Nov 21, 2019

Centrica looks to reassure investors over outflow of energy supply customers

Centrica has sought to reassure investors that growth in other parts of its business was offsetting a continued loss of energy supply customers in the UK, while it said the rate at which customers were abandoning Britain's biggest electricity and gas supplier was also reducing. The owner of British Gas lost a further 107,000 energy supply accounts in the four months to October in the UK, a market where the so-called Big Six electricity and gas providers have struggled for a number of years from fierce competition from smaller start-ups with lower cost bases offering cheap deals to households. Centrica said in a trading update on Thursday that the rate of losses during the four months to October was lower than for the first six months of the year and was "Significantly lower" than in 2018. Centrica said total UK customer accounts rose 136,000 in the four months to October as the growth in other services more than offset the continued decline in supply. For the full year, Centrica expects adjusted operating cash flow to be in the "Lower half" of its targeted £1.8-£2bn range and said on Thursday that it now expects capital investment to be £100m lower than previously indicated, at around £800m. It also expects higher efficiency savings of around £300m, an increase of £50m. Iain Conn, Centrica's chief executive, agreed in July to leave the company next year, after its annual meeting, drawing to an end a turbulent reign in which he tried to reshape the group towards customer-facing businesses such as energy supply and home services.

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