Monday business round-up: Five key stories of the day

Clydesdale is set to join the London market next month
Clydesdale is set to join the London market next month
Share this article
Have your say

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

Clydesdale Bank’s Australian parent said the lender could be valued at almost £2.1 billion in next month’s flotation. National Australia Bank has priced shares in the Glasgow-based group at between 175p and 235p ahead of its initial public offering, with trading on the London market set to begin on 2 February.

Home Retail Group agreed to sell its home improvements business to an Australian rival for £340 million. The retailer, which also owns the Argos chain of catalogue shops and is facing a possible takeover bid from supermarket group Sainsbury’s, said the sale of Homebase to Wesfarmers would trigger a £200m windfall for shareholders.

Small business confidence levels north of the Border sank to a three-year low, according to a report that also raised wider concerns over a north-south economic divide. The study by the Federation of Small Businesses showed a widening gap between Scottish business growth expectations and the UK average, with only a slim majority of firms in Scotland expecting prospects to improve.

Scotland was the only part of the UK to report a rise in the number of shoppers visiting retailers last month, although it was a marginal annual increase of just 0.2 per cent. Experts said the growth – revealed by the Scottish Retail Consortium and Springboard – was a “welcome relief” after declining figures over the past seven months.

Dundee-based Highland Game won a £500,000 deal to supply Aldi’s stores in Scotland with a new range of wild venison products, including burgers, meatballs and steaks. Meanwhile, Asda awarded Greenock-based haggis maker McKechnie Jess an exclusive deal worth £60,000 to supply spicy and curry variations of Scotland’s national dish.