Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: Interim figures from Photo-Me International should show a growth in profits, after a fall to pounds 16.4m in the year to April 1992. Analysts are predicting pounds 18m by this year-end.

Peel Holdings, the property company that returned to the black last time with pre-tax profits of pounds 7m (against losses of pounds 8.5m) should have benefited from selling property to get debt under control.

TUESDAY: December figures will show a large public sector borrowing requirement due to the lack of tax receipts. However, the figures should include pounds 1.3bn in privatisation proceeds. The estimated market range is between pounds 3bn and pounds 5.8bn, against a November figure of pounds 2.18bn.

The CBI distributive trades survey and figures for UK December retail sales (see below) will indicate how well the retail sector performed over Christmas, with the City hoping for confirmation of a December pick-up.

Yorkshire Tyne Tees's final figures include a two-month contribution from Tyne Tees, following the merger in June. Despite the depressed state of TV advertising, analysts expect pre-tax profits to rise by up to 45 per cent to pounds 18.9m, boosted by cost cuts aimed at saving pounds 8m a year. In November, 292 jobs - a quarter of the workforce - were axed.

The anticipated doubling to pounds 15m of final pre-tax profits at Eurotherm, the control equipment group, is not unconnected with the arrival of a new chief executive 18 months ago. Some 20 per cent of the staff have been shed, prices have been increased and low-margin activities eliminated.

Davenport Vernon's principal concern is new car sales to private buyers, and the company should benefit from any upturn in consumer confidence. Despite a slightly disappointing August, pre-tax profits should rise from pounds 1.4m to pounds 1.8m.

WEDNESDAY: Hopes of rising consumer confidence, reflected in improved Christmas trading figures, may come through in the figures for December's UK retail sales. The City is looking for a rise of between 0.2 and 0.4 per cent, after the 0.1 per cent fall in November. An increase of 0.2 per cent would imply a 0.6 per cent increase in the fourth quarter of 1992 over the previous quarter.

The bulk of the pounds 1.3m contribution from new acquisition Strathmore will come in the second half at Matthew Clark, the wine and spirits company. Meanwhile, interim pre-tax profits will probably remain static at around pounds 2.2m, held back by increased spending on marketing.

THURSDAY: The unemployment figures for December should show an increase of around 32,000, against a November increase of 41,000. Industrial production for December is expected to drop back to 0.1 per cent from 1 per cent in November, with manufacturing output in November staying flat after a 0.3 per cent rise in October.

Results: County NatWest Woodmac. Median economic forecasts: MMS International.

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