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Prolonged Cold Winter Boosts British Gas Owner Centrica PLC

The shares of Centrica (LSE: CNA) (NASDAQOTH: CPYYY.US) climbed 1% to 390p early this afternoon after the owner of British Gas revealed a 14% increase in revenue to £13.7bn for the first half of the year.

However, the company’s profits were suppressed by higher environmental and input costs at British Gas Residential, combined with higher tax rates. Adjusted earnings climbed just 2% to £767m.

In news that will undoubtedly cheer income investors, Centrica announced a 6% hike in its interim dividend to 4.92 pence per share. This means that based on today’s price, Centrica’s shares offer a trailing dividend yield of 4.2%.

Sam Laidlaw, Centrica chief executive commented:

“With our customers using more gas to stay warm during the unusually cold winter, we’re doing everything we can to help them keep their energy costs under control and make bills simpler and clearer. We are also delivering for our shareholders, enabling us to continue to grow the business and invest to secure energy supplies for the future.”

With a market cap of £20bn, Centrica’s shares trade at 13 times their expected earnings for this year.

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> Mark does not own any share mentioned in this article.