WELCOME to scotsman.com’s Scottish Business Briefing. Every morning we bring you a comprehensive round-up of all news affecting business in Scotland today.
Cost pressures failing to dent recovery, says BoS
Scotland’s post-recession recovery is becoming “more sustainable with each passing month”, an influential economist said today, as the private sector racked up further growth. The upbeat comments, by Bank of Scotland’s (BoS) chief economist, Donald MacRae, come despite concerns that Scottish businesses are facing higher costs than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK.
Wood Group buys US shale engineering firm
Oil and gas services firm Wood Group today unveiled plans to expand its presence in America’s onshore shale market with the acquisition of engineering company Elkhorn.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, is expected to complete by the end of this year and will see Wyoming-based Elkhorn become part of Wood’s PSN subsidiary.
Energy industry admits its needs to rebuild trust
The power industry -understands it has made mistakes and needs to rebuild trust with customers, according to Angela Knight, chief executive of trade body Energy UK. The sector has come under fire in recent weeks as a Labour Party pledge to temporarily freeze customers’ bills was followed by a round of price rises. There have also been large fines levied on companies including SSE and ScottishPower for their door-to-door sales practice
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
Whyte and Mackay toasts profit rise as sales slump 8%
Whyte & Mackay owner United Spirits reported a slump in sales but saw profits double in its most recent quarter of trading. India’s largest spirits group, which owns Scottish brands including Jura and Dalmore, said sales had fallen 8% to £205.6million for the quarter ended 30 September as high prices hurt demand and the company lost market share to rivals.
MEDIA, TECH & LEISURE
Scottish independence: Union ‘benefits research community’ says paper
Scotland’s science sector will benefit more from remaining part of the Union, the paper claims Scotland’s scientific research base could be threatened by a break from the UK, according to Whitehall universities minister David Willetts. The UK government’s eighth paper, analysing Scotland’s place in the union, has focused on science. It said Scotland’s science was more effective and stable within the UK. The Scottish government dismissed this as “nonsense” and said Scotland would continue to attract funding and students from around the world.
Medicines company appoints chairman
Pharmaceutical firm ProStrakan has recruited prominent industry figure John Brown to chair its board as Peter Allen prepares to leave after overseeing the takeover of the Galashiels company by Japan’s Kyowa Hakko Kirin. The shake-up, which ProStrakan said is due to its successful integration into KHK over the last two years, will see Dr Allen, who has been a director since 2005, and fellow non-executive Michael Asbury leave on December 31.