LONDON (Alliance News) - Telecom Plus PLC saw its shares jump to the top of the FTSE 250 in early trading Wednesday after the multi-utility provider reported a rise in revenue, higher pretax profit and a boosted full-year dividend as the firm continues to grow its customer base.
In its final results for the year to March 31, 2014 the company said revenue rose 9.5% to GBP658.8 million from GBP601.5 million last year. Adjusted pretax profit jumped 25.3% to GBP44.6 million from GBP35.6 million the previous year.
Telecom Plus boosted its dividend for the full-year by 12.9% to 35 pence per share from the 31 pence per share paid in 2013.
The company also noted that its share of the profits from Opus Energy Group Limited - Telcom Plus holds a 20% stake in the firm - increased during the year to GBP4.7 million from GBP3.4 million in 2013, which it said reflects the continuing strong trading performance of the business.
Telecom Plus attributed its revenue growth to continued strong organic growth in the number of customers using its services and industry-wide increases in energy and telephony prices last autumn, though notes that revenues were partially offset by much lower average energy consumption by domestic households during an exceptionally mild winter.
The company now supplies more than 1.9 million services to over 530,000 households. "If current trends continue, the number of services we provide will show further significant net growth over the course of the year, with our customer base increasing to around 600,000 by the end of the year," said the firm.
Pretax profit rose at a "substantially faster rate" than revenue, said Telecom Plus, reflecting the steadily increasing size of the company's customer base - which was on average 18% higher than during the preceding year - and an initial contribution from its new energy supply arrangements with Npower.
The essential utility services company signed an energy supply agreement with Npower during the autumn, securing its access to the wholesale energy markets on improved commercial terms for a guaranteed period of 20 years, said the firm. The deal has already enabled Telecom Plus to improve the competitiveness of its retail energy tariffs compared with those offered by the 'Big 6' suppliers, it said.
Looking ahead, "Our focus on genuinely looking after our Members has been one of the key drivers behind our recent strong performance, and we are working hard to secure our position as the Nation's most trusted utility provider," said Chief Executive Andrew Lindsay.
Telecom Plus said it remains comfortable with market expectations for adjusted pre-tax profits for the current year of GBP63 million, an increase of almost 50% on last year. Chairman Charles Wigoder stated that shareholders can "look forward to progressive growth in the level of our dividends."
The low-cost multi-utility supplier saw its shares jump in early trading, up 8.91% at 1,492.1 pence per share, leading the FTSE 250 index Wednesday.