Ashland Sells out to Spiritel

AIM listed Spiritel plc has announced the acquisition of Ashland Group Limited for a total consideration of £3.7 million after deducting cash balances acquired of £0.2 million.

Ashland, based in Wigan, is a leading independent provider of IP-based telecommunications solutions to UK businesses with a client base centred on the UK’s hospitality industry and includes Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Whitbread plc and Spirit Group. Ashland is the market leader in this sector having equipped some 40,000 hotel rooms throughout the UK and Ireland.

In the year to 31 December 2005, Ashland recorded profit before tax of £0.57 million on sales of £4.0 million. Performance in 2006 is expected to be significantly ahead of the prior year.

Anthony Vose, Ashland’s founder and Managing Director, will join the Board of Spiritel as Managing Director of Spiritel Retail.

This is the third acquisition since the appointment of the new management team. The previous two, CallPlan Limited and Networks Direct (UK) Limited, added £1.9 million in annual sales and more than £0.6 million in earnings

Commenting on the announcement, Alastair Mills, Chief Executive of Spiritel said: “This is a transformational acquisition for Spiritel. It is our third acquisition during this financial year and is a significant milestone in the new management team’s strategy for Spiritel to deliver shareholders value. Ashland will deliver significant earnings enhancement to the Spiritel Group whilst expanding our customer base and providing additional routes to market for our voice and data products and services. The enlarged group will give us the ability to offer both existing and potential customers a powerful portfolio of IP-based solutions that meet their requirements in an evolving communications market.”

Anthony Vose, Managing Director of Ashland added: “The transaction represents an exciting opportunity for both companies. By combining our complementary skills and product sets, we will be uniquely placed to provide a broad range of cost effective communications solutions and services that will add value for our customers. Spiritel and Ashland have already worked together commercially with success and I am looking forward to joining the Spiritel team and working to further grow the business.”