Profits up for South Shields energy and utilities firm Utilitywise

RAPID growth continues for the first North East firm to list on the stock market for five years after it announced a 44% rise in profits in its half-yearly report.

Geoff Thompson, chief executive of Utilitywise
Geoff Thompson, chief executive of Utilitywise

RAPID growth continues for the first North East firm to list on the stock market for five years after it announced a 44% rise in profits in its half-yearly report.

Energy and utilities consultancy Utilitywise, based in South Shields, saw revenues reach £10.2m in six months to the end of January, up from £7.3m in the last half of 2012.

The company, which helps businesses reduce their electricity, gas and water bills, returned a pre-tax profit of £2.1m amid heavy investment in the new premises, energy consumption management products, services and staff.

The company has announced it has acquired Leicester-based water consultancy services firm Aqua Veritas Consulting Ltd, a move which could be followed by further acquisitions as the business targets potential bolt-on businesses.

Snapping up Aqua Veritas’s services will enable Utilitywise’s clients to reduce their water utility costs, streamline their bill management processes and improve their environmental performance.

The acquisition comes six months after the business bought up independent energy consultancy Clouds Environmental Consultancy Ltd, which continues to operate from its Portsmouth offices where staff provide extra technical expertise for Utilitywise’s energy management products. Founder Geoff Thompson launched the company in 2006 with just three employees and has seen it grow to employ some 450 staff, including 259 energy consultants – a rise of 92% in the energy department since the end of last January.

He successfully listed on Aim in June, being valued at about £37m and raising nearly £6.86m.

Thompson said the firm has a strong forward view of opportunities for the coming months.

He added: “We are delighted to have achieved a 44% increase in revenues, which underlines the exciting growth opportunities available.

“Particularly encouraging has been the level of profitability given the costs absorbed by the business in terms of new premises, investment in energy consumption management products, services and headcount growth.

“We have good visibility over future revenue and our pipeline of new secured and as yet unrecognised revenue has increased since period end. This, combined with the growing sales momentum from our recently expanded team of energy consultants, leaves us confident in the future prospects of the business.

“Our interim results are in line with our expectations and we remain on course to meet full-year targets.

“Aqua Veritas has an excellent reputation for high-quality service in the market for water management solutions for businesses and a blue chip client base.

“It fits well with our core energy services and increases the range of products and services we can offer our customers.

“We’ve got strong momentum behind the business, we’ve invested heavily in IT and we’ve also had the move to new offices in South Shields, so we’ve made the right IT and infrastructure decisions.

“We’ve just acquired the Leicester-based firm and some of our growth will be through acquisitions.”

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