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
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.