Energy retailer EDF Energy is axing its Virgin HomeEnergy brand after four years of partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin business. The French state-owned company will instead create a new eponymous consumer brand, to be part of its portfolio that includes London Energy, Seeboard Energy and SWEB Energy.
Virgin HomeEnergy has not been supported by any significant marketing and advertising in the past two years after the London Borough of Enfield’s trading standards unit forced it to suspend all marketing following complaints of mis-selling (MW July 11, 2002).
The brand was first consolidated into EDF Energy, formerly called London Electricity Group, three years ago after the group bought a 75 per cent controlling stake in Branson’s energy company (MW July 12, 2001). At the time there were plans to push Virgin Energy as a national utility brand.
A Virgin Group spokeswoman says: “Over the past few years, Virgin Group’s focus has been the international development and growth of our core businesses: mobile telephony, transport, financial services and entertainment businesses. This growth, alongside EDF Energy’s desire to acquire 100 per cent ownership of the Virgin HomeEnergy business, meant the timing is right to merge Virgin HomeEnergy under the EDF Energy umbrella brand.”
EDF Energy will take over the joint venture from December 12.
In a separate move, EDF is to announce the details of its estimated &£27bn floatation within the next two weeks.