A family-owned company which provides central heating services to the social housing sector has been sold to energy giant Centrica for £30m in cash.

PH Jones, based in Malpas Cheshire, was founded in 1971 by Phil Jones, who began his career as a sole trader installing central heating sytems in 1963. His wife Brenda is company secretary and son Martin is managing director.

Mr Jones junior was a winner at last year’s Ernst & Young regional Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

The £80m turnover company has nearly 30 branches in England, Scotland and Wales and around 1,000 employees.

Centrica, which owns British Gas, said the deal was a “a major step” towards its goal of building a social housing energy services business, and help social housing providers cut residents’ energy use, carbon emissions and fuel bills.

The transaction includes PH Jones’ social housing business, which provides central heating service and repair for around 250,000 properties under 42 contracts.

It also carries out over 8,000 central heating installations every year through 28 contracts within the social housing sector. The acquisition will bring British Gas around 850 employees, of whom approximately 560 work in the Social Housing business.

The deal does not include the Utility Services business previously operated by PH Jones, which will be retained by the vendors.

Betsy Bassis, managing director of British Gas Community Energy, said: “Social housing is a strategically important market for British Gas. It not only represents 20% of Britain’s housing stock, but it is also an early adopter of energy efficiency and renewable technologies.

“We are committed to creating a leading energy services business for the public sector and our focus is on growing successfully through a combination of strong organic growth and our partnership with Mears1, one of the leading providers of repairs and maintenance in social housing.

“The acquisition of PH Jones significantly accelerates our growth strategy in social housing. PH Jones is a successful, profitable company in this sector and combining its strengths with those of British Gas will deliver important benefits for our customers.”

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