Wednesday business round-up: Six key stories of the day

Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths. Picture: Fraser Band/Stagecoach/PA Wire
Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths. Picture: Fraser Band/Stagecoach/PA Wire
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Here are six of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

Passengers are avoiding travelling to major cities in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris, according to transport giant Stagecoach. The Perth-based group cut its full-year earnings forecast as it said rail and coach sales had been hit across the UK and continental Europe since the attacks on 13 November, which killed 130 people.

Aberdeen-based rival FirstGroup pledged to deliver more trains and fewer delays as it was awarded the TransPennine Express rail franchise for another term. The firm said 44 new intercity trains, with 220 carriages, will be introduced by 2019 – providing an additional 13 million seats a year – as it set a target to reduce delays and cancellations by 27 per cent.

Former chancellor Alistair Darling was appointed to the board of directors at Morgan Stanley. He will take up his role in January, and Morgan Stanley chairman James Gorman said his experience at the helm during the economic crash would be useful to the financial services group.

A computer games studio best known for its titles aimed at rail enthusiasts is set to create up to 50 jobs in Stirling. Dovetail Games currently employs 11 people in the city and said the plans to boost its headcount over the next 12 months come in the wake of a “substantial” funding package from Clydesdale Bank.

Food and drink wholesaler JW Filshill International secured a £120,000 deal to supply a range of Disney-branded drinks to China. The Glasgow-based firm said the pouches of fruit purée, which are made in Lanarkshire, are targeted at toddlers and younger children and feature Disney favourites Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the packs.

British firms reported an uplift in confidence amid falling commodity prices and improving conditions in key economies. The latest trade forecast from HSBC shows 70 per cent of UK traders expect volumes to increase in the next six months, despite political risks in the Middle East and North Africa and a sharp slowdown of import demand in Asia.