarkets.

Clarke told a Sunday newspaper: “We have 568 stores at the moment and are within reach of only about half the population. This would mean that we need 568 more to get closer to 100 per cent coverage, which is where we want to be.”

He criticised his rivals for opening convenience stores, which he claimed were “ripping off” consumers by offering the same goods as larger stores but at higher prices.

CBI warns on infrastructure progress

COMPANIES have called on the UK government to keep its promises to invest in infrastructure or risk derailing the economic recovery, according to a survey published today by the CBI and “big four” accountancy firm KPMG.

The CBI called on ministers to speed up the Energy Bill’s passage through parliament to stimulate investment and to commit to road and rail improvement projects.

John Cridland, CBI director-general, said: “Government has talked the talk on infrastructure for the past two years with too few signs of action. The faltering speed of delivery on infrastructure creates a worrying sense that politicians lack the political will to tackle some of the major issues head-on.”