Scottish Business Briefing – 7 January 2014

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.

Models pictured wearing Harris Tweed on the island's coastline. Picture: Robert Perry
Models pictured wearing Harris Tweed on the island's coastline. Picture: Robert Perry

MANAGEMENT

Marsh buys Aberdeen’s Central Insurance Services

Central Insurance, one of the biggest brokers in Scotland, has been snapped up by American giant Marsh in a deal thought to be worth more than £20 million. Iain Henry, managing director at Central, will become head of Marsh’s expanded Scottish operations while his fellow owner-managers will remain with the business and take up roles at the international firm.

ENERGY

Sale of Scottish tycoon’s gold mining unit likely

THE Canadian gold mining group part-owned by Borders-based mining tycoon Harry Dobson yesterday said it would look at a potential sale of the company. Kirkland Lake Gold, which has seen its market value drop sharply over the past year due to the falling value of gold, said it had launched a strategic review to look at ways to improve shareholder value. A statement from the company said there could be no assurance that the process will result in any transaction.

Deal to create up to 150 jobs

Amec is to create more than 100 new jobs after securing a major North Sea deal which could give it work for up to a decade. The international engineering and project management company has secured a multimillion-pound deal with Nexen Petroleum to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for its North Sea platforms. (Press & Journal)

Sale of subsea arm allows Stork to focus on key areas

Aberdeen-based energy support firm Stork Technical Services is selling one of its divisions to N-Sea Group. Stork says a strategic review of its core business has resulted in the decision to sell the subsea arm, which represents less than 2.5% of the overall business, to Netherlands-based N-Sea for an undisclosed sum. The Dutch firm operates as an offshore subsea contractor to the oil and gas, renewables and subsea cable industries in the North Sea. (Press & Journal)

RETAIL

Spending on shop fit-outs hits profit at Kast

KAST Retail has seen its profits more than halve as it invested in shop fit-outs and improving its infrastructure. The Glasgow-based women’s fashion retailer, which trades on the high street as the Quiz Clothing chain, recorded a near 5% increase in turnover from £36.9 million to £38.6m in the 12 months to March 31, 2013. (Herald)

TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY

Fashion fans itching for Harris Tweed style

The Harris Tweed brand has enjoyed one of its best years for two decades, with orders up by 25 per cent in 2013 on the previous 12 months. Harris Tweed Hebrides, which accounts for 90 per cent of the industry, said about 1.2 million metres of fabric was produced in 2013, up from 1 million in 2012. The Shawbost-based company, named UK Textile Company of the Year in 2013 as well as Scotland’s Fashion Ambassador of the Year, said international sales accounted for the boom. (Scotsman)