The customers of non-domestic water retailers Yorkshire Water Business Services (YWBS) and Three Sixty, which are both part of the Kelda Group, have been bought by Business Stream for an undisclosed sum.
Scotland’s largest business water retailer says the move to acquire the customer base of the competitors will double its market share and “cement its position” as one of the top three retailers in the UK water market.
The acquisition is expected to take effect this summer, subject to regulatory approvals. It will see Business Stream manage water and wastewater services for around 140,000 new customers in the Yorkshire area.
Business Stream said it will work closely with Three Sixty and YWBS throughout an “extended transition period” to ensure that the experience is “seamless” for customers.
Several key account managers will also transfer to Business Stream as part of the deal to “maintain existing relationships and provide continuity of service” to the YWBS customers.
Business Stream previously doubled its customer base in 2016 when it acquired Southern Water’s non-domestic customers prior to the opening of the English retail water market on 1 April 2017.
The English market paved the way for 1.2 million businesses and public bodies in the country being able to choose their water supplier for the first time.
Business Stream described the latest acquisition as a “significant milestone” in its plans to grow its customer base and establish itself as one of the “biggest players” in the market.
Yorkshire Water’s parent company Kelda Group launched Three Sixty in September 2016 in a bid to “refresh the water market”.
Robert Marrill, formerly a director at Kelda Group’s non-regulated business Kelda Water Services, was appointed managing director of the new company.
He stepped down just four months after the launch of the company and was succeeded by Nick Topham, former programme director for East Riding and Hull at Three Sixty’s sister company, Yorkshire Water.
In July last year, Yorkshire Water revealed its intention to sell off its business retail arm.
Jo Dow, Business Stream’s chief executive, said: “The opening of the English retail water market in 2017 created huge opportunities for Business Stream. As we look ahead to the future we recognise that scale will be an important factor, enabling us to deliver a more competitive service for our customers across the UK.
“We will use the experience we gained from the Southern acquisition to ensure that the transition is seamless for our existing and future customers, providing them with a market leading customer experience, and access to innovative services that reduce their costs, risks and environmental impact.
“As a specialist supplier, with over a decade of experience operating in a competitive water market, we know we are ideally placed to deliver these benefits for our customers.”
She added: “This acquisition will cement our position as one of the key players in the UK retail water market and help build a strong future for our staff and customers.”
Liz Barber, Yorkshire Water’s director of finance, regulation and markets said: “Business Stream has a strong track record of delivering excellent customer service and are very experienced in the market.
“We are confident that they will continue to provide customers with the same high level of service they have had from Yorkshire Water Business Services. We are working closely with Business Stream to deliver a smooth transition process for our customers.”