Eastern reviews media relations

Electricity and gas firm Eastern Group is reviewing its UK corporate and financial media relations account, and has just appointed agencies in mainland Europe to work on potential acquisitions.

Electricity and gas firm Eastern Group is reviewing its UK

corporate and financial media relations account, and has just appointed

agencies in mainland Europe to work on potential acquisitions.



Eastern Group’s media relations are currently in the hands of Citigate

Dewe Rogerson, which has held the account for over four years.



The utility firm considered a longlist of agencies which it has since

whittled down to three: Citigate, Fishburn Hedges and Grandfield.



The brief has changed since Citigate took it on. Eastern Group is no

longer listed in London following its takeover last year by US firm

Texas Utilities, and the Ipswich-based firm’s customer base is

increasingly becoming nationwide, expanding out of its traditional

heartland in East Anglia.



The selected agency will report to Eastern Group corporate

communications director Joy King.



Meanwhile, Eastern Power and Energy Trading, the company’s trading arm,

has just hired a series of agencies in the company’s key European

markets outside the UK, where it is keen to expand its market share as

the gas and electricity sectors are deregulated.



These include Burson-Marsteller, which is operating in several key

markets.



Eastern has pinpointed the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, Spain and

Italy as its main European growth targets. Two-year incumbent CEC has

also been reappointed in the Czech Republic.



The agencies will work on an ad hoc project basis and have been briefed

by Eastern Power and Energy Trading’s marketing and communications team

to advise the company on local media relations and public affairs. The

company may then decide to retain them on a longer-term basis.



Eastern Group counts almost four million customers in the UK and employs

6,500 staff. Its most recent financial results - for the year ending

last December - showed an operating profit of pounds 450 million, up 12

per cent on the previous year.



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