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Direct Energy Sells Texas Power Plants

Direct Energy is ending a very busy year with yet another multimillion-dollar deal.

The Houston-based company, a subsidiary of Britain’s Centrica PLC, said it will sell its three gas-fired power plants in Texas to New York-based Blackstone Group LP for $685 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter for 2014.

The facilities are in Bastrop, Mission and Paris and have combined capacity of about 1,295 megawatts. Blackstone and an affiliate of Direct Energy also agreed to a three-year call option arrangement for an equivalent amount of capacity.

“This transaction allows us to realize value from our gas-fired fleet, while ensuring stability of price and supply in the Texas power market through the call option arrangement,” Direct Energy President and CEO Badar Khan said in a statement.

Khan  continued, “Residential retail supply is key to our North American business, and with sufficient generation capacity in Texas, we can support our downstream business through contractual arrangements, rather than asset ownership.”

Earlier this year, Khan told Houston Business Journal he wanted to grow the electric retailer’s core businesses and double its profits within three to five years.

Throughout 2013, the company has made a number of acquisitions, including a nearly $731 million deal to buy the energy marketing business of New York-based Hess Corp.  and the $46 million deal to acquire Houston’s Bounce Energy.