The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 30 October 2009

Creative marketing agency Paligap
launches luxury chocolate range

AYRSHIRE-based creative marketing agency Paligap has just launched the “Chocolati” brand of fine luxury chocolates on behalf of clients Renaldo’s.

[Pictured: Paligap marketing manager Nick Lambert (centre) celebrates the launch of Chocolati with Renaldo’s proprietors husband and wife team Linda Galli (left) and Silvio Galli (right).]

Renaldo’s, who have sold luxury hand-made chocolates from their shop in Ayr for years, approached Paligap in August with the intention of taking the chocolates to a wider audience via the Internet.

After a few consultations and some research, Paligap proposed that the chocolates should have their own brand as opposed to selling them under the Renaldo’s brand, and that the best route to market would be direct mail, ensuring a targeted and specific audience.

Using socio-economic profiling, Paligap determined who was most likely to buy the chocolates, where to find these people, and what the chocolates should be called.

The name decided on was “Chocolati”, a sort of merge of Italian and English that just seemed to ring off the tongue and position the product correctly. Packaging was then designed to house the chocolates, and while that was being produced, a direct mail brochure was designed and the chocolates were photographed (none of them were returned to the client).

Paligap then developed a website for the brand that also takes orders, offering another channel to market, and Royal Mail Door to Door was chosen to distribute the mail order brochures to the designated addresses.

Paligap managing director Stephen Cosh commented: “This was a tight and concise start-up, direct mail and e-commerce campaign for a new brand. It was all researched, designed and delivered within two months, resulting in a happy client with another arm to their business.”

Visit Chocolati online at

Apex House
1 Carrick Road
Ayr KA7 2RA
Ayrshire, Scotland

Contact: Stephen Cosh, Managing Director
Tel: 01292 263777
Fax: 01292 285334


allmediascotland The Drum PR-Inside OpenPress PR-GB LIVE-PR

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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Ayrshire secures hundreds of jobs

HUNDREDS of Ayrshire jobs have been secured or created with the help of almost £10 million of Scottish Government support, it was announced today.


Investment projects by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Irvine and Prestwick based Aerospace firms Slingsby and Spirit have been awarded £9.8 million in Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) funding, training support and R&D grants, aimed at safeguarding 486 jobs, creating 45 new posts, and delivering a combined £54 million of investment into the Ayrshire economy.

First Minister Alex Salmond visited the Ayrshire sites of GSK, Slingsby and Spirit today where he met staff whose futures have been secured with the help of the RSA funding.

GSK manufactures pharmaceuticals, Spirit specialises in wing components for aircraft including the Airbus A380, and Slingsby manufactures composite products for aerospace and defence industries.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The Scottish Government recognises the real challenges that individuals, families and businesses face in the current economic climate, and that is why we are working hard to strengthen the economy and to increase employment opportunities.

“We are using every tool at our disposal to stimulate Scotland’s economy, including nearly £10 million in various forms of government support to help secure and create 531 jobs in Ayrshire and to attract £54 million of private investment to the area.

“I am delighted that GSK, Slingsby and Spirit have demonstrated their confidence in Scotland’s economy, and the skills and experience of the local workforce, with their plans for significant investment in the Ayrshire area.

“RSA and other grants help to attract investment into our communities, create new opportunities for employment and support much needed jobs across the country - all of which are vital to increase growth and ensure Scotland enjoys a strong economic recovery.”

GSK Irvine site director Alan Catterall said: “We are delighted to welcome Scotland’s First Minister to our factory as part of his Ayrshire visit. The factory is investing £31 million over the next three years to secure a robust future. This investment is supported by the £4.6 million RSA grant from the Scottish Government. This partnership will secure 330 highly skilled jobs in the production of antibiotics in Scotland. A training grant of £275,000 from the Scottish Government will provide for additional skills enhancement for the GSK staff on site.”

Scott McLarty, operations and HR director for Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Limited said: “Opening our new R&D facility in Scotland is an important part of ensuring that Spirit maintains and grows its critical role in the design, development and manufacture of aircraft wing structures.

“We intend to remain at the leading edge of this technology and the new centre here at Prestwick underlines our commitment to that goal.”

Managing director of Slingsby, Steven Boyd, said: “We took the decision to expand at Prestwick not only to tap into the potential market, but also to benefit from the excellent skills base that exists north of the border. We have not been disappointed. I am delighted with the progress in the business to date, and look forward to a bright future based on our ability to innovate and provide cost-effective solutions for customers in the aerospace, defence, marine, energy and other markets.”

