CENTRICA, the UK’s largest energy supplier, recorded a seven per cent drop in profit for 2009 due to lower wholesale gas and power prices.
However, sales were up five per cent to £21.96bn and the supplier expects wholesale gas prices to rise again in 2010, although this is expected to be below levels seen in 2008.
“Overall, the outlook for 2010 is positive and we are trading in line with expectations, with strong downstream performance offsetting the impact of low gas prices on our upstream businesses,” it said.
Centrica has continued to invest in upstream development and announced it had bought a portfolio of gas assets in Trinidad and Tobago in a £246m deal giving it its first operation producing liquefied natural gas.
British Gas, the residential energy arm of Centrica reported a 58 per cent rise in profits to £595m – beating the previous record of £573m set in 2007.
It put the strong performance down to attracting another 141,000 customers during 2009, taking the total to 15.7m.
The company said the cold start to 2010 saw record demand for gas in the UK.
The bigger-than-expected profit surge sparked anger from consumer groups.