Non-financial companies' profitability rose to its highest since the fourth quarter of 2008 in the first three months of 2011, official data showed.
The Office for National Statistics said that the net rate of return for private non-financial companies rose to 12.7 per cent from 12.5 per cent in the last three months of 2010.
This was driven by a rise in the profits of oil and gas companies operating on the UK Continental Shelf, whose profitability increased to 47.6 per cent from 44.4 per cent.
Profitability at manufacturing and services companies fell. Manufacturers' profitability almost halved to 6.1 per cent, its lowest in a year, while that for service companies slipped to 14.9 per cent from 15.2 per cent.
City A.M. Reporter