View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a883212
Centrica bucks falling FTSE despite dividend cut
British Gas owner rises to top of falling FTSE 100 as investors welcome cost-cutting plans and shrug off dividend dip.
Centrica has risen to the top of a falling FTSE 100 as investors welcomed the British Gas owner's cost-cutting plans and shrugged off a cut to the dividend.
Centrica (CNA) was the biggest riser on the index, up 4% at 201.8p, as the FTSE 100 fell 33 points, or 0.5%, to 5,997. The utility company reported a 4% fall in earnings and said it would reduce investment in its oil and gas exploration and production unit to £500 million, from £700 million last year.
Centrica has proposed a 8.34p final dividend payment for 2015, up slightly from 2014's 8.4p final dividend but resulting in a full-year payment of 12p, down from 13.5p in 2014. That 13.5p payment was itself a cut from 2013's 17p full-year dividend, as Centrica battled against energy price falls.
The latest cut to the dividend is in line with guidance and Centrica said the payment was now covered 1.4 times. 'We remain confident we can deliver at least 3-5% per annum operating cash flow growth at flat real commodity prices and are committed to delivering a progressive dividend in line with the sustainable operating cash flow growth of the group,' said chief executive Ian Conn.
Jefferies analyst Peter Atherton retained his 'buy' rating on the stock following the news. 'The key takeaway from the 2015 results is that the dividend will remain covered by operating cash flow even at current low commodity prices,' he said.
'The main threat to this remains the outcome of the ongoing Competition and Markets Authority energy market investigation, with provisional results in March 2016.'
Steve Clayton, head of equity research at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the results were 'reassuring in the circumstances'. 'The turnaround plan is designed to improve returns on capital employed and cash flow and make the group less susceptible to volatile commodity prices,' he said.
'Investment in the upstream business will be significantly cut back, non-core assets will be sold, costs will be slashed, and Centrica will refocus on its downstream customer-facing operations.'
The FTSE 100 was weighed down by miners, which gave up some of their gains from a breakneck rally over the last month.
Shell (RDSb) was also a faller, down 2.2% at £16.00 as the stock went ex-dividend.
News sponsored by:
Making the most out of Europe's potential means seeing things differently. Learn more about how BlackRock's focused approach to investing in Europe helps investors unlock the continent's vast potential.
In this guide to investment trusts, produced in association with Aberdeen Asset Management, we spoke to many of the leading experts in the field to find out more.
More about this:
Look up the shares
- Centrica PLC (CNA.L)
- Anglo American PLC (AAL.L)
- Rio Tinto PLC (RIO.L)
- Glencore PLC (GLEN.L)
- Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSb.L)
Tools from Citywire Money
From the Forums+ Start a new discussion
Weekly email from The Lolly
Get simple, easy ways to make more from your money. Just enter your email address below
An error occured while subscribing your email. Please try again later.
Thank you for registering for your weekly newsletter from The Lolly.
Keep an eye out for us in your inbox, and please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your safe senders list so we don't get junked.
by Daniel Grote on Mar 28, 2017 at 16:45