Centrica of UK Posts 2012 Results

Centrica of UK Posts 2012 Results

Centrica of UK posted its results for the year ended 31 December 2012.


  • Operating profit from continuing operations: £2,625m (2011: £1,414m)
  • Profit from continuing operations before taxation: £2,442m (2011: £1,268m)
  • Earnings: £1,273m (2011: £421m)
  • Basic earnings per ordinary share: 24.6p (2011: 8.2p)
  • Earnings include £481m of exceptional charges relating to provisions for North American wind power purchase agreements, restructuring charges, an impairment relating to our decision not to proceed with nuclear new build and a restriction on the rate of tax relief on UK oil and gas decommissioning costs.

“We have taken the lead during 2012 in helping more households save energy and supporting the people who need the most help. It’s important that Centrica makes a fair and reasonable return so that we can continue to make our contribution to society and to invest. Last year we incurred a tax charge of over £1 billion and invested over £2 billion to secure new sources of energy for the UK, well in excess of our profits,” says Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive.

Sir Roger Carr, Centrica’s Chairman said: “It is now three years since we defined our strategic objectives to build a more sustainable, vertically integrated, cost effective and customer focused business, with meaningful geographic diversity. We were clear that to achieve this objective we would need to grow British Gas, acquire upstream assets on value creative terms and expand the scale of our North American activity.

“I am pleased to confirm that in 2012 we demonstrated, through strong operational performance and acquisition, our considerable progress in achieving these strategic goals.

“In the UK the year brought many challenges, with periods of colder weather compared to the very mild conditions of 2011 contributing to higher energy bills, and with material changes in the regulatory environment. The management team dealt with all of the turbulence with great professionalism and commitment.

“British Gas took the lead in simplifying tariffs and implemented changes consistent with Ofgem’s proposals for retail market reform. In parallel we continued to innovate with smart metering, to help consumers manage their energy usage, and to support customers with free insulation to reduce their consumption.

“A relentless focus on cost management helped British Gas implement the lowest tariff increase of all the major energy suppliers, necessitated by higher wholesale energy costs, Government driven green energy costs and the imposition of additional infrastructure charges. Nevertheless, the very real concerns of hard pressed consumers, fuelled by external commentary, has impacted public trust in the industry and in British Gas as the nation’s largest energy supplier in particular.

“Centrica is one of the UK’s most important companies, employing around 40,000 people, keeping homes warm and well lit, securing future energy supplies, innovating and investing and paying substantial amounts of tax to the Treasury each year. We also have over 700,000 individual shareholders, all of whom benefit from the dividends the Company pays. Through our larger shareholders, many of them pension funds, our dividends also feed into the retirement savings of millions of people. It is important therefore that the Group continues to grow and invest. The 5% increase in adjusted earnings we achieved in 2012 enabled us to invest more and to continue to grow our dividend in real terms. The importance of winning recognition for our contribution to the UK economy and building public trust continue to be priority items on our agenda.

“Upstream we invested around £2 billion in helping secure gas supplies for the UK. In parallel we achieved first power from our Lincs offshore wind farm and worked with our partners in extending the life of our existing nuclear fleet. We took the decision not to participate in new nuclear construction with EDF due to higher anticipated costs and a lengthened construction schedule. This will enable us to return some of the capital we had raised for this purpose through a £500 million share repurchase programme.

“In North America, a carefully executed strategy of operational efficiencies, organic growth and customer acquisition helped us to further expand our business – and we are well on the way to doubling profitability since 2009. With a change in the centre of gravity in our North American activities we moved the corporate headquarters from Toronto to Houston and our ambition to further extend our role in this market remains a strategic priority. The impact of shale gas in North America cannot be overstated and whilst its immediate effect has been to lower wholesale gas prices in the US market, there is no doubt it will influence global energy markets over time.

“Our strategic vision is to be the leading integrated energy company, with customers at our core. The way in which we achieve this must reflect the changes in markets and sources of supply together with a constant assessment of costs and return for shareholders.

“Our aim in 2013 and beyond will be to focus on three strategic priorities – innovate to drive growth and service excellence, integrate our natural gas business, linked to our core markets, and increase our returns through efficiency and continued capital discipline.

“We will achieve these goals by differentiating our UK business through our systems and innovation to provide a competitive edge and investing upstream for value, while maintaining our structural hedge. In North America we will grow our customer base and service business and seek to enhance our midstream and upstream position by acquisition, when strategic fit and returns are attractive.

“We believe that under the leadership of Sam Laidlaw we have developed a strong platform on which we can build a rewarding future for both customers and shareholders. This has been achieved with the considerable commitment of the management team and the skills and enthusiastic support of colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The period ahead will bring new challenges. In order to ensure the organisation of our management team is appropriate for the task ahead, with effect from 1 July 2013 the Group will migrate from a regional structure to an international functional structure. Chris Weston will assume responsibility for downstream operations and Mark Hanafin will assume responsibility for upstream operations across the Group.

“After a successful career spanning 12 years with Centrica, Phil Bentley will be stepping down from his role as Managing Director of British Gas, and Board member of Centrica, on 30 June 2013 and will leave the Company by 31 December 2013.

“Phil Bentley has made a substantial contribution to the development of the business, initially as Finance Director and for the last six years as Managing Director of British Gas.

“In his most recent role he has been instrumental in restructuring, reinvigorating and materially improving the performance of the business by raising customer service, lowering costs and increasing productivity. As Chairman, and on behalf of the Board, I thank him for all that he has achieved and wish him every success for the future.

“I am confident that the bench strength we enjoy, the mindset we have, the new management structure and business model we have created will continue to deliver strong cashflows, enabling us to invest in customer service, supply security and shareholder reward.”

LNG World News Staff, February 27, 2013