The company logo is displayed on a fleet of engineers' vans at the British Gas Energy Academy

Individual investors should continue to hold shares in FTSE utility Centrica but need to be mindful of the growing risks following a cut in the company’s final dividend, brokers said.

Shares in the company are widely held by retail investors as it had its origins in the 1986 privatisation of British Gas, the biggest-ever state sell-off in the UK.

“The dividend was cut by more than expected, but even so, if it’s maintained at this level then the shares are a good hold for income investors,” said Ian Forrest, an analyst at The Share Centre.

However, Killik said Centrica was “not a stock we would be chasing at these levels”.

“The prospective dividend yield is now pretty much in line with European and UK utilities but with higher levels of risk,” said Nicolas Ziegelasch, head of equity research.

Mr Forrest agreed that the share price was unlikely to rise in the short term. “The election is coming up and energy prices are a political issue at the moment,” he cautioned, adding that investors are also awaiting the conclusions of a strategic review within the company.

Lower oil and gas prices combined with warm weather to reduce revenues, profits and cash flow in 2014. Centrica shares fell over 8 per cent on Thursday and are down 20 per cent over the past year.

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