Centrica’s UK business division returned £40m profit in 2018, a 900% improvement after the collapse of 2017.
The company shed a further 9 per cent of its larger business customers, with industrial and commercial (I&C) accounts now standing at 106,000.
Centrica said it is “focusing I&C acquisition and retention activity on those that have a greater propensity to take our Distributed Energy & Power offers”, i.e. firms interested in installing onsite generation or providing demand-side response.
Small business accounts, which tend to be higher margin, increased by 1 per cent to 543,000. The company said its “retention and acquisition focus remains on the higher value SME segments”.
The picture for the broader group was “mixed”, admitted chief executive Ian Conn. While adjusted gross margin increased 5 per cent to £4,253m and earnings before interest, taxes, deductions and amortisation (Ebitda) increased 15 per cent to £2,447m, Conn warned that 2019 would also prove challenging for the sector.
Centrica plans to shed another 1,500 to 2,000 jobs and slash costs, with a further £500m efficiency programme announced in the annual report.
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