Interview: Marlene Shiels, Capital Credit Union

Interview: Marlene Shiels, Capital Credit Union was originally published on Daily Business


Growth plan sees Chemco become employee-owned

Chemco International, Coatbridge, has moved into employee ownership

Chemco founder Manny Khorasani says the move into employee ownership delivers business continuity for his Coatbridge firm


Chemco International, which designs and manufactures protective coatings, has become the latest company in Scotland to become 100% employee-owned as it eyes continued growth.

The move comes as the Coatbridge-based company, which delivers environmentally-friendly products for a range of industries throughout the world, plans to add to its 24 employees with the creation of additional jobs.

Manny Khorasani, who founded the company in 1990, said: “Around 18 months ago I started thinking about taking a back seat in the business.

“We are almost an institution in the area, having been here for almost 40 years. That’s why it was really important to me that the company not only stayed within the local community, but that the jobs and the skills of the staff, who all live locally, were retained and protected.

“I looked at a number of different options, including selling the business, but my concern was that due to the nature of the business, a trade buyer would most likely relocate the company. None of the options I explored delivered the business continuity I wanted for our customers and employees and this is when the employee ownership became an attractive option.

“It’s a very exciting time for our company and we all look forward to the opportunities this brings. As far as I am concerned employee ownership is a win, win situation for all concerned and it is my belief that this will be the way forward in the near future.”

An Employee Ownership Trust has been formed which will hold 100% of the shares on behalf of the employees. The transition to employee ownership was supported by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) with the process managed by 4-consulting, legal services by Blackadders Solicitors and accountancy support from Sharles Chartered Accountants.

Sarah Deas, director at CDS, the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies which promotes employee ownership, said: “Chemco International is a company which has a sense of responsibility to the local community at its heart, that’s why Manny’s key priorities were to safeguard the future of the company and to ensure that local jobs and skills were retained.  Moving to employee ownership has delivered on this, whilst giving staff a stake in the company and a say in its future.”

There are around 100 employee-owned companies operating in Scotland, with approximately 7,000 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £940 million.

Growth plan sees Chemco become employee-owned was originally published on Daily Business

Celtic to face Valencia in last 32 of Europa League

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers wants a positive result against Leipzig at Parkhead

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic will take on Valencia in the last 32 of the Europa League (pic: SNS Group)


Celtic have been drawn against Spanish side Valencia in the round of 32 of the Europa League.

The Hoops made it through the group stages as runners-up behind Salzburg and as an unseeded team, will be at home for the first leg on Thursday, 14 February. The return leg against the La Liga outfit is seven days later.

Valencia dropped into the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group, behind Juventus and Manchester United.

Parkhead manager Brendan Rodgers will be hoping to improve on last season’s performance when Celtic were knocked out at this stage of the competition by Zenit St Petersburg.

“I’m delighted to be in the draw. It’s a game against one of the great Spanish teams,” he said.

“It will be a tough test. We’d like to take some sort of advantage into the second leg.”

Elsewhere in the draw, Chelsea will face Malmo of Sweden and Arsenal take on BATE Borisov.

Europa League last-32 draw in full

Viktoria Plzen v Dinamo Zagreb

Club Brugge v Red Bull Salzburg

Rapid Vienna v Inter Milan

Slavia Prague v Genk

Krasnodar v Bayer Leverkusen

FC Zurich v Napoli

Malmo v Chelsea

Shakhtar Donetsk v Eintracht Frankfurt

Celtic v Valencia

Rennes v Real Betis

Olympiakos v Dinamo Kiev

Lazio v Sevilla

Fenerbache v Zenit St Petersburg

Sporting Lisbon v Villarreal

Bate Borisov v Arsenal

Galatasaray v Benfica

In the Champions League last 16, Manchester United were paired with Paris St-Germain, Liverpool will take on Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur face Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City go head to head with Germans Schalke

Champions League full draw

Schalke v Manchester City

Atletico Madrid v Juventus

Manchester United v Paris St-Germain

Tottenham v Borussia Dortmund

Lyon v Barcelona

Roma v Porto

Ajax v Real Madrid

Liverpool v Bayern Munich


Celtic to face Valencia in last 32 of Europa League was originally published on Daily Business

Munro takes ‘difficult decision’ to step down at Barrhead Travel

Munro and Dobson

Sharon Munro and Jacqueline Dobson, colleagues for 18 years


Sharon Munro is stepping down as president of Barrhead Travel and will be succeeded by long-time colleague Jacqueline Dobson from the new year, it was announced today.

