Business Stream focuses on English growth with Southern Water deal

Business Stream chief Jo Dow welcomed 'springboard for growth'. Picture: contributed
Business Stream chief Jo Dow welcomed 'springboard for growth'. Picture: contributed
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Scottish Water’s non-domestic arm Business Stream today announced the acquisition of Southern Water’s commercial clients, in a deal creating up to 40 jobs in Edinburgh and almost doubling its customer base.

The publicly-owned firm, based in Edinburgh Park and supplying businesses and public-sector organisations like schools, did not disclose the terms of the deal, which creates the third-biggest water retailer of its kind in the UK.

It also said the transaction provides it with a “major foothold” in England before the retail water market opens up there in April next year.

The change will enable about 1.2 million businesses and public bodies to choose their water supplier, and comes after Scotland created the world’s first non-domestic water market in April 2008.

READ MORE: Business Stream seeks to tap into English water market

Jo Dow, chief executive of Business Stream, said the deal “provides us with a springboard for growth” ahead of this deregulation.

“The new market will create huge opportunities for Business Stream,” she said. “We are ideally placed to secure market share by leveraging our knowledge, capability and experience, gained from eight years of operating in the highly competitive Scottish market.”

She said taking on Southern Water’s customer base gives Business Stream “increased scale” with benefits including savings for all its customers, and the announcement comes after the Scottish firm said earlier this month that it applied to industry regulator Ofwat for a licence to supply the market south of the Border.

Business Stream said its existing customers in England include House of Fraser and Bernard Matthews, and it serves about 105,000 non-domestic customers across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Under the transaction, effective in April next year, some of Southern Water’s account managers will move to the Scottish business, and up to 40 jobs will be created at its Edinburgh headquarters.

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the deal, and added: “We are fully committed to keeping Business Stream in public ownership but it is right that Business Stream take every opportunity to compete in the commercial marketplace in which it operates.

• A senior executive at Scottish Water has been named one of the UK’s 50 most influential female engineers. Belinda Oldfield is the firm’s general manager for revenue and corporate risk management and has spent more than 20 years in the water industry,