Chess Telecom sticks with buy and build blueprint

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Chess Telecom sticks with buy and build blueprint

Microscope contributor

Chess Telecom is forging ahead with a buy and build strategy despite posting modest revenue growth in its most recent financial year during which it made 12 acquisitions.

The business comms provider forked out £4m alone on customer lists in the year to 30 April 2010 but grew sales just 13% to £29.1m.

However operating profit before exceptional items soared 60% to £4m and retained profit climbed by 56% to £2.5m.

In a statement accompanying the financials, David Pollock, chief executive at the Alderley Edge-based firm, said the results vindicated its expansion strategy.

"Our proven business model of acquisition, organic growth and cross sales to existing customers continues to deliver growth in turnover and profit," he stated.

A dozen acquisitions were completed in the year including Pennycom - its fortieth in six years - which gave up trading in the market but sold its customer list and passed across a bunch of sub-reseller partners to Chess.

Pollock said Chess had reaped the benefits of effectively managing slow and late paying customers, and increased billing efficiencies helped bolster gross margins to 40%, up from 37% a year ago.

Line rental and data product revenues went up 23% to £12m, with 83% of customers contracted for two or more products and a little over one quarter of its customer base opting to sign up to two year deals.

The consolidation of the telco market looks set to continue - Chess secured a £10m facility to fund further acquisitions - and Pollock said it had a "pipeline of potential acquisitions".

Earlier this month, Chess made its forty seventh purchase, picking up the customer list of Intelligent Networks.


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