Sir Tom can­did over mis­takes

The Herald Business - - The Month In Headlines -

SIR TOM RE­VEALS RE­GRETS AT PROP­ERTY MIS­TAKES

May 10 SIR Tom Hunter said he made a huge mis­take in­vest­ing in house­builders at the tail end of the last boom but re­mains keen on prop­erty amid tough times for many in the sec­tor. The en­tre­pre­neur also re­newed crit­i­cism of Ge­orge Os­borne’s aus­ter­ity poli­cies, which he claimed were sti­fling growth. Sir Tom said: “We [West Coast Cap­i­tal] made huge mis­takes ... we lost our fo­cus and we be­gan to get into things that we were not fo­cused on, sec­tors that we did not quite un­der­stand and that was to­tally my mis­take.”

AE­GON CHIEF UN­DE­TERRED AF­TER SHARP FALL IN PROF­ITS

May 9 THE chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ae­gon UK, which em­ploys 1900 peo­ple in Ed­in­burgh, shrugged off a sharp fall in prof­its say­ing it re­flected choices made by the firm in the run up to reg­u­la­tory re­forms and said more changes were to come. Ae­gon said un­der­ly­ing earn­ings from its UK op­er­a­tions fell 20% in the first quar­ter, to £20 mil­lion, from £25m in the same pe­riod last year.

CAIRN TO SPEND £50M ON HUNT OFF IR­ISH COAST

May 8 CAIRN En­ergy is set to in­vest more than £50 mil­lion hunt­ing for oil and gas near Ire­land af­ter adding stakes in li­cences there to a port­fo­lio of fron­tier ex­plo­ration in­ter­ests in places like Green­land. The Ed­in­burgh-based firm has agreed terms to take stakes in acreage con­tain­ing two dis­cov­er­ies off the west coast of Ire­land in a move that un­der­lines the oil and gas in­dus­try’s grow­ing en­thu­si­asm for the coun­try. The li­cences are about 100 miles off Ire­land.

FALL IN MAN­U­FAC­TUR­ING OUT­PUT SHOWN IN SUR­VEY

May 7 SMALL and medium-sized man­u­fac­tur­ers in the UK suf­fered fur­ther de­clines in new or­ders and out­put vol­umes in the three months to April, a sur­vey from the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish In­dus­try has re­vealed. The CBI sur­vey high­lights the con­tin­u­ing dif­fi­cul­ties fac­ing the UK econ­omy, which dodged triple-dip re­ces­sion with a 0.3% rise in gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) in the first quar­ter but re­mains sig­nif­i­cantly adrift of its peak in GDP ahead of the Great Re­ces­sion of 2008/09.

SE TO SPEND £1BN ON BOOST­ING ECON­OMY

May 3 SCOT­TISH En­ter­prise plans to spend more than £1 bil­lion over the next three years to help boost Scot­land’s econ­omy and meet a tar­get of cre­at­ing tens of thou­sands of jobs. The pub­licly funded eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment agency in­tends to in­vest £336.4 mil­lion across 2013/14, £386.6m dur­ing the fol­low­ing 12 months and £297.9m in 2015/16. The fig­ure for the cur­rent year is up from the £302.1m in­di­cated in the last busi­ness plan, with Scot­tish En­ter­prise say­ing the rise is due to ad­di­tional fund­ing be­ing made avail­able to de­liver the Re­new­able En­ergy In­vest­ment Fund.

CA­BLE DE­MANDS DE­CI­SION OVER GOOD­WIN PROS­E­CU­TION

May 1 BUSI­NESS Sec­re­tary Vince Ca­ble has crit­i­cised Scot­tish au­thor­i­ties amid ac­cu­sa­tions they are drag­ging their feet over the po­ten­tial pros­e­cu­tion of Fred Good­win and other for­mer di­rec­tors of Royal Bank of Scot­land (RBS) fol­low­ing the bank’s nearcol­lapse. Mr Ca­ble made a dra­matic in­ter­ven­tion in the in­quiry by call­ing for a de­ci­sion from the Crown Of­fice and Procu­ra­tor Fis­cal Ser­vice as soon as pos­si­ble on whether or not le­gal ac­tion will be taken.

SCOTS FOOD EX­PORTS SLIP AS FISH SALES FALL

April 30 SCOT­TISH food ex­ports fell by more than 10% to £1.04 bil­lion last year, from £1.16bn in 2011, re­flect­ing partly a fall in sales of fish to Spain and France. The drop is re­vealed in fig­ures pub­lished yes­ter­day by tax­payer funded trade pro­mo­tion agency Scot­tish De­vel­op­ment In­ter­na­tional (SDI). The fall in Scot­tish food ex­ports in 2012 took them back to slightly be­low the £1.06bn to­tal for 2010. How­ever, Scot­tish food ex­ports last year were the third high­est on record, ex­ceeded only by the 2010 and 2011 fig­ures.

RBS TO AXE 10% OF ITS BRANCHES IN THE UK

April 26 ABOUT 10% of Royal Bank of Scot­land’s UK branches are likely to be axed, with the in­sti­tu­tion con­sid­er­ing any clo­sure of the last bank in town on “in­di­vid­ual mer­its”, a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive has re­vealed. RBS has about 300 branches in Scot­land. It has around 2050 branches UK-wide, in­clud­ing 316 which it has been or­dered to sell by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion.

STAN­DARD LIFE CHARMS THE CITY WITH STRONG GROWTH

April 25 STAN­DARD Life topped the FTSE-100 leader board yes­ter­day as it charmed the City with an­other set of im­pres­sive quar­terly fig­ures show­ing strong sales growth and record in­vest­ment in­flows. Stan­dard’s shares were up 8% af­ter it un­veiled bet­ter-than ex­pected per­for­mance across key ar­eas, in­clud­ing a 24% sales rise against ex­pec­ta­tions of 6%, and £3 bil­lion pulled in by Stan­dard Life In­vest­ments, a rise of 161%.

DUNDEE’S YOYO GAMES EYES FUR­THER EX­PAN­SION IN USA

April 23 SOFT­WARE com­pany YoYo Games is pre­dict­ing a dou­bling of its work­force as it moves into new of­fices and eyes fur­ther ex­pan­sion in the United States. The Dundee firm al­ready has 25 staff and ex­pects to dou­ble that num­ber in the com­ing months. The ma­jor­ity of hires it said would be in soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing. YoYo spe­cialises in help­ing de­vel­op­ers make games for mul­ti­ple de­vices and plat­forms through its GameMaker: Stu­dio prod­uct.

MOVIE BRINGS BRAVE NEW WORLD FOR TOURISM

April 18 A STRING of sold-out tours themed around the Dis­ney block­buster Brave is pro­vid­ing a bright spot among the Scot­tish tourism sec­tor, which con­tin­ues to face tight­en­ing mar­gins and tough con­di­tions. Vis­itScot­land’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Mal­colm Roug­head said around 30 tours or­gan­ised by Dis­ney’s of­fi­cial travel arm have come to Scot­land since the start of this year. It is the first time Ad­ven­tures by Dis­ney has pro­vided Scot­tish pack­ages, and it has so far brought more than 1000 “high value” tourists who are pay­ing around $6000 each to take in sights in lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Ed­in­burgh, In­ver­ness and Skye.

Sir Tom Hunter still bullish on prop­erty de­spite past mis­takes Stan­dard Life’s fi­nance di­rec­tor Jackie Hunt saw im­pres­sive re­sults Brave-based tours bring cheer to tourism sec­tor this year

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