Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: There is unlikely to have been much first-half growth at Scottish & Newcastle. Analysts predict unchanged interim profits of pounds 54m, as the brewing, retail and leisure interests struggle against the recession.

Airtours should prove more resistant to the depressed holiday industry. The UK's third largest air-inclusive tour operator has a low-cost base, net cash of more than pounds 100m, and took advantage of ILG's collapse in 1991. Final profits are forecast to rise from pounds 27.5m to pounds 34m.

The UK's credit business figure for October could be a potential 'green shoot'. It is expected to show growth of pounds 20m against a fall of pounds 60m in September.

TUESDAY: Final pre-tax profits at Carlton Communications are expected to rise 15.5 per cent to pounds 102.6m. 5 per cent. A 40 per cent increase in operating profits is projected in the video cassette duplication and distribution division, which now represents over half the group's operating profits.

County NatWest has downgraded its forecast for Vaux's final figures, reflecting delayed recovery in hotels, where margins are tighter, and a higher than expected interest charge. Pre-tax profits are expected to rise 9 per cent to pounds 35m.

The governors of the EC's central banks hold their monthly meeting in Basle.

WEDNESDAY: Final results from transport and distribution company NFC are expected to reveal the lowest profits the company will experience during this recession, down by about 4 per cent at pounds 90m. The UK- based transport division should be flat, and the international logistics business up by some 15 per cent, but the problem will lie in home services, projected to fall by 18 per cent.

German retail sales data for September are due out around this time. As the German economy slows down, an expansion of 1 per cent is predicted, down from 3.2 per cent in September.

THURSDAY: Interim results from Pilkington, the world's leading producer of flat glass, will probably reflect its problems as a capital-intensive company. Falling demand, prices and profits will have been accompanied by rising costs and borrowings.

On turnover of more than pounds 2.5bn, analysts expect profits of about pounds 15m against pounds 50.6m last time, a 70 per cent fall. The dividend could also suffer - County projects a 64 per cent cut from 2.93p to 1p.

FRIDAY: The two-day Edinburgh Summit of European Community leaders begins, which could be a turning point in European monetary union.

Most forecasts for the UK retail price index expect a 3.8 per cent year-on-year figure for the underlying rate, excluding mortgage interest payments. A figure of 4 per cent might awaken fears of inflation.

In the US, retail sales figures for November could show 0.4 per cent growth, down from 0.9 per cent in October.

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