‘Water Plus’: CMA approves United Utilities, Severn Trent joint venture

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the proposed joint venture between Severn Trent Water and United Utilities, to be called Water Plus.

The 50/50 JV was first announced on 1 March, to offer water and related services to business customers.

In a statement, the two water companies said: “Water Plus will combine the complementary skills of both companies, including sales, customer service, business strategy and credit management, to deliver an attractive proposition for large and small business customers across England and Scotland. 

“Bringing our businesses together will create a JV with the synergies to provide an efficient and cost-effective operation focussed on improved customer service and growth.”

After completion, the new business will have an estimated 25 per cent market share across England and Scotland. Severn Trent and UU will account for the JV, through share of profits of joint ventures, using equity accounting.

United Utilities has been given the go-ahead from Ofwat to provide loans to the JV, allowing it to access to the working capital required for it to provide non-household retail services to customers.

Severn Trent will also make loans from its appointed business to the JV. However, its licence does not contain a full set of financial ring-fencing conditions, so it does not need formal consent from the regulator to do so.

Operations will be transferred progressively to the new head office in Stoke-on-Trent over the course of this year.

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