British Gas Community Energy has acquired PH Jones Group, the provider of central heating services to the social housing market, for £30 million in cash. This deal marks a major step in the company’s strategy to build its social housing energy services business and help social housing providers across the UK to cut their residents’ energy use, carbon emissions and fuel bills.

The acquisition brings British Gas employee figures up to around 850, of whom approximately 560 work in the Social Housing business. The transaction includes PH Jones’ social housing business, which provides central heating service and repair for around 250,000 properties under 42 contracts, but does not incorporate the Utility Services business previously operated by PH Jones, which will be retained by the vendors.

Social housing currently represents 20% of the UK’s housing stock, which equates to around five million homes. The sector is forecast to spend £3.5 billion a year on energy services by 2012 and is forecast to grow further in the coming years as it is propelled forward by the growth of microgeneration and renewable heating.

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 Mears, 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.”