Scottish Business Briefing – 22 January 2014

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

Optos: Revenue fall. Picture: Neil Hanna
Optos: Revenue fall. Picture: Neil Hanna


Economy booms but worries linger

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Britain’s economy is set to gather momentum this year, forecasts yesterday confirmed, but there were fresh warnings over the resilience of the manufacturing sector and lending to small businesses. As widely expected, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its forecast for the UK economy, pencilling in growth of 2.4 per cent this year – faster than any other major European economy – against a previous forecast of 1.9 per cent. For 2015, it expects 2.2 per cent growth. (Scotsman)


Greenland on back burner as Cairn plans African push

Oil explorer Cairn Energy has put its controversial drilling plans in the Arctic on the back burner as it focuses on an ambitious programme off the west coast of Africa. The Edinburgh-based firm has so far seen its efforts to strike oil off Greenland prove fruitless, but yesterday said it was working with its joint venture partners – Norway’s Statoil and Greenland’s national oil company Nunaoil – to “mature” its plans for the Pitu bloc.

Wood Group lands $250m African contract extensions

Oil services giant Wood Group has secured extensions to a pair of existing contracts in Africa, worth about $250 million (£152m) in total. The Aberdeen-based group said its PSN subsidiary, which employs more than 3,000 people across the continent, has also formed a joint venture targeting Ghana’s oil and gas sector.

Scotsman Conference

The Digital Fabric of Scotland: The Challenge of stitching it together - 29th January – Edinburgh

Join us and the Scottish Council on Archives as we bring the first event of its kind to Scotland. Fiona Hyslop MSP Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs and Annelies van den Belt, CEO of DC Thomson Family History are among some of the expert speakers that will aim to raise awareness of digital records among key decision makers across different sectors, help build a Scottish digital records community to collaborate on finding the best technological solutions and securing investment and  examine the options for ensuring long term access to valuable digital resources. Visit the Scotsman Conferences website for more details.


Strathberry abandons flagship store as attention turns to online and export

LUXURY accessories brand Strathberry of Scotland is closing its flagship retail store after just six months to focus on online and export sales. However Strathberry, which makes tweed and leather goods including wallets, tablet computer covers, scarves and bags, also wants to grow the network of bricks and mortar retailers it sells into. (Herald)


Freight vehicle manufacturer Gray & Adams suffers fall in profits

DIRECTORS at Fraserburgh-based Gray & Adams Group, the manufacturer of refrigerated and dry freight vehicles to the transport industry, have cited “very challenging conditions” as the company booked a fall in turnover and profits in its latest financial year. The family-owned business, which supplies trailers to most of the UK’s major supermarket chains, has seen pre-tax profits slide to £3.07 million from £5.2m in the year to April 30, 2013.


Optos revenues fall despite new customer wins

Eye scanner maker Optos today reported a 9.7 per cent drop in first-quarter revenues, but said it remained confident of delivering full-year sales growth.The Dunfermline-based company said new customer numbers grew 10 per cent in the three months to the end of December, driven by demand for its Daytona retinal imaging device. (Scotsman)