The Scottish business news has recently been full of gloomy
headlines outlining a lack of confidence. According to the latest
study from the ICAEW and Grant Thornton, business confidence in
Scotland has fallen into negative territory for the first time in
12 months and is among the lowest in the UK. Is this lack of
Although key constitutional questions remain open, it is our
experience that many sectors are still attracting interest from
overseas and from within the UK.
Deals in which we have been involved – such as the
acquisition of Machrihanish-based wind turbine infrastructure firm
Wind Towers Scotland by the South Korean company CS Wind
Corporation, which plans to invest up to £14m in Scotland and
create up to 70 new jobs in rural Argyll, and the sale of the
Scottish plants of Tata Steel to the international group Liberty
House – show that there is still interest in Scotland.
The continued UK growth of Munich-headquartered TÜV
SÜD through its acquisition of Dunbar & Boardman, a
London-based consulting and planning services provider, is another
example. TÜV SÜD is one of the world's leading
technical service organisations with a large presence throughout
In Dundee's active life sciences sector, we acted in the
sale of CXR Biosciences. The business was bought by Concept Life
Sciences, an international scientific laboratory and consultancy
business working in the life, food and environmental sciences
sector. We also acted in the $400 million (£274m) sale of
Scottish drug discovery company IOmet Pharma to US giant Merk &
One of the biggest deals this year saw us act for long-term
client Johnston Press in the Edinburgh-headquartered group's
acquisition of the i newspaper, which is published
throughout the UK.
We are also seeing new enquiries from the United States and
outwith Europe in other sectors. Many of these companies are keen
to get a foothold in the UK or European markets. Others see the
opportunity in the acquisition of skills, knowledge or intellectual
There seems to be a perception in some countries that Scotland
is a country which is keen to engage with the wider European
market. When these countries are therefore looking to access the UK
or European markets, this seems to be standing in our favour.
As well as interest from overseas, we are also finding that the
availability of cash from Scottish banks, private equity groups and
other investors is promoting activity. There are still lots of
opportunities for Scottish-based businesses looking to buy or sell
or raise investment.
Our own deal activity for the last 12 months or so, and our
current pipeline, is testament to this. Despite all this, with the
current political uncertainty, it looks like it may be hard for
some businesses to feel more confident.
The material contained in this article is of the nature of
general comment only and does not give advice on any particular
matter. Recipients should not act on the basis of the information
in this e-update without taking appropriate professional advice
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