Scottish water supplier Business Stream has bought the non-domestic base of Southern Water.
The company aims to strengthen its position to compete in the English water market which is due to open in April next year.
Around 1.2 million businesses and public bodies in England will be able to choose their retail supplier, which is currently only available to the largest users.
The deal, which also takes effect from April 2017, is said to create the third biggest company in the UK non-domestic market for water and wastewater services, with a combined market share of more than 10%.
A number of Southern Water’s account managers will be transferring to Business Stream and up to 40 new jobs are to be created at the Edinburgh headquarters.
Jo Dow, CEO of Business Stream said: “The acquisition of Southern Water’s customer base provides us with a springboard for growth ahead of the English market opening next year. The new market will create huge opportunities for Business Stream. 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.”
Southern Water serves around 105,000 non-domestic customers across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Business Stream has been operating since 2008, with existing customers including House of Fraser and Bernard Matthews.
Earlier this year Severn Trent and United Utilities were given the green light by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to form a joint venture targeting the business water retail market.