The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 22 March 2013

Prize money boost for Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

Prize money for Scotland’s richest race meeting - the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse - has been given a boost of more than £100,000 to £507,000.
 The 25% plus rise takes the prize fund to £97,000 on the first day of the meeting on Friday 19 April and to £410,000 on Saturday.
The big race itself, the Coral Scottish Grand National carries a purse of £180,000 with more than £102,000 going to the winner.
Main supporting races on Saturday are the £60,000 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle and the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Novices’ Handicap Chase with a similar level of prize money.
The £40,000 Arcadia Consulting William Dickie & Mary Robertson Future Champion Novices’ Chase and the £30,000 Scotty Brand Handicap Chase, a Listed Race, are the other principal events on the second day.
The richest race on the opening day is the £25,000 Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase with £25,000 while the Coral Backing Poppyscotland Mares’ Handicap Hurdle has £20,000 up for grabs.
For more details on racing at Ayr Racecourse call 01292 264179 or go online at
For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.


Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

CKD Galbraith offer superb architect designed house in lovely rural situation

Leading independent property consultancy CKD Galbraith  are offering for sale The Mill, part of an exclusive development of 7 other private country houses in a delightful setting, 6 miles from the historic town of Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, for which offers over £550,000 are being sought.
Designed on 3 levels, this spacious and imposing family house has accommodation extending to 306 sqm well laid out for family living and entertaining. 
There is an impressive entrance to the ground floor with a turret at the centre of the house with a series of lighthouse windows providing outstanding views over the surrounding countryside.
There is a wonderful double height living / dining room with a cathedral ceiling and exposed stonework with doors leading to the decking outside.
The fully fitted kitchen/morning room has a wide range of integrated appliances with long island unit incorporating gas hob and induction unit with breakfast bar and a cosy sitting area. 
On the first floor, there is a stunning master en suite bathroom with dressing area, and a second bedroom with en suite shower room and two further bedrooms with a Jack and Jill bathroom on the second floor.
There is a detached triple garage with a gym and spa, and this has recently had a solar photovoltaic system installed generating savings of up to £800p.a. off electricity costs. 
From the gardens, there is a delightful footbridge leading to a secluded seating area, overlooking the burn and woodland, providing a tranquil area for privacy.    Decking surrounds the house to the east and south.
Strathaven Castle was at one time used as a market place for the townspeople and later as a courthouse. In 1736, the castle was struck by a bolt of lighting destroying many of the turrets and in 1737, very high winds blew most of the roof off.  The Castle ruins, according to local legend, is home to the ghost of the White Lady. The legend says, that one of the Lord's wife's displeased her husband so badly, he had her put into a small chamber, given some food, blessed by a priest and walled up forever. When some walls fell down in the late 19th century, human bones were found, giving some evidence to the story.
PDF available on
About CKD Galbraith
CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy specialising in serving the needs of private clients. It employs over 160 people in offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Aberfeldy, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso and Peebles.
The partnership provides the full range of property consulting services across the commercial, residential and rural sectors throughout Scotland. The company’s rural arm specialises in farm sales and purchases, the management and sale of large estates and woodland, valuations and building surveying work.
The company enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson, as well as providing a range of services to the farming community through an association with United Auctions, Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers and procurement specialists.
CKD Galbraith’s Ayr office:
CKD Galbraith
7 Killoch Place
Ayr KA7 2EA
Ayrshire, Scotland
Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS
Tel: 01292 268181
Fax: 01292 292300
Independent property consultancy CKD Galbraith's Ayr Office is a founder member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Apprentices highly rated by employers

Three quarters of participating Scottish employers view Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) as being important to their business, according to a new survey.
Scottish employers’ views of Modern Apprenticeships 2013 also show very high levels of satisfaction with MAs. The majority of employers also plan to continue offering opportunities in the future, and in many cases increase them.
Key findings include:

• 96 per cent of employers reported that MA completers were better able to do their jobs
• Employers surveyed reported high levels of satisfaction with the relevance (85 per cent) and quality (83 per cent) of the training provided
• 75 per cent of employers viewed MAs as either important or vital to their business
• Most employers (83 per cent) who currently offer MAs plan to do so in future.
• Of these employers, 69 per cent expect to offer the same number of MAs in future and 19 per cent expect to increase the number of MAs offered.
Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said: “In a survey published in January, 92 per cent of Modern Apprentices told us they were still in employment six months later after finishing their MA. Today’s survey further underlines the importance of MAs to the Scottish economy. As well as the high levels of satisfaction reported, I am very pleased to note that many employers plan to continue their programmes and in many cases increase them.
“We have committed to at least 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship opportunities in every year of this Parliament as part of a wide range of activity aimed at supporting young people into employment. Being an MA not only ensures young people are employed, but also provides individuals with new skills, experiences and a recognised qualification.
“I hope that these findings will encourage more employers to consider taking on MAs.  Throughout 2013 I will be asking them to make young people their business and this survey clearly outlines the benefits that an MA could have for Scottish companies.”
Graeme Waddell, Board Member of Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Board Chair of the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) added: “This survey clearly illustrates the positive contribution and business benefits that the Modern Apprenticeship programme brings to employers all over Scotland. It is clear that the programme is valued by employers and meets the demands of industry.
“It is particularly pleasing to see that so many employers are committed to the programme, which delivers motivated and committed individuals with the skills and competencies to meet business needs.”
Mick Ord, Managing Director of BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships, who started his career as an apprentice 17 years ago, also said: “Our Modern Apprenticeship programme creates a pipeline of exceptionally talented young engineers who are critical to the long term future of our business. We are committed to investing in skills and developing talent in the workplace which will enable us to keep growing, keep innovating and keep competing with the very best in the world both now and in the future.
“We are proud to offer a programme which allows individuals to gain experiences and qualifications that can act as a great foundation for a whole range of successful careers.”

