British Gas axes 500 jobs with closure of its loft and cavity wall insulation business
Centrica has about 33,000 staff, majority of whom are employed with British Gas Reuters

British multinational utility firm Centrica has announced that intends to sell 60% of its stake in a joint venture oil and gas exploration and production enterprise to a consortium of firms. The deal is expected to cost £240m ($305m).

The purchasing consortium consists of Hong Kong-based MIE Holdings, private equity group Can-China Global Resource Fund, and Geneva-based commodity trading firm Mercuria Energy Group, according to a Reuters report.

Centrica, a FTSE 100 constituent, owns British Gas, which is a member of the "Big Six" energy firms and is the UK's largest domestic supplier of energy. The Windsor-based group was able to generate a comprehensive net profit of £1.3bn during 2016 after incurring a loss of £1.4bn the year prior.

Centrica's cash flows also jumped by nearly 130% to £2bn in 2016. Its operations are mainly confined to Europe and North America.

MIE Holdings is a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed oil and gas firm. It managed to bring its net loss down by 13% to 1.3 billion renminbi during the 2016 financial year. The entity's operations are mainly focused around China, Kazakhastan, and the US.

Shares of Centrica and MIE Holdings rose by 2.52% and 1.43% respectively during UK morning trading hours.