UPDATE 2-UK's Centrica says prefers U.S. for acquisitions

Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:41am EDT
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* Lower costs make U.S. more interesting for M&A than UK

* But UK still core market - Finance Director

* Adjusted earnings rise 2 pct to 767 million pounds

* Gas power generation loses 64 million pounds

* Shares up 1 pct vs 0.6 pct FTSE 100 increase

By Karolin Schaps

LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - Centrica Plc sees the United States as a more attractive market for acquisitions than its home ground, it said on Wednesday, implying a shift in focus to North America for one of Britain's largest energy investors.

The comments from the group, owner of Britain's biggest natural gas supplier British Gas, came a day after it said it was buying Hess Corp's U.S. energy retail arm for around $1 billion, a move that followed a joint deal with Qatar in April to buy oil and gas assets in Canada from Suncor Energy Inc .

"The low gas price makes acquisitions in North America relatively attractive compared to the UK, where costs are increasing," Centrica said on Wednesday.   Continued...