If there’s a phrase that’s guaranteed to chill my blood when I see it in a newspaper’s business pages it’s those three words `tipped for takeover’. Particularly when it applies to a major Scottish-owned, Scottish-based company.
The current `tipee’, it seems, is the Glasgow-based Weir Group, arguably Scotland’s last big-time engineering firm. The ‘Sunday Times’ recently ran a story by its Scottish business pundit Michael Glackin to the effect that the Weir Group’s glum-making figures (a pre-tax loss of nearly £200m) had its managers looking nervously over their shoulders.
Let’s hope not. Scotland can ill afford to lose control of yet another major company. Glackin does, however, go on to write that, thanks to plummeting crude oil prices, all round dismay in the petrochemical industry and faltering demand for kit among mining companies, the predators might see Weir as a not-very-tasty morsel. “Against that backdrop, and despite its low share price,” he writes, “potential buyers would be catching a falling knife rather than a rising star.”
Maybe the Weir Group will survive as it is, maybe it won’t. The point is that even if Holyrood thought that it should be saved for Scotland there’s not a damn thing they could do about it. Westminster could possibly (possibly) throw a spanner in the works but it wouldn’t, not with the Tories in the driving seat. Interfering with any such sale would be anathema. So if any US, Chinese, Indian or German company decided to dip into the petty cash to buy the Weir Group the company would be duly bought and sold (shareholders permitting). And control would disappear over the horizon.
It’s worth reminding ourselves that this is not just a Scottish problem. It applies to all four countries of the UK. A few years ago Alex Brummer of the `Daily Mail’ wrote a very decent book entitled `Britain For Sale’ about the way in which great swathes of the British economy were being sold to foreign interests. His campaign was sparked by watching the atrocious way in which US giant Kraft Industries bought out UK chocolateers Cadbury’s and then watched as its CEO (Irene Rosenfeld) refused to give an account of herself to the House of Commons Business, Innovation & Skills Committee. Which, Brummer pointed out, was “steering close to contempt of the House”.
It’s not very often I find myself on the same side as a `Daily Mail’ writer, but Brummer’s book induced in me a kind of painful nostalgia. About 25 years ago I helped put together a programme for Scottish Television which we called `Losing the Heid’. The idea (or at least the hope) was to give Scotland some notion of the way industrial, financial and commercial power was being drained out of the country by sell-outs, buy-outs and takeovers. The many worried men and women we talked to included Bruce Pattullo (then Governor of the Bank of Scotland) who stressed the dangers of seeing company head offices drift away.
Neutered cat economy
Not only did that mean the loss of top-level decision-making in Scotland, he said, but it also dealt a crippling blow to all the companies who serviced corporate headquarters: lawyers, accountants, PR firms, bankers, surveyors, graphic designers, printers, engineers, architects etc. even the caterers who supply company boardrooms with lunches. Even more worrying, Pattullo said, was that takeovers usually meant saying goodbye to research and development operations, the vital sparks that keep companies alive and growing. R&D is just about the only way to avoid that `neutered cat’ eceonomy which looks healthy enough but is failing to reproduce. Pattullo was adamant that Scotland couldn’t afford to lose too many of its head offices.
Well, that was back in the early 1990s. Since then Pattullo has retired from banking and the situation has got much, much worse. There was a time when the Scottish establishment (Left and Right) would send round the fiery cross to try to fend off a hostile takeover. Anyone around in the early 1980s will remember how Scotland’s troops – politicians, businessmen, clergy, trades unions – rallied round to stop RBS being swallowed up by raiders from Hong Kong (HSBC). That time they succeeded. The (now defunct) Monopolies & Mergers Commission agreed with the protesters. But that was then and this is now. Beginning with Thatcher, successive British governments have stripped Scotland (and indeed Britain) of any defence against predatory foreign buyers. As a result, the futures of most of our biggest and most crucial companies and industries are being decided in board rooms in England, Europe, North America and, increasingly, Asia.
For example, the great refinery/chemical site at Grangemouth may be vital to Scotland’s industrial welfare but its fate lies in the hands of Ineos a company run from Switzerland (for the usual tax reasons), and another owned by the People’s Republic of China. For most of its 89-year life the Grangemouth refinery was the property of British Petroleum (BP) the majority of whose shares were owned by the British Government for `strategic’ reasons.
