NEWLY-LISTED plc Utilitywise plans to add a further 100 staff and make at least one new acquisition in the next 12 months.
The ambitious South Shields-based business is aiming to grow both organically and by targeting potential bolt-on businesses for takeover.
Utilitywise unveiled its plans as it issued its first annual results since raising £6.86m with its flotation on the Alternative Investment Market in June.
The energy and utilities consultancy said revenues rose by 25% to £14.6m and pre-tax profits jumped by 23% to £4.3m in the year to the end of July. Its share price rose more than 10% over the day to close at 88.5p yesterday. Chief executive Geoff Thompson said: “It’s our first set of results since the IPO (initial public offering) so we are very pleased to be presenting a strong set of results.
“The IPO has allowed us to accelerate our organic growth and will allow us to grow by acquisition.
“Customer numbers are up. The number of contracted customers is 14% higher at around 12,000 since the IPO. There has also been a 29% increase in contracted meters.”
FinCap is forecasting revenues of £25m next year and profits of around £6.9m for the company. Utilitywise added 110 staff during the year, bringing the current number to 314, and plans to continue its recruitment drive as the business grows.
Chief executive Geoff Thompson, said: “We aim to have another 100 over the next 12 months without acquisitions.
“We’ve got faster organic growth and we are targeting more than 240 energy consultants from the current 180.”
He added: “And we have some exciting opportunities for further acquisitions.
“We certainly expect to announce another by the end of the fiscal year.”
Utilitywise bought Eco Monitoring Utility (EMU) Systems Limited in January and has just acquired Clouds Environmental Consultancy.
“There were a number of key events – one, we acquired EMU which gave us access to certain intellectual property (IP). Securing that IP was important,” said Thompson. The second was moving into our new 40,000sqft building in South Shields, where we have grown our head count and that will continue.”
He is confident that demand for Utilitywise’s services will continue to grow, even during the current bleak economic outlook.
“Our proposition has very wide appeal: we are making sure businesses are on the right tariff,” said Thompson.
“Increasingly, customers are saying we need help to identify where we can reduce waste and drive down their overall spend.”
The company also announced that Michael Dent has joined Utilitywise from Total Gas & Power as sales and marketing director. He will also have a seat on the board.
The board is proposing a dividend for the year of 1p per share, which will be paid on December 14 to shareholders on the register at close of business on November 30.