UPDATE 1-Utility firm Telecom Plus sees higher first-half profit

Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:57am EDT

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July 15 (Reuters) - British utility company Telecom Plus Plc said it expected first-half profit to be significantly higher than last year as it saw a 25 percent growth in customer additions during the first quarter on strong interest from part-time distributors.

Shares in the company jumped nearly 10 percent in morning trade on the London Stock Exchange, making them the biggest percentage gainers on the FTSE-250 Midcap Index.

Telecom Plus said it continued to expect full-year profit to grow by almost 50 percent to 63 million pounds ($107.2 million) and its target of growing customer base to about 600,000 by the end of the year.

The company owns and operates the Utility Warehouse brand that provides gas, electricity, fixed-line telephone and broadband internet services, allowing customers to save on utility bills by using a single supplier.

Telecom Plus said it added 16,379 customers in the quarter ended June 30, taking its customer base to 547,378 as of the end of June.

The company, which relies on word-of-mouth and part-time distributors called 'Partners' for organic growth, said total Partner numbers increased to 46,602, up 2,500 in the quarter.

"The quality of customers joining has remained high, with over 25 percent of new residential customers applying for all 5 core services - this is a good reflection on the 'stickiness' of the customer," FinnCap analyst Harold Evans said in a note.

Telecom Plus shares were up 7.8 percent at 1332.59 pence at 0752 GMT. ($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds) (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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