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24 Jul 2020 | 08:02

Centrica to sell US business for $3.6bn as first-half profit falls

(Sharecast News) - British Gas owner Centrica said it was selling its US energy business to NRG Energy $3.6bn (£2.87bn) as part of a plan to turn the company around. The sale of Houston-based Direct Energy would allow Centrica to become a "simpler, leaner business" focused on the UK and Ireland, said chief executive Chris O'Shea, adding that the sale would strengthen the company's balance sheet and "remove a source of earnings volatility".

The company, which was dumped from the FTSE 100 index, also on Friday reported a half-year loss of £135m due to the coronavirus pandemic as it took a one-off charge of £1bn, including £251m in restructuring charges and £785m on exploration & production and power assets reflecting a reduction in commodity price forecasts and nuclear plant availability issues.

Earnings before interest and other costs fell by 19% to £869m in the six months to June 30.

More than 100,000 customers left Centrica's home heating brands in the last six months, including 62,000 British Gas customers in the UK.
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