Kingston's call centre takes on 1,100 staff in Hull

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THERE WAS good news for jobseekers in Hull yesterday as a joint venture company led by Kingston Communications announced plans to create 1,100jobs by setting up the city's first major call centre at a cost of pounds 4m.

The newly listed telecom company will take a 51 per cent stake in the 24-hour Kingston Call Centres business, with both Waterfields, a design and build company, and technology solutions specialists Keycom owning 22 per cent. Cambridge Venture Management will have a 5 per cent stake.

The jobs will be created over the next three years, with 700 becoming available in the first year and the remaining 400 to be added in years two and three. The call centre will open in December this year.

The business will target companies who want to outsource the management of their customer relations.

Steve Main, chief executive of Kingston Communications, said: "We are already in discussion with several potential customers who are impressed by our experience in this market through the development of our own customer care centres."

Mr Main said he "expects" that this venture will lead to opening more call centres, but would not give details as to the company's future plans.

Kingston Communications yesterday announced a 19 per cent rise in first- quarter sales, driven by gains in its Torch business services unit.

Revenues in the three months, to 2 July, rose to pounds 47.2m from pounds 39.7m for the same period last year, with Torch sales doubling to pounds 14.5m.

Profit figures have not yet been published, but these will be announced when Kingston releases its half-year results.

The company raised pounds 158m in a share sale last month and is 49.9 per cent owned by Kingston-upon-Hull City Council.

Mr Main said his company's first-quarter results "are good figures coming on the heels of our successful floatation".