Apr 202017
 

With thanks to Aberdeen/Shire Greens.

After famously standing a mannequin in the 2012 Aberdeen local elections, Renée Slater is back as a candidate in her own right, standing in the Torry & Ferryhill ward for the Scottish Green Party.

The mannequin, Helena Torry, emerged as an activist figurehead in 2010 in campaigns against the destruction of Union Terrace Gardens, and soon became popular in anti-austerity protests.

As Renée witnessed the effects of cuts to services for disabled people and young people, she wanted to bring these issues into the spotlight and challenge the antagonistic political climate with humour.

In the 2012 council elections, she registered Helena as a candidate to represent ‘the voice of the silent majority.’

When authorities realised that Helena was not a real person, Renée was arrested. She was held until a prisoner exchange took place, and Helena was locked up for a year. The story was covered across the UK, and further afield [links below]. After Renée’s acquittal, Helena continued to support local causes, including the campaign for Scottish Independence.

Renée has been involved in local politics and activism for more than 40 years, and she joined the Scottish Greens in 2014. In standing for Aberdeen City Council in 2017, she hopes to help address issues across the city, from housing and jobs to local pollution and public health.

After years of bitter conflict between Labour and the SNP, Renée and other Green candidates want to bridge the divide and work constructively across parties.

Renée said,

“I’m concerned about inter-party bickering. It’s time we pulled together for all the people of Aberdeen. It’s time to make a change.”

Links:

BBC Report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WRFl9jvOCw
Daily Politics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJEL56CMOzc
ITV: http://www.itv.com/news/2012-04-20/mannequin-removed-from-scottish-elections/
BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-20970395
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/20/shop-dummy-for-councillor-aberdeenshire_n_1440348.html
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/woman-arrested-after-entering-mannequin-into-council-elections-7665476.html
Other: https://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/tag/helena-torry/

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 202017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix.

Organisers of the Nuart Aberdeen festival have hailed the overwhelming response from members of the public to the city’s first ambitious international street art festival.
A team of internationally acclaimed artists showcased their talents by creating eye-catching murals around the city centre which attracted large crowds over the Easter weekend.

Nuart Aberdeen was brought to the city by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, and was supported by main sponsor Burness Paull LLP.

Held in the Norwegian city since 2001 and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, Nuart Aberdeen was the first overseas version of the festival.

Street artists Fintan Magee, Nipper, Add Fuel, M-City, Alice Pasquini, Jaune, Isaac Cordal, Martin Whatson, Herakut, Julien de Casabianca and Robert Montgomery all showcased their latest work.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Nuart Aberdeen festival and it was great to see so many people admiring the work, engaging and capturing it in the build up to, and throughout the weekend.

“All of the artists involved have caught the imagination of Aberdonians and we are very proud to have spearheaded this ambitious project with our partners to bring the festival to Aberdeen.

“We all know the granite shines in the sunshine but it can be a different story on gloomier days and we hope the influential art helps to enhance the area and offering for residents and visitors alike.

“The festival will leave a lasting legacy in the city, all of the street art will remain in place and we hope help to attract more cultural activities to the city and help Aberdeen as we encourage a transition through the city centre masterplan.”

As well as street art, there was also an extensive festival programme of activity including walking tours, talks, presentations, art workshops and the UK cinema premier of Saving Banksy at Belmont Filmhouse.

The festival artists also worked alongside local artists to create a lasting impression in the city centre by brightening up neglected spaces with their work.

Locations for the Nuart Aberdeen Festival work include: Market Village (Market St), Centro Court (Loch Street) Mackay´s (29-31 Queen St), The Illicit Still (Guestrow, Aberdeen), The White Screen (visible from Union Bridge), and Robert Gordon’s College Wall (Harriet Street).

Martyn Reed, director and curator of Nuart, said:

“It’s been amazing to see the diversity of those who participated in the festival, from young toddlers taking part in our Easter egg hunt to young people and adults engaging with the street art throughout the weekend.

“It seems like people have taken it upon themselves to explore the city centre throughout the festival which is a positive outcome.

“We are really pleased to have trusted custodians in our partners to continue the work of the festival, and we look forward to seeing the city flourish creatively.

