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Carphone Warehouse goes Swiss

Plans 200 new stores

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The Carphone Warehouse is to acquire N Tel Com - a switchless reseller operating in Switzerland - for £13.3m. It will use the company as a springboard to enter other European markets, including Germany.

Last year, N Tel generated revenues of around £18m and an operating profit of £2m from 44,000 customers.

Carphone Warehouse said in a statement: "N Tel is achieving good organic growth in its own right and will continue to be run as a stand alone business, but we intend to enhance its long term potential by developing tariffs to be distributed through our Phone House stores that will reflect the new free calls initiative."

The purchase comes hot on the heels of Carphone Warehouse's recent acquisition of Xtra Telecom giving it access to the Spanish market.

Carphone Warehouse's results are out today. It reports a 30 per cent growth in mobile connections to 1.44m, and it added 146,000 new punters to its fixed line operation, taking the number of TalkTalk customers to 385,000.

The introduction of free calls on the TalkTalk network, effective from today, is to be supported by a major marketing campaign. Carphone Warehouse reckons that this will help increase customer numbers to 600,000-700,000.

Following the recent announcement of free calls among TalkTalk customers, Carphone Warehouse reckons it now accounts for three in ten of all Carrier Pre-Select (CPS) punters across the entire market.

"With the launch of the free calls proposition, effective today, we anticipate that the rate of sign-up will accelerate further," said the company.

Chief exec Charles Dunstone added: "Our fourth quarter trading performance has been a fitting end to a record year. The mobile market has continued to be buoyant and we have strengthened our competitive position within it.

"In fixed line we have begun to shake up the UK market and are laying the foundations for growth across Europe.

"As a result of our success we anticipate that full year profits will be at the top end of market forecasts, with earnings per share exceeding forecasts.”

Carphone Warehouse is to open 200 new stores over the next year mostly in the UK, Spain and France. ®

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