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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
British Gas owner cuts 850 jobs
Gas ring
Centrica says no engineers will be affected by the cuts
Utility group Centrica has announced 850 job losses at the company's British Gas division.

The UK group said the losses - part of a cost-cutting drive - would mainly affect managerial and support staff.

Centrica said the job cuts would result in an exceptional charge of about 100m ($184.5m) in 2004.

But the group said the cuts would lead to cost savings of more than 90m in 2005. Shares in the firm rose on the news, up 1.1% at 213.75 pence.

'Difficult time'

Centrica said that a total 1,450 positions would be lost, but redeployment and the removal of vacant positions would reduce actual job losses to about 850.

The company said no engineers or other staff dealing with British Gas customers would be affected by the cuts.

Sir Roy Gardner, Centrica's chief executive, said the cuts would enable the company to "invest more time and resources in the delivery of enhanced services to our customers".

He added: "We recognise that this is a difficult time for those involved and we will make every effort to support them through this period of change."

The company also said it would recruit about 300 call centre staff in Manchester, and hire more than 1,000 engineers during the course of this year.

Centrica, which also owns the AA roadside breakdown service, currently employs 39,000 staff in the UK.

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