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United Utilities could move into waste

Water and electricity giant United Utilities has stated that it is considering a move into the waste management industry.

In interviews with the national press, new chief executive Philip Green suggested that it was an area where expansion could be considered as it offers parallels with existing operations.

United Utilities head of financial communications Evelyn Brodie said: “Philip Green was asked what direction he sees the company taking and stated waste as an example of an area where there are possibilities as it is consistent with our core competencies in infrastructure and management.”

The company currently manages electricity distribution, water and waste water networks at 2.9 million customer premises throughout the north west. It also offers business services at 30 sites and runs a wastewater treatment facility in Scotland.

Green suggested that if the company was to branch into the market, it would be on the disposal side rather than collections.

Brodie added: “We already recycle to a degree with water and waste, by producing energy from methane. So any moves would probably involve processing rather than putting trucks out on the road.”

However, with Cleanaway UK up for sale and companies supposedly queuing up to gatecrash the de-merger of Biffa Waste Disposal from Severn Trent, Brodie categorically denied any interest.

“Philip Green was asked hypothetically about areas of possible growth. There are no plans for the present time and we will not be bidding for any of the companies currently for sale.”

After assuming the position at the end of March, Green is currently pondering the company’s strategic direction for the next five years or more. And four weeks into the job, he says that he is not yet ready to provide hard and fast answers to the questions he has been posed.

The company is a member of the FTSE 100 and employs 17,000 people.

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