Oil and gas production boosts Centrica’s profits

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Profits at Centrica’s oil and gas production unit rose by a fifth last year, helping the owner of Scottish Gas to today post a 14 per cent rise in operating profits to £2.7 billion.

The FTSE 100 utilities giant, which took over Aberdeen-based driller Venture Production in 2009, reported a 20 per cent rise in profits at its gas unit to £919 million, which reflected “higher production volumes and higher achieved prices”.

Total production of gas and liquids increased by 18 per cent to the equivalent of 56.7 million barrels.

Angelos Anastasiou, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, said: “Centrica’s dividend policy is for ‘real growth’, and the full year dividend is 16.4p, up 6.5 per cent, which was slightly ahead of our estimate of 16.6p, but in line with market expectations.

“This leads to a final dividend of 11.78p – yields 3.4 per cent in its own right – but it does not go ex-dividend until 24 April.”