Monday Interview: New broom at iomart looks to ‘tweaks’ for future growth

The new chief executive of iomart, the cloud computing specialist with its headquarters in Glasgow, has outlined his plans for a shift in tack by the company but has assured staff he won’t be ripping up the playbook of his predecessor, founder Angus MacSween.

Speaking in his first full-length interview since taking up the post at the start of this month, Reece Donovan said iomart will continue on the acquisition trail that has led to the takeover of 21 businesses during the past decade. However, he wants to “tweak” the kinds of opportunities the company looks at: “I would like to see us take on capability, rather than just market share.

Kristy Dorsey's insightful interview is published tomorrow

In Mark Williamson's SME Focus, also on Monday, Susie Anderson of East Coast Cured in Leith tells how the family charcuterie company specialises in the production of continental style cured meats using Scottish produce.

In Scottish Engineering chief executive Paul Sheerin's Business Voices column tomorrow, he points to the importance of learning supply chain lessons from this year's PPE crisis.

Business Week: World's first hydrogen-powered ferry set for Scotland trial | Lord Haughey takes aim at government over hospitality | Giant North Sea oil field restart plan

Also this week, Barclays kicks off the autumn bank reporting season on Friday with investors hoping for some cheer to get them through the winter with improvements in its investment bank division.

The bank is expected to face questions on the Bank of England's (BoE) letter written a week ago asking for details from UK financial institutions on how they would cope with a potential negative interest rate.

A debate has raged for weeks over whether the central bank will use the measure to try and prop up the economy by encouraging more spending.

However, the BoE has been keen to stress no decision has been made and the monetary policy committee have so far kept the Base Rate at 0.1%.

Barclays has already felt pressure on its loan book, with a net interest margin of 2.69% at the UK division, down from 3.05% a year before, and any rates cut could impact the important measure further.

But the company's investment division is expected to benefit from the volatility coursing through the stock markets.

Russ Mould from AJ Bell explained how expectations remain low, with shares at 1991 levels during another recession.

He added: "The still-important investment banking division has seen income rise as extreme volatility in markets led to a surge in activity.

"However, it will come as no surprise that these remain challenging times for the sector, especially with regard to rising bad debts.

"Long-suffering investors have seen the share price struggle to make any headway.

"Any news relating to future dividend payments and thoughts on the outlook will be worth noting."

Barclays International is expected to make a pre-tax profit of £634 million compared to just £7 million from Barclays UK, according to Mr Mould.

Consensus among analysts in the City is for a pre-tax profit of £507 million versus £246 million a year ago, but the boost will be due to a final PPI mis-selling payout included in the same set of results a year ago.

For the first nine months of the year, Barclays is expected to record a pre-tax income of £1.8 billion, down from £3.3 billion at the same stage in 2019.