Scotland's Finest Stocks

Monday, Sep 21 2009 by

Just as Glasgow now has its new bridges, riverside walkways and street café culture (yes really!), how times have changed on the business front.  30 years ago the Scottish commercial scene was dominated by the omnipresent whisky and, mainly, manufacturing industry, steel making (Corus – now owned by Tata Group), vehicles (Rootes + Albion Trucks), textiles (Coats Patons), rail locomotive (North British and Caledonian)  and of course shipbuilding (Upper Clyde, John Brown’s and Fergusons). This was fleshed out by Edinburgh’s then very healthy financial and banking scene: Bank of Scotland (now part of Lloyds Banking Group), Royal Bank Of Scotland Group Plc, Scottish Equitable, Scottish Widows (now part of Lloyds Banking Group).

Whisky is still with us but now largely owned by multi nationals like Diageo but with the exception of a lingering presence of shipbuilding – frigates for the British Navy -  at Govan on the Clyde and now a subsidiary of BAE Systems, all of the above companies have either disappeared or been absorbed into other groups.

Electronics was seen as the way to absorb the loss of heavy engineering and moving the Scottish economy forward and many multi national companies (mainly American) were encouraged by financial incentives to set up manufacturing facilities in Scotland. Certain locations (dubbed “Silicon Glen”) within EC development areas were a magnet:

  • East Kilbride:  Motorola and Honeywell  Greenock: IBM and National Semiconductor
  • Glenrothes:  General Instrument and Elliott Automation

At its peak the electronics industry in Scotland employed near 50,000 but was very much a ‘branch economy’ and it did not survive the world wide collapse of this sector in the late 1990’s. Over recent years, Scottish Enterprise has pushed the electronics sector towards software development, a move which has been successful in terms of the economy as a whole but is employs far fewer people than did the manufacture of semi conductors and electronic circuits. [1]

The financial presence still remains with the Royal Bank Of Scotland Group Plc easily Scotland’s largest publicly quoted company (Edinburgh is still the sixth largest investment management centre in Europe and the 15th largest in the world [2] but the recent travails of the financial sector and particularly the Scottish financial sector, are well documented elsewhere.

Nevertheless, despite these changes (of which some are very critical seeing it as a hollowing out of…

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Diageo PLC is an alcoholic beverage company. The Company operates in various categories, including spirits and beer. Its geographic segments include North America; Europe, Russia and Turkey; Africa; Latin America and Caribbean, and Asia Pacific. Its principal products includes Scotch whisky, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Beer, Irish Cream Liqueur, Wine, Raki, Tequila, Canadian Whisky, American Whiskey, Progressive Adult Beverages, Cachaca, Brandy and Ready to Drink. The Company's brands includes Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray and Guinness. It manages its operations from various locations, including the United Kingdom; Ireland; Italy; Turkey; the United States; Canada; Brazil; Mexico; Australia; Singapore; India; Nigeria; South Africa; East Africa, and Africa Regional Markets. It also produces a range of ready to drink products mainly in the United Kingdom, Italy, South Africa, Australia, the United States and Canada. more »

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FirstGroup plc is a transport operator in the United Kingdom and North America. The Company operates through five segments: First Student, First Transit, Greyhound, First Bus and First Rail. The First Student is a provider of student transportation in North America and operates a fleet of over 47,000 school buses, with over six million student journeys per school day. The First Transit is a private sector provider of public transit management and contracting in North America, and operates and manages over 12,500 vehicles. Greyhound is an operator of scheduled intercity coach services in the United States and Canada, and serves over 3,800 destinations through a fleet of over 1,700 vehicles. First Bus is a bus operator in the United Kingdom. First Rail is a rail operator, which carries approximately 140 million passengers across its over two franchises. First Rail operates Great Western Railway (GWR) and TransPennine Express (TPE) franchises and open access service First Hull Trains. more »

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LLOYDS BANKING GROUP plc provides financial services to individual and business customers in the United Kingdom but also overseas. The Company's business activities include retail and commercial banking, long-term savings, protection and investment. It operates through its segments, including Retail, Commercial Banking, Consumer Finance and Insurance. Its Retail segment provides banking, mortgages and other financial services to personal and small business customers in the United Kingdom. Its Commercial Banking segment provides banking and related services to business clients, from small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to large corporates. Its Consumer Finance segment provides a range of products, including motor finance, credit cards, and European mortgages and deposit taking. Its Insurance segment provides long-term savings, protection and investment products, as well as general insurance products in the United Kingdom. more »

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  Is Diageo fundamentally strong or weak? Find out More »

3 Comments on this Article show/hide all

Daytona 1st Oct '09 1 of 3

Why use nationality as a selection criteria ?

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StockHound 1st Oct '09 2 of 3

Geography is becoming less and less important as companies become ever more independent of their locale,  as production moves abroad and distribution turns global or even virtual.

In spite of this, I would bet that 90% of private investors are heavily overweight their own nation's stocks.  It's a combination of tax, cost, lack of information,  xenophobia & other natural human biases.


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About cuckfield1704


Active investor and has day to day involvement in several projects incl. charities and assiting a business consultancy. In addition to working experience in engineering, defence and food manufacturing sectors I live in Glasgow so particular interest and knowledge of Scottish plc's. more »

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