But when they were released from government control the bosses of BP sold Grangemouth to Ineos of Switzerland (owned by exiled Yorkshireman Jim Ratcliffe) who then struck a 50/50 deal with Petrochina from Communist China. In 2013 PetroIneos (as the Chinese /Swiss venture is called) threatened to shut the plant down. Scotland breathed a huge sigh of relief when PetroIneos decided to soldier on. But that may not last.
No power over power
The sad fact is Scotland has very little control over any of our strategic assets. Consider this: our nuclear power stations at Torness and Hunterston are now owned by Electricité de France (prop. the French government); the last coal-burning station at Longannet in Fife belongs to Scottish Power, part of the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola and due to be closed by the end of this month; the networks that bring us the electricity are owned and run by National Grid of England. Only the hydro-electric schemes in the Highlands, once owned by the North of Scotland Hydro Board which mutated into Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), are controlled from Scotland.
Even the system of transmitters and relays which supply our radio and television signals are owned by a collection of foreign interests via a little-known firm called Arqiva, most of whose shareholders are Canadians (48%), Australians (39.8%) and the rest various other foreign investors. Arqiva’s UK operation is run from the city of Norwich in the east of England.
All the harbours on the Firth of Forth (Leith, Granton, Grangemouth, Rosyth, Burntisland, Methil, Kirkcaldy) along with hundreds of acres of prime waterside land – particularly in Edinburgh and Dundee – are owned by the Australian operation Arcus Infrastructure Partners. The shopping/cinema/eating emporium in Leith docks known as the Ocean Terminal (nearest neighbour the Royal Yacht Britannia and soon to be joined perhaps by a 96m hotel/office block) was sold to Resolution Property, a London-based private equity group.
At the other side of the country the Clyde Port Authority that was privatised into Clydeport plc fell into the hands of the English group Peel Holdings. That company now owns and runs the King George V Dock in Glasgow and the docks and harbours in Greenock, Hunterston, Ardrossan and Corpach (among much else south of the border).
Its subsidiary Peel Energy has plans to build a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston, although given the current hostility to coal-fired anything that’s unlikely to happen. In 2015 the Indian owners of Tata Steel sounded the death knell of the few remains of the Scotland’s once-thriving steel industry (though a search for a new buyer continues).
And so on it goes. Scotland’s more important airports have met the same fate. When the state-owned British Airports Authority (BAA) was put on the market it was bought by the Spanish firm Groupo Ferrovial. At a stroke Scotland’s four biggest airports – Glasgow, Prestwick, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – became assets in the Spaniards’ hefty portfolio. Edinburgh’s burgeoning airport has since been sold on to the American fund Global Infrastructure Partners for a handy £807m (almost twice what it was expected to make). The loss-making airport at Prestwick was rescued from closure by a Canadian entrepeneur called Matthew Hudson who sold it to the Perthshire firm Stagecoach that in turn sold it Infratil of New Zealand. It was eventually bought by the Scottish Government for £1 in late 2013 – though US tycoon and wannabe president, Donald Trump, is said to be sniffing around it. Alexander Dennis, the Falkirk busmaker, has been cited as a potential Chinese target while ScotRail’s franchise passed to a Dutch state-owned company almost a year ago.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Scotland had the biggest financial sector in the UK outside of London. Control of its main players has now disappeared furth of Scotland. The Bank of Scotland (founded 1685) was first `merged’ with the Halifax and is now part of the huge Lloyd’s Banking Group based in London. The Royal Bank of Scotland (founded 1727) built itself into the fifth biggest bank of the world until it imploded from corporate overreach and had to be bailed out by the British taxpayer. Judging by recent reports, the RBS has still to find its feet – almost eight years after the great crash.
For decades the Clydesdale Bank was a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank which partially floated it off in a demerger last month. The only sizeable (and very successful), Scotland-centred player left standing is the Standard Life group which, according to one fund manager of my acquaintance, “is forever looking over its shoulder for hostiles.” Mutual Scottish Friendly, based in Glasgow, did, however, buy up the UK’s oldest registered company, Marine & General Mutual last year.
Scotland’s big-ticket strategic companies are not the only ones falling prey to takeovers, with US groups alone spending £2bn on 49 transactions in the past 30 months. Relatively recent takeovers include: Optos, the eye-testing firm, bought by Japan’s Nikon last year for £259m; Grampian Country Foods (Vion International of the Netherlands); Guardbridge Paper (Curtis Fine Papers of the USA); Glasgow Herald Group (Gannett Company Inc. of the USA); House of Fraser (Baugur Group of Iceland); W&R Chambers (Lagardere group of France). The list is long and ever growing and changing – though the latest list of the top 500 companies from Scottish Business Insider shows 305 “owned” here.
