Joint venture between business arms will create a new water and wastewater retailer
Anglian Water Business (AWB) and NWG Business (NWGB) have teamed up to create a new retailer of water and wastewater services to non-household customers in Scotland and England. The new business will be called Wave.
AWB have already established a foothold in the already competitive Scottish water retail market, where Wave will continue to operate and grow.
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 the beginning of April this year.
With its Scottish office in Edinburgh, AWB currently undertakes the Scottish Government contract to provide water billing and efficiency service to the public sector north of the border. This involves 200 public sector organisations, with over 15,000 sites ranging from schools and colleges, to hospitals and council buildings. This £350m contract will deliver £40m of savings for the Scottish public sector over four years.
AWB has also signed up to the Scottish Living Wage, the Scottish Business Pledge, giving a commitment to support sustainable business growth, and taken on two Modern Apprentices.
The company provides billing and water efficiency services to some of Scotland’s biggest businesses, saving them water and money. Key contracts include branches of ASDA; Betfred; Scottish company Starwood Hotels, who run the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa in Edinburgh, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, and Greene King, who run Scotland’s Belhaven pub chain.
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.
Customers will benefit from the water efficiency expertise that AWB has built up helping customers thrive in the east of England – the driest region of the UK – allied with NWGB’s industry leading expertise in trade effluent and wastewater treatment. This will create a strong customer offer across both water and wastewater services.
Wave customers will have access to a range of services. 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.
As part of Wave’s commitment to excellent service, customers with multi-site premises will receive unified billing for all their sites. They will be able to manage their account online, with 24/7 access for meter reading submission, viewing bills, bill payment and raising of queries. Simple, flexible billing and payment options will make dealing with Wave easier for customers, while offers such as the ability to select fixed energy price contracts would mean customers are, in future, able to forecast costs more accurately and protect their businesses from energy price volatility.
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.
“Our customer proposition goes far beyond competitive pricing. It’s all about delivering real value to customers with a team of experts and innovative services constantly targeting reductions that are better for both public and private sector customers bottom line as well as the environment.”
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. We have every confidence that this joint venture will create a very compelling offer for non-household customers, both present and future.
“Our investment in customer service and IT capabilities demonstrates our commitment to make sure that the new market succeeds, and that our customers experience genuine benefits as a result.”
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.
Pictured above; Apprentices Jamie Palmer (seated) and Owen Forrest join with Tony Donnelly, Chairman of Anglian Water Business at its Scottish office to mark the company’s joint venture with NWG Business, creating new business ‘Wave’.