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The Co-operative Bank Helps Fund UKFast Expansion

by david.nunes

The Only Way is Ethics: The Co-operative Bank funds new green data centres

Leading green internet hosting company UKFast is seeing expansion and job creation with a £1.2m loan from the Manchester Corporate Banking Centre (CBC) of the Co-operative Bank.

With funding from The Co-operative Bank, UKFast, which is based in City Tower in Manchester City Centre, has acquired three new buildings as future data centres at Cobra Court, Trafford Park, and expects to see the creation of up to 100 highly skilled jobs in the next 12 months, to be based across the company’s city office and new data centres.

Founded in 1999 by Lawrence Jones and his wife and business partner Gail, UKFast provides a range of award-winning hosting solutions, servicing over 4,000 UK and international clients.

UKFast is the world’s first hosting provider to be certified as 100% carbon neutral under BSI PAS 2060, which extends to the company’s city centre headquarters, a training facility in Snowdon, Wales, along with the company’s current data centres based at Manchester Science Park and Manchester Technopark in Manchester city centre, and a third at Cobra Court in Trafford Park.

The new data centres will be fitted out with a number of carbon efficient hosting solutions to reduce environmental impact, and will increase UKFast’s storage capacity from 8,500sqft to just over 23,000sqft; more than doubling the company’s hosting capacity from 9,000 to 24,000 servers. Work on the centres has already begun and they are expected to be fully operational by summer 2012.

UKFast has banked with The Co-operative Bank since August 2009 and this is the second time the Bank has provided funding for the company, which received a £665,000 loan in 2009 for the acquisition of the company’s first wholly-owned data centre, also based in Cobra Court in Trafford Park.

UKFast managing director Lawrence Jones, said: “We are delighted by the support of The Co-operative Bank and the team at the Manchester CBC. They have a solid understanding of our aspirations as a business and tie-in very well with our strategy and commitment to green initiatives.

“The hosting industry consumes around the same amount of electricity on operations each year as a country the size of Argentina. This represents a substantial impact to our environment. At UKFast we believe in responsible business and are dedicated to developing new ways of working to reduce the environmental impact of our products and services.

“Our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our business is also reflected in the design of the three new data centres, which mark the start of an exciting expansion for our company, helping us to meet the ever increasing demand for our products and services and helping to create jobs in the process.”

UKFast is currently in the development stages of implementing hydro-electric projects to generate clean energy to efficiently power the company’s data centres.

Dave Loughman, corporate manager at the Manchester CBC of the Bank, said: “We pride ourselves on our unique ethical positioning and lending commitment to the renewable energy, recycling and carbon reduction sectors.

“UKFast is a thriving business, which is leading the way forward in the reduction of energy consumption in its industry and we are delighted to play a role in allowing them to realise their ambitions for the future.”

About The Co-operative Banking Group

The Co-operative Banking Group, formerly known as The Co-operative Financial Services, is the banking and insurance arm of The Co-operative Group, which is the world’s largest consumer co-operative with around six million members, over £14 billion turnover, and core business interests in financial services, food, travel, pharmacy and funeral care.  The Co-operative Group has over 5,000 retail trading outlets.

Following the merger with Britannia on 1 August 2009, the organisation is one of the largest and most highly diversified mutual businesses operating in both retail and corporate markets.

As part of The Co-operative Group, the business is characterised by its unique ethical and member reward policies and very high levels of customer advocacy.

The Co-operative Banking Group has £70 billion in assets, 12,000 staff and nine million customers.  It has over 300 high street branches, 20 corporate banking centres and major presences in Manchester, Leek, London, Plymouth, Skelmersdale and Stockport.

It is the only mutual organisation that enables its members to earn financial rewards for the products they hold, as well as giving them the opportunity to have a say in how the business is run.

About UKFast

UKFast is one of Europe’s fastest-growing technical companies as ranked by Deloitte and the Sunday Times Tech Track. In the last year CEO Lawrence Jones has been named North West Entrepreneur of the Year, while his team has collected the Greater Manchester Award for Innovation. In addition to being listed as one of The Sunday Times best companies to work for, UKFast also won the UK IT Awards Employer of the Year in 2010.

Previous accolades include being named the ISPA UK’s Best Hosting Provider four years consecutively. UKFast has over 400,000 web domains on its network and over 4,000 clients across all industries. Clients include Virgin, Microsoft and UKTV. UKFast is a member of the Cloud Industry Forum.


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