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GAS PROFITS ROW British Gas faced calls to cut energy prices further after revealing profits as its residential supply arm surged by nearly a third last year.

The Centrica-owned supplier insisted the PS574m haul - up from PS439m in 2014 - came on the back of increased energy demand rather than profiting from falls in wholesale prices.

British Gas has already cut prices three times since the beginning of 2015, last week becoming one of the last "Big Six" providers to lower tariffs in the recent round of reductions, announcing a 5.1% decrease from March 16.

Wider group underlying earnings at owner Centrica fell 12% to PS1.46bn, while adjusted operating profits dropped 4% to PS863m.

But the British Gas figures re-ignited controversy over prices in the industry, with consumer groups hitting out at the size and timing of cuts.

BAE'S SAUDI BOOST BAE Systems said increased aircraft deliveries to Saudi Arabia boosted last year's results and that higher global defence spending should see earnings rise in 2016.

The defence and aerospace giant posted an 8% rise in overall group sales to PS17.9bn, but saw underlying earnings fall 1% to PS1.68bn due to previously reported slow sales of its Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets.

Its bullish outlook comes as welcome cheer after BAE warned in November that 2015 results would be hit by the move to slow jet production, while it also announced up to 371 jobs were being axed.

BAE now expects recovering defence budgets around the world to see its earnings per share rise by between 5% and 10% in 2016.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 19, 2016
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