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UK companies end 2013 on 2-year high

Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 9:55 AM ET
Is UK plc back with a bang?
Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 | 3:30 AM ET
Gavin Oldham, executive chairman of Share Centre, discusses growth in U.K. companies and their prospects.

U.K. companies posted their best results in two years during the fourth quarter, with post-tax profits up 52 percent, according to a report from equity services provider The Share Centre.

In addition, revenues rose at their fastest rate in over a year, up 3 percent to £110 billion ($184 billion). The Share Centre based its findings on results from the U.K.'s 350 largest listed companies.

The FTSE 100 index of the country's biggest companies has risen nearly 4 percent since the start of February. The FTSE 250 has also climbed nearly 4 percent.

(Track: FTSE 100 with CNBC)

"Although this is still rather sluggish on a historic comparison (the average annual growth rate in revenues each quarter since 2008 is 8.3 percent), it is nevertheless the fastest increase since the second quarter of 2012 and suggests the U.K. recovery is now showing up more clearly in company results," said the Share Centre in a report on Wednesday.

It added that growth was fueled by a broad mix of sectors, from travel and leisure to tobacco and financial services.

(Read more: UK inflation falls to lowest since November 2009)

U.K. companies that posted numbers on Tuesday included InterContinental Hotels Group. In its preliminary results for 2013, the FTSE 100-listed chain reported earnings per share of $1.58 on sales of $1.90 billion, versus earnings of $1.87 on revenue of $1.84 billion the year before.

"We expect sales and profits to continue to improve in the coming reporting periods. What's more we think they will do so faster than most commentators currently expect, meaning the outlook is good for the stock market and investors," said Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre.


—By CNBC's Katy Barnato. Follow her on Twitter: @KatyBarnato

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