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Amid the claims and counter-claims of the independence referendum battle, it’s hard to keep track of all the business news "on the ground”.  Economist Tony Mackay provides an invaluable summary of recent announcements in his Monthly Scottish Economy Report.



  • £200 million plans for frigate factory on the Clyde BAE Systems have unveiled plans for a £200 million “frigate factory” that is hoped will secure shipbuilding on the Clyde for decades. The defence group have given their clearest signal yet that they plan to build a new generation of Royal Navy warships at their Scotstoun yard in Glasgow
  • Carbon capture and storage facility set for Peterhead. Peterhead has been confirmed by the UK Government as the location for the world’s first gas-fired carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility, as part of a £100 million investment in the technology.
  • New biotech centre could create 1,500 jobs. The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) at Strathclyde University in Glasgow is bringing together a number of Scottish universities and private sector firms, including Ineos and GSK, to create a new hi-tech centre. It is claimed that it could boost Scotland’s economy by £130 million and create up to 1,500 jobs.
  • Travelodge is investing £12 million in Glasgow hotel. Travelodge are spending £12 million on a new hotel in Glasgow’s Queen Street.  This will be a 171 bedroom hotel in the former Charlotte House office block.  Travelodge, which will lease the Glasgow building, are investing £100 million to open 15 new hotels in the UK this year.
  • A new hotel on Dundee waterfront. Sleeperz, the hotel chain, are to build a new 120 room property as part of the £1 billion regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront.  30 local jobs will be created when the hotel opens for business.
  • Alexander Dennis wins Stagecoach order for 570 buses. Stagecoach, the transport group, will invest more than £100 million in their fleet over the coming year with an order of 570 buses and coaches. Most will be built by Alexander Dennis.
  • Barrhead Travel’s expansion will create 80 jobs. Barrhead Travel, the UK’s largest independent travel group, are investing more than £15 million to create 80 jobs in an expansion programme.  The Company’s headquarters will see 50 of the new vacancies across sales, marketing, IT and human resources, 20 new posts in Edinburgh and the remaining 10 in Aberdeen.
  • BSW Timber creating 60 new jobs in Dalbeattie. Because of increasing demand for UK timber, BSW have announced that they are to create up to 60 new jobs in their sawmill at Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway.
  • A P Jess’ £2.7 million Scottish Government grant. A P Jess’ investment to almost double the output of their Brechin pig abattoir is being backed with a Scottish Government grant of £2.7 million.  The expansion will double the weekly kill to 7,500 pigs and create a further 20 jobs.
  • Atlantis Resources Corp is setting up in Edinburgh. Tidal power company Atlantis Resources Corporation is receiving £2 million from the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) to help set up a new centre in Edinburgh, which is expected to create up to 20 jobs.
  • Haymarket development receives £9 million grant.  A new development next to Haymarket railway station has been given a £9 million boost from the Scottish Government.  The money will help fund initial work at the site of the £200 million office, hotel and retail project. Interserve and Tiger Developments estimate up to 3,500 jobs could be created through the venture on the derelict land.
  • £40 million whisky distillery plans for the Borders. Mossburn Distillers have lodged plans with the local authority to transform the former Jedforest Hotel into a whisky distillery and bottling plant, at a cost of £40 million.
  • A new whisky distillery on Skye? A listed early 19th century farm steading at Torabhaig on Skye’s south-east coast is to be developed into a new malt whisky distillery, at a cost of £5 million.  Eight jobs will be created.
  • £8 million regeneration plan for Bute. The Mount Stuart Trust announced that the 27,000 acre Bute Estate is to undertake a major programme of work that will transform historic and unused buildings on the island in the Firth of Clyde to offer residential homes and self-catering holiday accommodation.
  • Skyscanner travel search firm expands again. Skyscanner, based in Edinburgh, reported 2013 turnover up by 96% to £65.8 million.  The company increased their workforce by 200 in 2013 to 400 and are to create a further 200 jobs in 2014, with a focus on software engineering.
  • Semco Maritime’s £5 million rig base in Invergordon. Semco Maritime, a Danish project engineering company, are setting up a £5 million rig refurbishment base at Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth.
  • £4.5million to boost food and drink sales overseas. £4.5 million plan to drive up the sales of Scottish food and drink products will target 15 overseas markets.  This will be developed jointly by the industry and government, the aim of the Export Plan is for food sales to emulate the success of the whisky industry, which accounts for the vast bulk of food and drink sales oversea.
  • Stirling to get a new curling centre. There is to be a new multimillion-pound National Curling Centre developed at Stirling Sports Village.  Stirling Council and sportscotland, the Scottish Government’s national agency for sport, will invest an initial £2.25 million.  
  • Spanish group bid for Glasgow Airport. Ferrovial, the Spanish infrastructure group, have submitted a bid of £800 million for Heathrow Airport Holdings – formerly known as BAA.  This would include Glasgow Airport.
  • Crieff Hydro to acquire rival hotels in £10 million deal. Crieff Hydro is to acquire the Peebles Hydro and the Park Hotel in the Borders town from McMillan Hotels in a £10 million deal.  The company is also taking on the management of three hotels in Scotland and one in England. This move will result in an increase in the number of hotels managed by Crieff Hydro from two to eight.
  • Retail sales up +2.5% in January. Like-for-like retail sales in January increased by +2.5% compared with January 2013, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium.
  • Airport passenger numbers up +9.2% in January. 1,273,684 passengers used Scotland’s three main airports in January, which was up +9.2% on the same month of 2012. There were 586,184 passengers at Edinburgh (+11.5%), 436,100 at Glasgow (+6%) and 251,400 at Aberdeen (+10%). 
  • New car sales up +9% in January. New car registrations in Scotland in January totalled 12,674, an increase of +9% compared with January 2013. The overall British figure showed an increase of +7.6%, according to the Scottish Motor Trade Association.
  • UK North Sea oil production up and gas production down. UK oil production fell in October 2013, compared with the same month of 2012. Average daily oil output was 713,025 barrels per day, which was up +9.9%. Average daily gas output was 3,213 million cubic feet per day, a fall of -22.5%.



  • Murchison oil field ceases production. After 30 years of pumping oil the Murchison oil field 330 miles north east of Aberdeen has ceased production.  Around 400 million barrels of oil were produced.
  • Prestwick Airport’s –£9.8 million loss. Prestwick Airport reported a pre-tax loss of -£9.8 million in the 12 months to March 2013, compared with a loss of -£2.3 million in the previous year. The airport was recently taken over by the Scottish Government.
  • Senergy cutting 30 jobs. Senergy, the Aberdeen-based energy services firm, are to cut 30 jobs in response to changing market demand. They denied that the cuts are because of the recent acquisition by Lloyd’s Register.
  • Bairds development store in liquidation. Bairds of Hamilton, the well-known department store, has been put in liquidation, with the loss of 38 staff.
  • BAE to axe 75 posts at Prestwick. Around 75 jobs are to be cut at BAE Systems’ based in Prestwick.  The defence giant is in consultations with staff and trade unions with a view to shedding the 75 posts at the regional aircraft site in Ayrshire.
  • Henderson Jewellers in liquidation. Henderson Jewellers, who were established in 1886, have been put into liquidation with the loss of 79 staff across 14 branches throughout the country.
  • Internacionale clothes chain in administration. Approximately 200 jobs are under threat after Internacionale, the Glasgow–based clothing chain, went into administration. The high street chain has 16 stores across Scotland.