“We’re also looking forward to working with Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen City Council and our partners to develop Nuart Aberdeen 2018.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

For more information about the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 202017
 

80s Hollywood hair metal legends reunite for an evening of rock to a small, but appreciative, audience. Craig Chisholm reviews.

Fate can be funny but also cruel at times.
Take the case of a couple of 80s rock bands that have seen members come and go but recently reunited their singers and lead guitarists for the first time in years. One of these bands is called Guns n’ Roses. You’ve probably heard of them and you know their story.

Singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash are touring together for the first time since the early 90s.

It’s a huge, lucrative, money-spinning event that takes in stadiums all over the globe. If you want to see them then their only British dates are at the London Stadium in June where they’ll play in front of 160,000 fans over two nights.

The other band are their former peers – the similarly titled LA Guns.

Their origins are intertwined – Tracii Guns was the original guitarist for Guns n’ Roses back in 1984 before falling out with Axl Rose and departing the band. He then formed a new band and worked with various singers before teaming up with vocalist Phil Lewis and having some minor commercial success in the late 80s and early 90s.

The commercial peak didn’t last long though, mostly due to the rise of Nirvana and grunge, before Lewis and Tracii Guns finally parted company in the late 90s.
Weirdly, both toured as separate incarnations of LA Guns for most of the early noughties before, like Axl and Slash, reuniting again last year. They too are currently on a UK European tour and if you wanted to see them then you could have wandered down to The Assembly where they played in front of less than 160 people.

Fate can definitely be cruel and you have to wonder if Tracii Guns ever wondered what could have been if he hadn’t fell out with Axl 30 years ago. But, if he does, he doesn’t show it in front of the sparse crowd on this occasion.

In fact, the band put on a solid and professional performance that goes down well by the fans in attendance.

The band, wisely, stick to the early albums for most of the set – their self-titled debut providing almost half of the main set alone – from openers ‘No Mercy’ and ‘Electric Gypsy’ though ‘Sex Action’, ‘Bitch is Back’ and more.

Lewis and Guns look to be enjoying themselves and put on an energetic performance that has sections of the crowd head-banging or singing along all night. Lewis in particular interacts and chats with the fans at the front in a colloquial and friendly manner.

During encore track ‘The Ballad of Jayne’ he even hands the mic to fans in the front row to sing along – kudos to the first two of the singers for pretty good performances that leaves the band impressed. However, the third audience member given the chance to shine probably only deserves praise for his enthusiasm, if not his voice, and his heroic level of drunkenness. 

The band finish their set with a boisterous ‘Rip and Tear’ from their second album ‘Cocked And Loaded’ before leaving the stage and on to the next gig of their reunion.

Whether there are more in attendance than in Aberdeen remains to be seen but those diehard fans who do attend will appreciate what they witnessed on stage.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 202017
 

Young fans pack The Garage out for a triple bill of rock. Review and photos by Craig Chisholm.

The Garage on Windmill Brae was the place to be for rock fans where they were treated to a triple bill of British rock bands as part of their extensive UK tour.

First up, at the very un-rock n’ roll time of 7:15pm are Scottish rockers Fatherson.

The band are no strangers to Aberdeen having played The Lemon Tree, The Garage and, most recently, Café Drummonds at Christmas time.

Their folky rock is similar to fellow Kilmarnock band Biffy Clyro with shades of Frightened Rabbit thrown in for good measure.

Despite the line of people that are still queued up outside the venue there are diehard fans pressed hard against the barrier and already a good crowd have filled the dance floor to see the band.

Their short seven song set is over in a flash and leaves the crowd wanting more. In all honesty, bottom band on the bill does them a disservice – a recent headline performance at Glasgow’s iconic Barrowland’s Ballroom show they are capable of bigger things.

However, there’s no time to mourn Fatherson’s short set time as Cambridge band Lonely The Brave are next up after the briefest of switch overs.

The band are an altogether heavier proposition than the openers whilst still retaining a stadium rock commerciality to it.

The five piece are tight and heavy throughout their set which, again goes down a storm with the packed venue’s crowd.

Vocalist David Jakes is actually the least animated of the band – he stands to the rear clutching his mic stand for dear life whilst spitting the lyrics out to each song.

Between songs, however, the hardcore image is slightly punctured as he fills a mug from a kettle he has sitting in front of the drums. It’s an unusual sight and provides a bit of light relief to the bands otherwise hard sound.