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Leading printing company Kestrel Press starts 40th successful year in business

Leading Ayrshire printing firm Kestrel Press is celebrating the start of its 40th successful year in business at its base on the South Newmoor Industrial Estate in Irvine.
[Pictured left to right: Kestrel Press sales director Graeme Ferguson and managing director Colin McCallum.]
Kestrel Press has been successfully providing printing, packaging and graphic design solutions since 1973.
It is a family owned and run operation.
Sales director Graeme Ferguson joined the company from university in 1998. Graeme is the grandson of the founder James Moulds, and represents the third generation of the family to come into the firm.
James Moulds’s daughter Pamela McCallum is the company’s finance director, and her husband Colin McCallum is managing director.
Most of the Kestrel Press workforce are long-term employees, 75% of whom have been with the company for at least ten years.
Alisdair Mclean (pictured above) started work at Kestrel Press as a boy, and recently celebrated his 25th anniversary with the firm.
With the decline of Scotland’s manufacturing base, Kestrel Press has had to constantly adapt to changing marketplace in order to continue to thrive.
The company has had to become even more nimble and pro-active in seeking new markets for its services.
Graeme Ferguson commented: “Due to continuing difficult market conditions Kestrel Press has evolved into more than a printing company, and we now see ourselves as a business partner to our clients. Our service and quality are excellent, and we always ensure that we offer value for money.

“We have a long and successful track record of delivering high quality print to a wide range of companies throughout the UK.”
Kestrel Press has also always taken its corporate social and environmental responsibilities with the utmost seriousness.
Last year, the company successfully completed the final stages of achieving ISO14001 environmental accreditation. Kestrel Press now boasts an integrated management system incorporating both ISO9001 and ISO14001.
Graeme Ferguson said: “This was a strategic move for our business to open new markets, as well as being aware of our responsibility to the environment. We have had an environmental policy for many years, but not an official one like this.

“The results were fairly immediate, as our amount of waste going to landfill was cut by 50% in just the first few weeks!

“The renewables market in Scotland is only starting to open up, with opportunities being announced on a daily basis. We want to position ourselves for any potential business that may result from this, and having this accreditation demonstrates our commitment to the sector.”
Kestrel Press managing director Colin McCallum concluded: “At Kestrel Press we recognise that concern for the environment is an integral and fundamental part of our business and, therefore, we are committed to continuous improvement and the prevention of pollution from our activities.

“All Kestrel Press employees will seek to;  Prevent, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

“Our commitment to this was confirmed last year when we made the investment to gain formal recognition of our environmental policies. We have successfully achieved registration to ISO 14001:2004.

“As one individual company, our environmental impact is fairly small. But if every business were to adopt a pro-active environmentally friendly policy, then together we could make a substantial contribution to the future well-being of the planet.”


Kestrel Press (Irvine) Ltd
25 Whittle Place
South Newmoor Industrial Estate
Irvine KA11 4HR
Tel: 01294 222 222
Kestrel Press is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Textiles Scotland to capture share of £11 billion luxury Chinese market

