Shares in Centrica were down on the FTSE 100 in morning trading after the energy company said its North American subsidiary, Direct Energy, would be acquiring energy retailer Gateway Energy Services Corporation for $90 million.

Gateway has over 275,000 gas and electricity customer accounts, most of which are concentrated in New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Centrica said that the acquisition would take Direct Energy's customer numbers in the northeast USA to over 800,000.

Chris Weston, CEO and President of Direct Energy, said, "Competitive retail markets in the North Eastern United States provide us with opportunities to grow our North American business. Gateway builds on the progress we've made in North America over the past decade and represents another important step towards our stated goal of doubling the profitability of Direct Energy."

By 11:05 shares in Centrica were down 0.64 per cent on the FTSE 100 to 326.40 pence per share.