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Statistical bulletin: Profitability of UK Companies, Q1 2011 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 06 July 2011 Download PDF

Key points

  • Private Non-Financial Corporations net rate of return was 12.7 per cent.
  • Manufacturing companies’ net rate of return was 6.1 per cent.
  • Service companies’ net rate of return was 14.9 per cent.
  • The net rate of return of companies other than United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) companies was 11.3 per cent.
  • The net rate of return of UKCS companies was 47.6 per cent.


The net rate of return by private non-financial corporations in the first quarter of 2011 was 12.7 per cent. This compares with the revised estimate of 12.5 per cent in the previous quarter. The annual net rate of return in 2010 was 11.7 per cent. This compares with the estimate of 11.3 per cent for 2009.

SCT Net Rate of Return of PNFCs 2011Q1

SCT Net ROR PNFCs 2011Q1

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Net Rate of Return

2011 Q1

Per cent
  Total Manufacturing Services UK Continental Shelf (UKCS)
2009 11.3 7.6 14.2 29.6
2010 11.7 8.3 14.7 39.7
2009 Q1 12.3 7.1 14.5 32.6
2009 Q2 11.3 6.9 15.3 28.7
2009 Q3 10.8 7.2 12.8 24.9
2009 Q4 10.9 9.2 14.1 32.2
2010 Q1 11.1 5.4 14.0 35.8
2010 Q2 11.4 7.7 15.2 37.7
2010 Q3 11.8 8.4 14.3 41.0
2010 Q4 12.5 11.2 15.2 44.4
2011 Q1 12.7 6.1 14.9 47.6

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Manufacturing and Service Companies

Manufacturing Companies 

The net rate of return for manufacturing companies in the first quarter of 2011 is estimated at 6.1 per cent. This is lower than the 2010 average of 8.3 per cent and is the lowest value since the first quarter of 2010.

Service Companies

The net rate of return for service companies in the first quarter of 2011 is estimated at 14.9 per cent. This is higher than the average for 2010 of 14.7 per cent.

SCT Net Rate of Return of Manufacturing (LRYC) and Services (LRYP) Companies 2011Q1

SCT Net ROR Manf (LRYC) and SVCS (LRYP) 2011Q1

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Non-United Kingdom Continental Shelf (non-UKCS) Companies

Non-UKCS companies comprise manufacturing, service and other companies (such as construction and power supply). The net rate of return for non-UKCS companies in the first quarter of 2011 is estimated at 11.3 per cent.

SCT Net Rate of Return of Non-UKCS Companies 2011Q1 LRXP


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United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) Companies

The net rate of return for UKCS companies increased in the first quarter of 2011 to 47.6 per cent, compared with the revised estimate of 44.4 per cent recorded in the previous quarter. The rates of return for this industry broadly follow movements in oil and gas prices.

Due to the nature of the capital assets employed, net rates of return for Continental Shelf companies are not directly comparable to those for other industries

SCT Net Rate of Return of PNFCs 2011Q1 LRXE


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Background notes

  1. What’s new?

    New background notes

    Following on from our announcement in the last statistical bulletin, ONS has re-formatted the content and format of the Background notes; it is implemented in this edition.

    New website

    The launch of the new ONS website on 28 August 2011 will bring changes to the design and format of statistical bulletins. The bulletin main body will be in html and pdf format but detailed data tables will be available as Excel spreadsheets only. The new website will improve the way users can access our statistics but many existing bookmarks and links will no longer work and users will need to update them.

    Upcoming Changes

    Private Non-financial Corporations (PNFCs) branch currently produces the statistical bulletin and tables in accordance with the 2003 UK Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC03). There will be a move over to a system revised for 2007. From the 2011 quarter 2 release in October 2011, Profitability of UK companies will be classified on a 2007 UK SIC basis (SIC07).

    In line with the launch of the new website and changes to statistical bulletin formats, a preview of the proposed new pdf bulletin design is available. Comments on the design and content are welcomed via the 2011 User Feedback Survey.

