Business Briefs - June 1

Complete Prestwick Airport Board announced

Four Non-Executive Directors have been appointed to the Board of Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which is owned by the Scottish Government.

The appointments complete the formation of the Airport’s Board and are as follows:

Gordon Arthur - Communications officer for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

Ken Dalton Prior to retirement in 2011, was chief executive of global building engineering for AECOM Technology Corporation

Bob Goldfield - held positions as airport director and managing director at three airports in the UK and Ireland. He also held the post of ‘airport manager, operations and technical administration’ at Hong Kong International Airport.


His last full-time post was Chief Executive of the Port of Dover, Europe’s busiest ferry port.

Jayne Maclennan - a general practice chartered surveyor and holds the position as Group Director of Property and Environment with FirstGroup PLC a leading passenger transport company where she is also a member of the Group’s Executive Management Board.



Major UK banks launch FIFA payment probes


Barclays and Standard Chartered are investigating whether they were used for corrupt payments by Fifa officials, according to reports.


Following the arrest of 14 people, including seven Fifa officials, amid allegations of bribes totalling more than £100million, Standard Chartered confirmed it has launched an internal review, while Barclays is also understood to be looking at the issue but has not said so publically.


Both banks, as well as HSBC, were referred to in FBI indictments but have not been accused of any wrongdoing.






Major Glasgow city centre site goes up for sale


Commercial property firm Ryden has won the mandate to dispose of a significant development site in the heart of Glasgow city centre.


At 1.371 acres, 173 Pitt Street – the former HQ of the legacy Strathclyde Police comprises existing buildings totalling 190,000 sq ft on an entire ‘island site’ and is one of the rarest and largest commercial development opportunities in the city centre to become available for many years. Police Scotland has recently relocated to their new purpose built facility at Clyde Gateway in Dalmarnock, therefore releasing 173 Pitt Street to the market.


Ryden is tasked with devising a disposal strategy and marketing the property to secure best value for Police Scotland.  The Scottish Futures Trust is providing strategic support to Police Scotland on the project as part of a wider initiative to assist public bodies with disposal of their surplus assets. Marketing will be launched shortly.


The Pitt Street site was constructed in two phases; the first was a College of Commerce in 1924, however the site was taken over for occupation by the then Strathclyde Police in 1975 and a second phase was completed in 1982. 




 Muir Group profits soar


Profits at Fife building firm Muir Group soared by almost £10 million last year after it successfully sold off three major development sites in Aberdeen.

Results for the year ended January 2015 saw turnover accelerate to £114,676,000, a rise of over £40,000,000 on the previous year.

Chairman John Muir said that he is “delighted” with the results and outlined that the main contributor to the increased activity was property development in Aberdeen with completion and sale of 3 major developments to UK Commercial Property Trust for £48m.

The accelerated turnover has had a corresponding impact on profitability, with group profit before tax improving from £3,951,000 in 2013/14 to £13,220,000 in 2014/2015.

Muir Construction had another successful year which saw turnover increase from £42m to £58m although profits remained at £1.6m, with margins decreasing slightly but off-set by cost reductions. Aberdeen, despite the oil price drop, continues to be a large focus for construction.

Muir Homes also continued to grow with turnover up £6,250,000 to just over £31m. House completions increased by 20 to 164 in the year, which along with margins steady at 22 per cent, and an increase in the average house price to £189,000, meant a jump in pre tax profit to £4,183,000, up some 45 per cent.

Muir Timber Systems returned to profitability with turnover at £3.9m from £2.8m previously as a result of house-building recovery and profits of £185,000 compared to a loss previously of £88,000.


Muir Leisure, trading as Deer Park Golf & Country Club, increased revenues from £1,420,000 to £1,524,000, although despite this, losses increased slightly to £241,000 from £224,000 previously.





Pinsent Masons sign up leading oil and gas litigator

International law firm Pinsent Masons has appointed leading litigator Bruce Craig to join its 30-strong oil and gas team in Aberdeen.


He will head up the firm’s litigation and regulatory practice in Europe’s oil capital, focussing on contentious issues in the oil and gas, shipping, and health and safety sectors.


He was formerly managing partner of niche Scottish law firm Mackinnons where he was a partner from 1993.


He is highly ranked in legal directories, has worked on behalf of offshore drilling contractors and ship owners across the world and is a contributor to international conferences in the UK and US.


His appointment follows the recent addition to Pinsent Masons’ energy team of Paul McGoldrick and four other oil and gas specialists from Bond Dickinson, and the appointment of Osama Hassan, one of the Middle East’s leading corporate lawyers specialising in the energy sector.