Edinburgh Distillery granted £27 million boost

Whiskey Stills / Photo courtesy of Bern Altman

An Edinburgh based distillery has been granted £27 million by RBS as part of a flexible funding package.

Founded in 1898, the BenRiach distillery currently employ 80 people over their 2 sites. In 2008 the company bought over the GlenDronach distillery in Aberdeenshire. This latest investment could expand the company even further. New acquisitions as well as investment in stock and facilities are being considered.

[Read more...]

National News Round-up

By Adam Bergin

Union calls off London bonfire night strike

A firefighters’ strike in London has been postponed amidst fears for public safety, after private contractors brought in as cover were deemed to be incapable.

The strike, which was due to run from 10am Friday until 9am Sunday and include over 5,500 workers, was to stop the London Fire Brigade from pressing ahead with sacking firefighters who refuse to accept new contracts, which include a new shift system.

Both the FBU and London Fire Brigade (LFB) managers will attend an independently chaired panel on 16 November to discuss their differences.

RBS sinks into the red

The Royal Bank of Scotland has plunged back into the red with a £1.4bn pre-tax loss for the three month period before September.

The bank, 84%-owned by the tax payer, had looked to be improving after it reported a profit of £1.15bn for the previous three months.

Since October 2008, the bank has announced 23,000 job losses worldwide, including 17,100 in the UK, but Chief Executive Stephen Hester said the bank was making “good progress in our recovery”.

Radical Cleric succeeds in passport appeal bid

Abu Hamza, 52, has won his appeal against the governments attempt to take away his British passport.

Radical Hamza was jailed for seven years in February 2006 for inciting murder and race hate, but his lawyers argued that to take away his British citizenship would have left him “stateless”, due his Egyptian passport having been rescinded already.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said David Cameron was “disappointed” but it would not affect ongoing extradition proceedings.

Prisoners relocated after third night of riots

More than 160 inmates have been transferred to other jails following a third night of rioting at a prison in South Yorkshire.

Following smaller disturbances at the prison on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, an altercation between the Moorlands Young Offenders Institution near Doncaster and the adjacent adult unit late on Thursday nig htled to Prison Service Tornado teams arriving in riot gear at 1am.

Up to 100 prisoners were said to have been throwing objects and causing serious damage to the surroundings, with one inmate being taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Seismic day for RBS

By Catherine Henderson

Stephen Hester, RBS Chief ExecStephen Hester, RBS Chief Executive is angry and wants us all to know about it.  After the European Union yesterday insisted on the sales of RBS’s most profitable division,  Hester has reacted strongly saying “The enforced break-up of Royal Bank of Scotland will make it more difficult for taxpaers to get their money back and will not help consumers.”

The Government have a very different take on the situation with Alistair Darling insisting the reforms represent a good deal for the tax payer.

Both Lloyds Banking Group and RBS are being forced towards major restructuring which will result in a sell off of 900 branches and RBS losing its money making insurance arm, which includes the Churchill and Direct Line brands.

The result of the restructure will mean a wipe-out of all RBS English branches, something that would never have been dreamed of for what was once the world’s biggest bank with iconic status.  The pay-off from the restructure for RBS will be  another state funded cash injection totally $2.5 billion.  This will take the British taxpayer’s stake in RBS to 84%.

Talking about the EU’s rulings Hester says they neither  “improve competition nor improve our ability to pay back the shareholder, that’s to say the taxpayer.”

Hester is in an increasingly difficult position, protecting RBS, responding to the new power of the Government and respecting the public mood which at a time of steep economic downturn is in no mood for petulant banks.

Sir Fred and RBS To Be Sued

By Vikki Graves

Cherie Blair has been hired by two British local authorities to sue the Royal Bank of Scotland through the US Courts. RBS and its entire board of directors, including ex-Chief Executive Sir Fred Goodwin, are named as defendants.

North Yorkshire and Merseyside councils’ pension funds have plummeted in value along with RBS shares. They claim they were falsely assured that the bank was in good health.

The lawsuit, which is open to all European and US investors in RBS, comes just weeks after Ian Hamilton QC was forced to abandon his case against RBS plc in the small claims court.

