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Equilibrium's finance and investment news roundup

This week's roundup includes a £5.2 billion profits loss for mobile operator Vodafone, new figures indicating an upsurge in spending on car finance deals, a report suggesting UK workers are more likely to go into work poorly than 'pull a sickie', and a climb in UK inflation to 2.7%.


Vodafone posts £5.2bn loss

Vodafone has reported a loss of £5.2 billion for the 12 months to the end of March. The mobile phone giant said it had endured a disappointing year in the UK and was hit with a £4.6 million fine by Ofcom following breaches of consumer protection rules.

The annual loss is also partly down to a write down of its Indian unit by €3.7 billion after the breakout of a price war last year.

However, Vodafone has sought to reassure investors by forecasting a climb in organic adjusted core earnings growth of between 4% and 8%. It also predicted a rise in free cash flow of around €5 billion compared to €4.1 billion for the previous 12 months. 

Motorists 'spending more on car finance deals'

UK drivers are spending more on car finance deals, new figures from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) have suggested. The research showed that the value of finance deals used to buy new cars climbed to £3.6 billion in March, which is a new monthly record and represents a 13% increase on the same month last year.

It was shown that Personal Contract Purchases are being used by many motorists and Adrian Dally, Head of Motor Finance at the FLA, told BBC News that despite concerns being raised by the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority, this type of lending is responsible.

He said: "This is a sustainable model going forward." 

Report: UK workers more likely to work than stay off sick   

A new survey has found that workers in the UK are much more likely to go to work when feeling poorly than they are to 'pull a sickie' and stay home.

Carried out by Aviva UK Health, the study revealed that 69% of respondents have worked while ill, compared to 23% who admitted to staying off work when feeling perfectly fine.

Aviva UK Health warned that working while not feeling well can adversely impact productivity and morale. Its Medical Director, Dr Doug Wright, commented: "Businesses need to ensure they create a working culture whereby people do not feel pressurised into coming to work when they are unwell, safe in the knowledge their absence can be effectively managed." 

UK inflation climbs to 2.7%

The Office for National Statistics has revealed that the UK inflation rate rose from 2.4% in March to 2.7% in April. The rate has therefore remained above the Bank of England's target of 2% and is the highest rate since September 2013.

The rise has been accredited to an increase in air fares due to Easter falling on a later date this year compared to in 2016, as well as rising prices for clothing, electricity and vehicle excise duty. These were offset slightly, however, by a fall in the price of petrol and diesel. 


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