Centrica’s Profits Steady as Restructuring Continues
By Susanna Twidale
The British Gas owner has sought to reinvent itself as an energy service provider, selling upstream assets, and said it will set out its future strategy on a capital markets event on Nov. 16.
Adjusted operating profit from continuing operations, which excluded Direct Energy which it has already sold, was broadly flat at 262 million pounds $359.67 million), compared with 264 million pounds in the first half of 2020.
Colder than normal weather in the first half of the year saw profits at British Gas increase by 94 million pounds as customers used more energy and commodity prices rose.
But COVID‐19 and industrial action cost the group 80 million pounds, 58 million more than in the first half of 2020, the company said.
A long running dispute over pay and conditions, which led to several strikes by around 7,000 workers earlier this year, is now over, the company said.
The company said it would not propose an interim dividend. It paused dividends last year and said on Thursday it would “recommence dividends to shareholders when it is prudent to do so.”
Centrica said it may also consider retaining its 20% stake in Britain’s operating nuclear power fleet, which it said in 2018 it would sell.
“It provides us with an important source of zero carbon electricity. Therefore, we may decide to retain our 20% interest,” the company said.
($1 = 0.7284 pounds)
(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; editing by Jason Neely and Kim Coghill)