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Move made ahead of market change

AWB and NWG unite in water services JV

Tony Donnelly

Tony Donnelly with apprentices

Anglian Water Business (AWB) and NWG Business (NWGB) have teamed up to create Wave, a retailer of water and wastewater services to non-household customers in Scotland and England.

The deal – a 50/50 joint venture – has been struck in advance of changes that allow businesses, charities and public sector organisations to choose their water retailer in England from next month.

The joint venture creates a business which will have more than a quarter of a million customers and a combined turnover of more than £500m, making it one of the largest retailers in the newly competitive market.

The new joint venture intends to become a multi-utility retailer, providing gas and electricity services in addition to water and wastewater services initially on offer.  The intention is to create a utility bundle that will be easy to understand, monitor and manage.

Tony Donnelly, chairman of Anglian Water Business, said: “We have seen considerable consolidation in this market in recent months.  For Anglian and Northumbrian this feels like a natural fit to bring our retail operations together. 

“This is a fantastic opportunity to grow our business further in Scotland from our Edinburgh base.

“Whilst the market in England is now only opening to competition, we have been active in Scotland’s competitive market since 2008 and hope to use the expertise we have built up here in Scotland, particularly working in partnership with the public sector. 

Heidi Mottram, chief executive at Northumbrian Water Group said: “The opening of the market enabling non-household customers to choose their supplier in England is a significant moment for the industry.

“We’re very excited at the prospect of using our combined strengths to bring a new offering to customers who are able to make a choice for the first time. 

NWG Business and Anglian Water Business will enter the English market in April as separate entities, combining to form the new business, Wave, following regulatory clearance.

The agreement is subject to clearance from the competition authorities.

AWB currently undertakes the Scottish Government contract to provide water billing tos200 public sector organisations, including schools and colleges, hospitals and council buildings. The company says the £350m contract will deliver £40m of savings for the Scottish public sector over four years.  

It has contracts with ASDA; Betfred; and Starwood Hotels, which runs the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa in Edinburgh, Malmaison, Hotel du Vin, and Greene King. 

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