Centrica Plc (CNA), the largest energy supplier to U.K. households, rose the most in two months in London trading after pledging to return the proceeds of a U.S. divestment to shareholders.
Centrica climbed as much as 2.6 percent to 331.4 pence, the biggest gain since Oct. 15, and was at 331 pence as of 11:01 a.m. local time.
The company’s North American subsidiary, Direct Energy, has agreed to sell gas-fired power stations in Texas to Blackstone Group LP for 420 million pounds ($685 million), Centrica said today in a statement. The Windsor, England-based utility plans to return the proceeds to shareholders by extending its buyback program next year.
Centrica, which has forecast only “modest” profit growth at its British Gas Services unit in 2013, opened a 500 million-pound share-repurchase program earlier this year. The utility said at the end of July that more than 240 million pounds of stock had been bought back so far.
“The continuation of the buyback should be moderately earnings-enhancing,” Angelos Anastasiou, a utilities analyst at Whitman Howard Ltd. in London, said today in a note. “We see this as good news.”
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