Centrica to sell two of its biggest gas-fired power plants to Czech peer EPH for £318 mn

British Gas parent company Centrica has agreed to sell its two biggest gas-fired power plants to EP UK Investments (EPUK) for £318 million, as it looks to become a nimbler energy supplier in a fiercely competitive market.

EPUK's parent company, Energetický a Prumyslový Holding (EPH), a Czech-based integrated utility, operates power stations across central Europe. EPH has been on a significant acquisition spree in recent years, including the acquisitions of the Eggborough and Lynemouth Power stations in the UK, which it was redeveloping.

Centrica's Langage and South Humber power plants, which, between them employed around 130 people, had an installed capacity of 2.3 gigawatts (GW) and held contracts to provide back-up power for the coming four years.

"The transaction is consistent with Centrica's strategy to shift investment towards its customer-facing businesses," Centrica said in a statement.

The news comes only a day after Centrica announced it was permanently closing its Rough gas storage site, the UK's largest.

The company sold its Canadian oil and gas assets two weeks ago, as it sought to move away traditional energy.

Centrica said it wanted to focus on flexible power generation assets. Commentators point out that the company had already invested in fast-response gas peaking plants and a power storage facility.

The purchase built on EPH's existing power plant portfolio in the UK, which consisted of the Eggborough and Lynemouth power stations.

The transaction will need merger clearance by the EU and was is expected to complete during the second half of this year.