Plusnet downloads record £43m profit

Plusnet finance director Paula Smith is proud of staff for helping the firm hit record profits
Plusnet finance director Paula Smith is proud of staff for helping the firm hit record profits
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Plusnet profits have soared 35 per cent as the Sheffield-based firm capitalises on the nation’s love for Yorkshire.

The internet service provider reported record profit after tax of £43.4m for the year ended March 31, up from £29.2m in the year previous.

Turnover grew 18 per cent in the same period while customer numbers were up 13 per cent, although the total is deemed too commercially sensitive to reveal.

Employee numbers grew eight per cent to 1,200, with 1,000 in Sheffield, based in the Balance office block on Trippet Lane, and 200 in Leeds.

The figures will consolidate Plusnet’s position as Sheffield’s biggest tech firm.

Finance director Paula Smith - who joined on April 1 - said she was “extremely satisfied and proud” of the results.

The firm is wholly-owned by BT and chief finance officer Simon Lowth, who was in Sheffield yesterday and reportedly said it was “an excellent performance.”

Plusnet has spent millions on a national advertising campaign which plays on its Yorkshire roots. It also sponsors Sheffield half marathon and the Yorkshire marathon in York.

Paula Smith paid tribute to the hard work of staff and highlighted surging demand from customers as a huge driver of growth.

She said: “We are operating in a sector where the product sells itself. Customers want more and more. Five years ago fibre wasn’t really here. Now 35 per cent of customers are on it. You can have a house where everyone has a tablet and a mobile phone, as well as a smart television connected to the internet and music streaming.

“But as well as speed, they want consistency, not buffering. Download speeds are really important.”

Plusnet is just one firm capitalising on the strength of the ‘Yorkshire’ brand - helped by the Tour de France in 2104.

Paula Smith added: “I think everyone associates Yorkshire with honesty and straight talking. People can relate to that. Trust is critical in terms of acquiring and retaining customers.”

The figures also show Plusnet paid £10.8m in corporation tax while wages were £30.5m, including pension contributions.