After media reports indicated that the two parties were in talks, Centrica’s shares jumped by 2.2 per cent.
“It would certainly be a good time to pounce on the owner of British Gas as it appears to be in total disarray, with top management running for the exit in recent weeks,” said UK financial analysis website This Is Money.
The parties confirmed that they are discussing expanding Qatari investment in UK power plants as well as further joint investments, but would not comment on the takeover rumours.
UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph has reported that, at an event in London, Qatari energy minister Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada said Qatar and Centrica are “discussing some projects” in the UK energy sector, and have “a lot of common interest and values.”
In late 2013 Centrica signed a $7.4bn, 4.5-year LNG supply deal with Qatar, which is expected to yield up to 3 million tonnes of LNG per year and will meet around 13 per cent of the UK’s annual household gas demand.
Nebras, a company owned by the Qatar Investment Authority and Qatar Electricity and Water Co, says it is investigating opportunities, especially for the construction of gas-fired power plants, in the UK in collaboration with Centrica.
UK energy minister Michael Fallon said, “I welcome the broad and growing Qatar-UK relationship. I hope that Qatar will continue to invest in the UK in all sectors and in all areas,” he said.