Anglian Water, geographically the UK’s largest water company, has
appointed Shandwick on a wide-ranging brief to improve its reputation
with the City, politicians and other opinion-formers.
Anglian is perceived as an unattractive proposition in the City because,
unlike Thames Water and Severn Trent, it has not successfully branched
out beyond its core disciplines of water and sewage. The company may
thus suffer more than its rivals from Ofwat water rate cuts.
Ofwat is currently formalising its review which has imposed cuts in
water rates. Once formalised, it is predicted price cuts will lead to an
increase in merger and acquisition activity in the water sector. Anglian
has in the past been linked in the financial press with German utility
In the last financial year, Anglian’s profits have fallen from pounds
267.8 million to pounds 258 million. When it announced its financial
results in May, the company stated that it wanted to expand its
non-regulated businesses until they made up about one-tenth of its
Shandwick was appointed to the six-month external communications
campaign, which carries six-figure fees, after pitching against Citigate
Dewe Rogerson, Gavin Anderson and The Hogarth Partnership.
The account is headed by Tessa Curtis, managing director of the agency’s
broadcast division. The brief includes a business television
Neither Anglian nor Shandwick were willing to comment as PR Week went to
Anglian was created by the Water Industry Act of 1989, which turned
Government control of the water and sewage infrastructure in England and
Wales over to ten private companies.
- Smithfield Financial has been hired by US-company Azurix, which last
year acquired the franchise for the Wessex water region. Azurix is an
offshoot of US energy group Enron Corporation and has a separate New
York listing. The Wessex franchise is Bristol-based and covers Somerset
as well as parts of Dorset, Devon, Hampshire and Wiltshire.