Centrica, the owner of utility British Gas, posted an increase in its adjusted operating profit last year, supported by a strong trading performance at its energy marketing and trading division as well as cost savings following headcount reductions. Adjusted operating profit rose to 1.52 billion pounds ($1.91 billion) last year, up 4% from the prior year period, according to preliminary results published by the company on Thursday. Adjusted earnings totaled 895 million pounds last year from 863 million pounds in 2015 and adjusted basic earnings per share slipped 2% to 16.8 pence from 17.2 pence, the company said. Revenue fell 3% to 27.1 billion pounds.
The company’s efficiency program resulted in 384 million pounds of cost savings, partially as the company cut 3,400 jobs in 2016, more than planned. It expects to save 250 million pounds from its efficiency program in 2017.
“2016 was a year of robust performance and progress in implementing our customer-focused strategy,” Iain Conn, chief executive of Centrica, said in a statement. “We delivered our key objectives including improved customer service and more innovative offerings and solutions – while re-positioning the portfolio, building capability and driving significant cost efficiencies. 2016 was a busy year for the team, but we have delivered a lot, and Centrica enters 2017 a stronger company.”
The company said that adjusted operating profit more than doubled to 161 million from 66 million pounds in the prior year at its energy marketing and trading unit reflecting strong trading performance, the optimization of flexible gas contracts between 2015 and 2016, and 2016 and 2017, and the initial contribution from its Neas Energy acquisition.