Centrica shares dive on profit warning

Harriet Green
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Shares in Centrica have shed well over four per cent this morning, after it slashed its earnings outlook for this year.

The Big Six energy firm now expects full year adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of 22p-23p, with growth returning next year.

The average British Gas residential energy bill was about 10 per cent lower this winter than last, it explained, on the back of milder weather. The extreme cold snap in the US also affected performance.

It added that no change in residential energy prices need be expected this year, with the market competitive and a wholesale price environment.

Chief executive Sam Laidlaw commented on the announcement:

The decisions and actions that management is taking across the Group will leave the business well-placed for the long term.

While earnings are anticipated to fall in 2014, we expect an improvement in 2015, assuming more normal weather conditions and reflecting the prospects for underlying growth in Direct Energy, UK gas storage, British Gas Services and British Gas Business.

Centrica also announced it’ll be strengthening its partnership with Qatar Petroleum International, which’ll be buying 40 per cent of its Canadian natural gas business for 200m Canadian dollars (£108m). The deal will see the business put into the companies’ existing 60:40 venture, the CQ Energy Canada Partnership.

Shares are currently down 3.5 per cent.