Headliners Mallory Knox take their name from Juliette Lewis’ character in Natural Born Killers – however their sound isn’t as hard, or indeed downright violent, as the character in question. Instead they provide a hook laden, hard rock that appeals to their legions of fans.

By this point, the barrier has a high number of young females pressed against it and they sing along to every word of every song and cling to each bit of between song banter from frontman Mikey Chapman.

Their latest album, ‘Wired’, released only a week or so earlier, provides a fair chunk of the set –  from opener ‘Giving It Up’ to the final encore track ‘Better Off Without You’. Despite the album being out for only being out for 10 days the young crowd are familiar with the tracks and receive each rapturously as if they’d known them their whole lives.

Overall the three bands provide an entertaining, lively and good value for money night that will have left the crowd satisfied on their way home and probably wanting even more.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 202017
 

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

Michelle Ferguson, Cash for Kids charity manager.

An Aberdeen-based children’s charity has distributed over £17,500 of funding to 24 families and community groups to improve the lives of children living in north-east Scotland.
Cash for Kids, which supports sick, disabled and disadvantaged children living in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, has made the awards as part of its quarterly grant funding programme.

The programme’s broad remit ensures the charity is able to fulfil a diverse range of applications each year, some of which are not eligible for funding from other sources.

Two of the beneficiaries in the recent funding round are the Community Resources Hub at Aboyne Academy and local charity KidsOut – both provide activities for children with physical and learning disabilities.

The Community Resources Hub at Aboyne Academy caters for children with medium to severe and complex educational needs.
Unable to participate in mainstream education, they are taught a life skills orientated curriculum that meets their individual needs. The hub has been granted over £300 to give the children a one-day sailing session at Loch of Skene with Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust.

This session will allow the children to sample a new activity and develop their self-esteem and personal and social skills.

KidsOut is a local charity run by 17 Rotary clubs based in Aberdeen and the surrounding area.

The charity has received £3,500 to help stage its annual fun day at Craibstone Estate. Last year, around 600 children with disabilities from 35 local primary schools attended the event and enjoyed a range of activities and experiences. The funding will be used to help cover the cost of transporting the children to the event in June.

Cash for Kids distributes grant funding at the end of January, April, July and October each year, with applications assessed by its board. All applications must be endorsed by a third party, such as a social worker or health visitor, and applications for the next funding round must be submitted by Wednesday, 19 April.

Last month, in order to help fulfil future applications, Cash for Kids launched a major appeal to raise £50,000. The 500 Faces campaign looks to recruit 500 people from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who will each commit to raise £100 for the charity by the end of December. A number of tradespeople, schoolchildren and local shops have already signed up to the initiative.

Michelle Ferguson, Cash for Kids charity manager, said:

“Cash for Kids’ quarterly grant funding programme is a central and important part of what the charity does. We look to support as diverse a range of requests as possible each quarter and encourage applications from across the region.

“All of the money Cash for Kids raises is distributed locally. It is always great to assist projects such as those run by Aboyne Academy and KidsOut that provide disabled children with fantastic new experiences that can help with their development.

“The grant programme gives families and community groups access to a source of funding that can support the purchase of items that are often not eligible for funding through other sources. For some families that can mean facilitating the purchase of specialist equipment to improve the quality of life of their sick or disabled child.”

To register to take part in Cash for Kids’ 500 Faces fundraising initiative, visit www.northsound1.com/faces.

Cash for Kids is Northsound Radio’s listeners’ charity. It makes grants to individuals, families, children’s groups, organisations and projects throughout the Northsound transmission area. All money is raised locally and spent locally to benefit local disabled and disadvantaged children and young people under 18.

More information on Cash for Kids can be found at www.northsound1.com/charity, or telephone 01224 337010.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

 

Apr 132017
 

Port of Malaga. Photo by Daniel Bichler.

By Ian Baird.

When in December Aberdeen Harbour Board’s Chairman Alistair MacKenzie signed the contract with Dragados’ representative in Scotland – Daniel Paunero Alonso – to build the harbour’s £350 million expansion into the Bay of Nigg, it was the culmination of an an idea which had been conceived six years earlier.

