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Bulb exploring funding opportunities as wholesale prices squeeze suppliers

Bulb has grown dramatically since it was set up in 2015, and now has 6% of the market. Image: Bulb.

Bulb has grown dramatically since it was set up in 2015, and now has 6% of the market. Image: Bulb.

Bulb is looking for new funding opportunities, as high gas prices continues to put a strain on British energy suppliers.

The supplier has struggled over the past few years to turn a profit, with a net loss of £129 million in the year ending March 2019. It managed to half this to £59 million in March 2020, as its customer base surged to make it one of the biggest suppliers in the countries with 6% of the market share.

But with the additional pressure of surging gas prices – which are up 250% from the start of the year – Bulb has now approached financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard to assess its options.

In a statement, a Bulb spokesperson said: “From time to time we explore various opportunities to fund our business plans and further our mission to lower bills and lower CO2. Like everyone in the industry, we're monitoring wholesale prices and their impact on our business.”

Wholesale prices have jumped to record highs in recent weeks for a number of reasons, most significantly high gas prices Europe-wide due to depleted supplies post-COVID, but also low winds, outages at a number of generators and the IFA interconnector being down following a fire last week. Margins are expected to remain tight as winter approaches, with National Grid issuing a warning in an early view of its winter outlook, released in July.

The challenging UK supplier market has led to the collapse of four suppliers in the last month alone, with People’s Energy and Utility Point shuttering last week and PfP Energy and MoneyPlus Energy the week previously.

These follow a turbulent period of small suppliers, with Hub Energy, Green Network Energy and Simplicity Energy going under in 2021, and of Yorkshire Energy, Tonik Energy, Effortless Energy and GnERGY in 2020. Well over 20 suppliers have ceased to trade since 2018.

Recent research from Baringa projects for the Times suggests that 39 more suppliers could fail in the next 12 months, which would leave just 10 in the market.

Bulb was set up in 2015 by Hayden Wood and Amit Gudka as a challenger to the Big Six. Since then it has grown dramatically, and was ranked as the fastest growing company in Europe in the Financial Times top 100 list earlier in 2021, taking the top spot with a compound annual growth rate of 1159.3%.

This followed its customer base increasing by 46% between 2019 and 2020, growing from 1,139,483 to 1,661,889.

It also expanded into the US, launching in Texas in September 2020, a plan it initially announced in 2019. It has launched in France and Spain, and is targeting 100 million households around the world by 2030.

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