Profitability of large companies

Quarterly Bulletin 1989 Q4
Published on 01 December 1989

The two tables which form the basis of this article present estimates of company profitability, before interest and tax, as derived from the published accounts of a sample of the largest UK companies. These estimates complement and supplement those based on national accounts data which were published in the August 1989 Bulletin.

The figures reveal that, measured on the conventional historical cost basis, the profitability of large non-oil companies in 1988 was on average much the same as in 1987. There was a slight rise in the profitability of companies producing capital goods, which was offset by a small fall in the profitability of consumer goods companies. The profitability of oil and gas companies fell back slightly in 1988 and remained well below the level of years prior to 1986.

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