It is a growth in demand for bottled gas to fuel barbeques and outdoor lighting systems that has made the fortunes of Liverpool-based Alta Gas. The company was founded in 1995 by current chairman Peter Bradley and claims to be the UK’s second largest butane and bottled gas supplier after Calor Gas. Bradley set up his first butane and bottled gas company, Go-Gas, in the 1970s, and sold it to Hillsdown Holdings in 1986. While 60% of his new company’s turnover derives from industrial customers, Bradley attributes the company’s success to expanding domestic markets over the past five years. Profits have increased 78% a year, from £779,000 in 1996 to £4.3m in 1999, when sales reached £13.3m. The company claims that its success rests on its dedication to customer service – Alta Gas provides free guaranteed delivery within 24 hours and a personal account handler for each customer.
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