Ms Munro, who has worked in the business for 28 years, said she was leaving for “purely personal reasons” stating that it had been “a very difficult decision for me”.

She thanked the company’s owner Travel Leaders Group for its support and said the benefits of scale and expertise meant the business “is in great shape”.

She said Ms Dobson, with whom she has worked alongside for 18 years, was her natural successor.

Ms Munro began her career as a school-leaver and rose through the ranks, becoming president following the acquisition by Travel Leaders Group in February.

She added: “This has been a very difficult decision for me. But for purely personal reasons I have decided that the time is right to leave and I am handing over the reins to my extremely capable friend and colleague Jacqueline Dobson.

“Jacqueline is the natural successor and I know that the company, staff and customers will be in safe hands with the continuity, dedication and passion that she brings to the business.”

Ms. Dobson said: “Following Sharon’s decision to leave the business, I am delighted to be asked to serve as president of Barrhead Travel on our continued path to growth and future success. I have worked alongside Sharon for 18 years – she is a friend as well as a colleague from whom I have learned a great deal.”

She said that, having worked in every area of the business, her focus will be on accelerating growth through investment from Travel Leaders Group, including digital innovation, staff development and world-class customer service.

“Travel Leaders Group are providing the resources and commercial scale to help us further improve our position in the ever-changing UK travel and tourism marketplace.


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“It is an exciting time to be taking over the helm. There is a sense of energy and momentum as we work on major investment plans to drive growth.”

Ninan Chacko, CEO of Travel Leaders Group, said: “We wish to extend tremendous thanks and appreciation to Sharon for her leadership, vision and dedication to Barrhead Travel.

“She has been a true partner and outstanding professional. We respect her decision to embark upon a new chapter and wish her the very best.

Mr Chacko added: “We are delighted to have Jacqueline take over as the new president of Barrhead Travel. Her deep knowledge of the company, extensive experience, strong relationships and well-established leadership skills, make her a tremendous fit for the role.

“Jacqueline is very well positioned to ensure a smooth and seamless leadership transition and we congratulate her on this well-deserved promotion.”

Barrhead Travel was founded in 1975, Barrhead Travel and has expanded from a traditional ‘bucket and spade’ travel agent to a multi-faceted travel group chartering its own flights, offering bespoke holidays, running an in-house training facility, employing specialist consultants providing expert advice in areas such as long haul, cruise and ski holidays and promoting youth employment through its apprenticeship scheme.

It has more than 70 outlets in the UK and employs 1,000 staff.

Munro takes ‘difficult decision’ to step down at Barrhead Travel was originally published on Daily Business

M&D Green adds pharmacy shops with Thomas McLean deal

Grant Bett and Martin Green

Grant Bett and Martin Green (pic contributed)


M&D Green Group, one of Scotland’s largest independent pharmacy operators, has acquired Thomas McLean & Son which operates five retail outlets in the central belt.

The size of the deal was undisclosed but additional funding to the loan by HSBC has taken the total package beyond £10 million to support the newly-enlarged business which now has 23 units. 

M&D Green Group’s existing pharmacies are predominantly across Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire. The acquisition extends its presence into areas such as Larbert, Muirhead and Cumbernauld.

As part of the acquisition, M&D Green Group will refurbish and re-brand each of the five units over the next 12 to 18 months. It will also take on Thomas McLean & Sons existing 50-strong workforce, taking the group’s total employee numbers to about 250.

