Comet shines brighter in UK market

Australian satellite and telecommunications equipment installer Comet Satellite & Cable will lift its stake in UK venture Beresford Swift Communications, setting its sights on building one of the world's largest Pay TV installation businesses.

Comet will raise its interest from 50 per cent to 80 per cent in Beresford Swift, a company formed in late 2000 to perform installations for Rupert Murdoch-owned and satellite Pay TV giant BSKyB.

The move boosts Comet's start-up investment in the joint venture to $2.8 million.

Comet executive chairman Kingsley Mundey forecasts solid growth for the company over the next few years, citing the annual volume of satellite installations in the UK as some 10 times that in Australia, and rapid expansion into UK markets, as key drivers.

Comet's UK business is expected to turnover $20 million in its first full year, a company statement said.

Its first contracts with BSkyB cover London, Kent, Sussex and Surrey, requiring the JV initially to provide 250 installers at branches in Tottenham, London and at Paddock Wood, Kent.

With local clients such as Optus, Austar and Foxtel, Comet installs more than 20,000 satellite systems a month for the domestic pay television market.

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