Selling the family silver
No other European country flogs its strategic assets in this way. The Chirac government in France notoriously blocked the takeover of yogurt maker Danone by PepsiCo a decade ago and the Hollande government fought to retain a 20% stake in engineering group Alstom during a takeover battle with America’s GE. But steelmaker Arcelor did fall to India’s Mittal. The German government stopped a Russian telecoms company from even taking a stake in Deutsche Telekom and has effectively hoisted a ‘not-for-sale’ sign on struggling Deutsche Bank.
But Britain – and with it Scotland – doesn’t seem to have many companies if at all it regards as strategic though the government can block the sale of BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce for instance under the so-called ‘public interest test’ and even David Cameron has warned off any would-be predators for BP or Astra-Zeneca (once courted by Pfizer).
But what is `vital’ or `strategic’ for Scotland is unlikely to be seen that way by the powers that be in London. Ask anyone in the fishing industry in Peterhead or Fraserburgh. Would Cameron shoo predators away from the Weir Group on the grounds that it is vital to Scotland? I very much doubt it. Scotland’s `public interest’ and that of the UK are not one and the same. We are, after all, less than 9% of the population.
So we’re likely to remain at the mercy of the City of London for whom there’s no such thing as `security’ or `public’ or `national’ interest. All that matters is the money they can make from the deal, any deal. And, as things stand there’s next to nothing that Holyrood can do about it. Everything Scotland has is effectively up for sale, so long as the price is right. And, with the appropriate amount of give and take the right price is almost always found.
Appendix: Significant takeovers/buyouts of Scottish companies
Caveat: the buying and selling of companies, particularly the smaller ones, is not always accompanied by publicity so keeping track of all the deals is next to impossible. Even official company records – of the kind that firms are legally obliged to file – are often out of date by the time they reach Companies House in Edinburgh or London. And Companies House enforcers don’t have the clout or the money to hunt them all down and put them right. The best we can do is scan the business press for takeovers and buy- outs, record them and point out what we are losing. If any reader has more up-to-date information about any of these (or other) deals I’d like to hear from you.
ADVANCED UNDERWATER SURVEYS
An interesting company that specialised in sophisticated underwater surveys and was `spun out’ from the universities of Dundee and St. Andrews. In April 2013 the majority of AUS (51%) was bought by the Dutch oil-industry giant DeepOcean. The Dutch company declined to say for how much.
Fast growing Dundee-based medical technology firm, specialising in medical diagnostic systems and technologies. Taken over in January 2012 by Alere of the USA for £235m.
BANK OF SCOTLAND
Scotland’s oldest bank (1685). Merged in 2001 with the Halifax (once the Halifax Building Society), then badly mired in the banking crisis. When the bank was crippled by the crunch Gordon Brown forced a merger with the Lloyd’s Group (which took over the Scottish based TSB in the 1980s). Government money had to be pumped into Lloyds to the tune of 40% of the value.
(W & R) CHAMBERS
One of the most famous publishing firms in Scotland, founded in 1819 by William Chambers and his brother Robert, the journalist and author. In the late 1990s the firm was acquired by the French publishing giant Hachette, part of the Lagardere group. Edinburgh headquarters closed and moved to London.
Formerly the Clyde Port Authority, privatised (to the workforce) in 1993. Reorganised as Clydeport plc. Now owns and runs ports and docks at Greenock, Hunterston, King George V in Glasgow, Ardrossan, Corpach. Has extensive and potentially valuable waterfront property and land. Sold in 2003 to Peel Holdings, the English group that owns the Manchester Ship Canal, Mersey Docks & Harbour, Liverpool Airport, Doncaster Airport, Durham/Tees Airport, Pinewood and Shepperton Studios.
DUNFERMLINE BUILDING SOCIETY
Scotland’s biggest building society (34 branches) got itself into trouble by over-lending to the commercial sector in the boom years. It ended up with £26m worth of losses and had to be rescued by being sold off to the Nationwide Building Society in March 2009. The management claimed that the Dunfermline society was not bust and that a £25m loan – not a grant – would see them through. The Scottish Government was prepared to fund the society to that amount but the Treasury refused to grant permission.
EDINBURGH, GLASGOW AND ABERDEEN AIRPORTS
Scotland’s biggest and most important airports. Originally municipal airports and then owned by the state-owned British Airports Authority which was privatised in the 1980s as BAA plc. BAA was bought by the Spanish building firm Grupo Ferrovial . In April 2012 Edinburgh Airport was sold for £807m (more than predicted) to Global Infrastructure Partners (GEP) the American investment fund that also bought Gatwick.
