Essent: From a State-Owned Utility to a Commercial Company
Patrick Lammers, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) for the Dutch energy company Essent NV, once a state-owned company, was pleased with the progress Essent's consumer ("B2C") business had made: Earnings Before Income Tax (EBIT) for B2C had gone from a loss of 18 million in 2010 to a profit of 149 million in 2014; churn rates had decreased, and customer satisfaction had increased. The B2C brand had become a leader in the fully liberalized Dutch market. Behind B2C's performance there had been a strong focus on marketing, an optimization of the channel mix, and also changes in the company's operations by adopting lean management tools. Despite the strong performance of Essent's B2C business, Essent's B2B business had instead seen its profits drastically decrease from 47 million in 2011, to minus 15 million in 2015. For 2016, B2B expected to report 15 million losses. While pondering the reasons behind the difference in performance between B2B and B2C, Lammers wondered what Essent should do to improve its B2B business.