Companies

Description

Bulb Energy Ltd., trading as Bulb, is an energy supply company in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2013, the company attracted venture capital from DST Global and Magnetar Capital, and ran at a financial loss while achieving rapid growth in customers. Bulb claimed to provide electricity and gas from renewable or off-set sources. As of November 2021, it had a share of approximately 5-6% of the UK energy market and was considered the seventh largest in the country.

In September 2021, the company sought a bailout due to financial problems caused by increasing natural gas prices. It was placed into Energy Supply Company Administration (a special administration regime) by industry regulator Ofgem on 24 November 2021 following a refusal by investors to provide further funding. While customers of other failed suppliers have been transferred by Ofgem to new suppliers, the regulator decided Bulb was too large and so it became the first energy company in the UK to enter special administration.

In October 2022, Octopus Energy Group announced that they planned to acquire Bulb's 1.5 million customers and 650 staff.

History

Bulb Energy Ltd. was incorporated in April 2013 under the name Regent Power Ltd., and was known as Hanbury Energy Ltd. between June and October 2015. Its parent company is Simple Energy. Since it began trading, the directors have been Amit Gudka, a former energy market trader for Barclays, and Hayden Wood, a former management consultant. Gudka stepped down from day to day activities at Bulb in February 2021 to focus on his new battery storage startup.

Initial funding came from the founders' savings and from their personal contacts. Backing was then obtained from JamJar Investments. In August 2018 a further £60 million funding was secured from two backers: DST Global (owned by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner), and US hedge fund Magnetar Capital. By 2018, the company was worth between £400M and £500M.

Growth was rapid from the start of 2017, and by early March 2019 the company had over 1 million customers and was employing over 550 staff. Its headquarters moved in February 2019 from offices at Hanbury Street, Shoreditch to Bishopsgate in the City of London.

In 2018, Bulb was the UK's largest renewable energy supplier, and the UK's seventh-largest energy supplier, smaller only than the "Big Six". It was the only company to achieve this growth without taking over other companies, as rival companies had done. SyndicateRoom identified Bulb as the UK's fastest-growing private company of 2018.

Special administration

In September 2021, Bulb sought a bailout due to financial problems caused by sharply increasing natural gas prices. In November 2021, Bulb became the first energy company to go into Special Administration, under which it will be run by the government through the regulator Ofgem. This process will allow the government the option to make grants and loans to the business, while the administrators work to transfer customers and sell the business in parts or in full.

The government set aside £1.7 billion to cover the company's trading costs and the cost of the administration. According to the Financial Times, at least two energy suppliers offered solutions that would have allowed Bulb customers to be switched to alternative providers at a reduced cost to consumers and taxpayers.

The company's subsidiaries in France, Spain and Texas were unaffected by its entry into administration. Teneo were appointed administrators of Bulb in the UK on 24 November, and Interpath were appointed for Bulb's parent Simple Energy.

In October 2022, Octopus Energy Group reached an agreement to acquire Bulb's 1.5 million customers.

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COMPANIES IN ENGLAND


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