FORTH PORTS plc
Formerly the Leith Harbour Board, and then the Forth Ports Authority. After it was privatised in 1992 under its Edinburgh management it grew until it included all the ports on the Forth (Leith, Granton, Grangemouth, Rosyth, Burntisland, Methil, Kirkcaldy) plus Dundee and the important container port at Tilbury. Along with the ports and harbours came a huge amount of choice waterfront land, now being developed at Leith (especially) and Dundee. The company sold out in 2009 to the Arcus European Infrastructure Fund. At the end of 2011 Forth Ports plc sold the glitzy Ocean Terminal shopping centre to London-based private equity group Resolution Property.
GRAMPIAN COUNTRY FOODS
Scotland’s biggest food producer was founded in 1980 in the Moray Firth town of Banff. Since then it has expanded rapidly and was, until recently, controlled from Livingston in West Lothian. But in August 2008 it was bought by Vion International of Eindhoven in the Netherlands since when it has been part of Vion UK based in Kent. One of the company’s biggest factories, the sausage and haggis producer Halls of Broxburn, announced in July 2012 that it would close, laying off 1150 permanent staff, 595 agency staff and causing problems for the pig-farmers of Scotland.
GRANGEMOUTH OIL REFINERY
Scotland’s only oil refinery and a truly vital strategic asset, and one of only eight in Britain.. The refinery has been in place since the 1920s under the Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Company which became British Petroleum and then BP. In 2005 BP sold the refinery to Ineos of Switzerland (a privately-owned group). After Ineos began to struggle in the recent economic blizzard, 50% of the refinery business was sold in 2011 to Petrochina of the People’s Republic of China. Scotland’s only oil refinery is the property of the Swiss and Chinese.
GUARDBRIDGE PAPER COMPANY
Founded in 1873 by distiller William Haig it merged with Culter Paper Mills (f. 1731) to create Culter Guardbridge Holdings. It was virtually Scotland’s only remaining large paper producer. In 1984 the company was sold to the James River Corporation of Richmond, Virginia who transferred ownership to a spin off company called Crown Vantage of Oakland California who transferred ownership to yet another spin off called Curtis Fine Papers. In July 2008 Curtis Fine Paper closed the Guardbridge mill. The building is now owned by the University of St Andrews..
Based on `Glasgow Herald’ which was founded in 1803 and is one of the oldest continually published daily newspaper in Europe. The group also publishes the `Evening Times’, the `Sunday Herald’ and a cluster of magazines. In recent years ownership has gone from George Outram & Co (the original founders) via Lonrho to (in 1996) Scottish Television which changed its company title to the Scottish Media Group. The newspaper company became Caledonian Newspapers. Then in 2003 the publications were acquired (for £216m) by Surrey based Newsquest a subsidiary of the Gannett Company Inc. of McLean, Virginia, USA.
HOUSE OF FRASER
Founded in 1849 as Arthur and Fraser in Glasgow and expanded steadily throughout UK between 1935 and 1985 until it had more than 60 city-centre (and other) stores. In the early 1980s the company fought off a hostile takeover bid by Tiny Rowland’s multinational Lonrho, but was then sold in 1985 to Rowland’s old Egyptian enemy Mohammed Fayed for £615 million. Fayed took out the London store Harrods from the mix and in 2006 sold the remainder to the Baugur Group of Iceland. In April, 2014 the House of Fraser sold a controlling interest of 89% of its shares to Nanjang Cenbest of China for a reported £480m.
Founded in 1838 and the oldest department store in Scotland. Traditionally very up market and owned by the Douglas-Miller family, descendants of one of the founders. In April 2005 Jenners was sold to the House of Fraser (see above) for £46m.
M&C ENERGY GROUP
Described as an energy consultancy, this Dunfermline-based firm advises industrial companies across the planet how to reduce and make the best use of the energy they buy. With the rising costs of electricity the company’s expertise is in much demand. But in 2009 the majority shareholding (60%) was acquired by the private equity group Lyceum Capital of London.
Promising and fast growing hi-tech company based in Cumbernauld. Specialises in essential `gate arrays’ for computing systems. Taken over in 2011 by Interconnect Systems Inc. of California.
