So the City will be anxious to see whether the company can justify that performance when its first set of interim figures are announced next Wednesday. Kingston is the new name for the old Hull telephone company, a unique institution owned by Hull city council. Long before BT faced competition in the shape of Mercury, Vodafone and others, the Hull phone company had the run of the Humberside city through its network of cheap phones. Hull's ruling Labour group put forward the flotation plans last year in an effort to meet Kingston's 'aggressive' business plan, which was intended to take coverage outside of Hull and into other parts of the UK. The company, under the guidance of finance director Ross Cope, who has been with Kingston since 1996, also spelt out its intention to expand the local network into the villages surrounding the city and to develop satellite, video and multimedia services. So Kingston, and the council, decided to float to give the company the muscle to borrow money, push up profits and invest for expansion. At first it was thought the council would hold on to a majority stake, but in the end it chose to retain a large minority share of 44.9%, allowing outsiders to have the rest. At float time, shares were issued at 225p. Now they are hovering around 585p, valuing the whole company at about £2bn.
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