Hamilton claimed he was misled when he bought 640 RBS shares at £2 each in April 2008. He said the bank had been negligent and knew it was in trouble. Each of his shares is now worth just 20p. But Oban Sheriff Court ruled the case too complex to be heard at a low level.

Mr Hamilton said it would be too expensive for him to take the case further, but continues to campaign online for more small claims actions to be brought against the bank.

Financial News

By Vikki Graves

HSBC asks shareholders for £12.5bn

Chairman Stephen Green said the funds would be used to see the group through the current uncertain economic climate.

The news comes as HSBC announce pre-tax profits of £6.5bn for 2008, a 62% fall on the previous year.

There was a drop in share prices across the banking sector this afternoon, with HSBC shares down by as much as 19%.

Row over Sir Fred’s RBS pension continues

Pressure is still mounting on former Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Sir Fred Goodwin to give up a large part of his £693,000 annual pension.

Deputy Labour Leader Harriet Harman has said that the government is prepared to take measures to prevent him from receiving the full amount.

Meanwhile, it has come to light that RBS are still paying for Sir Fred’s personal security costs, including CCTV and security staff at his home.

Tesco to create 200 jobs in Edinburgh

Tesco Personal Finance is expanding its banking operation in the capital.

The supermarket’s financial arm, which currently employs 250 staff will move to a new, larger headquarters in Haymarket within the next year.

News in Brief

by Margaret Kearns, Magnus Huntly-Grant, Maxim Lewerenz

Ex RBS boss named “Worst banker in the World”

Disgraced ex-RBS boss Fred Goodwin was this week named by American mag Newsweek as “The Worst Banker in the World”. Goodwin was knighted for ‘his services to banking” in 2004 but resigned in 2008 after the bottom fell out of the global market. He beat out Citibank CEO’s Sandy Weill, Chuck Prince, and Vikram Pandit for the ‘title’.

Aberdeen teacher placed on the sex offenders register

Alison Smith, 29, handed herself into police, after having admitted to sex with a 15 year old boy.  Smith, a special needs teacher, confessed to sleeping with the teen in June at her flat in Aberdeen. Sentencing has been deferred in the case although Smith has been paced on the sex offenders register and is expected to be struck off as a teacher.

Grieving relatives forced to pay to view the bodies of loved ones

Hospital chiefs have been slammed after it emerged that families requesting to view the bodies of their deceased relatives are being charged £30 for access. The fee, currently in place in Kirkwall is being charged in circumstances where the deceased dies anywhere other than hospital.

Gangster ‘Blink’ MacDonald arrested over prison bust up

Notorious bank robber Ian ‘Blink’ Macdonald was arrested at the weekend for breach of the peace after he got involved in an altercation between a prison guard and an inmate he was visiting at Glenochil prison. MacDonald spent the weekend in police custody and is expected to be charged on the 17th of December at Alloa Sheriff Court.

Abnormal sleep linked to diabetes

The Establishment of a direct link between the way the body responds to night and day and the way it metabolises sugar means that abnormal sleep patters could mean an increased risk of diabetes type 2, according to scientists from Oxford and Sweden.

One of the would-be wirepullers behind the Bombay attacks has been captured during a raid of the Pakistanian army this Sunday

RBS Shareholders To Vote On Bail-out

RBS shareholders will vote on the possibility of a government bail-out later today.

The bank has been in trouble since last year’s acquisition of Dutch bank ABN Amro which stretched its finances.

The £20 billion plan is to be the rescue solution for one of the banks that has been the worst hit during the current economic crisis. If it goes ahead, 60% of the company will be owned by the government.

RBS will be offering £15 billion in ordinary shares. As they are trading below the offer price of 65.5p, investments are unlikely to be made. The government has promised to buy any remaining shares.

An additional £5 billion of preference shares will be directly sold to the government with the plan of RBS being able to buy them back over time.

While the preference shares are outstanding, no dividends can be paid to shareholders of ordinary shares.

In the first six months of this year, RBS wrote off £5.9 billion in credit crunch losses and is likely to be facing the first full-year loss in its history as a public company.

As a result of the crisis, chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin has agreed to leave his position and is to be replaced by Stephen Hester, chief executive of British Land PLC.

Mr. Hester will “review its cost base in light of the slowing market” and 3,000 jobs are expected to be lost as a result.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 372 other followers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 372 other followers