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Centrica has a number of growth businesses, and part of our corporate strategy is to increase the size and profitability of the group through organic growth and acquisition in these areas.

One of the growth businesses is our North American subsidiary Direct Energy, which in June 2008 completed the acquisition of Strategic Energy for US$300 million (£151 million).

Strategic Energy is one of the United States' largest competitive electricity suppliers to the commercial and industrial (C&I) market with over 26,000 customers across 11 states with revenues of some $2 billion and sales of 21TWh. The merger with Direct Energy's existing C&I business has created a business supplying almost 55TWh of electricity and gas, making it a top three supplier of energy to the C&I market in North America.

What has emerged repeatedly during the integration planning is how well the Strategic Energy and Direct Energy businesses complement each other. In addition to having very complementary geographic footprints and customer segments, we have similar values and management philosophies. The combination will enable us to achieve scale benefits and accelerate our growth plans – and become the “best in the business”.

The information disclosed in the "Case Studies" section of the Centrica plc website does not form part of the 2008 Annual Report and Accounts of Centrica plc.

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