Against stiff local opposition, with multiple planning and maritime applications to overcome, and complex loan agreements to negotiate, Chief Executive Colin Parker, the Chairman, and his fellow Board members must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when finally reaching the stage where building could commence.

But Daniel Alonso would have had a smile on his lips too. He had helped secure a huge contract for his firm in his operating region of Scotland.

Three years earlier, Daniel’s star wasn’t shining so brightly. In October 2013 in his then capacity of Manager of Dragados in Spain, together with Sanchez Domines, President of Dragados’ parent company Sando, he was summoned to testify as a defendant in a tribunal case in Malaga. The pair’s presence was required to answer allegations of irregularities in projects undertaken by the two companies at the Port of Malaga in 2008.

The Port was claiming losses amounting to a total of €5.3 million as a result of work carried out which subsequently proved not to be done to specification. The prosecution in the case, which is still ongoing after 5 years of investigation, is demanding a total of 26 years of imprisonment for 5 directors and engineers of the two companies for the crimes of document falsification, embezzlement and fraud.

Is this important as far as the Harbour Board is concerned?

Well, it may be the end of the planning and approval stage, but it’s only the beginning of what will be, at a minimum, three years of construction. Entrusting Dragados with this major project should mean that the Harbour Board has exercised due diligence in satisfying itself that the company has a sufficiently impressive record to give them confidence that the construction will be completed on time, on budget and to the required specification.

Is it possible that in their haste to ensure that planning, financial and contractual matters all fell into place, the Harbour Board, inexperienced in awarding such a large contract and struggling to raise the necessary finance, were overly hasty in agreeing a deal with Dragados, lured by the most attractive tender price to the exclusion of other considerations?

Had the Harbour Board investigated the details of the problems in Malaga, they would have found that there were two projects that ran into problems after their completion.

what happened in Malaga should, at the very least, have sounded a warning bell or two

The first was at the South cruise ship mooring in the Port which had been built in a joint venture between Sando and Dragados. Following a slight collision with the mooring by a cruise ship in 2008, an investigation into the damage to the pier established that fewer, and thinner, pilings had been used in its construction than had been specified.

In this case a State General Inspection concluded that the discrepancy in value between what was paid for by the Port and what was built by the two companies amounted to €1.8 million.

The second project which ran into trouble at the Port was at container dock no. 9. This was also a joint venture with Sando, but in this case Dragados was the leading partner.

After a particular vessel was unable to access the dock, it was discovered that the excavated depth of the mooring was less than had been specified and, additionally, that debris had been dumped in it. In this case the discrepancy between what was charged for by the companies and what was delivered was estimated at €3.6 million.

In addition to these very specific problems with a failure to build to specifications, there were also in both cases significant cost hikes.

The budget estimate for building the South mooring was €8 million but eventually cost €12.21 million – 50% over budget; the budget estimate for container dock 9 was €28.2 million but eventually cost €35.9 million – 25% over budget.

From the perspective of Aberdeen Harbour Board what happened in Malaga should, at the very least, have sounded a warning bell or two. Of course it is true that Dragados have been involved as contractors in many major projects without landing in court as in this highlighted case. But globally their record of completing projects on time and on budget where they are a major contractor on very large projects is very patchy [1].

By giving Dragados the major responsibility for a £350 million (budgeted) project (almost 10 times as much as the budgets for the two Malaga projects combined), has the Board considered a) the likelihood and b) the implications, of a cost increase and/or a delayed completion time?

Let’s say there was a 20% increase in costs and a 30% increase in construction time. Can the Board finance, for example, a £420 million project which takes four years to build instead of three?

Even if they can, will future business be able to service the loan or will the cruise ship and decommissioning markets prove to be elusive in the face of aggressive competition and a possible severe economic downturn? The combination of a cost escalation, a delayed completion date and a continuation of the oil downturn in the North Sea could prove to be a fatal combination for the Harbour Board’s ambitions.

if the Bay is to be lost it should at least be for very tangible benefits for Aberdeen

This article does not accuse Daniel Alonso of being complicit or having any knowledge of the failings in the two projects in Malaga and perhaps not too much should be read into the fact that he is now in Scotland rather than managing the company’s home territory.

But it seems extraordinary that with so much at stake, the Harbour Board is totally reliant on a company which has proved in the past that its management team failed to ensure adherence to specifications on two major harbour projects and exceeded budgeted costs so spectacularly.

