Profits at the UK’s publicly listed companies jumped nearly 14 per cent in the third quarter of the year, pushing total profits over the last 12 months to a record £217.9bn.
UK plc pre-tax profits rose from £143bn in the same measure a year earlier. The previous record was set in 2012. Revenues over the last 12 months have exceeded £2 trillion.
Figures from the Share Centre reveal that UK plcs have reported revenue rises for nine quarters in a row, the longest period of growth since the financial crash of 2008.
The Share Centre’s index of UK revenues rose to a score of 159, an increase of almost three fifths since 2007, while the index of profits also rose to 121.8, marking what the Share Centre called a “huge recovery” from a low point two years ago, when UK profits stood at £53.3bn.
The oil sector has proven to be the largest generator of revenues on the UK stock market.
Meanwhile, litigation costs and fines at Barclays and RBS hampered upticks in profitability, and the retail industry continued to struggle, reporting falling profits of 35 per cent.
The Share Centre investment analyst Helal Miah, said: “Undoubtedly, investors should celebrate profits that have finally surpassed highs last seen several years ago, but this does show how long and slow the recovery has been. Moreover, it has come at the expense of profit margins, which seem to be structurally lower now than they were in the past.
"Two notes of caution leaven the good news in the latest set of figures reported by UK companies. First, the majority of current profit growth is relatively low quality, since it largely reflects the impact of higher oil prices, which are outside the control of individual companies. And secondly, profit growth was focused in fewer companies, indicating that many businesses are finding trading conditions challenging."