Plans by two of the UK’s bigest utilities to create a unified new energy supplier, turning the market’s so-called Big Six into five, drew a mixed response from investors, union chiefs and consumer groups yesterday.
SSE and Innogy, the German owner of Npower, have struck a deal to merge their UK domestic supply operations.
The new company will be listed on the London Stock Exchange, with SSE shareholders holding 65.6% and Innogy investors 34.4%.
SSE shareholders will vote on the deal by July next year, while Innogy has committed to seek the approval of its supervisory board by the end of 2017.
Unite, the UK’s largest union, said the proposed merger was for the sole benefit of shareholders, with “scant concern” for the workforce and consumers.
The union called the deal “an appalling example of rampant capitalism” and called for an urgent meeting with the bosses of UK-owned SSE to seek future job reassurances for the 21,000-strong workforce.
Consumer champion Which? said: “It’s too early to say what this would mean for customers of the two companies, or the price of their energy deal.”
Comparison website GoCompare, said: “At face value it is hard to imagine how a ‘big five’ will serve consumers better than a big six.”
SSE’s share price fell a fraction, while Innogy’s was up marginally.