British Gas owners profits fall to 992m

British Gas owner Centrica has reported profits of 992m, a day after hiking its gas prices by 35%. The utility giant reported its results for the half-year to June 30 today (July 31).

British Gas owner Centrica has reported profits of £992m, a day after hiking its gas prices by 35%. The utility giant reported its results for the half-year to June 30 today (July 31).

It has reported a 19% drop in operating profit compared to the same period last year, due to surging wholesale prices at British Gas. Meanwhile, its residential arm reported a 69% plunge in profits to £166m, compared to £533m in the first six months of last year.

Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw (pictured) says: “We produced a good set of results in tough market conditions and against a record first half in 2007.”

He adds that the rest of 2008 will be spent “improving customer service” and “driving the inefficiencies out of the business”.

Yesterday, British Gas hiked its gas prices by 35% and its electricity prices by 9%. The company, which has 16 million customers, says it will now be contacting consumers to show how they can save energy “to try and offset these price rises”.

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