Lena Wilson, chief operating officer of Scottish Enterprise and CEO of Scottish Development International, said: “This investment in the Ayrshire economy is excellent news and the decision by GSK, Slingsby and Spirit to continue to invest here underlines Scotland’s position as a first-class place to do business. Each of these companies are excellent examples of forward thinking, ambitious and innovative businesses who set their sights high and contribute significantly to the Scottish economy.”

GSK Irvine will receive a RSA grant of £4.6 million and £275,000 Training Support that will safeguard 330 jobs and secure £31 million of investment to the site.

Slingsby will receive £249,000 in RSA and £348,312 in training assistance which will secure £1,247,000 investment into the site and help to create 28 jobs.

Support to Spirirt of £4,300,000 for various projects is aimed at securing total investment of over £21 million into the site and will help to safeguard 156 jobs and create 17 jobs, as well as keeping the company at the cutting edge of technology.

In the last quarter (July to September), RSA funding offers have been accepted by 32 businesses, linked with overall planned capital expenditure of more than £70 million and the planned creation and safeguarding almost 2,500 jobs across Scotland.


Spirit Aerosystems


Slingsby Advanced Composites

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Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks make
2-year £10 billion lending pledge

National Australia Bank Group, owner of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, today released full year results for its UK Region’s operations for the 12 months to 30 September 2009. Unless otherwise stated, figures are comparisons with the 12 months to 30 September 2008.

Highlights are:

Financial Performance

• Underlying profit up 2% to £529 million
• £108 million pre-tax profit (down from £343m)
• Retail deposits and longer term funding cover 101% of lending
• Strong liquidity with liquid assets of £8.7 billion – three-fold increase in two years

Customer Support

• £10 billion of new business and mortgage lending pledged over next two years
• £4.1 billion of new business and mortgage lending in the past 12 months
• Average gross loans and acceptances increase 7% to £33.5 billion
• Average retail deposit volumes up 14% to £20.8 billion: almost four times industry average

Business Performance

• Provisions coverage ratio strengthens to 1.36%
• Mortgage balances three months in arrears less than a third of UK industry average
• Cost income ratio improves to 54.2% in the second half (from 57.7% at March 2009)
• Costs reduce by £48 million (7%)

Lynne Peacock, Chief Executive (pictured below) said: “We’ve kept our business safe, secure and in the best possible shape by maintaining a strong capital position and supporting our customers in these challenging times. We’re now moving up a gear.

“Today we are pledging £10 billion of new lending to support business and mortgage customers over the next two years. In achieving this, we will maintain our prudent credit and asset quality controls, just as we have in over £4 billion of new lending in the past year. Our pledge of additional funding is a considerable commitment for a business of our size. It will
help to ensure customers continue to have real choice in a consolidating market and are supported when they need it most.

“We will continue to avoid the excesses of the sector and will maintain our careful strategic approach. Independent of Government capital support, we remain profitable, well capitalised and with clear underlying strength. The fundamentals of our business are strong and we are well positioned to capitalise on future growth opportunities.”

Financial Performance

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks have continued to deliver a strong and profitable performance in exceptionally poor market conditions. Pre-tax profits of £108 million were made in the year (compared to £343m in the year to September 2008). Underlying profit before tax was £529 million, up 2% (from £518m).

In a twelve month period which has seen the removal of several leading independent banking names from the high street and impairment charges totalling £67 billion reported by the leading UK banks, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks have reinforced their reputations as strong conventional banks with sound management.

In order to build for the future, capital has been protected while the underlying business momentum has been maintained. The clear priorities of the management team continue to be to support customers and keep the Banks strong, safe and secure by further strengthening the balance sheet. This approach has ensured the Banks have continued to outperform peers across a number of key measures.

A consistently prudent and disciplined approach to liquidity and funding has been maintained since the management team outlined its current strategy back in 2005. At 30 September 2009, Clydesdale Bank held a portfolio of liquid assets totalling £8.7 billion – over three times the level held prior to the market disruption.

Reflecting the continued double-digit growth (14%) in customer deposits and increased longer term wholesale funding, retail deposits and longer term funding cover 101% of lending - a very strong position to be in.

While the business maintains a conservative risk position, capital ratios were further enhanced during the period. As previously reported, the Group invested £700 million of additional capital in December 2008, strengthening an already robust capital base. At 30 September 2009, the Tier I capital ratio was 8.2%.

