Water companies United Utilities and Severn Trent have been given the go-ahead by the Competition and Markets Authority to form a 50/50 joint venture targeting the business retail market.
The new company, to be called Water Plus, will be based in Hanley, Stoke on Trent employing circa 400 people. All current billing and service activities will be transferred to Stoke over the course of this year.
The new business will have an estimated 25 per cent market share across England and Scotland.
Both companies have strong track records in operating and growing successful non-household retail services in Scotland.
United Utilities CEO Steve Mogford said: ‘Bringing our retail businesses together will put us in a strong position to compete, and be successful, when the market opens up in 2017 when business customers in England will be able to choose where they buy their water and wastewater services from.’
Sue Amies-King, Director of United Utilities Business Retail operations in Warrington, has been appointed as CEO of Water Plus.
She said: ‘Water Plus will combine the complementary skills of both companies, including sales, customer service, business strategy and credit management, to deliver great service and a compelling offering for large and small business customers across England and Scotland.’
From April 2017, 1.2m business customers in England will join those in Scotland in being able to choose their supplier for water and wastewater services.