Centrica says price cuts 'unlikely'

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British Gas parent company Centrica has said that price cuts over the rest of the year are "unlikely" - as wholesale prices for the coming winter are high.

The company has so far cut prices twice this year, as wholesale prices tumbled during the early months of 2007.

"If we look forward with the price curve as it is today I would say further price cuts are unlikely," the group's chief executive Sam Laidlaw said, as he announced first half results.

Centrica saw its profits reach £1.25 billion, up from £692 million last year. The majority of its improvement came as a result of the good performance of its British Gas arm, which made a profit of £533 million compared to a loss of £143 million over the same period last year.

British Gas managed these returns despite the fact that it continued to lose customers over the first half of the year.

But the group cautioned that performance in the second half would not be as good.

"The wholesale commodity market remains the key uncertainty and current forward prices for the coming winter are high. It is therefore clear that the very strong results of the first half will not be repeated in the second, where more sustainable profitability is likely to be achieved," Mr Laidlaw commented.

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