Chess plans growth at Avenir

Chess plans growth at Avenir

IT and fixed line provider Chess Telecom is gunning for rapid growth for Avenir’s b2b airtime business by boosting partner numbers and driving mobile airtime sales into its 50,000 strong customer base.

The sale of Avenir’s b2b airtime business by Avenir Telecom to Chess, which was formally announced last week, sees the division change its name to Chess Partner Services, with former Avenir MD Andy Tow taking the role of MD.

Chess, which is based in Cheshire, offers fixed line, VoIP and data system maintenance services to the public and private sector. It has an annual turnover in excess of £44m and over 200 staff, and is pursuing an aggressive acquisition strategy that has seen it buy over 80 companies to date. It is still on the hunt for more, currently running a campaign to attract mobile, fixed line and IT dealers wanting to sell.

Speaking to Mobile, Tow (pictured) insisted that the sale of the b2b airtime division will not result in staff cuts. The company currently has 55 staff. He added that the business will stay at its premises in Borehamwood, with all existing stockists remaining onboard.

He said: ‘There are no planned redundancies. It is absolutely business as usual. In fact, the opposite may well apply as more opportunities open up for staff as we further develop the Partner Services channel into new markets.’

He added: ‘The plan is business as usual, continuing with the same plans and the existing management team. We shall retain the same employees and keep the existing premises and maintain all our existing stockists. The only change in the short term will be the name, which will change to Chess Partner Services.’

Asked if there will be any major change of strategy, Tow said plans were ‘being developed to further grow the business more rapidly.’ This will open up opportunities for Chess Partner Services to cross sell Chess Telecom’s range of products into the company’s base.

Tow said: ‘It makes sense for all customers to be offered all group products and services, and so Chess Partner Services will introduce this fairly soon,’ adding that he expected ‘significant growth’ on the back of the strategy over the next 12 months.

Avenir’s b2b airtime division’s annual turnover currently stands at £22m, with EBITDA of £1.6m. It has a base ‘well in excess of 30,000’ Tow added, as well as 500 partners, of which 300 are actively trading.

Tow said Chess was attracted to Avenir’s b2b business because of a number of similarities. He said: ‘Chess recognised that Avenir is a specialist in mobile and by focusing on channel as its primary route to market saw many synergies with the existing Chess Telecom business. The acquisition also further strengthens the mobile and partner services division of Chess.

He added: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to continue developing the airtime business, building on our established mutual successes and working towards our shared vision, continuing to deliver a great service to all of our partners.’

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