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Centrica postpones investor event to focus on commodity price crisis


November capital markets day postponed

Supporting customers, driving regulatory change

'Well hedged, strong balance sheet'

UK utility Centrica has postponed a capital markets event in November because of the current energy price crisis, it said in a statement on the London Stock Exchange Oct. 13.

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Underlining its prudent hedging strategy and strong balance sheet, nevertheless the company said it was taken up with dealing with the immediate situation.

"In this current unprecedented commodity price environment we remain focused on looking after our residential and business customers, whilst working as part of wider industry efforts in the UK to support the customers of failed suppliers and drive the regulatory reforms which are urgently required to make sure this situation never recurs," said Centrica Group Chief Executive Chris O'Shea.

This meant postponing a Capital Markets Event planned for Nov. 16, he said.

Company performance since interim results in July had been in line with expectations "and as a responsible energy supplier built on a sustainable model, the Group is well hedged for the coming winter and beyond," Centrica said.

Its balance sheet remained strong and the group's transformation remained on track, it said.

Efficient hedging and good access to capital should ensure Centrica, EDF Energy, E.ON UK and Scottish Power ride out the UK's energy supplier crisis, S&P Global Ratings said Sept. 30.

A dozen small suppliers have failed this year, triggering regulator Ofgem's Supplier of Last Resort mechanism, providing a safety net for around two million customers taken on by large and mid-size players.

Many of these customers are on the price-capped default tariff and are loss-making for their new suppliers, despite a 12% hike this winter in the tariff rate.

Centrica owns the British Gas brand and is the UK's largest supplier with a 26.6% retail gas market share.

S&P Global Platts assessed the price of UK NBP month-ahead gas at 219.47 pence per therm Oct. 12, down from a high of 298.60 p/th Oct. 5.