Rolls-Royce shifts focus from fraud probe to results

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Investors will look for a progress report on Lord Gold’s review into compliance procedures at Rolls-Royce this week as the engine maker gears up to unveil a rise in full-year profits.

The group, which disclosed in December that it was in talks with the Serious Fraud Office in relation to bribery and corruption concerns in China and Indonesia, is expected to say on Thursday that underlying profits have risen 16 per cent to £1.4 billion, following a string of contract wins.

Veteran lawyer Lord Gold was appointed last month to lead a probe into anti-corruption procedures at the engineering firm, which employs around 40,000 across 50 countries.

A surge in winter cold and flu bugs should provide a shot in the arm for Nurofen maker Reckitt Benckiser, which delivers its annual results on Wednesday.

The City expects operating profits to have risen to £2.5bn, up from £2.4bn the previous year, on the back of increased demand for Lemsip and Strepsils. However, analysts at Panmure Gordon predict sales will be flat at about £9.5bn once currency movements are taken into account.

Out-of-town store chain Dunelm, which started life as a Leicester curtain stall in 1979, is tipped to report a strong rise in half-year profits tomorrow as it continues its march on the homewares market.

The firm has been one of the bright spots in a difficult retail market in recent years, taking on small and independent competitors with its expanding footprint.

In a trading update last month, chief executive Nick Wharton said Dunelm was on track for half-year profits of up to £60 million, a rise of 15 per cent on a year ago.

Tomorrow also sees a trading update covering the crucial Christmas period from pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond. The group’s retail business is expected to have fared well over the festive months and investors will be keen to hear if its ranges of second-hand prestige watches continued to boost like-for-like retail sales at the firm, which also trades as Herbert Brown.

Albemarle, which has 233 outlets, saw full-year profits hit by a “sudden slowdown” in gold buying levels in the middle of last year as prices for the precious metal pulled back after three years of rapid growth.