Technology firm Smiths Group Plc. (SMIN.L) Friday said its expectations for the year remain in line with the previous outlook, albeit with a slightly different mix by division. In an interim management statement for the nine months to May 4, the company said it grew underlying revenue across all divisions and underlying headline operating profit was also ahead of the same period last year.
The U.K. economy avoided recession in the first quarter as initially estimated, but the detailed breakdown of gross domestic product highlighted major contribution coming only from built up stocks of companies. Gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent sequentially in the first quarter, offsetting the last quarter's 0.3 percent fall, second estimates from the Office for National Statistics showed.
An indicator of Eurozone's private sector activity improved more than expected in May, renewing hopes that the economy is inching towards a recovery. Nonetheless, the indicator remained in negative territory, signaling sharp deterioration in overall business activity. The composite output index rose to a three-month high of 47.7 in May from 46.9 in April.
Pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers Plc Thursday reported a higher profit for its first half, driven by growth in revenues as well as improved margins. However, the firm anticipates consumer confidence and discretionary income growth to remain subdued for some more time.
British brewer SABMiller Plc Thursday reported a decline in profit for fiscal 2013, reflecting exceptional gains it enjoyed last year. Group revenues grew 10 percent from the prior year, and total beverage volumes were up 4 percent on an organic basis. The board also proposed a higher final dividend.
United Utilities Group Plc. (UU.L, UUGRY.PK) on Thursday reported higher pre-tax profit for the year, helped by increased revenues as a result of price rise. However, profit after tax declined from the previous year due to a decrease in deferred taxation credits.
Bank of England Chief Mervyn King maintained his call for more stimulus for the fourth month and was defeated again by a majority of six members as in previous months who cited faster-than-expected growth and pipeline impact from previous stimulus. At his penultimate meeting, King along with Paul Fisher and David Miles sought an increase in quantitative easing by GBP 25 billion.
Japanese consumer electronics company Sony Corp., Wednesday, at its Corporate Strategy Meeting, said it expects to achieve financial targets for fiscal year 2014 announced on April 12. The firm aims returning electronics business to profit in fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, and said it continues to strengthen the overall financial foundations of the Group.
Cable & Wireless Communications Plc. (CWC.L) Wednesday reported a profit for the year compared to a loss last year, amid lower exceptional items. The company added that it has set a new target to drive $100 million of savings.
UK's private security firm G4S Plc (GFS.L, GFSZY.PK) Tuesday announced that Nick Buckles is stepping down as CEO and retiring from the company and as a director on May 31. It has appointed CFO Ashley Almanza to succeed Buckles as CEO, effective June 1. G4S also named Eddie Aston as its Chief Operating Officer or COO, a newly created role.
British telecom giant Vodafone Group Plc Tuesday reported a sharp decline in the fiscal 2013 profit, impacted by hefty impairment charges and lower revenues. The company said it experienced continued tough economic conditions, particularly in Southern Europe, and an adverse European regulatory environment.
Retailer Marks & Spencer Group Plc (MAKSY.PK, MAKSF.PK, MKS.L) Tuesday reported a lower annual profit, amid a tough clothing market. Further, the retailer said trading over the first seven weeks of the new financial year has been in line with its expectations.
Irish low cost airline Ryanair Holdings Plc reported 13 percent increase in profit for fiscal 2013, including mainly 6 percent increase in average fares and strong ancillary revenues. Meanwhile, fuel costs, which represented 45 percent of total costs, grew 18 percent from last year. Due to lower yields and higher fuel costs, the company expects first-quarter net profit to be lower than last year.
The fifth consecutive monthly increase in the U.K. house prices amid limited supply took average asking prices to a record, a survey by Rightmove showed Monday. House prices hit a record GBP 249,841 in May, as new sellers raised their prices by 2.1 percent from the prior month. Prices were up by the same magniture in April.