Business news in brief: Hargreaves| Prestwick| Lloyds| Faroe Petroleum

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HARGREAVES Services was yesterday confirmed as preferred bidder to acquire some of the coal-mining assets of the failed Scottish Resources Group (SRG).

As revealed in Scotland on Sunday last weekend, the listed energy and waste company is looking to buy the six working mines operated by SRG’s Scottish Coal business.

Hargreaves raised £42 million last month through a share offer to buy open-cast coal assets.

In March it rescued ATH – another open-cast firm which owns mines in Scotland – from administration with a debt buy-back deal.

Passenger numbers on rise at Prestwick

Passenger numbers at Glasgow Prestwick airport rose last month, with volumes up 7.4 per cent on a year earlier.

Just under 112,000 people passed through the terminal in April – the first full month of the 2013 summer season.

Summer traffic is forecast to be further boosted by Ryanair’s decision to add more flights to Mediterranean hotspots Alicante, Faro and Malaga.

Chief commercial officer Graeme Sweenie said: “We anticipate passenger volumes to continue increasing over last year as more Scots head for their summer breaks.”

Lloyds sells £325m of loans to US firm

Lloyds Banking Group has sold a raft of commercial property loans to US-based private equity firm Cerberus Global Investments for £325 million, as the state-backed bank continues to purge its balance sheet of bad debt.

The price tag reflects a 38 per cent discount to the face value of the loans, Lloyds said yesterday.

Lloyds and RBS have both shed portfolios of bad property loans in recent years as they clean up a mess generated during years of profligate real estate lending in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Faroe Petroleum picks finance chief

NORTH Sea driller Faroe Petroleum has raided oil and gas services firm Lamprell to find its next chief financial officer.

Jonathan Cooper will join the Aberdeen-based explorer on 1 July, replacing Iain Lanaghan.

Cooper’s career has included spells with KPMG, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Gulf Keystone Petroleum and Sterling Energy, before he became Lamprell’s chief financial officer in 2011.

Faroe chairman John Bentley said: “His knowledge of the sector and business pedigree is first rate and his appointment strengthens the team.”