Business Information Service: This week

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The results season is gathering pace, with a host of large companies due to report this week. IMI will kick off a modest increase in pre-tax profits, to about pounds 71.5m, as the 1993 figures reflect the severe problems it has suffered in its computing business. The medicine should be better at Lloyds Chemists which, at the half-year stage, will simply confirm its impeccable record.


January's manufacturing and industrial production will be up by about 0.5 per cent, though the year-on-year figures will deteriorate. Fisons, the pharmaceutical and instruments maker, will deliver horrible results, while Laporte is expected to boost profits by about 24 per cent, to pounds 107m, as operating profits from Evode filter through.


The Marlboro meltdown on cigarette prices will knock profits in BAT's tobacco division by 17 per cent. However, the group will still turn in a small overall rise to pounds 1.6bn. The decline in base metal prices will also slow profit growth at RTZ, but Cadbury Schweppes will deliver a sweet note, with profits up 23 per cent to pounds 410m.


BTR is expected to unveil a healthy 15 per cent lift in profits, to pounds 1.2bn, and some encouraging news about recovery, especially in Australia. Meanwhile Hillsdown should show a hefty improvement under its new management structure. Underlying profits at Rolls-Royce will probably show a decline, despite a turnaround in the pre-tax position.


UK total trade for December is likely to reveal a small widening in the EC deficit, but the overall trade deficit is forecast to remain at about pounds 1bn.

Sources: NatWest Securities, MMS International

Helen Kay

'More people have been harmed by incompetence than fraud.' - Colette Bowe, of the Personal Investment Authority