NORTH SEA OILFIELDS
An increasing number of the smaller, less productive fields is being sold by the majors (BP, Shell etc) to companies owned by foreign governments. For example: Dana Petroleum (South Korea); Sinopec (China); Taqa (Abu Dabhi)
PINTO MEXICAN KITCHENS
Small Chain of five `Mexican’ eateries based in Glasgow and Edinburgh snapped up by the Barburrito group based in London. The deal was done at the beginning of November 2015. The price was not disclosed. The buyer was founded by Scotsman called Morgan Davies who plans (or at least hopes) to have a network of 50 restaurants throughout Britain..
At one time the only airport in Scotland able to handle transatlantic traffic. Prestwick was `privatised’ by the British Airports Authority in 1991. When threatened with closure rescued by a Canadian entrepreneur called Matthew Hudson. Then sold, at the end of 2005, to Stagecoach which sold it on to Infratil of New Zealand, one of the private equity infrastructure firms. The airport is now owned by the Scottish Government which paid a nominal sum (£1) to rescue it.
ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND
Scotland’s biggest bank, founded in the 1720s. Over-extended itself in the 2000s and spent £24 billion in assets buying the Dutch bank ABM Amro. It fell victim to the banking crisis of 2008 and now partly nationalised (73%) by the UK Government. Parts of it – mainly the English branches – are being sold on to other banks but the stock market fall has stalled Treasury plans to privatise it in full..
The Scottish end of the once-nationalised British Rail. After ownership by a number of operators the franchise was awarded (by Transport Scotland) in October 2014 to Abellio which is a subsidiary of Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the Dutch state railway system.
Now the biggest open-cast coal miner in the UK. A product of the denationalised coal industry the company was privatised in December 1994. Since then the company has evolved into Scottish Resources Ltd which is registered in Edinburgh but which is 71% owned by Parkburn Ltd, a private investment firm owned by English entrepreneur Colin Cornes.
SCOTTISH MUTUAL ASSURANCE
Venerable and long established Scottish assurance company. Acquired in February 2009 by Phoenix Life of London.
SCOTTISH & NEWCASTLE
Scotland’s biggest brewer sold to Heineken (Germany) and Carlsberg (Denmark) for £7.8 billion (£8.00 per share) in March 2008. The firm can be traced back to William Younger (1749) who merged with Scottish Brewers (1931) then took over Newcastle Brewers (1960) that swallowed up the Courage brewery (1995). The main Scottish breweries and the Edinburgh HQ are now closed.
SCOTTISH NUCLEAR plc
Privatised to Scottish Nuclear (as part of British Energy) with HQ at East Kilbride. Owners and operators of the nuclear power stations at Torness and Hunterston. At the end of 2008 UK stations (including Torness and Hunterston) sold to state-owned Electricité de France (EDF) and are now part of EDF Energy. EDF had talked about building Britain’s new generation of nuclear power stations but so far no agreement has been struck.
SCOTTISH POWER plc
Formerly the South of Scotland Electricity Board which was privatised into Scottish Power plc. Sold to Iberdrola of Spain, the world’s fifth biggest energy company. Owns the coal-burning power stations at Longannet (closed in 2016) and Cockenzie (shut down in 2013) plus the gas and oil small generators at Peterhead, the Shetlands and the Western Isles. Since 2009 Iberdrola has been the main financial sponsor of Spain’s national football team, so Scotland’s electricity customers are helping pay for Spanish footballers.
SCOTTISH PROVIDENT LTD
Long established Scottish life fund. Bought in Feb 2009 by Phoenix Life of London.
The oldest mutual in Scotland, and one of the biggest and most successful. Founded in 1812 to provide for the widows and children of the Napoleonic wars. Widows was demutualised in the great demutualisation rush at the end of the 20th century and then bought by Lloyds TSB of London in March, 2000. The financial plight of the Lloyd’s group has raised fears that the Widows HQ in Edinburgh will be closed down and moved south.
The formerly HQ of the Scotsman and Evening News. The Scotsman Hotel Group was set up by the Barclay brothers and then sold in 2006 for £60m to MBI International, a fund controlled by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber of Saudi Arabia. The group also owns hotels in Leeds and in Paris.
SEA ENERGY RENEWABLES
One of the cluster of still small but potentially large companies set up to investigate the potential of wave energy and wind power (on which the Scottish Government is pinning some of its hopes). Based in Aberdeen and taken over in June 2011 for £42m by Repsol Nuevas Energia of Spain. The acquisition gives the new owners the license to the `Inchcape’ sea block east of the Firth of Tay to build an array of turbines.
