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Equilibrium's finance and investment news roundup

Our roundup this week includes an electricity prices hike by British Gas, a return to profit for BP, a new wholesale deal penned between Morrisons and convenience store chain McColl's, and a reminder to consumers that the deadline for using the old £1 coin is drawing closer.

British Gas announces electricity prices rise

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has announced that the company will increase electricity prices in September. More than three million customers will be affected when the prices climb by 12.5% from the 15th of the month.

Transmission and distribution costs, as well as the costs of "government policy" have been cited as the main reasons for the increase. While gas prices will be unchanged, the average annual dual-fuel bill on a standard tariff will likely rise by 7.3% to £1,120.

Mark Hodges, Head of Centrica Consumer, said: "We held off increasing prices for many months longer than most suppliers in order to protect our customers from rising costs, so it is a difficult decision to have to announce an increase in electricity prices."

BP returns to profit in Q2

BP returned to the black in the second quarter of 2017, with net profit climbing to $144 million (£109 million) for the three months to the end of June. This compared with a loss after tax of $1.4 billion for the same time period last year.

The energy giant attributed the uplift to lower charges associated with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster of 2010, as well as a firming of oil prices.

BP is now gearing up to launch seven oil and gas projects in 2017, more than any it has launched in a single year previously.

Morrisons strikes McColl's wholesale deal

Morrisons has signed a deal with McColl's to supply its newsagents and convenience stores throughout the UK. The agreement will start from January next year and should take the supermarket's wholesale sales to more than £1 billion in "due course".

McColl's 1,300 convenience stores and 350 newsagents will stock a mix of national brands and Safeway products - a brand resurrected by Morrisons in 2016.

David Potts, Chief Executive of Morrisons, said: "We are very pleased to partner with McColl’s and look forward to developing a long and successful relationship together. We are also pleased to be reviving the Safeway brand, which we know customers will enjoy."

Consumers reminded of old £1 coin deadline

Shoppers have been reminded that the deadline for using their old £1 coins is looming. The Treasury has explained that "the clock is ticking" as consumers have less than three months until shops can refuse the old version of the coin.

While most banks and Post Office counters will continue to accept the old version of the coin, people have been urged to spend, bank or donate the coin before October 15 following the launch of the new 12-sided coin in March.

Andrew Jones, Exchequer to the Treasury, also urged businesses to update their systems before the old £1 coin is no longer accepted as legal tender.

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