PNC set to buy mobile retailer for £45m

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The Independent Online

PNC Tele.Com yesterday pushed forward its transformation from a niche operator to high-street player with a deal to buy KJC Mobile Phones for about £45m.

PNC Tele.Com yesterday pushed forward its transformation from a niche operator to high-street player with a deal to buy KJC Mobile Phones for about £45m.

The telecoms group announced a £17.6m share placing to help fund the purchase, and plans to move from the Alternative Investment Market to the London Stock Exchange's main market. Its shares, suspended at 280p in April after talk of a deal, will begin to trade again on Monday.

Privately owned KJC has 30 outlets and is the second-largest independent mobile-phone retailer after Carphone Warehouse, which this week unveiled plans to float for up to £2bn. Geremy Thomas, PNC chief executive, said: "We got KJC for a good price." KJC aims to have 50 stores by the end of this year.

PNC also unveiled a 17-year deal to lease a national network from Fibernet, to provide fixed-line services aimed at smaller businesses.

Julian Morse of Beeson Gregory said the deal would mean that a larger PNC "will be able to register more clearly on the radar of investors".

PNC yesterday reported its full-year results. Pre-tax profit, before depreciation and goodwill, hit £1.0m for the year ended 31 March, up from £633,000. Turnover rose from £12.2m to £29.1m.

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