Profits down across Scotland's top 500 companies

Profits reported at Scotland's biggest companies fell by 19% during last year, while turnover dropped by 9%, according to a survey.

That figure excludes the two big banks, which had reported exceptionally large losses the previous year.

The survey was compiled for Business Insider magazine.

It showed total profits in Scotland's top 500 companies and subsidiaries down from £12bn to £9.7bn, while turnover declined to £137bn.

By its calculations, more than 27,500 jobs were lost in the top 500 corporates in Scotland.

The two big banks - Royal Bank of Scotland and HBoS - accounted for half of that reduction.

Reflecting a combination of turnover and profit, the annual update on the state of corporate Scotland showed that Scottish and Southern Energy remained in top position.

In the red

Profits reported last year by its Perth headquarters were up from £1.21bn to £1.24bn.

It was followed by Standard Life, the Edinburgh-based insurer; Total UK, the oil and gas subsidiary; the transport firm FirstGroup, based in Aberdeen; and in fifth position, Wood Group, from the oil and gas service sector.

The next five were: Scottish Widows, part of Lloyds Banking Group; Chevron North Sea; satellite TV company Sky (Scotland); Petro-Canada; and Perth-based transport firm Stagecoach.

That makes Aberdeen the headquarters for half the top 10.

Severe difficulties in in the finance sector skewed the figures.

Royal Bank of Scotland saw its losses improve last year from £24.3bn to £3.6bn in the red, leaving it in 259th position in the league table.

HBOS, reporting as part of Lloyds Banking Group, saw its position improve to number 244, having also been a permanent fixture in the top 10 before the financial crisis.

Tesco Bank fell down the table from 21 to 44, as profits fell through impairment provisions, while Clydesdale Bank, part of the National Australia Group, fell from number nine to 13th position, despite a rise in earnings.

The Insider 500 listings - which mostly cover trading in 2009 for results published during last year - showed that, as corporate Scotland struggled through the worst full year of the downturn, only 272 saw turnover rise, while 231 saw it fall.

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