Business Briefs - April 29

FrenchDuncanFrench Duncan LLP has taking over the running of George Hunter (Demolishers) after the firm was this week put into liquidation following a protracted battle with HMRC.

The Glasgow-based company, which traded as Hunter Demolition, employed around 50 staff at its peak, turning over up to £7 million.

According to Demolition News, a petition was presented to Glasgow Sheriff Court by the Advocate General for Scotland for and on behalf of the Commissioners for HMRC for the company to be wound up by the Court and to appoint a liquidator.

The appointed insolvency practitioner is French Duncan LLP in Hamilton.

Hunter Demolition, a member of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, was a well-known and respected name in Scottish demolition circles, though the company’s reputation extended beyond Scottish borders.

Barclays Bank has announced that it has set aside £800m to cover potential further legal action and penalties for alleged foreign exchange manipulation.

Barclays has now put aside £2.05bn to cover foreign exchange settlements.

The latest contingency was announced today along with Q1 results that showed Barclays had suffered a 26 per cent drop in statutory profits in the first three months of the year to £1.34bn.

However, excluding one-off items, including another £150m for mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI), adjusted profit rose 9 per cent to £1.85bn.

American doughnut retailer Krispy Kreme has made a bid to open its first Glasgow store .

The firm has lodged an application to turn the former Clydebuilt Scottish Maritime Museum at Braehead into a giant £500,000 doughnut restaurant.

Suggested plans from the company, which caused tailbacks on the M8 when it opened at Edinburgh’s Hermiston Gate, show the refurbishment valued at £549,213.

They were lodged with Renfrewshire Council to be put before the authority’s planning committee.

Clydebuilt at Braehead opened in 1999 but closed in October 2010 due to a lack of funding.

Aberdeen firms X-Subsea UK and X-Subsea Atlantic are in administration, with 20 jobs axed, after a downturn in orders.

They are subsidiaries of Granite City-based X-Subsea UK Holding (X-Subsea UKH), which is also in administration.

Their parent, Norway’s Reef Subsea, went into liquidation in February after backers pulled support in the wake of falling oil prices. But X-Subsea operations in Houston in the US, Ciudad del Carmen in Mexico and Singapore are not in administration.

Six employees based overseas have been retained to complete an ongoing contract – the only one the UK businesses have – but the 20 Aberdeen-based staff have been made redundant.

Accounts lodged at Companies House for X-Subsea UK – formerly Reef Subsea Dredging and Excavation – show pre- tax losses of £977,000 in 2013, compared with profits of £2.8million a year earlier.

X-Subsea Atlantic – formerly Rotech Subsea Atlantic – was dormant and did not trade.

Insolvency specialists at FRP Advisory are seeking a buyer for the business and assets. Iain Fraser, a partner at FRP in Scotland, added: “The business has been badly affected by the current downturn in the oil and gas sector, and despite restructuring of the group earlier this year income and cash flow has fallen substantially.”

Santander, Europe’s biggest bank, has reported a 12.2 per cent year-on-year fall in mortgage lending in the first quarter.

Announcing its Q1 results, the bank said it had lent £5bn to mortgage borrowers in the first three months of the year, compared to £5.7bn over the same period last year.

Its book shrunk slightly from £150.1bn at the end of December to £149.7bn at the end of March, the results showed.

Santander said the figures were the result of “weak application volumes” in Q4 2014.

SVR loan balances fell £2.1bn to £41.8bn, although the bank says it had retained around 80 per cent of customers with maturing loans.

Loans above 85 per cent LTV accounted for 18 per cent of its lending in the first quarter, while its average LTV was 65 per cent, the same as it was at the end of December.

Customer deposit balances grew 4.7 per cent from £147.6bn in Q1 2014 to £154.6bn at the end of March.

Pre-tax profit grew 13 per cent, from £416m in the first quarter of 2014 to £470m in Q1 2015.


Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a five-month trial of a new flight path for departing aircraft in a bid to increase capacity.

The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June, will introduce a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route.

Airport bosses said the new route would allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals.

They said it would allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.

Edinburgh is Scotland’s busiest airport, with more than 40 airlines serving more than 100 destinations.

Last year, more than 10 million passengers passed through, making it the busiest year ever for a Scottish airport.

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