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Future of British Business

Profit Bonanza at UK Energy Giants Draws Fire as Bills Soar

Royal Dutch Shell Plc Pernis Oil Refinery Ahead of Earnings
Photographer: Peter Boer/Bloomberg

A jump in profits at two of the UK’s biggest energy companies, Shell Plc and Centrica Plc, is drawing criticism as soaring energy costs threaten to leave many households unable to pay their bills.

The companies made big gains in the first half as a direct result of rising wholesale prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Investors shared in the windfall as record earnings allowed Shell to accelerate buybacks, while Centrica resumed dividends after a sixfold increase in operating profit.