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 (Diageo) is a drinks business company. The Company is a provider of beverage alcohol of various brands in spirits, beer and wine. The Company produces its brands from more than 200 sites in over 30 countries. Diageo owns manufacturing production facilities across the globe, including maltings, distilleries, breweries, packaging plants, maturation warehouses, cooperages, vineyards, wineries and distribution warehouses. Diageo's brands are also produced at plants owned and operated by third parties and joint ventures at a number of locations around the world. Its geographical segments are North America, Europe, Africa, Latin America and Caribbean, Asia Pacific and Corporate. It offers products under various brands, including Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray, Guinness, Crown Royal, Yeni Raki, JeB, Buchanan's, Bundaberg, Ypioca, Cacique, Windsor, Bell's, JeB, Grand Old Parr, Shui Jing Fang, Ciroc and Bulleit Bourbon, among others. more »

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FirstGroup plc is a United Kingdom-based transport operator in United Kingdom and North America. The Company operates through five segments: First Student, First Transit, Greyhound, UK Bus and UK Rail. The First Student is the provider of student transportation in North America. The First Transit is the private sector providers of public transit management and contracting in North America. Greyhound is an operator of scheduled intercity coach services in the United States and Canada, serving 48 States in the United States and 10 Canadian Provinces and Territories. Its UK Bus is the bus operators in the United Kingdom with a fleet of approximately 6400 buses. The Company operates two UK rail franchises, First Great Western and First TransPennine Express, and one open access passenger rail service, First Hull Trains. It also operates the Tramlink service on behalf of Transport for London and the Heathrow Connect service with Heathrow Airport. 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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