A 50/50 joint venture between AWB and NWGB gained unconditional clearance by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today and the parties expect to complete the merger by the end of August.
The new company, to be called Wave, will report a turnover in excess of £500 million and an estimated 19% market share across the UK, serving approximately 300,000 business customers.
With strong experience of meeting customer needs across the UK, including a successful track-record in the Scottish market, Wave is well placed to offer a national service without losing sight of its local heritage.
Both companies have solid track records in the retail business market and complementary strengths; AWB will bring their experience in water efficiency and NWGB have considerable knowledge in industrial waste management. The aim is for Wave to be able to use these synergies to the benefit of industrial, commercial and public sector customers across England and Scotland. Wave will also appeal to small and medium sized business owners looking for a trusted and experienced retailer to meet their needs.
The merger became possible following the April 2017 deregulation of the water market in England for business customers. Opening the market to competition allows customers to choose their water and waste water retailer, giving them freedom to find the best supplier for their business needs. It is estimated that the economy will benefit by £2 billion over the next 30 years through a combination of customer choice and efficient competition.
NWG Chief Executive Heidi Mottram welcomed the announcement and said: "We′re delighted to be able to formally introduce Wave to the market and are confident that the new joint venture will be a huge success under Lucy and Lee’s leadership. Both Northumbrian Water Group and Anglian Water have a great track record in delivering outstanding customer service and we know that existing, new and future customers will benefit hugely from this combined experience."
Lucy Darch, MD of NWGB, who will become the new CEO of Wave commented: “AWB and NWGB are better together. Wave will be able to offer customers an unrivalled breadth of ability and knowledge to help them achieve greater efficiency in utility management.”
Managing Director of AWB Bob Wilson has chosen to retire from his position after 20 years with the Anglian Water Group. Under Bob’s guidance, AWB has gone from strength to strength, winning major contracts, successfully moving into the competitive non-household market, and creating the joint venture. He will work closely with Lucy Darch on the transition.
Lee Shipsey, AWB director of sales and marketing, will be appointed as deputy CEO of Wave adds: “By joining forces we will be well placed to deliver great services and products that will give businesses everything they need to understand and manage their water and energy consumption better.”
Lucy continued: “Over the next few months we will be working hard to ensure the merger happens as seamlessly as possible, starting with the roll-out of the new brand. This is a really exciting time for our business and we look forward to demonstrating our combined strength to customers.”