Centrica builds its energy retailing operations in North America

Centrica plc announced today that it will assume full ownership and management control of Energy America LLC, the energy retailing joint venture that sells gas and electricity to around 400,000 residential and small business customers in the USA. Centrica will acquire the outstanding 72.5 per cent stake of former partner Sempra Energy, for a consideration of approximately $56m (£38.62m) in cash.

The agreement follows Centrica's acquisition of Direct Energy Marketing Limited in August this year, which included a 27.5 per cent interest in Energy America.

The acquisition of Sempra Energy's shareholding in Energy America gives Centrica full ownership of the customer base, giving a platform for development into the US market. It also creates an opportunity to integrate the company into Direct Energy's Toronto operations, together with its associated energy resources division in Calgary.

These changes will help reinforce Centrica's position as the largest unregulated energy sales operation in North America. The offer is subject to the approval of relevant regulatory authorities.

Energy America sells gas and electricity to customers in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia and is one of the largest and most successful unregulated retailers in the USA.

Roy Gardner, Chief Executive, of Centrica said; "This is an important milestone in our plans to offer a compelling energy proposition, superior service, and customer choice to a rapidly increasing number of US households. We aim to build on the excellent start Energy America has made over the last two years."