Jul 31, 2019

Conn’s strategy given cold shoulder by Centrica investors

Centrica chief executive Iain Conn has rarely been accused of lacking self-belief. Even with shares down more than 70 per cent since he took the helm four-and-a-half years ago, and the biggest ever dividend cut announced on Tuesday - alongside his own departure - Mr Conn doubled down on the view that his strategy was correct. Mr Conn said Centrica now only expects revenue of £150m-£200m by 2022 from the Connected Home division and has decided to stop selling its devices in North America and Italy to concentrate on the UK. The departing CEO said the company realised it did not have the same brand recognition and fleet of engineers able to install devices elsewhere. Investors acknowledge Mr Conn took the top job at time of significant structural change in power markets and some factors have been outside of his control - for instance the introduction this year of a price cap on the majority of UK household energy bills. Mr Conn expressed regret for slashing the dividend, which came after a difficult six months marred by unplanned outages at UK nuclear power plants in which Centrica holds stakes, volatile commodity prices and the impact of the price cap.

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