Business Briefs - 23rd March

The FTSE 100 Index climbed above the 7,000 mark on Friday for the first time in its history.

It came as world markets were buoyed by a small recovery in the price of oil as well as hopeful signs over the Greek debt crisis.

London’s top-flight index has also been lifted in recent days by the prospect of UK and US interest rates remaining lower for longer.

The index had been on the cusp of cresting the landmark after hitting new highs in the previous session, following a Budget-inspired rally earlier in the week.

It comes just weeks after the FTSE breached an all-time high that stood for more than 15 years, before the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000.

New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore remain the four leading global financial centres, according to researchers.

The latest Global Financial Centers Index shows that New York continues to be the leading global financial centre, but only beat second-place London by one point on the 1,000 point scale. Both cities moved up seven points compared to last year.

The US financial capital tops in three main categories: business environment, human capital and reputational.

Responses from 3,527 financial services professionals were collected in the 24 months to December 2014. The research used the measure of diversity, connectivity and speciality to assess a financial centre’s profile.

Scottish development company AMA has recorded strong financial results over the past year.

Turnover increased by over £3 million to £14m and profits rebounded to £1m following a loss of £3.5m in 2013.

In November 2014, the group successfully completed a restructuring that added more than £21m to its balance sheet, completely wiping out bank debt.

Actual turnover for 2014 was £14,095,173 compared with £10,767,086, profit before tax was £1,089,364 a loss of £3,517,626 in 2013 and following the injection of long term loan notes from Souter Investments, shareholder funds rose to £23,660,213 compared with £1,202,470 in 2013.

German energy giant E.ON is said to be the latest major company to be pulling out of the North Sea, with plans to sell £1 billion of assets despite the package of support measures for the oil and gas outlined in last week’s Budget.

Reports at the weekend suggested E.ON has asked Bank of America Merrill Lynch to find buyers for its interests, which are spread out across the various sectors of the North Sea.

The assets will join a crowded marketplace with about £6bn-worth of stakes in fields and licences already on offer from supermajors such as BP,Conocophillips, Shell and Total.

Property firm Savills has reported a 21 per cent rise in annual pre-tax profits to £84.7 million and said it has made a solid start to 2015.

Mark Fleming, joint head of the Scottish business said: “Savills performance in the Scottish region has tracked that of the firm’s wider global business as a whole”

Independent Lanarkshire meat, ingredient and equipment supplier JR Dalziel has seen its annual profits exceed £10 million for the first time in its near 90-year history.

Accounts being lodged at Companies House will show the Lanarkshire business, which employs more than 500 at its depots around the UK, saw turnover increase almost seven per cent from £144.86m to £154.7m as a result of organic growth and benefits from previous acquisitions.

That increase in revenue helped push pre-tax profits up 12 per cent from £9.8m to £10.98m in the 12 months to September 26, 2014.

The directors confirmed this was the first time “profits have been reported above the £10m mark”.

The business supplies meat, lamb, pork and poultry to thousands of independent butchers around the UK.

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