Martin Green, owner of M&D Green Group and chairman of Community Pharmacy Scotland, said: “We have ambitions to grow the business across Scotland and the financial backing from HSBC UK has allowed us to take a big step forward with our expansion plans.”

Grant Bett, relationship director for HSBC UK in Scotland, said: “Martin demonstrated clear and ambitious plans for growing M&D Green Group across the country.”

The finance was allocated from HSBC UK’s national SME Fund, which aims to actively support UK SMEs. The new £12 billion SME Fund has recently been announced by HSBC UK, with £650 million committed to supporting SMEs in Scotland.

M&D Green Group was advised on the acquisition by Campbell Dallas accountants and Peter Duff of Morrisons Solicitors. MacRoberts advised HSBC UK on all aspects of the transactions.


M&D Green adds pharmacy shops with Thomas McLean deal was originally published on Daily Business

Rejected energy merger points to end of state-run plan

Terry Murden, Scotland's Programme for GovernmentAn interesting, even ironic, timing of two announcements looks like having a lasting impact on the energy market.

First came the publication of a letter from Gordon Lindhurst, convener of Holyrood’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee, raising questions about the viability of the SNP’s proposed publicly-owned energy company.  Within hours, SSE and Npower provided him with some of the answers.

The two energy companies have highlighted the constraints placed upon them by the price cap. To explain further, the merger was not going to work for the new company, its staff, shareholders or customers.

Already this year we have seen eight small energy suppliers collapse in a challenging market in which they are vulnerable to rising wholesale prices. If two of the Big Six also can’t make it work then why should a state-backed energy company have any better luck?

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, says the news is disappointing, as the merger could have delivered efficiencies and customer benefits that the two suppliers, individually, may struggle to make.

He says the price cap is a symptom of a bigger malaise in the market with too many suppliers being allowed unchecked access to the market, about 70 at the last count.

SSE says it will continue to build its energy services business outside the group, without specifying what it is proposing.

As for the Scottish government, there is now a pressing need for it to answer Mr Lindhurst’s questions on how a publicly-owned company plans to build a sustainable customer base, how it will operate, how it will align with existing initiatives, and what extra value it will add.

He may be waiting some time before he gets an answer, and don’t be surprised if this SNP policy commitment gets kicked into the long grass.

Rejected energy merger points to end of state-run plan was originally published on Daily Business

Johnson leaving Scottish Rugby after Six Nations

Scott Johnson is leaving his director of rugby role with Scotland after the 2019 Six Nations

Scott Johnson is leaving his director of rugby role with Scotland after the 2019 Six Nations (pic: SNS Group)


Scott Johnson, Scottish Rugby’s director of rugby, is to leave his post at the end of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations to take up a similar role with Rugby Australia.

Following negotiations between Scottish Rugby and Rugby Australia a satisfactory compensation package was agreed to enable Johnson to leave before the end of his existing contract.

“This has been a big decision but for me, right now, it is the right one to make,” said Johnson, who has been in the job since May 2013.

“From the outset I’ve wanted to make Scotland more competitive on the world stage on all levels. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some highly talented and committed people and together I think we have made progress in those areas and hope that will continue in the years ahead.”

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson added: “Scott has made a significant contribution to the development of elite rugby in Scotland and he leaves with our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the work he has done.

“His unrivalled global rugby knowledge and connections at every level of the game have hugely benefited the development of how our game in Scotland has progressed in recent years, be that working with head coaches, forming partnerships beyond our borders and establishing Scottish Rugby’s high performance department to the level it is today.

“He leaves with our best wishes for the next stage of his career.”

Aussie Johnson joined Scottish Rugby in 2012 as part of Andy Robinson’s national team coaching group and became interim head coach in 2013 for the Six Nations and summer tour that year following Robinson’s resignation. Johnson took on the role of director of rugby that May as Robinson’s successor was recruited and plans put in place for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 56-year-old has been instrumental in, and responsible for, securing the services of a series of head coach roles during his tenure, including those of Vern Cotter, Dave Rennie and Richard Cockerill, alongside providing the coaching pathway for aspiring Scottish coaches through the age-grades, women’s rugby, assistant coach and 7s team roles.

