Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Sunday, 24 August 2008 12:39 UK

BE backer 'proposes Centrica tie'

Nuclear power plant at Dungeness
British Energy is seeking massive investment to build new reactors

British Energy's biggest investor, Invesco, has called for the nuclear power generator to merge with British Gas owner Centrica, it is reported.

Neil Woodford, investment head at Invesco, which has a 15% stake in British Energy, said merger was the way forward for the two energy firms.

"Together they can work out a joint venture with EDF to build nuclear sites," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

British Energy would not comment on the report.

In early August Centrica, the owner of British Gas, said it may consider a merger with BE.

Centrica also said then that it was talking to an unnamed third party about taking a minority stake in British Energy if that firm bought the nuclear operator.

French power group EDF had been poised to buy British Energy for 12bn ($22.4bn) but the deal stalled at the last minute because of disagreement over the price.

As well as its stake in British Energy which is worth about 1.5bn, Invesco also owns 5% of Centrica,

A takeover of British Energy, which is 35%-owned by the government, has been viewed as the best way of supporting the UK's plans to build a new generation of nuclear plants over the next 20 years.

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