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Thursday Update

DB Live: RBS; China; jobs data; Dobbies; Zumo; SSE

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4.45pm: London close

The FTSE 100 slipped from three-week highs following job concerns and a drop in China’s retail sales.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 was down 0.7% and the mid-cap FTSE 250  was 0.6% lower.

3pm: Engineering jobs saved

American billionaire businessman George Kaiser’s venture fund has stepped in to buy a wireless technology company in Livingston.

Full story here

9.30am: Wylie & Bisset restructures working week

Staff at chartered accountancy firm Wylie & Bisset have agreed a cut in salary as part of a shift towards more home working.

Full story here

9.15am: Zumo aids plastics battle

Zumo, the Edinburgh-based cryptocurrency exchange and platform, has joined forces with waste management charity WasteAid to fight plastic pollution.

The partnership with WasteAid, which operates across emerging markets, marks Zumo’s first charity partnership. Zumo users will be able to automatically donate funds to WasteAid every time they send, exchange, buy and pay with cryptocurrencies and fiat via the recently launched Zumo app.

8.50am: Masks firm outraged by Facebook decision

Scottish firm Screen & Shield has criticised a decision by Facebook to ban all adverts selling face masks and coverings on the social network site.

The Edinburgh-based business was stunned to discover the adverts for its range had been blocked.

Facebook states that it is temporarily prohibiting ads which commercially promote certain medical supplies and other high-demand products related to COVID-19 as they have been associated with exploitative behaviour.

8.45am: Nude close to target

Glasgow financial start-up Nude, which helps people save for their first home, has raised £3.4 million, following the launch of a Seedrs campaign.

Full story here

8.30am: London opens lower

The London market opened lower, despite better than expected growth figures from China (see below). The FTSE 100 was trading 43.73 points (0.69%) lower at 6,248.92.

8am: Paint Shed investment

BGF is backing Stirling-headquartered family business, The Paint Shed, to expand its online presence and accelerate the roll out of five stores.

Full story here

7.15am: Jobless rate

Unemployment in Scotland stood at 4.3% over the quarter, according to the latest official labour market statistics published by ONS.

The UK unemployment rate remained at 3.9% in the March to May period, with 649,000 fewer individuals on payrolls.

Scotland’s Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the figures do not reflect the full picture of the labour market as the Job Retention Scheme will have offered some relief to many employers and employees.

“The Job Retention Scheme will end in October but we believe the UK Government must extend the scheme, particularly for sectors that have been most affected by COVID-19.

“We have committed a further £100 million for employability and training support. This will help anyone who has lost their job or is at risk of losing their job, as well as those looking for work.”

7am: RBS name change

Removing RBS logo

Royal Bank of Scotland will be officially renamed NatWest Group on 22 July.

The company, which announced the plan on 14 February, said it reflects the overall shape of the business. Critics said it was an admission that it had failed to restore the reputation of the RBS brand which had been badly tarnished in the 2008 financial crash.

The bank will continue to trade as RBS in Scotland.

SSE retains dividend

Perth-based energy company SSE said it still intended to declare a dividend in November as the impact of Covid-19 on the business remained in line with expectations during the first three months of the fiscal year.

Dobbies deal with Sainsbury’s

dobbies

Dobbies Garden Centres has struck a deal to stock Sainsbury’s food, four years after the business was sold by Tesco.

The retailer will sell 3,000 of Sainsbury’s own-branded products in 66 of its 68 garden centres.

Graeme Jenkins, Dobbies’ chief executive, said: “The partnership between Dobbies and Sainsbury’s is an excellent fit.”

Alexander leaves Ladbrokes owner

Kenny Alexander will retire from the board and company at GVC Holdings after 13 years as CEO.

COO Shay Segev will succeed him on 17 July.

Mr Alexander has overseen rapid growth at GVC since 2007, most notably with M&A activity including its takeover of Ladbrokes Coral, which was completed in 2018.

Inverness medical jobs

A Scottish medical technology company is to hire 60 staff at its facility in Inverness.

The new roles at ODx include assembly technicians, lab, office and clinical staff, who will support the development of a device that helps detect the ability of urinary tract infections (UTIs) to resist antibiotics.

Brooks Macdonald on track

Wealth manager Brooks Macdonald is on track to meet expectations for the year and is maintaining the guidance given in its Q3 Trading Update, that it anticipates delivering a good full year result. This will be ahead of last year’s in terms of both underlying profit and underlying profit margin.

Integration of the Cornelian business in February is “progressing to plan” with the business now embedded into Brooks Macdonald, and the target FY21 cost synergies of £3.75 million expected to be met in full.

Total Group funds under management ended the quarter at £13.7 billion (31 March 2020: £12.2bn), an overall increase of £1.5bn, or 12%.  This was mostly due to strong investment performance, adding just over £1.5bn, supported by higher gross inflows than prior quarters resulting in reduced net outflows of £0.1bn.

6.30am: Aviation hit could cost £320m

Cutbacks in the aviation and aerospace industries could add up to 5,000 job losses across Scotland and deliver a £320m blow to the economy, according to research by the Fraser of Allander Institute.

Cuts are proposed by Menzies Aviation, Swissport, Rolls-Royce, GE Caledonian, Spirit Aerosystems and Wyman Gordon.

Trade union Unite has warned that unless the Scottish and UK Governments take urgent measures then both sectors could be on the brink of terminal decline.

6am: China back in growth

BYD China face mask factory

China’s economy grew 3.2% in the second quarter, higher than forecast and raising hopes of a V-shaped recovery.

The growth surprised analysts, who had expected the figure to be around 2.5%, following a quarter during which lockdown measures ended and stimulus was boosted to help the economy recover.

The world’s second biggest economy suffered a 6.8% decline in the first three months but new figures show China’s Gross Domestic Product returned to growth during April to June.

Some industries, including manufacturing, are almost back to normal, but consumer spending remains weak with some businesses still closed and some travel restrictions still in place.

The government instigated a number of measures to support the economic recovery, including more fiscal spending, tax relief, and cuts in lending rates.

Today’s agenda

Education Secretary John Swinney will join the First Minister at the daily briefing

Today’s top Daily Business articles

Third of firms to shed staff before job scheme ends

Sturgeon brushes aside McColl attack on ministers

Guardian cutting 180 jobs in face of mounting losses

Legend Jefferies back at Hearts



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