Centrica shares up on report of bid interest

Fri Jun 6, 2014 3:40am EDT

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LONDON, June 6 (Reuters) - Shares in British utility Centrica, owner of the UK's largest energy supplier British Gas, outperformed blue-chip indexes across Europe on Friday after a press report said it had attracted bid interest from the Middle East.

Centrica declined to comment on the report in the Daily Mail, which cited "gossip" that Qatari investors had approached shareholders with an offer to buy "big lines of stock" prior to launching a full-scale cash bid.

"We don't comment on market rumour and speculation," a Centrica spokesman said.

Centrica's share price was up 1.5 percent, at 335.6 pence, at 0730 GMT, one of the top gainers on the FTSE 100 index and outperforming the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was up 0.1 percent.

Traders cited the report as the reason for the move.

Centrica last month warned 2014 earnings would be lower than expected and said it would put its three biggest gas-fired power plants up for sale, the latest European utility to take a hit from loss-making power stations and a mild winter.

The company's stock is down 3.5 percent year to date. (Reporting by Lionel Laurent and Karolin Schaps in London; Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson in Paris; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Jane Merriman)

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