Scottish Business Briefing - Thursday 1 August, 2013

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

State-backed lender Lloyds Banking Group has swung out of the red for the first six months of the year. Picture: Jane Barlow


Lloyds returns to the black with £2.1bn profit

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State-backed lender Lloyds Banking Group has swung out of the red for the first six months of the year, despite taking a further £500 million charge to compensate customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance. The group said the improvement in its balance sheet meant it would seek talks with regulators during the second half of the year to discuss the “timetable and conditions” for the resumption of dividend payments to shareholders (Scotsman)

RBS ‘poised’ to name McEwan as new boss

Royal Bank of Scotland remained tight-lipped this morning over reports that it is poised to name Ross McEwan, its head of retail banking, as successor to chief executive Stephen Hester.The Edinburgh-based lender is said to be in late-stage talks with the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority over the appointment of the New Zealander, which would require approval from the watchdog (ScotsmanScotsman).


Talisman reports low North Sea output

Talisman Energy has warned that its North Sea output is coming in below expectations due to production issues. The Canadian-based company put out a statement that said it was working with its partners in its joint venture in mature North Sea fields. However, it said the problems would take time and new capital investment (BBC).


Diageo profits boosted by emerging markets

NEW Diageo boss Ivan Menezes ­yesterday threw his weight behind the expansion of the Scotch whisky market as demand from the United States helped Scotland’s largest distiller overcome a continued slowdown in emerging ­markets. The chief executive hailed the success of the FTSE 100 firm’s marketing campaigns and “innovation”, such as the launches of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, and pledged that such investment would continue (Scotsman).

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Scottish retail sales on the increase

SCOTLAND’S high street sales ­increased during the second quarter of 2013, with the number of goods sold and amounts spent by customers going up, new figures show. The overall amount of products sold increased by 0.5 per cent in the second quarter of the year. The volume of sales was 2.4 per cent higher than at the same time 12 months ago, the Scottish Government statistics showed (Scotsman).


Builder says Scots housing market is catching up with England

THE head of the UK’s second-largest housebuilder is predicting a jump in sales north of the Border following a 42 per cent surge in first-half profits. Taylor Wimpey chief executive Pete Redfern told The Scotsman that the firm was employing more builders across more sites in Scotland, where the housing recovery has lagged that seen in the south of England (Scotsman).