British Gas owner Centrica has forecast a near eightfold increase in full-year earnings after it benefited from soaring energy prices in 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The UK energy group said on Thursday that it expected to report full-year adjusted earnings per share of more than 30p. Analysts had expected earnings of 22p a share, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Centrica generated earnings of 4p a share and a pre-tax profit of £761mn in 2021.
The company said in November that robust performance from its electricity generation assets, gas from fields in the UK North Sea and its energy trading arm meant full-year profit was likely to be towards the top end of analysts’ expectations.
Analysts at the time forecast that Centrica would deliver earnings per share of between 15.1p and 26p.
Centrica on Thursday predicted closing net cash for 2022 to be above £1bn and said that it had “continued to deliver strong operational performance” since its November 10 trading update.
The company’s shares opened up more than 5 per cent on Thursday morning, and have risen nearly 26 per cent over the past year.
Centrica in November launched a £250mn share buyback, its first since 2014, stoking further controversy over how energy groups are using the proceeds of soaring wholesale gas and power prices.