British Gas Sees Profit Up 11% To £606m
British Gas has reported a profit increase for the full year of 11% to £606m.
The company said it performed well in the 12 months until December 31, despite a weak economy and energy cost increases.
It said: "This is having a real impact for both residential and business customers and, against this backdrop, it is important that we continue to focus on improving customer service and reducing costs."
British Gas is the UK residential arm of energy giant Centrica.
Overall, group adjusted operating profits rose 14% to £2.7bn, but Centrica, which employs around 40,000 people, said it paid more than £1bn in tax and invested £2.7bn in 2012.
Centrica said the sharp profit increase at British Gas residential came after last year's colder-than-normal weather saw gas use leap 12%, despite a fall in customer accounts.
The company said the number of residential customers dropped 1% in the year to 15.7 million, compared to 15.9 million in 2011.
It said customer "churn" was at its lowest rate ever.
The results are likely to raise questions over the fairness of energy bill increases after British Gas raised tariffs by 6% for around 8.4 million households at the end of last year.
To help thwart criticism the company provided a breakdown of the average customer bill, which it said totalled £1,188 a year.
It said the average wholesale energy cost for a customer was £568, delivery to the home was £283, environmental and social policies £112 and tax of £72.
The company said its own operating costs were £104, leaving a profit of £49.
Chief executive Sam Laidlaw also addressed the issue of corporate tax responsibility, amid the public furore over multinational tax avoidance.
He said: "It's important that Centrica makes a fair and reasonable return so that we can continue to make our contribution to society and invest."
British Gas said the growth of online accounts was 20% last year, with 3.4 million customers using web access.
More than a third of all energy bills are now sent electronically. Some 70% of customers' meter readings are now sent online.
It also revealed that it has struggled to lure new customers to the maintenance arm, British Gas Services, and boiler installation services dropped by 10%.
It said: "The economic impact was seen more clearly in British Gas Business, leading to lower profitability and a reduction in the number of accounts served in a highly competitive market."
On Tuesday Sky's City Editor revealed that the company would announce its ambitions to become a big player in North America and the global energy sector.
He revealed that Mark Hanafin, the executive who runs Centrica Energy, the division focused on exploiting UK and Norwegian gas reserves, will head a new unit focused on broader international upstream effort.
Centrica also confirmed that British Gas' managing director Phil Bentley would leave the company this year.
what do you think?
How do you know - you have not looked at this in relation to turnover
You bet they make profit we are the mugs giving it them - a little like prisoners with no escape - pay or freeze
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rip off britain at its best
How many OAP's died for their profit? Discusting.
Crooks in suits aided and abetted by self-serving gobsmiths who are supposed to be representing their constituents but in practice only serve the needs of the rich.
Now there's a surprise...... Who would have thought it??
He said: "It's important that Centrica makes a fair and reasonable return so that we can continue to make our contribution to society and invest." ...............urine extraction at its best !
Not only OAP's but also thousands of hard working families afraid to heat their homes to an acceptable standard while British Gas gleefully anounce an 11% rise in profits - welcome to 21st century Brittain.
England will be 3rd world soon the cost of living in England in another few years with such low wages is scary
Surprise! surprise. And we were told all these price hikes were as a result of big increases in wholesale prices. Now wait for the next load of thieves, the oil companies results to be published and see how much they have trousered.
Don't forget the water company racket, Dave. Metered water going up 9.3%, unmetered by 4.5%.
Further to Jeffrey's post, because I live in Devon I have no choice but to buy my water from American owned South West Water. I'm on a water meter, and use extremely little water. Their charges to me went up by 19.37% last year, and 29% the year before. I have registered my disgust with them, but surprise surprise, they don'y want to know. Its about time yhe government took all of our utility companies back into public ownership, and stopped us being held to ransome by all of these foreign owned crooks.
B.G. did very well in the milking shed.
Say what you like about Saddam Hussein but when his people complained about profiteering businesses and overcharging for goods he hanged a few profiteers and prices magically fell.
John. A bit extreme but the principal is sound. If the regulator was any good this cartel would have been broken up years ago
What did the witch from Grantham say when she privatised the Nationalised gas ,"It will be cheaper when you create competition and free markets". Look`s like we have it up the backside again.
i would love to know how meny in goverment have shares in these big companys and doing there best to keep the money rolling in as the public get milked more and more.
They'd have still made a profit without putting their prices up same as all the other energy companies - they're ripping us off and the watch dogs who are paid for by us the taxpayer sit back and do nothing
Shirley i am sure the £150 million tax will go a long way to paying for the watch dog and many thousands peoples benefits
Strange how Orange have hidden this story away all day, while its the lead story on this evenings BBC news - Orange big investers in B G maybe ??
As a % of turnover the profit seem reasonable if not a little low But then the ignorant only look as fas as the headline
11% up on last year, pre tax net profit margin of over 10% What other companies are making this return at the moment. Remind me who is ignorant again?
Ignore it, it's a troll.
yes it totaly obscene how come everyone is supposed to be going through a resesion except the energy companys they have made vast profits every year we all have been going through all the cuts it is time the goverment stopped this profeteering people are going with out food to pay there bills yes they sould re nationalise them and water companys as we will be held to ransom more and more stop them now they are living of the backs of the poor
Anyone stopped to think we import gas and increasingly are reliant on Russia. The Baltic states upset Russia so they turned of the electric !!
Well it's all down to greedy, greedy shareholders!