Centrica has agreed to buy Neas Energy for DKK1.6bn (£170m) in cash plus adjustments for cash and net working capital.

The acquisition is in line with Centrica’s strategy to expand its route to market services in Europe, and to continue to utilise and build its knowledge of European energy markets in order to benefit from trading and optimisation activity.

Based in Aalborg, Denmark, Neas has a business model that is complementary to Centrica’s current Energy Marketing & Trading activities, providing expertise in short-term power trading and asset management in North West Europe, with Centrica’s existing expertise focused on longer-term gas and power trading in the UK and Europe.

The transaction also adds enhanced analytics, IT and trading capabilities in Continental Europe.

Neas provides customers with route to market and short-term trading optimisation services in six European countries. Combined, these customers own 2,500 individual decentralised assets, including windfarms, solar plants and combined heat and power (CHP) plants, with an installed capacity of approximately 8,600MW.

In addition, Neas provides risk management, supply management and consumption optimisation for wholesale electricity customers and smaller suppliers who do not have trading capabilities of their own. It has also established a short-term trading presence in power, gas and environmental certificates across 18 countries.

Neas reported a turnover of DKK20.4 billion (£2.2 billion) and EBITDA of DKK198 million (£21 million) in 2015.

Centrica CEO Iain Conn said: "I am delighted to welcome Neas to Centrica. Our new strategy recognises that the energy landscape is rapidly changing, with a trend away from large centralised power generation to decentralised technologies – much of it intermittent renewable generation.

"Neas has developed a business model and capabilities that are able to capitalise on this trend and, combined with Centrica’s existing strengths, this acquisition will allow us to accelerate our energy marketing and trading growth strategy and serve renewable and distributed energy customers at a wholesale level across Europe."

Neas Energy CEO Bo Rydahl sad: "In our efforts to grow and expand Neas’ activities in markets where competition is increasing, economies of scale will be essential to success.

"Becoming part of Centrica will provide opportunities to grow the scale of our existing business activities further and enter new markets. Neas will be Centrica’s spearhead for the growth of energy marketing and trading activities on the European continent."