The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 19 October 2012

Blairquhan Castle in Ayrshire bought by major Chinese company

Historic Blairquhan Castle in Straiton has been sold to a Chinese company which bottles mineral water for distribution around the world.
The new owners of the 190-year-old castle (pictured above) in the heart of the Ayrshire countryside are Ganten Scotland, an offshoot of an international business based in the south China province of Guangdong.
The Regency House property will continue to provide upmarket accommodation but with a renewed focus on guests from the Far East.
Blairquhan, the 14-bedroom ancestral home of Sir Patrick and Lady Hunter Blair, was put on the market for £4.85 million two years ago.
The sale was confirmed last weekend, but no price has been disclosed.
However, a deal has been done that secures the future of the house itself along with the successful weddings and conference business and the jobs of local staff.
Sir Patrick, the 9th Baronet of Dunskey, has confirmed that the family estate will be repositioned around Milton of Blairquhan, the dower house.
Sir Patrick said: “Marguerite and I look forward to supporting our new neighbours in this exciting venture.
“This is great news for the local economy.”
Sir Hunter Blair, formerly of Carsphairn, moved back to Scotland from County Down, Northern Ireland, when he inherited the property in 2004.
Blairquhan’s interiors were used to represent Balmoral in the hit film The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, one of many times that the castle has featured in movies and on television.
The new owners have pledged to be sympathetic custodians of the fine house and surrounding lands, having already spent much time at the estate.
Mr Zhou Jing Liang, owner and managing director of Ganten China, said: “Every care shall be taken in the future preservation and maintenance of these valued and traditional assets.
“Ganten wish to expand and diversify in Scotland with the aim of becoming a provider of top level accommodation and hospitality for elite Chinese and foreign tourists who desire only the best.”
Their aim is to stimulate business between China and Scotland and believe that they are the trailblazers, bringing valuable investment to Scotland.
The company are very sensitive to the cultural and historical aspects of Scotland and wish their move to be seen as promoting business here and culture in China.
Mr Zhou added: “It is the wish of Ganten to bring together the cultures of China and Scotland, by encouraging even greater tourist opportunities to the ever-growing affluent Chinese market.
“Ganten wish to become a pioneering, China-based organisation who shall bring to Scotland a sound and innovative platform for mutually beneficial tourist, cultural and commercial ventures.”

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle websites achieve two major milestones

The online web presence of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle has successfully passed two major new milestones.
Visitor numbers at Ayrshire Scotland Business News, the Circle’s rolling local business news blog, have now passed a quarter of a million.
And the Circle’s collection of images on Flickr, the photo and video hosting site, has now welcomed more than 100,000 visitors.
[Pictured: Frazer Coogans Solicitors senior director and Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes (left) with Fame Publicity Services proprietor and Elite Ayrshire Business Circle managing director Murdoch MacDonald.]
Frazer Coogans Solicitors senior director and Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes commented: “Our Flickr photo collection is a unique archive of some 1,600 images illustrating major events and successes achieved by our member companies over the last five years.
“And our business news blog Ayrshire Scotland Business News contains over 1,100 articles covering the same period, permanently archived for posterity and highly accessible to search engines.
“It is notable that 62% of our visitors come from outside the UK, so our websites provide a great shop window to the world, particularly for Ayrshire’s exporting companies.”
The top ten countries for visitors to Ayrshire Scotland Business News are as follows, followed by actual visitor numbers to date:
United Kingdom 95,190
United States 46,268
Russia 15,074
Ukraine 8,277
Germany 7,535
Netherlands 6,552
Bulgaria 5,809
France 5,712
China 4,920
Poland 1,934
Norman Geddes concluded: “We are delighted to report these latest highly satisfactory visitor numbers, and look forward to continuing to provide our member companies with more of the same powerful publicity and visibility on the Internet, especially during the current challenging economic climate.”
In addition the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle has its own website at and also provides Elite Ayrshire Business Circle News at - a weekly compendium of local, national and international business news.
The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is now accepting applications from potential new members.
The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is an association founded in 2007 by some of the top companies in Ayrshire.
Its purpose is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the wealth and rich diversity of entrepreneurial talent and business excellence that abounds here within the county boundaries of Ayrshire.
Members include the Clydesdale Bank, Ayr Racecourse, Western House Hotel, Turnberry Golf Resort and South Ayrshire Council. Member company activities include broadcasting, building and construction, architectural practice, estate agency and land management, chartered accountancy, insurance broking, legal services, golf club management, marketing services and brand creation, web design and public relations consultancy.
Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors senior partner Norman Geddes is executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, and managing director is public relations consultancy Fame Publicity Services proprietor Murdoch MacDonald.
For further information about The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and to apply for membership, e-mail

Monday, 15 October 2012

Historic Edinburgh Agreement on independence referendum signed

An historic accord that paves the way for a referendum on an independent Scotland was signed in Edinburgh today, after First Minister Alex Salmond reached an agreement with the Prime Minister David Cameron that will confirm the Scottish Parliament’s power to hold a vote that will be respected fully by both governments.

[Click on arrow above to view video.]
The “Edinburgh Agreement”, ratified by Mr Salmond and Mr Cameron at a ceremony in St Andrew’s House in the heart of Scotland’s capital, will see Scottish and UK governments work together to ensure that Holyrood is able to deliver a referendum that meets the highest standards of fairness, transparency and propriety.

The agreement will see a Section 30 order laid in the Scottish Parliament and at Westminster to confirm Holyrood has the power necessary for a single question referendum, ensuring that the 2014 vote will be designed and run by the people of Scotland.

After the order has been agreed, the Scottish Government will bring forward legislation to Parliament to enable the referendum to be run. This will set out the proposed date, franchise, the wording of the question, rules on campaign finance and other rules governing the conduct of the campaign.

A final decision on these aspects will be taken by the Scottish Parliament, taking full account of the responses to the Scottish Government’s referendum consultation.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The Edinburgh Agreement, signed by the Scottish and UK governments today, marks a significant step in Scotland’s Home Rule journey. Importantly, it will ensure that the biggest decision the people of our country will make for many generations is made here in Scotland for the benefit of all of those that live and work here.

‪“This will be a referendum designed and delivered by the Scottish Parliament.  Today’s accord marks agreement on the process and respect for the outcome, from both sides.  In my view, it paves the way for a new partnership in these islands.

‪“The Scottish Government has an ambitious vision for Scotland: a prosperous and successful European country, reflecting Scottish values of fairness and opportunity, promoting equality and social cohesion.  A Scotland with a new place in the world - as an independent nation.

‪“Today’s historic signing of the Edinburgh Agreement marks the start of the campaign to fulfil that ambition. It will be a campaign during which we will present our positive, ambitious vision for a flourishing, fairer, progressive, independent Scotland - a vision I am confident will win the argument and deliver a Yes vote in Autumn 2014."