Buiness Briefs - April 20

hsbcHSBC has unveiled a new five year deal with a record low rate of under 2 per cent.

The move is evidence of the increasingly intense competition between mortgage lenders.

Britain’s biggest bank said it will launch a five-year fixed-rate mortgage with a rate of 1.99 per cent and experts said this is the lowest-rate deal of its type that they have ever seen on the market.

However, borrowers must have a 40 per cent deposit to take out the deal, which also comes with a booking fee of £1,499.

The Charlotte Square Collection has attracted two new occupiers from the international financial services sector.

Swiss asset manager Syz & Co and Handelsbanken, the Swedish lender, will take up residence among the portfolio of 21 townhouses.

Syz & Co has taken 1,400 square feet over two floors at number 31 at the historic Edinburgh location while Handelsbanken will move into the renovated south side of the square, at the 3,150sq ft refurbished ground floor suite of number 18.

Nick Ball of Corran Properties, which manages the properties, said: “The Charlotte Square address is a tremendous draw for highend financial service companies, comparable to anything in London’s Mayfair. With rents up to 75 per cent lower in Edinburgh than in London, and an unrivalled quality of life, Scotland’s capital has huge advantages.”

Low inflation and stronger eurozone growth should help the UK economy expand 2.8 per cent this year despite political uncertainty ahead of the election, according to an EY Item Club report.

It said low inflation was adding to the benefits of higher employment and the positive effects of lower oil prices.

Item Club chief economic adviser Peter Spencer said the financial markets seem prepared for further Greek problems.

But potential headwinds were a weak government and EU referendum, he said.

The forecast growth is slightly down on the 2.9 per cent expansion that the Item Club previously predicted, due to official fourth-quarter GDP figures coming in weaker than expected.

The Item Club forecasts growth in 2016 of 3 per cent, up from 2.9 per cent estimated previously.


Fife-based shop, school and office fitting firm Havelock Europa has reported a pre-tax loss of £5.7 million during a “challenging” 2014 in which it wiped out debts and laid down foundations for the future.

The group saw operating profit cut from £632,000 to £180,000 as revenues fell from £89.6m to £83.4m.

Moving headquarters from Dalgety Bay to Kirkcaldy, stock rationalisation, goodwill write-off and compensation costs and other charges amounted to £5.9m, but the company says £5m of these exceptional costs are non-cash.

The pension fund deficit meanwhile trebled to £3.7m, two-thirds of the company’s current market value, and back to its 2012 level.

The group’s recovery plan includes developing a broader mix of business in order to “increase resilience and reduce dependence on particular markets and customers”.

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