THE Scottish venture capital business owned by the fifth Viscount Gough has posted another annual loss amid challenging economic conditions but highlighted improved trading at some companies in its portfolio.

Accounts for Barwell plc show the Glasgow-based company recorded a pre-tax loss of £563,236 in the year to September after losing £1,260,698 in the preceding period.

The business review in the accounts highlighted the value of the support provided by Viscount Gough in allowing the company to continue investing in areas like life sciences at a time when it was hard to achieve realisations. These could generate cash to reinvest in the portfolio.

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The directors wrote: "This support has also been particularly important when invested companies have been unable to obtain further funding from banks."

They added: "Management has become much more closely involved with some of the key investment portfolio companies and this has improved trading performance in those companies."

The review does not name any companies.

Directors added: "In the current market conditions the timing of exits remains uncertain but the increasing maturity of the portfolio suggests that meaningful exits are now much closer than previously."

Born in 1941, Shane Hugh Maryon Gough had a 30-year career in stockbroking after serving as an officer in the Irish Guards.