Qatar Lessons
British Gas who are now significantly more than a gas company, reported a 24% jump in profits to a record £742m for 2010. It would be too easy to put this down to a cold winter and high fuel prices given the diversity of their business. Meanwhile, operating profits at its parent company, Centrica, rose 29% to £2.3bn, also a record; Centrica has also signed a three-year deal with Qatargas to supply the UK with 2.4m tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas, in a deal worth £2bn.
Banks Repairing Balance Sheets
As mentioned previously in this blog Lloyds reported a pre-tax profit of £2.21bn for 2010 compared to a £6.3bn loss the year before, its first profit since it was bailed out by the government in 2009. Other banks have announced their results too and all seem to be making considerable improvements and getting their houses in order. HSBC also saw a positive return for 2010, as it announced a pretax profit of £12bn, almost double the previous year. Meanwhile RBS reported a net loss of £1.1bn in 2010, compared to a loss of £3.6bn in 2009. You can watch Stephen Hester Group CEO discuss the improvements being made by clicking here. Barclays has agreed to purchase 1.2 m U.K. accounts from Egg credit card that is owned by Citigroup, in a deal valued at £2.3bn, as the New York based bank seeks to repay bailout monies from the US government.
Transport – Ready to Go
Cargo and freight also hit the news with Boeing winning a contract from the US Air Force, to replace its fleet of refuelling planes, in a deal worth £22bn; this follows a long dispute with EADS who had originally won the contract.

Other cargo news was that despite a fall in trade and shipping in 2009, AP Moller-Maersk reported its best results ever with net profit of £3.19bn for 2010 against a loss £623m the year before; the Danish shipping container firm warned however that profits for 2011 will not be as good due to uncertain freight rates and the price of oil.
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