By Maximilian Clarke

The rate of return for UK companies, excluding the financial sector, has increased to an average of 12.9% - the highest rate since the third quarter 2008, the office for national statistics has shown.

Difficulties, however, persist in the manufacturing sector which has seen the mean rate of return dip to just 5%- the lowest figure for more than a decade. This highlights the increasing challenges facing the crucial sector, having achieved an average rate of return of 8.3% for 2010.

The services sector fared more positively, increasing average profits to 15.9%, whilst North Sea companies- which chiefly revolve around oil extraction- saw profits dip marginally to 60.5%.

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