Centrica blames political intervention and loss of customers for profits fall

British Gas owner Centrica has blamed political intervention and the loss of energy customers in the UK for helping push annual profits down 17%.

The company's UK business division suffered a whopping 92% fall in adjusted operating profit to just £4 million for the full year to December 31, while its UK home arm managed a 1% rise to £819 million.

It compounded pain caused by a drop in its North American business unit, resulting in a 17% fall in group adjusted operating profits to £1.25 billion, although on a statutory basis, operating profits plunged 80% to £486 million.

Centrica said political meddling in the UK energy market had impacted its performance.

Group chief executive Iain Conn said: "The combination of political and regulatory intervention in the UK energy market, concerns over the loss of energy customers in the UK, and the performance issue in North America have created material uncertainty around Centrica and, although we delivered on our financial targets for the year, this resulted in a very poor shareholder experience.

"We regret this deeply, and I am determined to restore shareholder value and confidence."

The total number of customer accounts at its UK home division slumped 6% to around 20.3 million, while its UK business unit saw a 9% drop to 653,000.

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