Centrica is raising £2.2bn from existing shareholders in order to fund the acquisition of a 25 per cent stake in British Energy.

The Windsor-based company announced an underwritten Rights Issue for 1.4 billion new shares on the basis of three new shares issued for every eight.

The shares are priced at 160 pence and represent a 39.9 per cent discount to the ex-rights price of 266 pence. The total net proceeds of the Rights Issue, after aggregate costs and expenses, are estimated to be around £2.2bn.

According to the company, all its major investors will accept the offer and the Rights Issue is expected to strengthen the company’s position against market fluctuations.

Roger Carr, chairman of Centrica, said: ‘Assuming we reach agreement with EDF regarding Centrica acquiring a 25 per cent interest in British Energy, the proceeds of the Rights Issue will be directed towards this opportunity, with the balance of the consideration being funded with additional debt and, possibly, asset sales.

‘We have also released our interim management statement. Overall, Centrica continues to trade in line with expectations.’