Perth-based energy giant SSE has confirmed it is in talks with a rival firm about selling its domestic energy business.
SSE is “in discussions” with Ovo Group about the sale of its Energy Services arm, which has around 5.7 million customers.
Last year the Perth firm previously sought to spin off this division and combine it with Npower but the merger collapsed in December.
Earlier this year SSE said it planned to offload its under-pressure energy supply business by mid-2020 after shedding more than half a million customer accounts.
The impact on the firm’s substantial Perth workforce if the transaction with Ovo goes through it unknown.
SSE employs around 2,000 staff in the Fair City, making it one of the largest private sector employers.
The energy firm’s statement said the discussions “are continuing, however no final decisions have been taken and no agreements regarding the terms of any transaction have been entered into”.
The news follows SSE’s announcement in May that it would axe 444 jobs nationwide in its retail sector after a poor uptake of smart meters.
Ovo Energy was founded in 2009 and has quickly become a significant force in the UK energy supply market, attracting customers away from the so-called Big Six suppliers.
It has a 5% share of the market, making it the seventh largest supplier, according to the latest data from UK energy regulator Ofgem.
A deal for SSE’s retail business would give it an 18% share, just behind British Gas on 19%.
The statement from SSE added: “The board remains focused on securing the best long-term future for the business, its customers and employees, and for shareholders.
“SSE will provide no further comment on the discussions until a conclusion to them has been reached.
“In the meantime, it remains focused on the important work of delivering sector-leading service for its customers.”
Last month SSE said its outlook for the rest of the year was unchanged despite a further dip in the number of customers accounts.
At its annual general meeting at Perth Concert Hall, the firm said it had made “good progress” despite facing “short term challenges” in the last three months which included producing 20% less green energy than expected.
Bristol-based Ovo earlier this year sold a 20% stake to Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation in a deal that valued it at about £1 billion.