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FIT for action if new talks deliver power link-up.

Byline: Richard Tyler City Staff

Future Integrated Telephony is in talks with NPower and two other rival electricity and gas retailers that could lead to a lucrative marketing tie-up for the Coventry-based company early in the New Year.

A deal with NPower would allow FIT's agents to sell the company's discounted telecoms and Internet services to more than a million small and medium-sized business customers.

The company had established a similar relationship with West Midland-based Independent Energy, but the gas and electricity supplier went into receivership on September 8 and the aftershock knocked investor confidence in FIT.

The company's shares fell 18 per cent to 240p on the day, having previously fallen from a year high of pounds 12. Yesterday, the shares closed unchanged at 1121/1p, valuing the company at pounds 15.6 million.

Chief executive David Sims declined to reveal the identities of the other two parties. But he did say he was 'pretty confident' that within four months he would have an announcement that would help restore investor confidence.

On December 15, FIT plans to launch its Internet-based package of services, FIT4Business.com, which is branded in association with the Bank of Scotland.

The original plan was to launch the service in November, but Mr Sims said FIT had been let down by Energis Squared, which is supplying the computer hardware, and so it had to be delayed by a month.

'If FIT4Business.com can do 5,000 customers by May, then it has paid for itself, but we think it can do considerably better than that,' said Mr Sims.

The company has also begun talks with Vodafone to extend its mobile phone service that was launched in March. At present, FIT deals exclusively with Cellnet.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 8, 2000
Words:289
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