  2. Revisions

    Table R1 shows the revisions to the net rates of return since the last publication. Revisions have been made back to 2010 quarter one. These revisions are consistent with the data published in the latest Quarterly National Accounts Release, published 28 June 2011.

    Revisions have been introduced from the following sources:

    • New information from the Quarterly Operating Profits Survey,

    • New information from the Capital Expenditure Survey.

    Estimates for the most recent quarters are provisional and, as usual, are subject to revisions in the light of updated source information. The non-UKCS profits data from the first quarter of 2009 are derived from the ONS Quarterly Operating Profits Survey, which has a relatively small sample.

  3. Additional information

    The underlying profits data used to calculate these rates of return are consistent with the Quarterly National Accounts First Release, published on 28 June 2011. The underlying capital stock data used to calculate these rates of return are based upon the data published in the ‘Capital Stocks, Capital Consumption and Non-Financial Balance Sheets’ publication on 2 August 2010, updated with later information where available.

  4. Private non-financial corporations (PNFCs) are comprised of UKCS, manufacturing, non-financial service sector companies and others (including construction, electricity and gas supply, agriculture, mining and quarrying). United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) companies are defined as those involved in the exploration for, and extraction of, oil and natural gas in the UK.

  5. The rates of return presented are ratios of operating surpluses compared to capital employed, expressed as percentages. The ratios measure the ‘accounting’ rates of return achieved in a particular year against total capital employed. The rates of return are on the basis of current replacement cost and relate to United Kingdom operations of PNFCs. The net rate of return uses capital estimates which are net of capital consumption, and is more widely used than the gross rate of return. Rates of return are published for quarters and for years. In the absence of direct data for capital stock on a quarterly basis, standard statistical techniques have been used to estimate a quarterly series. The quarterly rates of return are available from the first quarter of 1989. The annual rates of return are available back to 1965 for total PNFCs.

  6. The gross operating surplus of PNFCs consists of gross trading profits, plus income from rental of buildings, less inventory holding gains.

  7. Gross trading profits include only that part of a company's income arising from trading activities in the UK. It does not include income from investments or other means, such as earnings from abroad. Gross trading profits are calculated before payments of dividends, interest and tax. The gross trading profits figures used in the calculation of gross operating surplus exclude the quarterly alignment adjustments applied to non-UKCS companies’ gross trading profits, as published in the Quarterly National Accounts.

  8. Inventory holding gains are the differences in the change in the book value of inventories measured at replacement cost and historic cost. The holding gain is subtracted from profits because revaluations are not considered to be part of economic activity, as defined for National Accounts purposes.

  9. Estimates of gross capital stock are a measure of the cost of replacing all produced capital assets held at a particular point in time. Capital employed is the value of fixed assets, plus the value of inventories. It measures the value at replacement cost of all fixed assets at the end of a calendar year. This includes all tangible assets and intangible assets which have been produced and are themselves repeatedly or continuously used in the processes of production for more than a year. Tangible assets include buildings, plant and machinery. Intangible assets include computer software and mineral exploration costs. For UKCS companies, capital employed includes mineral exploration costs and oil rigs, but not the oil and gas reserves that are classified as non-produced assets. Inventories include raw material and fuel that are used up in production. Book values are used for levels of inventories. Estimates of capital stock and capital consumption are produced using the Perpetual Inventory Method. Further details are available in the ‘Capital Stocks, Capital Consumption and Non-Financial Balance Sheets’ publication, which was last published on 2 August 2010.

  10. In the calculations for net rates of return, estimates of net operating surplus are net of capital consumption (depreciation). Capital consumption is derived from capital stock and covers the depreciation of fixed assets over their service lives. Estimates of net capital are net of accumulated capital consumption; that is, they are a measure of the written down replacement costs of fixed assets.

  11. Further information is contained in the Profitability Summary Quality Report (118.8 Kb Pdf) .

  12. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the media office. Also available is a list of the names of those given pre-publication access to the contents of this release.

  13. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

  14. Copyright and Reproduction

    © Crown copyright 2011.

    You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence or write to: The Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, email:

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  16. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Blackmore Denise +44 (0)1633 456660 Private Non-Financial Corporations
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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