Business news in brief 09/03/2012

A round up of the latest business news

Kay’s warning over UK plc investment

The system of investment in British companies needs to “turn back the clock” if the UK is to avoid a worse economic crisis than that seen in recent years, Professor John Kay warned last night in a presentation to the David Hume Institute at the Royal Society in Edinburgh.

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Kay, currently leading a review of how the UK equity markets function, said there is a systemic crisis in markets muddled by too many intermediaries involved in the raising of capital for UK firms. He argued that the equity markets needed reform or else he feared a “much worse” crisis in the next decade.

Minister’s Highland business dinner date

Trade and investment minister Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint will be the guest of honour at CBI Scotland’s Inverness and Highland business dinner in the city on 29 March.

He is responsible for ensuring the delivery of a cross-government strategy for trade, and he is expected to set out what is being done to help British companies realise their export potential.

The event takes place at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, and is being supported by Ledingham Chalmers, Technip UK, Keppie Design and Global Highland Management Services.

Farrell joins dairy firm Graham’s board

Jacky Farrell, finance director for Scotland’s largest independent dairy Graham’s, has been appointed to the main board of the Bridge of Allan-based company.

Farrell, a graduate in accountancy from the University of Stirling, has worked with the company since 1997 when she joined from accountants Macfarlane Gray. She heads a team of 15 at the company which employs a total of 400 staff. Chairman Dr Robert Graham said Farrell had played an instrumental role in the company’s growth in recent years.

Optimism despite faltering activity

Activity among Scotland’s manufacturers fell slightly behind the rest of UK in the past three months but companies are increasingly optimistic about their outlook, data released today will show.

Manufacturing companies north of the Border expect to increase their output over the next three months, according to a survey by the Engineering Employers’ Federation and accountancy firm BDO.

BDO’s Gavin Hunter said: “The shock from the eurozone seems to be subsiding and domestic demand has caught up with exports.”