Historically, one of the benefits to local communities of Trust Ports has been that no profits are dispensed to shareholders. That has meant that all profits have been re-invested in port improvements to help increase traffic and enhance local economic activity, as indeed has been the case with Aberdeen Harbour Trust until now.

But the absence of shareholders can have an adverse effect when projects that require external financing are considered. Because there is no financial risk to any individual Board Member or employee, the Board is in a position to back projects knowing that it is risk-free from their own personal perspective. That same phenomenon was responsible for the reckless trading by bankers prior to the 2008 crash.

If this project fails badly, either because of delays, escalating costs, unpredicted market conditions, or a combination of all three, the individuals who currently comprise the Board and the Executive will quietly retire (Chief Executive Colin Parker has already announced his imminent retirement), leaving a badly crippled Trust Port to recover from a gamble which didn’t pay off.

The residents of Torry who opposed the harbour development in the Bay of Nigg did so because of the loss of the Bay as an amenity, and the resulting general degradation of the local environment through increased traffic and pollution.

Whether the harbour would ultimately prove a commercial success or not has not been a major consideration. But now that it appears about to become a reality, I’m sure the concensus will be that if the Bay is to be lost it should at least be for very tangible benefits for Aberdeen and the wider community.

It would be a cruel blow indeed if the Bay was sacrificed for a speculative project which ultimately proves under-utilised and a financial millstone to the Harbour Board, and the Bay of Nigg is destroyed for no useful gain.

Notes:

  1. To cite just three examples, Dragados USA is 3 years behind schedule and $223 million over budget in a tunnel-boring project in Seattle; the company was removed from the Florida Department of Transportation’s list of qualified contractors because of project delays and other problems, it being stated that on some projects they “have a variety of materials and workmanship issues that will have to be addressed before FDOT will accept the work.”; and Los Angeles Metro Agency refused to give a major contract to Dragados, despite being the cheapest bidder, because they considered they had a high probability of exposing the agency to cost overruns and project delays,

Sources:

Dársena Case’ by Marta Sánchez Esparza / Malaga, El Mundo,  23/10/2013
http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2013/10/13/andalucia_malaga/1381659778.html

Article, by Agustin Rivera, El Confidencial, 5/10/2013
http://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/andalucia/2013-10-05/el-presidente-de-sando-imputado-por-el-agujero-del-puerto-de-malaga_37380/

Article by S. Sánchez, Málaga, Málaga Hoy , 16/10/2013
http://www.malagahoy.es/malaga/presidente-Sando-descarga-tecnicos-puerto_0_743925794.html

‘Sacramento sewer contractor faced delays, minority hiring violations’ The Sacramento Bee, June 4, 2016
http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/the-public-eye/article81843937.html

‘Beleaguered Seattle tunnel project facing $223M cost overrun, 3-year delay’, Construction Dive, July 25, 2016
http://www.constructiondive.com/news/beleaguered-seattle-tunnel-project-facing-223m-cost-overrun-3-year-delay/423164/

‘The prosecution asks for 26 years of imprisonment for five people responsible for port works’, Ignacio San Martin, La Cadena SER, 16 November 2016 http://cadenaser.com/emisora/2016/11/18/ser_malaga/1479473619_856001.html

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 132017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Seb Coles leads a team of developers creating and engineering software-based solutions.

A team of specialist software developers from a leading Aberdeen-based managed print services company recently revealed their latest support app developments at a major print management industry event.
Four in-house developers from Xeretec Scotland’s Aberdeen office travelled to Uxbridge, near London, for the Xerox Application Forum on Wednesday, 5 April.

Senior software developer, Seb Coles, announced the development of the Xeretec Support Application Suite, an on-device customer service that provides immediate, next-generation support for users of Xerox devices.

The team of developers, led by Seb Coles, specialises in creating and engineering software-based solutions that optimise the print experience for end users and spent 12 months developing the support apps.

Mr Coles said:

“I am extremely proud of my team and what we have achieved over the past year. We have dedicated a lot of time and effort to developing the Xeretec Support Application Suite, so to be able to demonstrate how it works at the Xerox Future of Work event was an incredible experience.

