Sir Tom candid over mistakes
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