Share windfall

Owner of British Gas, Centrica, wants to reunite 28,000 'lost' investors with their share certificates.

These shareholders are risking losing out on dividend payments that average £820 each. Centrica has hired a specialist company, Prosearch, to track down the missing investors.

The company said that the most common reasons why shareholders had lost track of their investments were moving home and not informing the share registrar, forgetting about their shares, or beneficiaries or executors of an estate being unaware of the holding.

One of the jobs handed to Prosearch is to track down AA members who did not take advantage of cash payments they were entitled to following the AA's demutualisation and purchase by Centrica in 1999.All UK members were entitled to claim £248.56, but a small amount didn't receive their payment and so now Centrica is taking steps to find those people.

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