Scottish Business Briefing - Wednesday October 23

Home Retail Group, the owners of Argos and Homebase, have reported a rise in sales. Picture: PA
Home Retail Group, the owners of Argos and Homebase, have reported a rise in sales. Picture: PA
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WELCOME to’s Scottish Business Briefing. Every morning we bring you a comprehensive round-up of all news affecting business in Scotland today.


Thomson’s Urbicus does debt deal with RBS

A trio of Scottish investors has joined forces with one of New York’s most-powerful hedge funds to buy an estimated £250 million debt package from Royal Bank of Scotland. Urbicus, a specialist debt business set up by former Noble Group chief executive Ben Thomson and Hazeldene’s Mark Shaw, has teamed up with Elliot Associates to acquire part of a debt that backed the troubled Glanmore property fund. (Scotsman)

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Osborne set for deficit goal after borrowing dip

George Osborne is expected to beat his deficit-busting target by a wide margin this year after another fall in central government borrowing.As tax receipts rose on the back of the housing market boom and wider economic recovery, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said public sector net borrowing – excluding the distorting effects of bank bailouts – fell by £1 billion to £12.1bn last month. It follows August’s drop of almost £1.3bn. (Scotsman)

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The Digital Fabric of Scotland: The Challenge of stitching it together - 29th January - Edinburgh

Join us and the Scottish Council on Archives as we bring the first event of its kind to Scotland. Expert speakers drawn from business, academia, industry and government will aim to raise awareness of digital records among key decision makers across different sectors, help build a Scottish digital records community to collaborate on finding the best technological solutions and securing investment and examine the options for ensuring long term access to valuable digital resources. Visit the Scotsman Conferences website for more details.


Gamesa’s chief plays down ‘yes’ vote impact

THE head of Spanish wind turbine group Gamesa has blown a hole in the unionist argument that UK green subsidies to Scotland would dry up in the event of a “yes” vote. Ignacio Martín, executive chairman of the Basque company, indicated that he did not think independence would make a big difference to the Scottish wind industry, speaking more frankly about the political situation than many business leaders. (Herald)

EnQuest in £50million deal for fields and pipeline

EnQuest has struck a near £50million deal to buy North Sea assets from energy giant Centrica. The firm is buying Centrica’s Kittiwake to Forties oil export pipeline, along with its 50% stake in the Greater Kittiwake area (GKA). This includes the Kittiwake, Mallard, Gadwall, Goosander and Grouse fields, where production runs at about 2,000 barrels a day. (Press & Journal)

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Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group sees sales rise

The owner of the Argos and Homebase retail chains has said its turnaround plans are on track with both divisions reporting a rise in sales. Home Retail Group said total sales in the six months to 31 August rose 3% to £2.59bn, with Argos up 2.3% and Homebase 5.9% higher. Pre-tax profits fell to £14.2m from a re-stated £46.7m last year. (BBC)

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Scottish textile firms raise growth targets

Scotland’s textile industry has set new growth goals after exceeding targets it had originally hoped to reach in seven years’ time. Finance Secretary John Swinney made the announcement during a summit in the Scottish Borders. A 2011 Textiles Industry Strategy aimed to increase turnover to £846m by 2020 but it now stands at £950m. (BBC)

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