Bad debt de­cline boosts bank

The Herald Business - - The Month In Headlines -

DROP IN BAD DEBTS GIVES CLY­DES­DALE BANK A LIFT

Feb 8 CLY­DES­DALE Bank is en­joy­ing an im­proved fi­nan­cial per­for­mance as bad debt lev­els de­cline and job num­bers con­tinue to fall, its par­ent Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank (NAB) has re­ported. Mean­while, Cly­des­dale’s pen­sion fund has sold the bank’s Glas­gow head­quar­ters to a Lon­don-based in­vestor although the group will con­tinue to oc­cupy the build­ing on St Vin­cent Place. Cly­des­dale is re­trench­ing into its heart­lands in Scot­land and the north of Eng­land, where it op­er­ates York­shire Bank, af­ter be­ing hit hard by the col­lapse of the com­mer­cial prop­erty mar­ket.

SSE TO SELL WIND FARM IN­TER­ESTS FOR £140M

Feb 4 PERTH- BASED power com­pany SSE has agreed to sell wind-farm in­ter­ests in Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land for £140 mil­lion to a new fund that plans to float on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change. The pro­posed sale is de­pen­dent on a suc­cess­ful list­ing and fundrais­ing by wind-farm in­vest­ment fund Green­coat UK Wind. SSE will in­vest up to £43m of its sale pro­ceeds in this new fund. SSE’s in­vest­ment will be scaled back if Green­coat UK Wind’s fundrais­ing is over-sub­scribed

RBS CHIEF LOSES JOB AND £4M BONUS OVER LI­BOR

Feb 6 A SE­NIOR ex­ec­u­tive at Royal Bank of Scot­land is to step down and for­feit about £4 mil­lion in bonuses over the Li­bor in­ter­est rate-rig­ging scan­dal. John Houri­can, 41, head of RBS’s trou­bled in­vest­ment bank­ing di­vi­sion since 2008 will also re­lin­quish share op­tions as he ex­its the Ed­in­burgh-based bank­ing group over the row.

CEN­TRICA ABAN­DONS PLAN FOR NU­CLEAR POWER PLANT

Feb 5 SCOT­TISH Gas owner Cen­trica has aban­doned plans to build new nu­clear power sta­tions in the UK with Elec­tricite de France, rais­ing se­ri­ous doubts over the pro­gramme. Cen­trica fol­lows Perth-based SSE and Ger­many’s RWE and E.ON in with­draw­ing from new­build nu­clear, although Scot­tishPower owner Iber­drola is eval­u­at­ing plans for a power plant in Cum­bria.

SKYSCAN­NER PROF­ITS SURGE AMID US PLAN

Feb 4 TRAVEL search site Skyscan­ner has re­ported a 65% hike in rev­enue to £33.5 mil­lion and un­veiled plans to set up a per­ma­nent base in the United States. The Ed­in­burgh com­pany said earn­ings be­fore in­ter­est, tax de­pre­ci­a­tion and amor­ti­sa­tion in 2012 jumped 153% to £12m as its an­nual traf­fic rose 84%, with more than 30 mil­lion vis­i­tors each month. Travel book­ings for its air­line part­ners were at £2.3 bil­lion across the 12 months.

GROWTH BOOST FOR SCOT­TISH ECON­OMY

Feb 2 THE Scot­tish econ­omy grew by 0.6% in the third quar­ter of last year, as man­u­fac­tur­ing out­put surged, but it was un­able to em­u­late ex­pan­sion of 0.9% in the UK as a whole dur­ing this pe­riod. Econ­o­mists high­lighted the fact that Scot­land would have re­ceived much less of a boost from the Lon­don 2012 Olympics than other parts of the UK. How­ever, they cited po­ten­tial for Scot­land to have out­per­formed the UK as a whole in the fourth quar­ter of last year, given the rel­a­tive lack of an Olympics boost north of the bor­der in the three months to Septem­ber.

IN­SOL­VENCY RATES CLOSE TO RECORD

Jan 31 AROUND 25 com­pa­nies went bust ev­ery week in Scot­land on the of­fi­cial mea­sure last year, when the level of fail­ures re­mained close to the record set in 2011. Fig­ures com­piled by the Ac­coun­tant in Bank­ruptcy show 1264 com­pa­nies failed in 2012 as the eco­nomic down­turn took a heavy toll on sec­tors such as re­tail, hos­pi­tal­ity and con­struc­tion. The to­tal num­ber of firms recorded in the reg­is­ter of in­sol­ven­cies last year was down just 1% on the record 1278 seen in 2011.

BREWDOG GOES GLOBAL AS BAR EM­PIRE EX­PANDS

Jan 29 SCOT­TISH beer com­pany BrewDog is pre­par­ing to ex­tend its bur­geon­ing bar em­pire into lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Bel­gium, Brazil and Ja­pan to reap the ben­e­fits of its new beefed-up brew­ery. The com­pany will kick off its overseas drive with the open­ing of a bar in Stock­holm, Swe­den in March, with an­other launch­ing in Sao Paolo in Brazil in June, and a third in Brus­sels in Septem­ber. It also has plans to open up a bar in Tokyo.

BAR­RHEAD TRAVEL EYES AUS­TRALIAN VEN­TURE

Jan 28 AM­BI­TIOUS Bar­rhead Travel is cast­ing an eye to­wards the other side of the world as part of its ex­pan­sion strat­egy. Direc­tors at the fast-grow­ing travel agency are mulling over the pos­si­bil­ity of ac­quir­ing a busi­ness in Aus­tralia to set up a “bricks and mor­tar” op­er­a­tion in the coun­try. The Glas­gow com­pany al­ready has a site in Leipzig, Ger­many af­ter ex­ten­sive mar­ket re­search sug­gested its ser­vices would be prof­itable there. That level of dili­gence is be­hind the pref­er­ence for Aus­tralia as its next global stop.

AG BARR TOASTS FORECAST OF 7% JUMP IN REV­ENUES

Jan 25 IRN-BRU man­u­fac­turer AG Barr is pre­dict­ing a 7% jump in ful­lyear rev­enues to about £253 mil­lion, af­ter an­other mar­ket­beat­ing per­for­mance in its fi­nal quar­ter. AG Barr’s shares surged 26.5p or 5.1% to 546.5p – in­creas­ing its stock mar­ket worth by about £31m to £638m – on the back of its up­beat trad­ing up­date yes­ter­day. It high­lights the strong po­si­tion from which the La­nark­shire-based com­pany is go­ing into its planned merger with Hert­ford­shire-based ri­val Britvic.

EX­PORT FIG­URES PRO­VIDE RAY OF SUN­SHINE TO BUSI­NESSES

Jan 24 SCOT­LAND’S in­ter­na­tional ex­ports to­talled about £23.9 bil­lion in 2011, up £1.6bn or 7% on 2010, fig­ures show. The Scot­tish Government’s lat­est Global Con­nec­tions Sur­vey shows man­u­fac­tur­ing ex­ports rose by £1.1bn to £14.7bn in 2011, and ac­counted for 61% of the to­tal. Ser­vices ex­ports rose by £280 mil­lion to £7.69bn. The fig­ures, which ex­clude oil and gas, are not ad­justed for in­fla­tion.

Cly­des­dale chief ex­ec­u­tive David Thor­burn re­ports progress af­ter strate­gic re­view James Watt and Martin Dickie of Brewdog are ex­tend­ing bar em­pire Gareth Ed­wards re­ported a hike in Skyscan­ner rev­enue of 65%

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