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Centrica to cut 4,000 jobs as it loses customers

Sky News logo Sky News 22/02/2018
File photo dated 08/02/07 of a gas hob with a bill from British Gas, whose owner Centrica has blamed "significantly reduced profit" in its UK business for pushing group operating profits down 17\% to £1.25 billion. © PA File photo dated 08/02/07 of a gas hob with a bill from British Gas, whose owner Centrica has blamed "significantly reduced profit" in its UK business for pushing group operating profits down 17\% to £1.25 billion.

British Gas owner Centrica says it will shed 4,000 jobs by 2020 as it announces a big fall in operating profit.

The group said that it was chasing savings of £1.25bn per year by 2020 and that this would likely see a "reduction in like-for-like headcount of around 4,000" by the same year.

Some 65% of of the savings will be in operating costs and around £350m will be in the consumer division, which will see "further digitisation".

There will be a further 1,000 roles created by 2020 across three departments, however.

The announcement came as the firm reported its full-year results to 31 December, which revealed a 17% fall in group adjusted operating profits to £1.25bn

Centrica Chief Executive Iain Conn at the annual conference of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday November 9, 2015. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire © PA Centrica Chief Executive Iain Conn at the annual conference of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday November 9, 2015. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire Centrica's group chief executive Iain Conn described the firm's financial results in the second half of last year as "weak", also saying that political intervention in the UK energy market was a major factor.

Mr 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."

In its results report, Centrica said: "We believe that price controls in competitive energy markets are not good for customers and evidence shows that where they have been introduced in other markets have led to reduced competition, less choice, and prices that tend to cluster around the cap."

Between 2016 and 2017, Centrica lost some 10% of its UK home energy customers, going from 14.2 million to 12.8 million.

Warmer than normal weather was also blamed for the loss in energy supply accounts.

Meanwhile, the company's UK business division saw profits plunge by 92% in adjusted operating profit to just £4m for the year to 31 December.

Its UK home branch only managed a 1% rise to £819m, while its North American business unit also saw a drop in profits.

Commenting on the overall results, Mr Conn said: "We regret this deeply and I am determined to restore shareholder value and confidence.

"We are committed to delivering attractive returns and growth over the medium term.

"Our focus today is on performance delivery and financial discipline - on demonstrating top-line growth as we deliver improved service and new propositions for our customers, and driving efficiency as hard as possible to underpin our competitiveness."

Centrica shares were up 2.5% in early trading.

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