Business Briefs - 9 April

The Bank of England has announced that UK interest rates are to remain at 0.5 per cent, more than six years after the record low was introduced.

Expectations of a rise any time this year have been put on hold with Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation at zero.


Official Office for National Statistics figures have shown that the UK economy grew by 2.8 per cent in 2014, the highest rate of growth since 2006.

Household disposable income has also increased slightly in real terms, with living standards now higher than they were at the last general election.

ONS data also revealed that the UK trade deficit widened in February by more than expected.

The trade deficit in goods and services worsened to £2.86bn from £1.54bn in January, the ONS said.

The deficit in goods was £10.34bn, up from £9.17bn in January, which was partly offset by a surplus of £7.5bn on services.

Goods exports were £23.16bn, the lowest total since September 2010.

That drop was largely thanks to weaker sales to the US.

Mergers and acquisitions in the Transport and Logistics sector this year will supersede the levels seen in 2014, according to KPMG’s latest Transport Tracker.

The first quarter of 2015 has already seen completed global transactions worth £6.7 billion, and further acquisitions valued at £6.7 billion have already been announced.

In 2014 the increase in the volume of transactions resulted in £39.6 billion worth of deals.

The report found that purchase prices rose which meant that the average business valuation of transactions in the transport sector increased in 2014 to 11.9x of EBITDA, compared to 9.0x in 2013.

Family-run Highland shortbread maker Dean’s has secured a deal with supermarket giant Aldi to supply shortbread and oat biscuits to its stores in England and Wales.

Deans already has a deal to supply the chain’s Scottish stores.

A spokeswoman for Aldi said Dean’s ‘Specially Selected’ range would be stocked as a ‘special buy,’ while stocks lasted, in all of the discounter’s 509 stores in England and Wales.

Dean’s, which already supplies all 59 Aldi stores in Scotland, highlighted rapid growth in sales of its products through the 2010.

Richard Holloway, managing director for Aldi in Scotland, said: “Dean’s is one of Aldi’s top suppliers and our customers love their prod ucts. Under Aldi’s ‘Specially Selected’ brand, Dean’s products fly off our shelves and we’re thrilled to be stocking the range outside of Scotland in our ‘special buys’.”

Dean’s will supply Aldi’s Irish stores in May. The Aldi spokeswoman said the value of the core products Dean’s supplied to Aldi’s Scottish stores every day, and the additional orders, amounted to a six-figure sum annually.