In a small but potentially significant piece of M&A news, Russian gas giant Gazprom has bought the niche UK supplier Pennine.

Pennine Natural Gas, a small but growing supplier of gas to a range of I&C customers that includes the department store Debenhams, has been acquired by Gazprom’s UK arm, Gazprom Marketing and Trading, for an undisclosed amount.

Gazprom says that the deal is in keeping with its ambitions to gain a 20% share of the UK gas market and the move may yet trigger further speculation that Gazprom will bid for a major UK player such as Centrica.

Gazprom has always intended to enter the UK gas supply market and this deal offers us an excellent base from which to grow our supply business. At the present time we plan to concentrate on industrial and commercial gas customers, but will continue to keep entering the domestic market and electricity market under review, the Daily Telegraph newspaper quoted Vitaly Vasiliev, chief executive of Gazprom Marketing and Trading, as saying.