Business Briefs - May 5

Sir Angus Grossart
Sir Angus Grossart

Alexander Dennis, the Scottish bus and coach builder bought 11 years ago by a consortium led by Sir Angus Grossart, Sir Brian Souter and Sir David Murray, could fetch £300 million, if rumours of an impending sale are true.

According to reports, a potential sale has been sounded out in the City, though no formal process has begun.

Alexander Dennis was bought when former parent Transbus went into administration in 2004.

In the past six months it has landed major orders from GKN, Metrolinx of Canada, and Stagecoach, whose founders Sir Brian and his sister Ann Gloag own 55 per cent of Alexander via Highland Global Transport.

Noble Grossart, which led the £90m rescue deal, owns 33 per cent.

The business employs 900 in Scotland and 2,300 globally, and had sales of £541m last year.

Glasgow City Council planners have recommended for approval a new £100 million housing and office development for the city’s financial services district.

The Atlantic Square plan would see almost 280,000 sq ft of office space, 20 one and two bedroom flats and a restaurant.

Atlantic Square is a joint venture between developers BAM and Taylor Clarke on a site bounded by York Street, Argyle Street, James Watt Street and car park access ramps.

It will involve building a six-storey block of flats, as well as seven-storey and 10-storey office blocks.

Aberdeen pipeline engineering specialist, STATS Group, has invested £1.3 million in new facilities in Houston to expand its services in the US and South American oil and gas markets.

The group, which designs, manufactures and installs a range of hi-tech pipeline isolation and intervention tools, has opened a 25,000 sq ft office and workshop facility in Brittmoore and expects to add to its US headcount over the next year.

Stephen Rawlinson, previously general manager in Canada, has been promoted to vice president for the Americas, while Scott McNae has been elevated from his previous role as global projects manager to general manager for USA operations.

STATS believe there are project opportunities in the US onshore and offshore pipeline sector, with Houston also providing a springboard to mobilise for projects in South America. The company’s Process Plant Solutions division will also target the refineries, chemical plants and oil and gas platform sector, offering rentals, sales and servicing options.

Mr Rawlinson added: “We recently won contracts worth more than $15 million to provide intervention (hot tapping) and isolation services to one of North America’s largest energy infrastructure companies and we believe we can replicate that success in the US.

Headquartered near Aberdeen, Scotland, STATS Group employs 280 staff in the UK, Canada, USA and the Middle East, specialising in the isolation, intervention, repair and testing of pipeline systems.

Scottish law firm Brodies LLP has created a new ‘Managing Associate’ role in a large round of promotions.

Seven lawyers have been made Partners, six are now associate and nine move into the newly-created position.

The newly-promoted Partners are Tom Boulton-Jones (Corporate), Laurence Douglas (Retail & Leisure, Real Estate), Matthew Farrell (Business Disputes & Asset Recovery), Charles Livingstone (Public Law & Regulatory), Marion MacInnes (Banking & Finance), Chris McDaid (Commercial Real Estate) and Murray Soutar (Land & Rural Business). The promotions take the total number of Brodies Partners to 89.

The new Managing Associates are Ricky Cannon (Business Disputes & Asset Recovery), Suzanne Hopkinson (Energy & Infrastructure), David Jack (Commercial Real Estate), Graeme Leith (Land & Rural Business), Sarah-Jane McArthur (Energy & Infrastructure), Paul McLaughlin (Corporate & Commercial), Siobhan Sullivan (Personal Injury), Paul Wallace (Retail & Leisure, Real Estate) and Morna Walton (Commercial Real Estate).

And the new Associates are Ian Gibson (Commercial Real Estate), Gillian Mair (Employment), Adam McKinlay (Insurance & Risk), Fiona Scott (Land & Rural Business), Isla Stewart (Energy & Infrastructure) and Lindsay Watson (Personal & Family).

Commenting on the creation of the new Managing Associate role, Christine O’Neill, Chairman of Brodies, said: “This new position acknowledges that a number of our experienced Associates are already performing important management roles across the firm in delivering our client services. This may include managing teams or being the lynch pin for the delivery of transactions.”


Glasgow-based PR agency The BIG Partnership has been named the top agency outside of London for the seventh year running, according to independent industry figures.

The 2015 PR Week Top 150 league table found BIG was the largest agency outside the capital, with fee income for the calendar year 2014 reaching £7.8 million – a rise of 11% on the previous 12 months, following a year of strong growth.

The agency, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, is enjoying a good start to the year in 2015, bringing on a number of new clients across its service lines and five offices.

BIG’s digital division continued its expansion with the hiring of Jessica McAndrew from Frame Digital, Euan Blair from Peach Digital and Alice Ritchie from DigitasLBi, while the events team booked an increase in revenues of 33% year-on-year. The Aberdeen office had a bright start to the year by taking on new clients worth more than £150,000 in annual fees.

Neil Gibson, director and co-founder of The BIG Partnership, said: “This position in PR Week’s annual survey is testament to the hard work the company has put in over the last 12 months.


Sam Galbraith, the former Scottish minister and Labour politician left an estate of almost £125,000 after his death, it has been reported.

The former brain surgeon and Labour politician served as both an MP and MSP and held the post of education minister in Scotland’s first devolved government.

His will, written in 1998, shows he had more than £41,000 held in two bank accounts and a £17,000 insurance policy with Standard Life. He also had a life insurance policy with Aviva worth £66,271.

He left instructions for his £124,768 estate to be passed to his widow after his death.

He was survived by his wife Nicola, daughters Mhairi, Heather and Fiona, and siblings Roderick, Nairn and Ailsa.

Mr Galbraith, of Glasgow, was appointed education minister in Donald Dewar’s first cabinet, after the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

He was cremated in a private ceremony then honoured at a memorial service at Glasgow University’s Bute Hall following his death at the age of 68 last August.

The father-of-three stood down from politics in 2001 for health reasons.

Scottish independent betting shop group Scotbet has joined the Senet Group, the gambling self-regulatory body.

The move sees Scotbet join industry big-hitters and founder members William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power in committing to abide by a code of conduct meant to ensure high industry standards of social responsibility in gambling.

John Heaton, chairman of the Scottish bookmaking chain, said: “We’ve always placed a high priority on promoting responsible gambling, so it seemed natural to join Senet as a mark of our commitment to that principle.”

He added that it was important for the industry to protect “vulnerable” gamblers.

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