UK companies' profitability fell in fourth quarter - but rose overall for 2014

Catherine Neilan
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The UK's private companies experienced a drop in profitability in the last quarter of 2014 – but overall ended the year up.

Figures published by the ONS this morning show that non-financial corporations' profitability, as measured by their net rate of return, came in at an estimated 11.9 per cent for the three months to the end of December.
That was down from 12.3 per cent estimated for the third quarter.
Manufacturing companies had it best – their profitability actually increased to 12 per cent, up from 10.3 per cent between July and September. It was however a drop on the second quarter performance of 13.4 per cent.
Service companies dropped from a record-high 18.4 per cent in Q3 to 16.9 per cent in Q4.

UK companies' profitability break-down:

Total: 11.9 per cent (12.3 per cent in Q3)

Manufacturing: 12 per cent (10.3 per cent in Q3)

Service companies: 16.9 per cent (18.4 per cent in Q3)

Continental Shelf (UKCS) companies’ net rate of return was 10.4 per cent, the lowest rate since the series began in 1997.
The year as a whole, however, looked rosier.
The average net rate of return for private non-financial corporations was put at 11.9 per cent – the highest level since 1998, when it reached 12.4 per cent.