Business Information Service: This week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: The January upturn in UK credit business should have retained in February.

Final profits at Transport Development Group are expected to slip by 7 per cent to pounds 36m, with European profits falling some 40 per cent.

The G-10 central bankers will start a regular two-day monthly meeting in Basle.

TUESDAY: Final operating profits of about pounds 14m are expected to be unveiled at Saatchi & Saatchi, although the market also anticipates a write-off of up to pounds 600m against the value of its advertising agencies worldwide.

Hillsdown Holdings' final profits could fall by about 16 per cent to pounds 156m. An extraordinary restructuring charge is estimated at pounds 70m.

The UK producer price index for February is likely to show sterling's devaluation feeding through to prices, if slowly. Average forecasts for the input data point to a 6.7 per cent rise year-on-year and a 1 per cent rise on the month, compared with 7.2 and 1.5 per cent respectively in January. Although producers have been cautious in passing on any increase in input prices, the average for February output data points to a 3.6 per cent rise year-on-year, up from 3.5 per cent in the January data.

WEDNESDAY: A 39 per cent jump to pounds 1.6bn in BAT's final profits will stem from a strong end to the year in some tobacco operations and a strong dollar in the last quarter.

A pounds 14m exceptional charge for redundancies at Cadbury Schweppes could peg back final profits to pounds 317m, a shade ahead of last year's pounds 316.4m.

Underlying final profits at Standard Chartered should have risen by around 25 per cent to pounds 255m, excluding pounds 100m of profits from property disposals and pounds 130m of provisions against its exposure to the Bombay stock exchange.

GKN should is forecast to produce final profits up by 35 per cent at pounds 128m, despite the depressed car market, with its core businesses performing particularly well.

THURSDAY: The inclusion of Hawker Siddeley in BTR's final results will help it to a 17 per cent profits increase to pounds 954m, analysts believe. Gearing is likely to rise to 80 per cent on net debt of around pounds 2bn.

Rolls-Royce is expected to cut its dividend from 7.25p to 4.5p on profits up by 8 per cent at pounds 55m after a pounds 30m exceptional charge.

Data on UK balance of payments for the fourth quarter will be interesting for the latest estimate of invisible earnings. A deficit of pounds 3.7bn is expected, up from the pounds 2.2bn deficit in the third quarter.

RTZ's final results will include pounds 52m in provisions for restructuring and the low price of lead, zinc and silver. Pre-tax profits are expected to be down 12 per cent at pounds 271m.

FRIDAY: UK fourth quarter GDP data is expected to reflect the preliminary data which showed a 0.1 per cent rise quarter on quarter.

Results: NatWest Securities. Median economic forecasts: MMS International.

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