Centrica profit doubles as British Gas takes 700,000 customers

Electricity pylons are seen in London, Britain August 1, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

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  • Adjusted operating profit 2021 stg 948 million vs 447 million in 2020
  • British Gas had around 3.4 million customers at the end of 2021
  • CEO says it’s too early to assess impact of crisis in Ukraine

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest energy supplier Centrica (CNA.L) announced a doubling of its adjusted profit for 2021 and said its British Gas brand took around 700,000 customers after the collapse rivals hit by soaring energy costs amid price caps.

This ceiling is raised by a record 54% from April, relieving suppliers but overwhelming households.

Centrica, whose British Gas brand had around 3.4 million customers at the end of 2021, said it was too early to tell what impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine would have on long-term energy prices in Britain.

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Fast wholesale UK gas prices jumped around 30% on Thursday morning on news of the invasion.

“I don’t think it’s worth speculating about an ongoing situation,” group chief executive Chris O’Shea told reporters during a briefing.

After losing customers to a slew of new suppliers and then suffering a sharp drop in demand at the onset of the COVID pandemic, Centrica streamlined its business to focus on energy services and the sale of energy assets. energy production.

However, the competitive landscape is changing after record high wholesale energy prices forced around 30 UK energy suppliers out of the market in the last 12 months. Read more

Centrica, which suspended dividends in 2020, said it would not offer a full-year payout for 2021 but was now on track to start paying a dividend.

The company said its outlook for 2022 was broadly positive and its strong balance sheet meant it was well placed to weather continued volatility in wholesale commodity prices.

O’Shea said Centrica had repaid £27million to the government for furlough payments received during the pandemic and had not taken bonuses for the year worth more than £1million.

Adjusted operating profit for 2021 rose to 948 million pounds ($1.28 billion), from 447 million pounds the previous year, helped by divestitures and high energy prices.

Centrica sold its North America-based Direct Energy division in early 2021 for $3.6 billion to U.S. integrated power company NRG Energy.

Analysts said the results were positive, but the company’s shares were down about 4% as stock markets around the world were hammered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

(This story has been reclassified to correct a typo in paragraph 12)

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Reporting by Susanna Twidale Editing by David Goodman and Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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