Telecom Plus has all the hallmarks of a company that will do well out of an economic slowdown. The group supplies utility services such as gas, electricity and broadband to residential and business customers and is therefore a play on value-conscious households. Results this week for the six months to September 30 showed revenue rose 25 per cent to £88.9m, while pre-tax profit rose 55 per cent to £9.8m. So the group was bullish enough to declare plans to pay a total dividend for the current year of not less than 17.5p with another 22p next year. Charles Wigoder, chief executive, said that customer growth had accelerated further since September. Its shares have held up well in the last three months, rising 4 per cent, but therein lies the problem. Investec Securities puts the group’s prospective price-earnings ratio at 12.4 times, which gives it a deserved premium to its telecom peers, but means the share price may mark time for now.

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