Long winter helps Centrica deliver toasty results

The British Gas owner has reported a rise in half-year profits following a 13% rise in gas consumption

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 31 Jul 2013
Britain’s big freeze may be a distant memory for most UK residents now, having basked in a heat wave for the past month, but it is at the forefront of Centrica’s mind this morning. The cold winter helped the energy giant to boost residential profits to £365m, up 3.2%.
The British Gas owner adjusted operating profits across the whole group up 9% to £1.58bn for the six months up to 30 June.
‘With our customers using more gas to stay warm during the unusually cold winter, we’re doing everything we can to help them keep their energy costs under control and make bills simpler and clearer,’ said chief executive Sam Laidlaw.
‘We are also delivering for our shareholders, enabling us to continue to grow the business and invest to secure energy supplies for the future.’
Gas consumption was up 13% in the UK and the energy company welcomed the rise in profits at British Gas but warned of the increased costs associated with ‘environmental obligations and network changes’.
The results follow the news yesterday that it had bought the energy marketing business of US energy company Hess Corporation – expanding the British company’s reach in North America. The move makes Centrica’s North American subsidiary, Direct Energy, the largest B2B gas supplier in the Eastern US.
With both healthy investments and profits being made in the company’s upstream and downstream arms, the full-year operating profits look set to flow in ‘broadly in line’ with 2012’s figure of £606m. Toasty.

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