Mixed blessing for Centrica’s £2.8bn profits

Scottish Gas owner Centrica unveils full-year results on Thursday as it faces renewed political pressure over energy bills and the threat of the supplier being broken up.

Bill Kelly shut ScottishPowers facility at Cockenzie, East Lothian, last year. Picture: Alex Hewitt

Figures showing that profits likely topped £2.8 billion are unlikely to go down well with hard-pressed consumers.

But politicians tempted to intervene with anti-business rhetoric should be reminded of the need to replace Britain’s ageing electricity infrastructure when ScottishPower-parent Iberdrola reveals plans to invest billions of pounds in the UK.

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Meanwhile the City’s cottage industry of interest rate forecasters will be kept busy with figures on unemployment and inflation, as well as minutes of the Bank of England’s last policy meeting which are likely to be as nebulous as its latest guidance.


• House prices – Rightmove’s monthly figures are expected to confirm the upward trend.


• Inflation – The consumer prices index (CPI) could slip below the bank of England’s central target of 2 per cent.

• Wood Group – The City will be seeking further guidance on the firm’s engineering division after it warned profits would be lower in 2014.


• MPC minutes – Details of the monetary policy commission’s last meeting will be scoured for clues about its rather fuzzy forward guidance. Thursday

• Asda – Results from US parent Wal-Mart will show how the supermarket fared in what it has already acknowledged was a challenging year, after rivals saw sales slip.

• Centrica – Full-year results should show moderate profit growth, to around £2.8 billion.


• Public finances – January figures last before the Budget.