Centrica Shares Suffer Biggest One-Day Fall Ever on Profit Warning -- Update

By Adria Calatayud Features Dow Jones Newswires

(Adds share movement and further details on earnings.)

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Shares in British utility company Centrica PLC (CNA.LN) suffered their biggest intraday drop ever on Thursday, falling by more than 16% after the company issued a profit warning for 2017.

The owner of British Gas expects full-year adjusted earnings per share of around 12.5 pence, below market consensus it said. This compares with adjusted EPS of 16.8 pence last year.

Lower-than-expected adjusted operating profits in both its North America and U.K. operations have affected the company's performance in the second half, it said, as has the unusually warm weather both regions experienced in October and November.

The reduced earnings forecast also reflects a one-off, non-cash charge of 46 million pounds ($61.1 million) in its North America business unit, Centrica added. Centrica estimates that this one-off charge--related to a reassessment of the historic recognition of unbilled power revenue--will have an impact of 0.8 pence a share in 2017.

Shares in Centrica were down 26.70 pence, or 16%, to 136.60 pence at 0939 GMT, topping the list of FTSE 100 losers.

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"Earnings guidance has been slashed with management now guiding earnings per share at 12.5 pence for 2017, significantly below the 15-pence consensus--which was already pretty low--before today's update. The stock's fall is pretty much in line with the 16% drop in EPS guidance," ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson wrote in a note.

Centrica said that the second-half performance of its businesses segment was disappointing. The retail power book of its North America business unit faced market pressures, while improved operational performance in the U.K. hasn't translated in higher earnings as was expected.

"Although some aspects of our delivery in the second half of 2017 have been disappointing, I remain encouraged by our progress in implementing our strategy," Centrica Chief Executive Iain Conn said.

As Centrica continues its restructuring program, it said that it is on track to achieve its 2017 targets. Centrica raised its full-year efficiency-savings objective to GBP300 million from GBP250 million, and backed the rest of its 2017 targets for operating cash flow, investments and net debt.

In the company's consumer segment, energy-supply accounts have fallen due to its focus on customer value, it said, adding that trading conditions continue to be highly competitive.

Write to Adria Calatayud at adria.calatayudvaello@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 23, 2017 05:39 ET (10:39 GMT)