Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has reported a 5% fall in operating profit for 2006 due to the impact of one off costs, the BBC has reported.

<p>Centrica, the largest utility in the UK, reported an operating profit of GBP1.44 billion for fiscal 2006. Despite the disappointing overall result, the company&#0039;s recently troubled residential energy arm British Gas improved profits by GBP5 million to GBP95 million.<br /><br />The residential business had been struggling with loses and is still hemorrhaging customers; one million left in 2006. However, a series of price rises helped it to return to profit in H2 2006. Meanwhile, overall group turnover also increased 22% to GBP16.5 billion.<br /><br />Centrica said that it was looking to maintaining its residential division&#0039;s profitable status in 2007. While the company has recently announced tariff reductions in the wake of falling wholesale prices, the firm said that it would look to achieve a healthy balance between appropriate pricing and profitability.</p>