Belfast Telegraph

Belfast telecoms business buys out two companies in major deal

By John Mulgrew

A Northern Ireland telecoms company has bought over two businesses in a multi-million-pound deal.

Connect Telecom, based in Belfast, acquired the Aberdeen-based Vodafone partner Coltel and also purchased Carlisle-based Nortech Communications.

The acquisition of the firms will bring Connect Telecom's total connections to around 30,000 customers.

Coltel's Vodafone base will now be managed in partnership with Connect Telecom, which provides customers with access to additional Vodafone products.

It's understood the deal will create 15 new jobs over the next two years, in addition to around 50 staff currently working with Coltel.

And Coltel's managing director Neil Collie will join the senior management team at Connect Telecom and will continue to lead Coltel's Scottish operations.

Connect Telecom has also taken on the Vodafone base of Nortech, which was previously part of the Atlas Group.

Scott Ritchie, managing director at Connect Telecom, which has offices in Belfast and the Strathclyde Business Park, said: "We are delighted to expand our presence in the Scottish market through the acquisition of Coltel and the Nortech Communications Vodafone base.

"Coltel will continue to operate as Coltel Limited and I look forward to working with Neil Collie, and the extended team as we aim to grow the business whilst maintaining consistency and stability of service and support to customers who will now receive more choice than ever before.

"As a Vodafone Total Communications Partner, our relationship with Vodafone is stronger than ever and ensures our customers have faster and more efficient access to the latest communications solutions across fixed line, mobile, converged and cloud technology.

"Our increased presence within the Scottish market means more business customers than ever before in the region will benefit from Connect Telecom's ability to deliver not only the best value, but also the very latest technology and communications solutions as they emerge."

Connect Telecom has trebled its size in terms of customers and connections, since being taken over by Mr Ritchie in 2015.

And Neil Collie, managing director at Coltel, said: "This partnership between Coltel and Connect Telecom allows us to be more dynamic and flexible in the communications offering to our Vodafone customers.

"This is extremely important as we aim to support the development and growth of local businesses by providing intelligent communications solutions.

"The business will continue to operate as usual and communication with existing account managers will remain for our customers who will be advised of the greater choice of Vodafone products and services now available to them.

"Having operated in Aberdeen for 25 years, Coltel has unrivalled knowledge of the local market, which coupled with Connect Telecom's UK and Ireland-wide expertise, presents a very exciting opportunity not only for our customers, who will now benefit from the best value, products and services, but also for the b2b telecoms market across Scotland."

The latest expansion for Connect Telecom is being funded by Danske Bank, which has been named the number one company in Northern Ireland according to the Belfast Telegraph Top 100 Companies 2017 in association with Arthur Cox.

Ian Beatty, business acquisition manager at Danske Bank, said: "Connect Telecom is a prime example of the types of trading businesses Danske Bank is keen to support in their growth journey.

"The company has a strong track record of working with some of the biggest names in the telecoms sector and we are delighted to be able to provide them with further funding to expand the business."

Earlier this year it emerged that Northern Ireland's independent telecoms sector has a new challenger as Onecom has announced it is setting up in the province in a £5m investment.

The business telecoms provider, which is based in England, is opening an office at Arthur Street in Belfast and expects to have a staff of 30 by 2022.

The company is Vodafone's biggest enterprise partner and manages more than 325,000 connections.

Its services include fixed line, mobile, broadband and cloud computing.

In Northern Ireland the company will be led by Paul Lawther, alongside business development managers Stuart Lunn, Mark Fraser and Darren Brown.

Belfast Telegraph