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

Scottish Widows said the move would not affect its 3,000-strong workforce in Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Scottish Widows said the move would not affect its 3,000-strong workforce in Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Here are four of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

Life and pensions group Scottish Widows insisted that it remains committed to Edinburgh after transferring billions of pounds of life insurance business south of the Border. The insurer, founded two centuries ago, said the switch of its long-term insurance to a company registered in London would have “no impact” on its 3,000-strong workforce in the Scottish capital, and dismissed suggestions that the move was linked to the independence referendum of 2014 or the looming vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

North Sea explorer First Oil Expro called in administrators from KPMG in the wake of sharp declines for crude prices. Following their appointment by the Aberdeen-based business, part of oil tycoon Ian Suttie’s First Oil Group, they agreed to sell a number of the company’s assets – including subsidiaries First Oil & Gas and Antrim Resources, which remain outside administration – to Zennor Petroleum, a Surrey-based oil and gas company.

Banking giant HSBC warned of a “bumpier” global financial outlook due to China’s slowing economy as it reported a slight dip in annual profits. Europe’s biggest lender posted a net profit of $13.5 billion (£9.5bn) for 2015, down 1.2 per cent from the year before. Chairman Douglas Flint said the results were “broadly satisfactory”, adding that last year was marked by “seismic shifts in global economic conditions,” notably sharp falls in prices for oil and other commodities, partly stemming from slowing growth in China.

Social media users succeeded in their effort to buy Edinburgh-founded photo sharing website Blipfoto after raising more than £120,000. The “community interest company”, Blipfuture CIC, was created by a small group of users last year after the social network collapsed into administration, just months after signing a partnership deal with Polaroid that saw it rebranded as Polaroid Blipfoto.