Scottish Business Briefing - Wednesday 20 March, 2013

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


Cairn focus on Atlantic drilling with Senegal deal

Oil firm Cairn Energy unveiled plans to explore the Atlantic margin from the Arctic to the Tropics yesterday as it refocuses on the “drill bit” with a new frontier programme in Senegal. The Edinburgh-based firm said it had taken a 65 per cent interest in three exploration blocks off the coast of the West African country, in return for operating the rigs and meeting almost three quarters of the costs (Scotsman).

Scots know-how can help unlock riches held beneath Pacific Ocean

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Plans to harvest precious metals from mud and silt deep below the Pacific Ocean’s surface could lead to a business boost for Scotland’s oil and gas service sector. Aerospace and security company Lockheed Martin UK (LM UK) is behind the initiative, which is expected to generate about £40billion for Britain’s economy over a 30-year spell (P&J).

Bowleven narrows operating losses as it eyes Cameroon developments

Oil and gas explorer Bowleven has reported a sharp drop in first-half operating losses and said it believes there are large reserves yet to be discovered in Cameroon. The Edinburgh-based firm announced earlier this month that its “IM-5” well in the offshore Etinde field contained far more hydrocarbons that previously thought, and chief executive Kevin Hart said today that its onshore Bomono permit also had “significant” potential (Scotsman).


The Economics of Independence 2013

This conference tackles the crucial issues facing business and industry in the Scottish independence debate. Join expert speakers Alistair Darling MP, Jim McColl (Clyde Blowers) and Rupert Soames (Aggreko). 20% early bird discount until 31 March.


Arran to brew abroad after Holyrood knock back

ARRAN Brewery is to start producing its beers overseas after being knocked back for a Scottish Government grant. Managing director Gerald Michaluk last month “slammed the brakes” on plans to expand on the island after Scottish enterprise minister Fergus Ewing rejected a £1 million grant application (Scotsman).


Johnston Press ‘on target’ for profit growth

JOHNSTON Press chief executive Ashley Highfield has said the company is on target to ­return to profit growth this year as newspaper circulations stabilised and digital revenues grew. The group, which owns The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News, will also see the full benefits of a £37.6 million cut in operating costs (Scotsman).


Empty offices offer up a solution to lack of homes

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AN EDINBURGH-based investment company has identified office buildings left empty in the wake of the recession as the solution to pent-up demand for social housing in Scotland. Consensus Capital Property, a subsidiary of asset management specialist Consensus Capital plc, has unveiled plans to roll out 25 residential developments in the UK over the next two years, providing housing associations with 1200 city centre apartments (Scotsman).