TELEVISION & RADIO TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS
All of Scotland’s dozens of broadcast transmitters and relays are now owned by international infrastructure firm Arqiva. All the BBC and IBA masts were sold in 1997 and ended up, via National Grid, in the hands of Arqiva which is owned by a consortium of Australian and Canadian funds. They are: Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (48%), Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 2 (25%) and Australian firm IFM Investors (14.8%), Motor Trades Association of Australia (5.2%), the American fund Health Super Investments (4.4%) with the remaining 1.5% owned by a variety of small investors.
Aberdeen based company that specialises in cleaning up the mess left after oil and gas exploration. Tackles onshore and offshore work and is now active around the world wherever there is drilling. Profits have soared from £1.8m in 2008 to £6.2m in 2010. In 2007 the company sold 83.5% of its stock to the private equity group Lime Rock Partners of London for an estimated £25m.
Founded 1948 by merger of McVitie & Price and MacFarlane Lang. Expanded steadily. Then in 2006 bought by US private equity fund Blackstone Group (the world’s biggest) and the French private equity firm PAI which sold it on to Turkey’s Yildiz in November 2014 for £2 billion.
(ROBERT) WISEMAN & CO
Scotland’s biggest and most successful dairy company. Based in East Kilbride by 2012 it provided 30% of the UK’s fresh milk. On 16/01/2012 it agreed to sell out to Müller Dairy of Germany. The price paid was £3.90p per share.
Once one of Scotland’s most enterprising electronics firm and a spin-off from Edinburgh University. Having once been valued at £650m it was seriously damaged in 2008 when it lost a crucial contract with Apple. In April 2014 the company was bought by Cirrus Logic of Austin, Texas, USA. Cirrus paid £278m. Wolfson employs 420 people, with 280 of them in Edinburgh. In the words of one financial analyst `… another of the UK’s oldest high-tech players is lost.’
Some smaller firms
AXIS MACHINE TOOLS
Glasgow based engineering supply company, Taken over in 2010 by Finland’s Konecranes.
Promising Glasgow-based IT firm. Taken over in 2008 by Onyx of Teeside, England.
CAMPSIE SPRING WATER
Bottled water firm taken over in 2009 by Highland Spring Ltd, which is owned by Arab interests incorporated in Liechtenstein.
CULLEN BUILDING PRODUCTS
Timber-building and engineering firm based in Glenrothes, Fife. Taken over by Illinois Toolworks Inc. of Chicago, USA.
One of Scotland’s bigger health care companies and supplier of medical gases. Based in Stirling the company was taken over by Vivisol Group, of the Netherlands, a subsidiary of the Italian Sol Group.
Promising Edinburgh-based IT firm. Taken over in 2008 by Onyx of Teeside, England
(W & J) DUNLOP
Probably Scotland’s biggest independent veterinary supply group with headquarters in Dumfries. In August 2007 the family-owned firm was sold to Henry Schein Ltd of the USA.
Thriving Scottish print and packaging firm based in Livingston and East Kildbride. Taken over in October 2011 by CFH Total Document Management of Radstock in England.
LOCHCARRON JOHN BUCHAN
Thriving textile firm, founded in 1947, and based in Galashiels. Taken over in June 2011 by E-Land of South Korea, one of the Asia’s biggest retail operations.
MACHINE CONTROL ENGINEERS
Engineering firm based in Blantyre. Taken over in October 2010 by Finland’s Konecranes.
Scottish electrical engineering firm based in Shotts. Taken over in January 2012 by Generator Power of Yorkshire, England.
PETER SCOTT KNITWEAR
Based in Hawick and famous for its golf-related knitwear. In July, 2010 after going into administration it was swallowed by duffel-coat maker Gloverall of Northamptonshire, England, itself a subsidiary of E-Land of South Korea, and is losing a third of its workforce.
Interesting company based in Clydebank that recycles mobile phones. Bought in October, 2011 by Sims Metal Management, one of the sector’s biggest international firms.
SPEYSIDE GLENLIVET WATER
Water bottling firm that operated out of Ballindalloch on Speyside. Bought in 2009 by Highland Spring Ltd, which is owned by Arab interests incorporated in Liechtenstein.
One of the most energetic of Scotland’s home-grown telecommunications firms. Based in Bellshill, in June 2011 it was taken over by the Daisy Group of England.
Main image of BOS: dun_deagh CC BY-SA 2.0
ScotRail: Kim Traynor CC BY-SA 3.0