Johnson leaving Scottish Rugby after Six Nations was originally published on Daily Business

SSE and Npower scrap plans for energy services merger

SSE Hydro

SSE sponsors the Hydro concert hall in Glasgow (pic: Terry Murden)

Gas and Electricty giants SSE and Npower have scrapped the planned merger of their energy services businesses.

Perth-based SSE said it was unable to reach agreement on “revised commercial terms” with Npower owner Innogy and will now consider other options for the division.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of SSE, said: “This was a complex transaction with many moving parts.

“We closely monitored the impact of all developments and continually reviewed whether this remained the right deal to do for our customers, our employees and our shareholders. Ultimately, we have now concluded that it is not.

“This was not an easy decision to make, but we believe it is the right one.”

SSE said it “believes that SSE Energy Services will be best positioned to build on this strong performance in a future outside of the SSE group.

“With that in mind, SSE will continue to build on the significant work done to date to separate SSE Energy Services as an independent, self-sufficient entity within the group, in preparation for its future outside it.”

The company said: “SSE Energy Services is expected to be profitable and cash flow positive in 2018/19 and 2019/20 and continues to deliver strong performance for customers, across a wide range of measures.”

See also:

MSPs question viability of state-owned energy company

Comment: Rejected energy merger points to end of state-run plan


SSE and Npower scrap plans for energy services merger was originally published on Daily Business

Anderson Strathern boosted by record year of growth

Bruce Farquhar and Murray McCall
Bruce Farquhar and Murray McCall

Scottish legal firm Anderson Strathern has reported record results with increased turnover from £21.5m to  £22.8m and profits up by 10%.

The firm’s organic growth trajectory over the last 12 months has been underpinned by significant lateral hires and investment in its business support areas, including the finance function headed by former PwC director Susanne Godfrey who joined Anderson Strathern as finance director in November 2017.

The law firm’s chairman, Bruce Farquhar said: “Our record results for 2018 show that our growth strategy is working well and that Anderson Strathern is going from strength to strength. 

“Our strategic focus on appointing key people both in the legal and business functions to help us with that growth will continue.  All the indicators are that we will also have a strong 2019.”

Client wins, panel appointments and increased activity across the firm’s private client, commercial and public sector practice groups contributed to overall growth at Anderson Strathern during the year to the end of August.

Managing Partner Murray McCall also attributed the increased turnover and profits to a clear focus on business operations and productivity gains through smarter working across the firm. 

He said: “The year was one of good housekeeping and gains, achieved through teams working smarter across the firm and followed significant investment in our people and technology in 2017.” 

Anderson Strathern boosted by record year of growth was originally published on Daily Business

Cassels boosts Colliers’ capital markets team

Elliot CasselsColliers International has added to its capital markets capability in Scotland with the appointment of experienced adviser Elliot Cassels.

Mr Cassels joins Colliers from Montagu Evans, bringing more than 20 years’ experience in the Scottish investment sector.

He has advised on a number of forward funding projects for both developers seeking funding and investors providing funding; and he has also provided development consultancy advice and onward investment agency advice on numerous high-profile commercial projects.

His appointment as a director in Colliers’ National Capital Markets team follows the hiring of dealmaker Patrick Ford as capital markets director, with a brief to focus on existing UK clients and bringing further international capital to Scotland. 

Mr Cassels will be based in Edinburgh and work closely with Mr Ford in Glasgow and colleagues across the country, as Colliers seeks to further expand its capital markets capabilities in Scotland. 

Douglas McPhail, head of Colliers International in Scotland, said: “This appointment comes in response to increasing demand for investment advice from clients, as the market continues to gather momentum.

Elliot’s appointment adds another high-profile director to our business. His knowledge of the Scottish investment market will be invaluable, enhancing our offering to clients and he is a great fit with the rest of the team.” 


Cassels boosts Colliers’ capital markets team was originally published on Daily Business