Scottish Business Briefing – July 17th 2013

WELCOME to’s Scottish Business Briefing. Every morning we bring you a comprehensive round-up of all news affecting business in Scotland today.

Scotland's retail sales figures chalked up their best comparison with the UK since March 2011. Picture: Jane Barlow
Scotland's retail sales figures chalked up their best comparison with the UK since March 2011. Picture: Jane Barlow


Aberdeen oil and gas group agrees $533m takeover

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Reservoir Group, the Aberdeen-based oil and gas services firm, has agreed to a $533 million (£353m) takeover by Australian commercial testing specialist ALS. The group is currently owned by US private equity house SCF Partners and senior management have agreed to stay with the business following the deal, which is expected to be completed early next month.

NEL preparing for business boost with £500,000 equipment upgrade

A Scottish company is expecting a boost in business from a £500,000 upgrade of its testing equipment. NEL said the high pressure multi-phase flow facility being installed at East Kilbride in the coming months is necessary to keep up with recent trends towards deeper wells and subsea operations in the oil and gas industry.


Arran’s bid to reign in Spain gets festival lift

Arran Brewery has highlighted ambitions to grow sales in mainland Europe after taking its bow at a major craft beer festival in Zaragoza, Spain. The company was the sole the UK brewer at the ArteBeer event in June, where its three core brands – Arran Blonde, Sunset and Dark –were sampled by more than 600 craft beer enthusiasts.


Scottish Food & Drink: Keeping it in the family – 10 Sept, Edinburgh

20% Early bird discount until 19 July

Join us as we examine the success of Scottish family food and drink business. Hear experts share their strategies for growth and how to avoid pitfalls along the way. If you have an interest in the sector, whether as a producer, policy maker or someone setting up a new business, you can’t afford to miss this event.

(The Scotsman Conferences)


Scottish shops catch up with British retailers

Scotland’s retail sales figures chalked up their best comparison with the UK since March 2011 as shoppers began digging deeper into their pockets, according to data released today. Warmer weather and a “steady rise in consumer confidence” meant that Scottish total sales rose by 2.8 per cent year-on-year during June, almost matching the 2.9 per cent rise for the UK as a whole.


Scots universities win funding for robotics research

Two Scottish universities have been given more than £6m of UK government funding for research into robotics and autonomous systems. Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh will use the cash to develop a joint research centre in the capital.

The centre will explore the potential of robots and autonomous systems across a broad range of sectors.


FirstGroup: return to strength ‘needs hard work’

Transport giant FirstGroup today told its shareholders that a lot of hard work needs to be done before it can return to a “position of strength”. In a trading update ahead of its annual meeting, the Aberdeen-based group said like-for-like passenger revenues at its UK bus division were 1.4 per cent higher in the three months to 30 June than the same period last year, while its rail operations enjoyed a 5.5 per cent increase.