The former boss of PH Jones, the heating specialist that was sold to Centrica for £30m yesterday, has retained the metering division and expects rapid growth on the back of the nationwide roll-out of smart meters.

PH Jones’ managing director Martin Jones and his brother Chris expect the unit, which accounted for around £15m of the group’s £80m turnover, to benefit from £7bn of Government subsidies to help put smart meters in every home from 2014.

Mr Jones and his brother each held 25% of the shares in the Malpas-based PH Jones Group, with their parents, Phil and Brenda, holding the balance.

The Centrica deal has seen it take the bulk of the business – the parts that handle the installation and maintenance of central heating systems in social housing – while the brothers acquired PH Jones Metering Services through a buyout.

Mr Jones, who would not say how much he paid, said: “We’ve acquired the assets of that business out of the main PH Jones Group and transferred it into a new entity. It was a deal which was right, there’s value in the deal for us.”

The business, established in 2005, will be based in Wrexham and will retain all of its 250 engineers and 50 support staff.

Mr Jones added: “The growth depends on the roll-out of smart meters. The Government has promised to spend £7bn over the next 10-12 years so we’re in a really good position. Having been involved in trials we’re in a good space to take adventage of that.”

PH Jones was founded in 1971 by Phil Jones, who began his career as a sole trader installing central heating sytems in 1963. Martin Jones joined the business aged 23 in 1991 fresh from travelling in Australia and New Zealand where he spent 18 months selling oil paintings door-to-door.

“It taught me a lot about life and how to approach people and communicate,” said Mr Jones who quickly spied opportunities in social housing and agreed contracts with local authorities. In the 20 years since he joined staff numbers grew from 20 to 1,000 and turnover increased from £500,000 to £80m.

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