One.Tel deal makes Centrica a leading challenger in UK telecoms market

Centrica plc today announced it has acquired One.Tel plc, the UK operation of One.Tel Limited (One.Tel UK).  The transaction makes Centrica the largest provider of indirect telecoms services in the UK with around one million active customers.

One.Tel UK, the country’s biggest indirect access telecoms company, has been purchased for a total consideration of £58million, including assumed liabilities.  The acquisition is being made through the administrators of Australian telecoms business, One.Tel Limited, which went into administration on 29 May 2001.

The UK business, which was launched in August 1998 as a stand-alone company, has continued to grow and trade profitably, quickly becoming established as a leading residential services provider.  One.Tel UK, like Centrica, is a reseller or virtual network operator, with limited infrastructure ownership. It will continue to trade under the One.Tel brand.

One.Tel UK has 650,000 active customers, providing a fixed line service through an access code, dialers or carrier pre-selection.  It also provides mobile indirect access and plans to launch a direct mobile service to customers later this year.  The business provides an internet service to 100,000 customers in the UK.

The acquisition will also give Centrica control of the One.Tel brand in Europe and North America.  For year ending 30 June 2001 One.Tel UK predicts unaudited sales of approximately £100million.

Centrica’s telecoms operation was launched last September through British Gas Communications, offering fixed line, mobile and internet service provision.

Ian El-Mokadem, Managing Director of Centrica Telecommunications said: “We are delighted to acquire a customer focused telecoms business with a strong brand and a reputation for innovation and technological development.  We will continue to build on the strong position One.Tel UK has created and are confident that their sales and marketing expertise will enhance our proven capability in the telecoms market.

“Centrica now has around one million active telecoms customers and today’s acquisition is a significant step towards our target of 10 per cent of the residential market.”

Chris Weston, Managing Director of One.Tel UK, said: “This is very good news for One.Tel UK. We are committed to working with Centrica to grow this profitable business, offering value for money telephony products and services under the One.Tel brand.”