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Centrica snaps up US energy firm

Centrica has agreed to buy a New York-based energy retailer as part of its strategy of strengthening its North American arm.

The group's Direct Energy business has agreed to pay £55m in cash, including £8m of tax assets, plus additional working capital for Gateway Energy Services Corporation, the British Gas owner said yesterday. Gateway brings more than 275,000 gas and electricity customer accounts, mostly in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York state. "Gateway builds on the progress we've made in North America over the past decade," Direct Energy's chief executive, Chris Weston, said.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory clearances and approval by Gateway Energy Services shareholders, is expected to close in early May.