Business news in brief: Ballantine | SLI

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TWO companies which produced iron railings for North Bridge in Edinburgh and Westminster Bridge in London have fallen into administration.

Eight of the 73 jobs at Ballantine Bo’ness Iron and Ballantine Engineering have been axed. Joint administrator Anne Buchanan, a partner at accountancy firm BDO, said: “There has already been some interest in the businesses but it is still very early on in the process. This recession has affected many well-known, long-running businesses and, unfortunately, the Ballantine Bo’Ness companies are the latest to succumb to the downturn.”

SLI in commercial property debt move

Standard Life Investments (SLI) has kick-started buying UK commercial property debt after it was handed £250 million from its insurance business.

SLI has recruited Neil Odom-Haslett from Deutsche Pfandbriefbank as its head of commercial real estate lending.

David Paine, head of real estate at SLI, said the move into UK debt portfolios was a “natural expansion” of its existing commercial property lending business in Canada which has been in operation since the early 1960s. It plans to start making funding available for deals in Q4.

Bright Care signs up Olympics franchisee

Bright Care, the Edinburgh-based company that looks after older people in their homes, has signed up a former London Olympic Games organiser as its first franchisee.

Jim McGlade, from Airdrie, who oversaw temporary accommodation measures at the London 2012 games, is expected to create about 60 jobs over the next two years. His work at the Olympics led to him having dinner with the Queen.

Bright Care already employs about 80 staff in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Turnover is predicted to rise from its present £1 million following the deal.

Record ‘rookies’ for Peter Vardy chain

A record number of recruits has been hired through car dealer Peter Vardy’s “rookie academy” in Glasgow.

The showroom chain received more than 300 applications for the training scheme and selected 25 rookies.

Nearly a third of Vardy’s 100-strong sales force has now graduated from his academy, run in conjunction with Edinburgh Napier University.

News of Vardy’s record intake comes a day after Arnold Clark said it had taken on 141 staff – 20 more than last year – under the Modern Apprenticeship scheme.