THE owners of a family-run insulation firm are £5m richer after selling the business to British Gas owner Centrica.

Cheshire-based Hillserve, which has 159 staff, was set up in 1985 by founder Harry Hearsum and is now run by his daughter, Julie Hadfield.

Ms Hadfield said the takeover came 25 years to the week since the Stockport-based firm began trading. “We look forward to the next 25 years and beyond as part of British Gas,” she added.

The deal comes as Centrica looks to capitalise on increased home insulation spending, which is expected to rise from £600m to £1.4bn by 2015.

The firm, which carried out 40,000 installations last year, plans to take on 1,100 staff in the next 18 months.

British Gas, which itself completed 270,000 cavity wall and loft insulations in 2009, is aiming to become the UK’s biggest insulation player.