Utilicorp United, the US energy conglomerate, is looking for a retained
public relations agency in the UK as it prepares to push further into
Britain’s deregulated utilities sector.
The company has asked four consultancies, including Brunswick and
Bankside Consultants, to pitch this week for a wide-ranging brief
covering financial media relations, corporate positioning and some
public affairs work. Sources suggest that annual fees could be between
pounds 70,000 and pounds 100,000.
Fishburn Hedges and Lowe Bell are also believed to have been approached
by Utilicorp, but were unable to discuss the business because of
existing work for British Gas.
The consultancy search is being organised by Sally McElwreath, senior
vice-president, corporate communications for Utilicorp United, who
arrived in London this week. An appointment is expected by the beginning
of next month.
Based in Kansas City, Utilicorp already owns 75 per cent of United Gas
but is seeking to increase its presence in the gas and electricity
sectors in both the UK and Europe.