May 13, 2019

British Gas parent Centrica warns of ‘challenging’ 2019 start

Centrica has warned a new cap on household energy bills in Britain, plus other factors such as warmer weather and weak commodity prices, will hit its financial performance in the first half as it lost a further 234,000 customer accounts in the UK in the first four months of the year. While the group has maintained full-year targets for 2019, set out in February, Centrica warned on Monday that these recent challenges "Will impact financial performance in the first half of 2019 and have also put some further pressure on the outlook for the full year". Mr Conn said in a statement on Monday that in the meantime, the company continues "To focus on those things we can control and as a result we expect to achieve our 2019 cash flow and net debt targets, while we are making further progress on cost efficiency delivery and on demonstrating margin capture capability". Having joined Centrica from BP in January 2015, Mr Conn has shifted the company's strategy to focus on customer-facing services but analysts are yet to be convinced that services such as its Hive products - which range from smart thermostats that can be controlled via a mobile phone to security cameras - can replace income lost from its core energy supply business. Centrica shares have lost more than 66 per cent since Mr Conn took office on January 1 2015.

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