UK power utility Centrica has hit the top of the FTSE 100 leader board as takeover speculation sent its share price soaring.

Shares in the parent company of British Gas have increased in value by up to 8% during a fevered period of trading inspired by the new speculation. Scandinavian energy outfit Norsk Hydro leads predictions regarding a potential buyer, with Shell and Gaz de France also mentioned in reports by Bloomberg. Gazprom is being touted as an outsider.

Centrica has attempted to dampen the fervor by denying that a deal is on the cards, however the market appears not to be listening as more than GBP240 million worth of Centrica shares have been traded in a space of a day since traders got wind of the news.

Top contender Norsk Hydro has already been involved in take over negotiations with Centrica this year about creating a GBP20 billion pan northern European energy titan. However, talks faltered on the reservations of the Norwegian government.