British energy group Centrica’s net profits rose almost sevenfold to nearly £1.4bn in the first half of 2010 as Britain’s coldest winter in decades caused a spike in gas demand.

This compared with a net profit of £202m for the first six months of 2009, the company said in an earnings statement.

“Overall, we expect the full year results for 2010 to be heavily weighted towards the first half of the year, and in line with current market earnings consensus, subject to the usual variables of weather patterns and commodity price movements,” the company said in a statement.