Centrica set for £1.4bn profits

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British Gas owner Centrica courted more anger over its planned price hikes today by revealing it is set to make profits of £1.4bn this year.

The company, which will increase its energy bills by six per cent tomorrow, said it was on track to meet the City’s expectations for year-on-year growth in earnings.

Analysts also predict around £575m of pre-tax profit from its British Gas residential arm after gas consumption for the first 10 months of 2012 was nine per cent higher because of colder than normal weather.

The group, which makes most of its profit from upstream gas and oil exploration, provides gas and electricity to almost 16 million households.

Its trading update comes after rival SSE yesterday reported a 38 per cent jump in half-year profits to nearly £400m.

Centrica has blamed rising energy bills on the costs of carbon reduction targets and upgrading the UK’s gas and electricity grids.

It also said it experienced a 13 per cent rise in wholesale gas prices for this winter.

The anticipated six per cent profits improvement in residential energy supply has been driven by stronger trading over the first half of the year, with the figure expected to be lower for the second half of the period.