THE UK’s biggest independent telecoms provider has secured £100million for expansion.

Onecom, headquartered in Fareham with a base in Southampton, has nearly 100,000 business customers including Farrow & Ball, Thwaites, Celtic Manor and 118 UK.

It has doubled its revenues over the past five years and employs 400 people across 10 offices. Its partners include Samsuing, Apple, Gamma, Mitel and Virtual1.

It is also a major partner of Vodafone and last month the two announced a five-year deal worth up to £600m in revenue.

Onecom announced a £100m funding package for expanding by organic growth or acquisition. The funds are coming from private equity firm LDC and credit funds managed by an affiliate of Ares Management Corporation.

It has also revealed a new chairman in Mark Thompson, while founder Darren Ridge becomes a non-executive director and remains a significant shareholder.

Chief executive Ben Dowd said: “I am delighted that LDC have backed the Onecom management team to pursue our growth strategy over the next few years. We have worked very closely with LDC over the last few months and they share the same level of ambition as we do.

“This investment will help accelerate Onecom’s growth organically and inorganically. I am delighted that Darren will stay in the business as non-executive director. His experience of Onecom and the market will be invaluable to me.

“The opportunities that exist for Onecom are significant both from a partnership and an acquisitive perspective. Onecom has a proven track record of delivering growth and this approach will now be super charged. The market is ripe for consolidation and Onecom can play a big role in this across mobile and fixed solutions where there is a huge number of resellers.

“I am very excited to work with LDC, Darren, Mark and of course my management team to deliver this growth over the next three to five years.”

Darren Ridge, who founded Onecom in 2002, said: “It’s great to get LDC’s backing and support for our vision. Under Ben and the management team’s leadership, we will see the business grow substantially over the next five years.”

Onecom has won several awards this year including Best Customer Service at the Mobile News Awards, Best Unified Comms Dealer at the Mobile Industry Awards and Vodafone Total Communications Partner of the Year for the fifth consecutive year.

The investment was led by LDC’s London head Yann Souillard, who becomes a non-executive director.

He said: “The role of communications in driving business growth and productivity is well-understood. Onecom occupies a unique position in the business telecommunications market, offering a truly converged solution with the market’s leading operators and equipment manufacturers. What’s more, Ben and the management team have a clear vision and ambition for the business and a credible plan to deliver it. We’re excited to be part of that journey.”