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CMA clears OVO’s acquisition of SSE Energy Services

Image: OVO.

Image: OVO.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has officially cleared OVO’s acquisition of SSE Energy Services Group.

Originally announced in September, the acquisition will see OVO become the second biggest energy supplier in the UK with in excess of 6.7 million customers, only second to Centrica’s British Gas.

It is expected to consist of £400 million in cash and £100 million in loan notes.

In October the CMA launched an inquiry into the acquisition, in order to establish whether this would significantly lessen competition in the sector. There was concern that it could reduce customer's options in the energy supply sector, and ultimately lead to increases in bills.

The authority called for comments on the move between 24 October to 6 November 2019, before officially approving the acquisition on 10 December.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and founder of OVO, said he was “delighted” with the CMA’s decision.

“There is a lot of work to be done, but we’re excited about the challenge ahead and the opportunity to help even more customers on the journey to zero carbon."

The CMA said full details of the decision will be available shortly.

SSE has struggled in recent years, with the supply division of the company making an adjusted operating loss of £7.4 million in the company's most recent interim statement. This was the slowest rate of loss SSE Energy Services has seen in recent years.

Conversely, OVO has grown fast, with its customer base surging in 2018 and 2019, in particular as it became Supplier of Last Resort for a number of collapsed retailers. While its profits slipped in 2019, it expects to return to profit in coming years as it continues to grow and moves into international markets.

The company has made a number of strategic moves recently, including becoming a minority investor in clean energy marketplace Renewable Exchange. It also announced a partnership with Mitsubishi - which owns 20% of OVO - to develop “innovative green solutions”.

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