The energy and telecoms services supplier is at it again, over-delivering on expectations and seeing its share price rise as a consequence. Telecom Plus (TEP) rises 3.5% to £18.74, not far off its all-time record £19.29 hit last November. The number of new customers (on a net basis) and services supplied both jumped handsomely in the third quarter, up 14% and 20% respectively, and management could barely be more upbeat.
'The high levels of distributor activity we have seen since the beginning of January, and the record bookings we have taken for our sales conference next month, augur extremely well for the year ahead,' says chief executive Andrew Lindsay.
'This is an exciting time for all independent utility suppliers... as the largest independent supplier of energy to domestic customers, and with a current market share still under 2%, the opportunities for further significant organic growth over the next few years are immense.'
Management are concentrating efforts on selling more services to each customer, typically starting out with combined gas/electricity, then cross-selling add-ons such as home phone, broadband and even mobile calls, texts and data. Brilliant timing saw a relaunched 'Gold' membership scheme of all five of its services in November, just as the Big Six energy providers were jacking up household bills, and making the value of 'bundled' services all the more apparent to consumers. Gold customer numbers more than doubled to 20% of the 506,780 base. The recent acquisitions of Electricity Plus and Gas Plus also clearly helped.
This year was the first time in six years that analysts felt compelled to raise forecasts at the interim stage rather than wait until the full year is up in March. Critics, and it's had its share in the past, have questioned just how long Telecom Plus can essentially pull-off the same old trick of beating expectations yet every year the £1.3 billion-odd group keeps doing just that.