Investment continued on systems and processes with total cash spend of £87 million in the year, comparable with the prior corresponding period (£89 million). Investment was directed into three broad categories - efficiency and simplification, compliance and revenue generation.

Supporting Customers

Open for business throughout the market turmoil, a clear and enduring commitment of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks is to support customers in this challenging environment.

During a period in which lenders have been criticised for low lending volumes, £4.1 billion of new lending was advanced in the year – including new business lending of £2 billion and new mortgage lending of £1.8 billion.

Average gross loans and acceptances increased by £2.1 billion (7%) to £33.5 billion. Business lending was up almost 10% and mortgage lending by over 4%.

In July 2009, the banks pledged £1 billion of new lending would be made available. This was advanced to customers in just 3 months.

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks have now pledged to make £10 billion of new lending available to support business and mortgage customers over the next two years. This will be achieved while maintaining prudent credit and asset quality controls. Given the relative market size of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, this major financial commitment is a clear signal of the Banks’ commitment to playing its part in helping to get the UK moving again.

Innovative and attractive products backed by the strength and security of its brands have also continued to attract strong deposit in-flows. An extra £2.6 billion of deposits (up 14% to £20.8 billion) was attracted in the period – almost four times the UK industry average.

The strength of the brands is also evident in the net increase of over 50,000 customers (up 2%) in the year which was achieved as a result of continued retention and increased acquisition rates.

Relative to peers, customer satisfaction has continued to strengthen and the Banks’ reputation has also continued to rate highly among key external stakeholders.

During the boom years, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks steadfastly refused to change its lending policies. Taking a very conservative view of risk and lending on the basis of affordability, the Banks did not offer sub-prime or self-certified borrowing.

This prudent approach has helped the Banks to record one of the lowest repossession rates in the industry – just 84 in the 12 months since September 2008 compared to over 24,000 repossessions for the UK banking industry in the first six months of 2009.

For customers who have faced financial difficulties, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks have continued to build on their range of initiatives to support business and personal customers. Pro-active assistance provided by the Customer Support Unit, for example, has helped hundreds of retail customers in financial difficulty keep their homes. For small and mid corporate businesses facing financial difficulty, dedicated support is provided by the Business Recovery Unit. This ‘intensive care’ unit works to help businesses back to full health.

Business Performance

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks continue to take a prudent and disciplined approach to managing risk.

While reflecting the impact of the current external operating environment, asset quality remains robust. Driven by the economic conditions, increased bad and doubtful debt levels continue to compare favourably with industry averages and have been mitigated by the relationship-based model and considerable proactive management of asset impairment throughout the year.

As a prudent response to the continued market fragility, the bad and doubtful debt coverage ratio was strengthened to 1.36% (from 1.27% as at 31 March 2009). This, coupled with the significant deterioration in the economic environment, has resulted in an increased bad and doubtful debt charge of £246 million (to £421m). Relative to peers, performance remains strong.

Mortgage balances 90 days past due as a percentage of total mortgages are less than a third of the UK industry average (0.80% at 30 September 2009 compared to 2.43% for the industry as at 30 June 2009). Gross Impaired Assets as a percentage of Gross Loans and Acceptances at 1.75% compares favourably with UK peers.

Excellent cost control and ongoing business efficiency improvements delivered a £48 million (7%) improvement in the year - particularly impressive given the continued strategic investments. This strong and disciplined cost control also helped the cost income ratio improve to 54.2% in the half (from 57.7% at 31 March 2009) and 55.8% in the year (compared to 57.9%) – a significant achievement in the current market environment.

The business has undergone a significant transformation over the past five years and is in good shape. A consistent strategic management approach, coupled with the creditable level-headed approach of its employees at a time when others were distracted, has ensured the business is well placed to take advantage of future growth opportunities.

Adding an Ayrshire perspective, Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre managing partner Willie Mackie (pictured above) commented: “We are looking to expand our Commercial, Agricultural and Private Banking businesses in Ayrshire as part of the Bank's wider pledge of £10 billion to support business and mortgage lending over the next 2 years.

“We remain well positioned within the local marketplace to capitalise on future growth opportunities.”

Clydesdale Bank
Financial Solutions Centre
43 Alloway Street
Ayr KA7 1SP
Ayrshire, Scotland

Contact: Willie Mackie, Managing Partner
Tel: 01292 272072
Fax: 01292 280202


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There are currently 605 Ayrshire business stories permanently archived on this site. To locate those of most interest to you, please use the site search facility in the top left hand corner of this page. Type your search term in the white box, then click “SEARCH BLOG”.

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