Business briefs: Weir Group | Anglo American | Towry | Skoog

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ENGINEERING firm Weir Group has appointed Charles Berry, chairman of coal-fired power station owner Drax, as a non-executive director.

The Glasgow-based group said Berry, who is also a non-executive of the Securities Trust of Scotland, will join its audit and remuneration committees on 1 March. A former chairman of Scottish telecoms firm Thus, Berry spent 14 years at ScottishPower, where he was chief executive of its UK operations from 2000 to 2005.

Lord Smith of Kelvin, the chairman of Weir Group, said: “Charles brings great experience of the industry.”

Writedowns push Anglo into the red

Mining giant Anglo American has reported a pre-tax loss of $239 million (£154m) for 2012 after a $4 billion writedown on a key iron ore project and lower commodity prices.

The results – the last for outgoing chief executive Cynthia Carroll before she steps down at the end of April – compare with a $10.8bn profit for the previous year.

Carroll said the Minas Rio iron ore operation in Brazil was a “phenomenal” resource but delays and higher costs have forced Anglo American to ramp up its spending estimates to $8.8bn, from $8bn previously.

Towry expands team of advisers

Wealth adviser Towry has appointed two advisers in its Aberdeen office, taking the total in the area to five.

Irene Smith and Carol Stanger are qualified financial planners and chartered insurance institute members.

Towry, which has 16 offices nationwide and around £4.5 billion of assets under management, has seen substantial recent growth with the Aberdeen office making an important contribution to the company’s turnover.

The expansion of the team has prompted Towry to seek larger premises.

Lancashire schools deal for music firm

Skoog, a spin-out company from Edinburgh University, has won a contract to supply its eponymous musical instruments to 30 special needs schools in Lancashire.

The contract is understood to be worth in the region of £30,000 and the company hopes that it will open doors to some of the other 200 local authorities south of the Border.

Skoogs are cube-shaped spongy instruments that allow children with learning difficulties to make music.

They were used as part of an orchestra at the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.