“The app enables Xeretec to access the printer’s health and deliver the user an unparalleled level of support immediately at the device. It was designed to simplify and speed up fault resolution, while maximising user convenience and productivity, as we are constantly aiming to bring a higher level of customer service to our clients.”

Marino Keith, operations manager at Xeretec Scotland, said:

“I would like to offer my congratulations to Seb and the software development team for continuing to create industry-leading applications that aim to improve the overall customer experience. The work they do is completely unique to the industry and differentiates Xeretec from its competitors.

“Customers today expect instant, multi-channel support when encountering a problem. With the Xeretec Support Application Suite, Xeretec has created a new era of on-device customer service that meets the need for simplified instant access to support.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 132017
 

Philippa Holdsworth of Nicholson Solutions

With thanks to Karen Stewart.

Nicholson Solutions, exclusive Scottish providers of the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, in association with the Digital Marketing Institute, launch the first open Aberdeen based Diploma course on 8th May.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority accredited qualification is validated by leading global companies including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, and boasts over 18,000 successful graduates across 70 countries.

Philippa Holdsworth, Director at Nicholson Solutions said:

“we are delighted to be the only Scottish providers of the Professional Diploma and have seen over 90% of our delegates graduating since we commenced. We are excited that the next uptake is an Aberdeen cohort.”

She continued:

“the programme has proven extremely popular so far and equips delegates with both the practical and theoretical knowledge they need to run successful digital marketing campaigns. It is also a valuable addition to a CV, enhancing career prospects for successful graduates in a competitive job seeking environment.”

As well as flexible training times and methods to suit a variety of learning styles, the company offers a range of payment options to suit various budgets, allowing the opportunity to be available as widely as possible.

Further details of the course can be found at http://www.nicholsonsolutions.co.uk/digital-marketing-diploma-course-0

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 132017
 

With thanks to Leanne Carter, Account Manager, Tricker PR.

Bob Bain, partner at Hall Morrice LLP, welcomes Tom Faichnie and Melanie Gilmour to head up the new Hall Morrice Corporate Finance team.

Aberdeen chartered accountants Hall Morrice LLP has launched a new corporate finance division as part of its strategy to prepare for the north east’s economic recovery.

The independent firm has made two key appointments to lead the new team, which will largely focus on working with corporate entities and private equity houses seeking to invest in oilfield services companies.

Tom Faichnie has been appointed to the post of managing director with Hall Morrice Corporate Finance, while Melanie Gilmour takes up the post of manager.

Both have come from RSM Aberdeen, where they specialised on deals activity within the energy sector.

Mr Faichnie has a strong track record in corporate finance, having previously worked for international accountancy firms and leading banks. He has been based in Aberdeen for almost 20 years, and believes that Hall Morrice has launched its new division at exactly the right time as the region readies itself for recovery.

He says,

“We have been seeing the green shoots of recovery for the region since the middle of last year and this is absolutely the right time to get ahead of the game and invest in Aberdeen.

“The decline in trading results seen during the period of low oil price appears to have stabilised and we can see that order books are now tipping back in the right direction. As companies start to build up again, they will need working capital to deliver and grow their order books and many will require funding.

“We also anticipate that we will see a lot of exits coming in the next six months, especially from companies at the smaller end of the scale. There now appears to be a steady base level of profitability upon which to structure a transaction and many shareholders who may have delayed selling their businesses are likely to see increased interest from the UK and overseas.

“Hall Morrice has been operating in Aberdeen for over 40 years: they understand the city and they understand corporate finance, and that, combined with our knowledge and experience, creates an excellent platform that will allow Melanie and I to build a very strong proposition.”

In addition to the external engagements, the new division will also undertake corporate finance and financial due diligence services for existing Hall Morrice clients. The firm, which employs a team of over 50 people in its offices in Aberdeen and Fraserburgh, works across a number of different sectors from property and construction to retail and leisure.

Miss Gilmour is a qualified chartered accountant having previously worked for one of the big four, and has extensive transactional experience across different industries in addition to her oil and gas background.

Hall Morrice Partner Bob Bain says the new team arrives with an exceptional track record in deal initiation and advisory services which will benefit the firm’s existing clients and new prospects.

He adds,

“The marketplace has been volatile for the past two years, but despite that we are confident that there is a now a requirement – and more so in the future – to service corporate entities and private equity houses from a diligence capacity.

