Sir David Murray passes ownership of Edinburgh family business to next generation

Sir David Murray has completed a deal to cede ownership of the private investment office bearing his name to his sons, David and Keith.

Confirmation of the transfer came as Edinburgh-based Murray Capital Group released accounts revealing a large pre-tax loss as the business was hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Sir David will remain as chairman of the group, which is flagging a “strong return to profitability” this year on the back of a number of positive developments in the portfolio and the future prospects of its large strategic land assets.

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The company’s main activities are the development of land for the residential and commercial sectors, investment in private companies and property, wine importing and distribution, and the provision of metal stockholding, processing and distribution.

Sir David Murray remains as chairman of the group, which anticipates a strong return to profitability this year.

Sir David said: “Running a family business presents many challenges, but it allows you to always think about long-term benefits, rather than short-term issues.

“Being able to transition the ownership successfully to the next generation has been in our plan for many years. I am delighted that we have now achieved this successfully, with David focused on the Murray Capital Group and Keith on our wine businesses.

“I am pleased to remain as chairman, with an active interest in our core steel business in particular, and a small continuing equity stake.

“I have been through many ups and downs over the last 50 years in business – as anyone willing to bear risk inevitably does – but I retain great expectations and energy for the next phase. I have complete confidence in my sons, who are willing and able, and for the businesses they now own and lead.”

The company’s annual accounting period was extended to 18 months, to allow it to focus on the restructure of some subsidiaries.

Turnover from continued operations came in at £100.1 million, compared with £78.7m in the previous shorter 12-month period. Pre-tax losses widened to £11.6m, from a £1.8m deficit, due to exceptional costs relating to a restructure of the metals business, impairment of investments due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and trading losses within portfolio companies.

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