CENTRICA blamed uncertainty in the Middle East and the Japanese earthquake for falling profits as it unveiled half-year profits fell to £1.3bn from £2.4bn the previous year.
The energy group, which owns British Gas and the National Grid, said prices had been pushed up by increased demand for imported gas after the closure of the Japanese nuclear power plants and unrest in North Africa stopping Libya from exporting gas.
Chief executive Sam Laidlaw said: ‘There has been a huge increase in worldwide gas prices. We are making a 6.5pc margin in a business that needs a huge amount of capital going forward.’
But rather than pass the profits onto the consumer, he said the money would be invested in renewing the country’s energy plants in line with the government’s energy white paper earlier this month.