Merger of Anglian Water Business and NWG Business is cleared by the CMA

Bob Wilson, managing director of Anglian Water Business, who is to retire following its merger with

Bob Wilson, managing director of Anglian Water Business, who is to retire following its merger with NWG Business. - Credit: Archant

Two water companies operating the East of England have been given the green light to merge their business retail operations.

Anglian Water Business (AWB) and NWG Business (NWGB) will become part of a 50-50 joint venture, to be named Wave, with the merger due to be completed by the end of August following unconditional clearance by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

NWGB is an offshoot of the Northumbrian Water Group, which includes the Essex & Suffolk Water business, and already supplies businesses in East Anglia as well as the group's core territory in the North East.

Its link-up with the business retail arm of Anglian Water will create an operation with an annual turnover of more than £500m and serving around 300,000 business customers – representing nearly a fifth of UK market share.

Lucy Darch, managing director of NWGB, who will become chief executive of Wave, said: '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.

'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.'

Lee Shipsey, who is currently director of sales and marketing at AWB and will become deputy chief executive of Wave, added: '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.'

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Bob Wilson, who has been managing director of AWB for the past 20 years, is retiring from the business but will work closely with the new chief executive on the transition.

The merger of AWB and NWGB became possible following the deregulation in April this year of the water market in England for business customers.

Businesses will become free to choose their water and waste water services retailer, with Wave aiming to become a national player in the market.

In a joint statement, the firms said: '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.'