Scottish Business Briefing - Wednesday 14 March, 2012

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BANKING

Unions attack ‘brutal’ cuts as banks axe 1,700 and ‘export’ jobs

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TRADE unions last night attacked two taxpayer-backed banks for making more than 1,700 “brutal” job cuts and transferring some 300 posts to India. Lloyds Banking Group is cutting 1,300 jobs, including about 130 posts in Scotland, while Royal Bank of Scotland is axing 464 staff, including almost 20 north of the Border (Scotsman).

INSURANCE

Standard Life signals UK promise

Life and pensions group Standard Life posted a better-than-expected 28 per cent rise in full-year profits to £544 million following cost cuts and a much-stronger performance from the Edinburgh-based firm’s Canadian operations.

http://www.scotsman.com/business/banking/standard-life-signals-uk-promise-1-2169005

FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE

Pincer signs US export deal for Scottish vodka

A Scottish vodka company has sealed an export deal to the US which will rapidly increase the size of the business (Herald).

INDUSTRY

City welcomes Weir’s decision to opt put of Oz bidding war

SHARES in Weir Group rose almost 3 per cent yesterday after City analysts “applauded” the engineering firm’s decision to pull out of the takeover battle for Australian peer Ludowici (Scotsman).

RETAIL

High street economy: Hopes for retail revival dashed by sales slump

HOPES that the first signs of green shoots in the economy had filtered down to Scotland’s high streets have been dashed by latest figures showing February’s retail sales north of the Border were the worst for the month since records began (Scotsman).

Greggs sales driven up by new stores

The UK’s largest chain of bakeries, Greggs, said profits and sales rose in 2011 as it opened 84 new stores (BBC).