Pick of the early market news
We commence the end of the week with full-year numbers from property developer Terrace Hill. Stronger results with a lower debt load: profits for the full year have lifted to £5.6m compared to a £3m loss in 2010; net debt is cut by £39.3 million to £51.4 million (30 September 2010: £90.7 million).
The company's foodstore business is "maturing very well and growing rapidly, with the committed programme of development now standing at 652,000 sq ft, with a projected end value of £240.0 million".
"In the last year," chairman Robert Adair said, "there have been some very positive aspects to our business, most particularly the strong growth in our foodstore development programme and reduction in debt. We believe that the greatest potential for the business lies in focusing on our key strengths of commercial property development and trading."
Next, recruiter Robert Walters. Group gross profits for the fourth quarter up to 31 December have climbed 12% overall, rising to £46.4m compared to £40.6m a year ago; the sharpest rise (+25%) came from Europe. The Asia Pacific region continues to take the biggest share of group profits (£22.9m).
"We are very mindful of current market conditions," says chief exec Robert Walters, "and weaker client and candidate confidence and therefore enter 2012 with caution. We will run the business as we have in previous times of economic uncertainty, through sensible cost management and long term investment in those markets offering strong growth opportunities."
We end with new Easyjet stats for December, with a rise in passengers numbers. However December 2010 saw significant disruption from adverse weather with "2,000 sectors cancelled in the month against 149 sectors cancelled in December 2011," the company warned.
"Consequently, underlying passenger numbers (adjusting for disruption) were 4% higher in December 2011, whilst underlying load factor was one percentage point up on last year."
Breaking news (7.30am): Blacks Leisure has confirmed it is entering administration as part of a takeover deal; its shops continue to trade.