Scotland’s textile sector is aiming to capture a share of China’s £11 billion luxury sector market and grow the value of Scottish exports to China by 50 per cent over the next two years.
This news comes as Scottish Enterprise takes 16 ambitious textile companies to participate in the first ever Scottish Pavilion at CHIC in Beijing, the 21st China International Clothing and Accessories Fair, from 26 to 29 March.
The Scottish delegation includes some of Scotland’s most exciting fashion designers, including award winning Rebecca Torres, Hilary Grant and Iona Crawford as well as established textiles firms such as Johnstons of Elgin, Hawick Cashmere, Eribe, and Barrie, which was purchased by Chanel last year.
They will showcase Scotland’s excellence in luxury, design and innovation to more than 110,000 visitors from 20 countries worldwide.
The Scottish pavilion is being co-ordinated by Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise’s international arm.
Cathy Black, head of Scottish Enterprise’s textiles team, said: “China’s luxury market is seeing year-on-year growth of 35 per cent, and its fashion industry is set to become the world’s second largest by 2020.
“Over the next five years, 30 per cent of growth in the global fashion market is expected to come from China, so there is a massive opportunity for Scottish companies producing high end, design-led and luxury products that will appeal to the aspirational and style conscious Chinese consumer.
“From this event alone, we’re hoping to generate at least £1 million of new additional sales for the participating companies, and, given the size of the market, we think this could be the start of something very exciting for the industry.”
One of the participants, Johnstons of Elgin, is very optimistic about the visit and the opportunities it will bring to their business. The company is currently developing a new strategy for a sales and distribution network in China.
Ian Pryde, export sales director, says: “The emergence of China as one of the most important consumer markets in the developing world and the growth of a new genre of discerning luxury consumer is fuelling an increasing demand for our product.
“Currently, Johnstons of Elgin branded products are not available in the mainland Chinese market, but we’re working hard to rectify this, and we think the CHIC exhibition could act as the springboard to helping us achieve our ambitions in China.”
The trade mission includes a range of activities to maximise the companies’ exposure in China. This includes:

•  A series of educational briefings from industry experts to highlight the market potential
•  A tour of some of Beijing’s high end department stores and other retailers to educate companies about the retail market and what consumers are looking for
•  Participation in a Scottish Fashion Seminar to profile the Scottish companies to influential Chinese buyers
•  An international match-making session to introduce Scottish participants to Chinese buyers, retailers and distributors.
Cathy Black of Scottish Enterprise adds: “China doesn’t have the traditional routes to market that Scottish companies are used to, making it more difficult for individual companies to make an impact. By working with our colleagues in China, we have developed an industry approach using the Textiles Scotland brand so we can target influential people within the industry in China and showcase Scotland’s world-class reputation for quality, design and innovation.”
The companies will be hoping to learn from the experiences of Scottish companies such as Kinloch Anderson, which already has a retail presence in China as well as J&D Wilkie, who set up a factory in Jiaxing five years ago that transformed its business back in Scotland.
Bob Low, Managing Director of J&D Wilkie, says: “The speed in which we were able to scale up our business to volume production in China exceeded all of our expectations. We now have a yarn spinning and weaving unit operating six days round the clock. Much of the yarn production comes to Scotland for weaving and this has resulted in over 40% growth, in the last three years, in our sales from Scotland to Europe.
“China is a country of fascinating differences in culture, food and the rate of change compared to the UK. The domestic demand is still growing at a phenomenal rate and there remains a significant perceived value in Western goods. There is no substitute for experiencing this first hand, and any opportunity to do so should be seized."
The full list of Scottish companies and designers participating on the visit are Barrie Knitwear, Eribe, Hawick Cashmere, Highlander Outdoor, Hilary Grant, Iona Crawford, Johnstons of Elgin, Kearse & Boys, Kirsteen Stewart, Maccessori, Murray Hogarth, Ness, Rebecca Torres, Slanj, Tartan Spirit and Yvette Jelfs.
Scottish Textiles is a vibrant and diverse sector which plays an important role in Scotland’s economy. Focussed around growth, collaboration and internationalisation, it achieves an annual turnover of £951 million and brings almost £300 million into the Scottish economy through exports. Home to over 600 companies it directly employs 9,100 people across the country.
A highly innovative sector, Scottish textiles has a world-wide reputation for its high quality, diversity and design excellence which consistently delivers high quality products on a global scale. Its heritage, which uses centuries refined skills, contributes to Scotland’s textile companies leading the way both at home and overseas.


Scottish Enterprise

Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants dash for Comic Relief

Five members of staff at Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants took part in a sponsored Onesie Dash around Wellington Square in Ayr last week.
Together with the sale of home baking, the firm succeeded in raising the sum of £240 on the day in aid of Comic Relief.
Sinclair Scott director Andrew Sinclair commented: “We would like to congratulate our colleagues for showing initiative and raising funds for such a worthwhile cause.”
Sinclair Scott is a dynamic and proactive accountancy practice formed by the merger of two longstanding practices in Ayr.
The firm continues to build on the reputation and strengths of the founder firms whose history dates back over 100 years.
As well as general accountancy and tax skills, Sinclair Scott directors and managers also have individual skills which enables the firm to provide clients with a first class service as and when required. With its wealth of experience the firm prides itself on delivering an unparalleled service to all clients, whatever their size or sector.
In addition to traditional auditing, accounting and tax services Sinclair Scott also provides advice on how to improve and develop your business. Whether you need an integrated business strategy, access to corporate finance or specialist tax advice the firm is here to help you achieve your goals.
Andrew Sinclair
Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants
3 Wellington Square
Ayr, Ayrshire
Telephone: 01292 288999
Fax: 01292 272150
Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.