The UK economy continues its recovery from recession, with the news that the UK gross domestic profit (GDP) rose by 0.2% in the first three months of 2010, according to information provided by the Office for National Statistics, The figure was lower than the 0.4% growth predicted by many economists, but like the last quarter of 2009 may still be revised. Initial figures for that period, when the UK moved out of recession were originally estimated at 0.1%, were later revised to 0.4%.
The ONS estimated that bad weather at the beginning of the year may have had an impact on output, particularly in the retail and industrial sectors. Meanwhile it was reported that manufacturing output grew by 0.7% over the quarter, while the utilities sector output also rose by 2.5%.
It has been confirmed that UK Government borrowing hit a record high of £163.4 billion in 2009, whilst remaining lower than the £166.5 billion initially predicted by Chancellor Alistair Darling in his 2009 Budget.
Despite that fact the figure still makes for s the biggest annual borrowing figure for a UK Government in peacetime. In March alone, the figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed total borrowing of £23.5 billion.
For the first time, bonus rates on save as you earn (SAYE) schemes are to be cut to zero percent next month. The news has fostered concerns that some employees could shun participation in SAYE plans because there will be less incentive to save.
A £1 billion profits boost looks to be on its way for the Lloyds Banking Group brought about a block in rises of the pensionable salary of its staff. This vital cost saving is expected to play a significant part in returning Lloyds to profit in 2010. The move will also increase the likelihood that the government will be in a position sell its 41 percent stake in the bank in the near future.
As part of their new chief executive Adam Crozier’s expansion plans, Broadcaster ITV is reported to be considering an acquisition of its rival Five Industry sources predict that Crozier will implement expansion plans as soon as possible, before the general consolidation in the sector. If the deal goes through it would give ITV a 53 percent share in the television advertising market.
Two of the UKs largest property investment trusts are to merge to create the sixth-biggest listed property company in the UK with a combined market capitalisation of more than £1.6 billion The F&C Commercial Property Trust (FCPT), are to be merged with the UK Commercial Property Trust (UKCPT) that is owned by the Phoenix Group.
The new company will have a market capitalisation of about £1.6 billion and a property portfolio with net assets of £1.5 billion.
British newspaper and stationery retailer WH Smith has announced a four percent drop in like-for-like sales for the six months to the end of February. WH have spent £35 million in the first half of the year repurchasing shares in a buy-back scheme that has seen their share price rise by ten percent and pre-tax profit rise two percent to £62 million A spokesperson for the group announced that they have decided against extending the buy-back programme, choosing instead to invest in acquisitions and to return cash to shareholders at the end of year. On the news shares in WH Smith closed down 9.5 pence at 505 pence. [Read more…]