“Although we remain cautious, we are optimistic of an increase in deals activity and believe that we have an excellent team in place to respond to that uplift. Tom has worked in Aberdeen for almost 20 years and during that time has established a first-class reputation as being the ‘go to’ for oil and gas corporate finance and diligence.

“Working alongside Tom, Melanie has been able to benefit from his wealth of experience and has emerged as an incredibly knowledgeable individual who will be a valuable asset to the corporate finance team.  With support from the wider Hall Morrice team, we believe that this provides a strong platform to develop our transactional offering in both Aberdeen and the wider oilfield services market.”

Founded in 1976, Hall Morrice is one of Scotland’s leading independent firms of chartered accountants and has offices in Aberdeen and Fraserburgh. Based at 6 and 7 Queens Terrace in Aberdeen, Hall Morrice can be contacted on 01224 647394 or at accounts@hallmorrice.co.uk

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 132017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Colourful street art will begin to appear across Aberdeen city centre this week as a team of globally renowned artists start work for the inaugural Nuart Aberdeen Festival.
Walls at locations throughout the Granite City will be transformed as part of Aberdeen’s first international street art festival which will run from Friday, April 14 to Sunday, April 16.

The first piece of festival street art in Aberdeen was completed by Norwegian stencil artist Martin Whatson on the Mackay’s wall on Queen Street which was unveiled on Sunday morning (April 9).

Nuart Aberdeen has been brought to the city by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, and is supported by main sponsor Burness Paull LLP.

Held in the Norwegian city since 2001 and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, this is the first overseas version of the festival.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’re very proud to have a very talented line-up of international street artists for the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, and are looking forward to seeing their work take shape around the city centre this week.

“The festival is held in Stavanger each year and the organisers were keen to work with us to bring it to the UK for the very first time so it’s a huge coup for Aberdeen.

“It is also going to be a fantastic opportunity for local and international artists to work alongside each other on such an exciting project. We have a fantastic artist community in Aberdeen and we can’t wait to see their work.

“Nuart Aberdeen is an ambitious project which will give residents in the north-east and beyond the opportunity to engage with all of the colourful artworks which will soon pop up on walls across the city centre.”

The festival provides a platform for national and international artists to showcase their work through a series of murals, installations, interventions, and temporary exhibitions.

Street artists Fintan Magee, Nipper, Add Fuel, M-City, Alice Pasquini, Jaune, Isaac Cordal, Martin Whatson, Herakut, Julien de Casabianca and Robert Montgomery will showcase their latest work.

From Market Street and Queen Street to Belmont Street and Guestrow among others, the artists will use buildings and walls as their canvas to create their artworks.

The festival artists will also work alongside local artists to create a lasting impression in the city centre by brightening up neglected spaces with their work.

The first locations for Nuart include: Market Village (Market St), Centro Court (Loch Street) Mackay´s (29-31 Queen St), The Illicit Still (Guestrow, Aberdeen), The White Screen (visible from Union Bridge), and Robert Gordon’s College Wall (Harriet Street).

As well as street art, there will also be an extensive programme of activity including talks, presentations, film screenings, workshops and a few surprises over the course of the Easter weekend.

Martyn Reed, director and curator of Nuart, said:

“One of the often overlooked and possibly most long reaching positive effects of street art is just how many people it inspires to have a go themselves, many, not having touched a paintbrush since their last art class at school.

“And whether you go on to become an internationally renowned street artist like Martin Whatson, or you simply cut a stencil at the kitchen table with your kids for a skateboard, is irrelevant, the fact is, street art puts art back into people’s everyday lives like no other art form has even considered.

“Martin’s work, like Banksy before him, is crying out to inspire the next generation of stencil artists. As well as impressive works on public walls across the globe, it will be those smaller DIY attempts at kitchen tables, inspired by Nuart Aberdeen, that form part of the cultures’ lasting legacy.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson, said:

“We are delighted to support events like Nuart through the City Centre Masterplan. The Masterplan’s Aberdeen 365 project aims to deliver a year-round programme of events, recognising that an enhanced cultural and sporting offer can add enormous vibrancy to a city.

“It’s been great to see the first piece of art take shape and I’m sure Aberdonians and visitors will be delighted with the colour that artist Martin Whatson has brought to Queen Street.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

For more information about the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.