Of Europe's 6 leading markets, the UK has the most competitive B2B energy market, and the only one where the residential segment verges on being genuinely competitive. The Dutch market is also competitive in the B2B segment. The other 4 top markets (Spain, France, Germany, Italy) do not yet allow effective competition in end-user supply, while wholesale competition is possible.
Another obstacle to effective competition is the difficulty for new entrants to grow organically, as represented, e.g., by the gap between typical profit margins achievable by incumbent suppliers and new entrants. This gap is especially wide in France, while the Netherlands, the UK and, increasingly, Spain, have more favorable entry conditions.
The competitive landscape in the European power sector is increasingly being dominated by "national champions" spawned by one of the region's top-tier markets: France (EDF), Germany (E.ON and RWE), Italy (Enel) and Spain (Endesa). The seeming exceptions to the "large home market" rule are Belgian-based Electrabel and Swedish-based Vattenfall.
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