Business briefs: SLI | Maserati | Pinnacle | Croma | Interbulk | Japan in recession

Standard Life offices in Edinburgh's Lothian Road
Standard Life offices in Edinburgh's Lothian Road
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Standard Life Investments has won a £130 million mandate to manage a local government pension scheme bond fund after a “lengthy tender process”.

SLI wins Cumbria council mandate

Cumbria County Council handed the fund to the management of SLI after it terminated BNY Mellon-owned Insight Investments as a manager last year claiming it was “underperforming”.

Euan Munro, head of multi-asset investing and fixed income, said: “Through concentrating on bottom-up stock selection, we hope to help the council meet its funding requirements.”

Fiona Miller, senior manager of technical finance for the council, said: “It was important for us to choose a fixed-income manager that understood the funding issues currently faced by local authorities.”

€1.2bn investment to drive Maserati

Italian car-maker Fiat is to invest €1.2 billion (£965 million) in its luxury Maserati brand in a bid to win business away from rivals BMW and Porsche.

Maserati chief executive Harald Wester said the marque aimed to sell at least 13,000 of its new four-door Quattroporte in 2013. The model, being built at a new Turin factory refurbished by Fiat at a cost of around €1bn, will be joined next year by the Ghibli sports saloon and a four-wheel drive model, the Levante.

Off the Pinnacle on shares placing

SHARES in Pinnacle Technology Group dropped 11 per cent yesterday after the Stirlingshire-based IT firm placed new shares to raise £300,000.

Pinnacle said the cash raised from the share placing – in which chief executive Alan Bonner took part – would be used to hire further sales staff.

Bonner said: “We are delighted with the support that we have received from new investors. We believe our reputation is increasing.”

Shares fell 0.04p to 0.32p.

Croma wins £120k Hampshire contract

Croma, the Dumfries security firm run by former members of the Black Watch, has won a £120,000 contract to install and maintain a CCTV system at a business park in Hampshire.

Chairman Sebastian Morley said the deal had been secured with Hampshire Police but the client’s identity could not be revealed. Last week the firm secured a three-year contract, worth at least £70,000, to provide CCTV systems at more than 100 Odeon cinemas.

Global growth ambitions for Interbulk

Interbulk chief executive Koert van Wissen yesterday vowed to press ahead with global expansion plans after the eurozone debt crisis dented the East Kilbride-based haulage firm’s sales in the year to 30 September.

The company, in which Clyde Blowers tycoon Jim McColl holds a stake, is targeting China, the Middle East and Russia with its overseas strategy.

Van Wissen also told The Scotsman: “Europe will always be important to us because it’s where we’re based. But we’ve used containers that weren’t being used in Europe to expand in South America and that expansion will continue.”

Turnover at Interbulk dipped by 7 per cent to £280.4 million, while pre-tax profits fell by 9 per cent to £4.9m after the firm continued to pay down its borrowings. Net debt decreased to £72.5m from £83.9m.

Revised figures put Japan in recession

Japan is technically in recession after authorities said revised figures for the three months to June showed the economy shrank for two straight quarters.

The economy contracted by 0.9 per cent between July and September, while the April-June period was revised from 0.1 per cent growth to show a modest decrease of 0.03 per cent. A widely accepted definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of contraction.