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UK's First Utility postpones IPO following Brexit vote
October 5, 2016 / 11:32 AM / a year ago

UK's First Utility postpones IPO following Brexit vote

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - British energy supplier First Utility has postponed plans to list shares due to uncertainty created by Brexit and because proposals to improve competition in the energy market have not yet borne fruit, its chief financial officer said.

First Utility, one of the smaller firms steadily snatching market share from the incumbent “Big Six” energy suppliers, made plans last year for an initial public offering (IPO) and picked board members to steer it through the process.

But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) has created economic and political uncertainty and changes proposed by the Competition and Markets Authority have not led to the changes needed, First Utility CFO Darren Braham told Reuters.

He said plans to postpone an IPO were also influenced by the fact the company is in no hurry to raise cash.

“We don’t need to raise any money at the moment. We have enough cash to grow in Germany,” he said.

The company plans to expand in Germany, where it has started supplying electricity and gas under the “Shell Energy” brand and aims to reach 50,000 customers there by the end of the year.

As part of its drive to offer more services, it will launch broadband this month in partnership with telecoms company Talk Talk, a strategy being pursued by Big Six supplier SSE and smaller firms such as Utility Warehouse.

“We will launch broadband later this month in partnership with Talk Talk. It’s a wholesale agreement where we’re using their network to provide broadband services to our customers,” Braham said.

First Utility also announced a reshuffle of its board following its decision to postpone its IPO.

Non-executive director and telecoms expert Thomas Chambers has replaced John Roberts as chairman while non-executive directors Pieter Knook and Eva Eisenschimmel will also leave. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by David Clarke)

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