Centrica Profit Soars in First Half

Centrica, Britain's largest energy supplier, on Thursday reported a 185% rise in net profit in the first half of 2007, as falling natural gas prices boosted the fortunes of its retail wing, British Gas.

Net profit increased to 788 million pounds ($1.6 billion), from 277 million pounds in the first half of 2006.

Revenue fell to 8.6 billion pounds ($17.5 billion) from 8.7 billion pounds in 2006.

A warm winter and improved supply prompted a fall in wholesale gas prices earlier this year. Centrica's Chairman Roger Carr said that with gas prices nudging upward again, the exceptionally strong performance was unlikely to be repeated in the second half of 2007.

Centrica shares rose 1.1% to 359 pence ($7.29) in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.