Scottish & Newcastle
First Minister Alex Salmond has spoken by telephone to John Dunsmore, Chief Executive of Scottish & Newcastle, this afternoon; and has also agreed to meet with Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board of Heineken.
Mr Salmond said:
"I have spoken with S&N at the highest level, and am arranging to meet with Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board of Heineken, to pursue our concerns about employment and skills."
"Enterprise Minister Jim Mather has this afternoon convened an action group within the Scottish Government, also involving Scottish Enterprise, which is looking at the impact of the S&N takeover. Our initial assessment is that the vast majority of the Scottish jobs in S&N are secure, including the operations at the Gyle and the phone centre at Livingston.
"However we have substantial concerns about the employment at the group head office in Edinburgh, which numbers some 240 highly skilled posts. It is this crucial aspect in particular that we intend to pursue in our meetings with Heineken, and we will seek specific assurances on the continuation of these highly skilled posts."
Jim Mather said:
"I am convening this action group to address the important issue of the S&N takeover, and the substantial Scottish employments interests at stake.
"More generally, the task in Scotland is to create the conditions and have the powers whereby we gain head offices in Scotland, not lose them. This illustrates just how vulnerable highly successful Scottish-based companies like S&N are in an environment where open share companies are competing with closed share list companies - and where we dont have the levers, such as corporation tax, to give Scotland a decisive competitive advantage.
However, in terms of defending the Scottish interest, the Scottish Government will work in the action group and pursue the discussions with Heineken to seek to extract the maximum reassurances about future employment levels."