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.
RBS division accused of ruining firms for assets
THERE are a number of “devastating stories” of the Royal Bank of Scotland wrecking “good businesses”, a damning report by the UK government’s entrepreneur tsar has claimed. Lawrence Tomlinson, a Yorkshire businessman and entrepreneur in residence at the department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said yesterday that he has a dossier of evidence which shows how RBS forced companies to default, pushing them into selling the bank their assets on the cheap.
‘Box-ticking’ risk for firms eyeing public deals
Small firms could find themselves locked out of Scotland’s £9.7 billion market for public sector contracts if the procurement process becomes a “tick-box” exercise.That was the stark warning from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which said the Scottish Government’s public procurement bill, currently working its way through Holyrood, could impose onerous conditions on many companies.
Big six generating £53 profit from every household
PROFITS at the domestic supply arms of Britain’s biggest utility companies rocketed by 75 per cent last year – as householders were hit with the combination of a cold winter and major hikes in energy prices. An analysis of the accounts of the big six energy firms by industry watchdog Ofgem found that overall profits in the part of the businesses which supply electricity and gas to homes leapt from £681 million in 2011 to £1.19 billion last year.
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
Whyte & Mackay tipped to attract bid interest
CHINESE, Indian and Russian investors are tipped to be among bidders for Glasgow-based whisky distiller Whyte & Mackay after Diageo put the brand up for sale. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today said that Diageo has offered to sell the “bulk” of the Whyte & Mackay business – including its grain distillery at Invergordon and its Fettercairn and Jura malt units – in order to satisfy competition concerns.
Gordon & MacPhail toasts Benromach sales growth
SCOTCH whisky specialist Gordon & MacPhail has reported a dip in annual profits, but is continuing to enjoy strong growth in the volume of sales of its Benromach single malt. The Urquhart family owned Gordon & MacPhail business, which files its accounts as Speymalt Whisky Distributors, saw its pre-tax profits dip to £2.6 million in the year to February, from £3m in the prior 12 months.
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Peacocks prompts growth plan for Woollen Mill
Retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) plans to create almost 250 jobs in Scotland over the next 18 months as it pursues further growth after turning around the Peacocks chain. The Langholm-based company revealed its plans after posting a surge in both sales and profits thanks to an updated online strategy and the contribution from Peacocks, which it bought out of administration early last year.