Comet Forms Joint Venture to Handle BSkyB's Installations

Comet Satellite and Cable has formed a joint venture with UK-based satellite installation provider Beresford Swift to perform installations for pay TV operating giant British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB).

Comet has a 50 per cent stake in Beresford Swift Communications (BSC) and will contribute $2 million of working capital to the deal, plus a host of IT solutions "to streamline existing operations", a company statement said.

While Comet's UK growth strategy lies in "starting off relatively slow", Comet executive chairman Kingsley Mundey said expansion potential could be bigger than its Australian operations.

Under initital contracts with BSkyB, BSC will handle installations in London, and South-East England in Kent, Surrey and Sussex and will provide 450 installers from branches at Tottenham, London and Kent, according to Comet.

For Comet, the deal adds to a recent string of Trans-Tasman acquisitions including Mr Antenna, The Antenna Man, Brisbane Aerial Services and New Zealand's Strongline (60 per cent). Comet also acquired the Delaney Group for $25.32 million following its November 1999 ASX listing.

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