UK business news in short

In this week’s UK business news in short, water companies must try harder with customer care, Southern Water is to be sold, and a poultry farm is to develop a power plant fuelled by chicken waste.

According to a series of interviews with large industrial water customers by international market research organisation, Frost and Sullivan, there is a wide gap between the leaders and the followers in terms of satisfaction with customer service. The research has shown that while some water suppliers have made considerable headway in supplying satisfactory customer service, several are still massively under-performing in this area. Typical problems include inadequate frequency of contact from suppliers, poor speed of response, and failure to work closely with customers to develop customer focused solutions or tariffs.

The Eastern Daily Press has reported that a poultry firm is planning to set up a revolutionary power plant fuelled entirely by waste products. Banham Poultry has applied for planning permission to set up the plant at its Bunns Bank site in Attleborough, Norfolk. The company hopes that the plant will produce sufficient electricity to power a whole town.

Meanwhile, back in the world of water, Yorkshire Water is celebrating the fact that the region’s beaches are in the best condition ever. The latest Good Bach Guide by the Marine Conservation Society has singled out Yorkshire Water for its work, which has seen 27 new beaches recommended. The company has pointed to its £120 million ‘CoastCare’ scheme that has seen the end of the decades-old practice of pumping raw sewage into the sea, with the construction of four new treatment works boasting ultra-violet disinfection to serve the resorts of Whitby, Filey, Scarborough and Bridlington.

Finally, the European Commission has announced that it has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation for the acquisition of Southern Water by First Aqua Holdings. First Aqua Holdings is jointly controlled by the Citicorp Banking Corporation and private equity investors Martin Lawrence Naughton, MARQUIS Limited, Morgan Ventures Limited, TBH Investments Limited, and Tavistock Captial Investments Limited. Southern Water plc is being purchased from Scottish Power UK plc.

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