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Plans to acquire other ISPs

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Sheffield-based ISP PlusNet is to float on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) as part of plans to cash in on the growth in broadband.

The ISP - 95 per cent owned by US IT outfit Insight Enterprises Inc - intends to use the cash to help fuel its growth in the UK's broadband sector and to buy other broadband ISPs.

PlusNet has already made a name for itself in the UK by punting affordable broadband and innovative new products. Only recently, it cut the price of its entry-level broadband service to £14.99 a month and introduced a new service to enable punters to pick-and-choose which tariffs and features they want from their ADSL service.

If all goes to plan, PlusNet's spin-off from Insight could hit the Stock Market within the next couple of months valuing the company at between £30m - £35m.

The company has 60,000 broadband punters out of a total customer base of 165,000. For the year ended 31 December 2003, PlusNet generated revenues of £17.4m and an operating profit of £1.8m.

As demand for broadband continues to generate huge growth, it's forecast the ISP could double profits this year as turnover soars to an estimated £29m.

Said chief exe Lee Strafford: "The proposed flotation will further raise our profile with our partners and customers and within the industry, and assist us in developing our business as we look to become the broadband provider of choice for the experienced Internet user in the UK." "With industry experts predicting that Broadband in the UK is set to double in the next four years, PlusNet finds itself in an ideal position to continue rapid profitable growth."

With its HQ in Sheffield, PlusNet was set up in 1996 as an off-shoot of UK computer reseller, Choice Peripherals. Two years later, US IT outfit Insight Enterprises Inc acquired Choice Peripherals and a 95 per cent stake in PlusNet. ®

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