Business Briefs - June 22

Highland Spring in £20m expansion

Perthshire-based bottled water producer Highland Spring is planning to spend £20m in ramping up production to meet growing demand for bottled water.

The company, which draws its water from the Ochil Hills, expects to increase capacity at its main plant by 50pc as worldwide sales of bottled water overtake fizzy drinks for the first time.

Les Montgomery, the firm’s chief executive, said: “The market is in double-digit growth. People understand that having a bottle of water is better than a fizzy drink or juice,” said.

Recent data estimated that 238bn litres of bottled water will be sold this year compared to 227bn litres of fizzy drinks.

Highland Spring is the only major water brand still under UK ownership.

Although it is owned by Dubai businessman Mahdi Al-Tajir, he lives on a Perthshire estate.

Volvic and Evian are owned by French conglomerate Danone, while Buxton is owned by Nestlé.

Clyde Blowers boss backs campaign to return QE2

Jim McColl OBE, the billionaire chairman and CEO of Clyde Blowers Capital, has thrown his weight behind a campaign to bring the QE2 liner back to Scottish waters.

The tycoon says the prospect of seeing the ship – currently languishing in a Dubai dock – reberth in Greenock is “absolutely achievable” and would bring economic benefits to the entire country.

He joins Greenock businessmen Sandy and James Easdale in their support for the initiative.

McColl, who rescued Ferguson’s shipyard from the scrapheap in September last year, said: “I think absolutely it’s achievable if there’s enough determination and a good plan.

“But you need to have a clear vision and plan of what you want to do with it. It would be great if it could happen because that’s bringing back a ship to the Clyde that was built here.

“It’s quite a striking vessel with a fantastic heritage and I think it could – with the proper plan – really help with the local economy.”

Ronnie Cowan, local SNP MP, said: “There are great economic, social and educat iona l opp or tu n i t ie s f or Greenock and Inverclyde in bringing the QE2 back home to the Clyde. I will certainly do everything I can to help this imaginative campaign.”

Meanwhile, Euromillions winners Colin and Chris Weir may also offer financial support.

Scotland Electronics in £2m expansion

Scottish manufacturing company Scotland Electronics (International) has announced £2 million expansion plan.

The move will see the firm grow its workforce by 50 per cent so it can meet growing demand.

Scotland Electronics said it has purchased its Nova House headquarters in Forres, Moray, so it can add a 15,000 square foot extension.

That will almost double its existing floor space and allow it to add further manufacturing capacity.

The current site, which has been leased for the past five years, is the only manufacturing and testing facility of its kind in Scotland.

The business specialises in making “high precision and high performance” motion control systems.

Its products have a wide range of uses from oil and gas service tools to military radar through to aircraft landing gear and bomb disposal robots.

In defence its projects have included work on stealth submarines used by British Special Forces, rocket launcher controls and gun stabilisation systems forth Type 42 destroyer.

Customers include the likes of European nuclear research organisation CERN, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

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