Centrica posts solid profits, further job cuts, Rough doubts remain


gas-300x200Centrica posted solid 2016 results, with operating profit up 4% to £1,515m and debt down 27% to £3,473m. The company indicated it plans to shave a further £500m off debt by the end of the year.

Savings will come from reorganising business structures, with £250m targeted to come from efficiencies and job cuts, said the firm. Centrica expects to shed a further 1,500 positions this year.

In its energy supply business, customer losses tailed off in the second half of the year after British Gas lost 3% of its customer base in the first half. Meanwhile, the firm has now installed some 3.3m residential smart meters and over half a million connected home hubs.

While the company is turning away from upstream exploration and production, Centrica said its gas storage operation at Rough, which provides the majority of the UK’s gas storage, may yet be out of action for some time.

Current tests at the facility should be completed by April, but Centrica said the facility would not be able to take injections of gas until at least the end of June.

“Returning the asset to injection operations in 2017 remains subject to the successful completion of the well testing and any further works necessary to ensure Rough can be safely returned to service,” said the company.

Centrica shares fell around 3.5% in morning trading. See the full year financials here.

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