The Phone Co-op announced record profits for the year to August 2013. Profit before distributions was £555k, up 31% compared with the previous year. Despite a challenging trading environment in which prices and volumes are falling, the consumer co-operative reported a rise in its sales of telecommunications, boosted by significant growth in its mobile business, a trend its board expects will continue.
This year’s record profit enables The Phone Co-op to recommend an increase in the dividend payable to its 10,000 members from 2% of sales in 2012 to 2.5% this year.
Vivian Woodell, founder and Chief Executive of The Phone Co-op, says: “It’s been a challenging year for both the co-operative movement and the telecommunications industry, so we’re delighted to be able to report such good results.”
“As a customer-owned co-operative, we’re pleased we’ve increased our membership which means more people are benefiting. Members have also increased their investments in The Phone Co-op to over £4m, and we have built our reserves, to over £1 million. We see this as evidence that consumer co-operatives, with their strong member-backing, can grow organically in a highly competitive marketplace.”
“We are unique in our industry and this contributed to the strong improvement in our performance in an industry where volumes and prices are falling.”
In addition to growing its existing services, The Phone Co-op entered a new strategic partnership with the charity Community Network in July 2013, under which The Phone Co-op took over Community Network’s teleconferencing services. In addition, The Phone Co-op continued its diversification into renewable energy generation, with three further large-scale solar PV projects completed in February 2013.
“In the year ahead, our focus will shift to growth,” explains Vivian Woodell. “We have a number of important projects underway which we expect will contribute to this.”
The Phone Co-op’s AGM, where members will vote on this year’s proposed dividend will be held in in Manchester, on Saturday 8th February.
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