Centrica secures controlling stake in Venture Production

Britain's largest utility group, Centrica has emerged as the winner in its £1.3 billion hostile battle for North Sea gas producer Venture Production.

Centrica declared that it controlled over 50% of the Aberdeen-based company's shares, putting the takeover battle to an end.

Centrica launched the bid in order to boost its gas production and trim down its dependence on the volatile wholesale market.

Centrica wants absolute ownership of the group so that it would be able to implement plans without having to seek approval from other shareholders.

It may be noted here that earlier in 2007, Venture had rejected a 950p offer from Centrica. Recently chairman of Venture had urged shareholders not to sell their shares to Centrica.

At present, Centrica generates around 35% of its energy needs out of its own resources, though this should rise to 45% with its acquisition of a 20% stake in nuclear power firm British energy.

After buying Venture, Centrica now would be able to generate 60% of its energy from its own assets and resources.