Firm is sad to leave South Shields

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A SOUTH Tyneside businessman is expecting more impressive financial results for his firm – as it prepares to leave the borough.

In June, Utilitywise confirmed it was leaving its headquarters at Long Row, Market Dock, South Shields, and transferring its operations across the river to North Tyneside.

Despite determined efforts by bosses at South Tyneside Council to persuade Utilitywise to stay, company chief executive Geoff Thompson said the business had to move as part of its ambitious expansion plans.

Ahead of a planned shift to larger premises at Cobalt Business Park in North Tyneside, Utilitywise has announced that turnover and pre-tax profit for the year ending July 31, are expected to be in line with market expectations.

Net cash balances as of July 31 stood at about £9.7m, which was ahead of predictions, in part due to improved deals with energy suppliers.

Continued growth is predicted, including its customer base, as Utilitywise presses ahead with plans to recruit 600 new staff, bringing the total company headcount to 1,400 by July 2016.

Utilitywise already employs 640 people in the North East and has additional bases in Redditch, Bury St Edmunds, Portsmouth and Leicester.

Among the staff making the move to the bigger, 77,632 sq ft premises in North Tyneside, will be 100 staff from South Tyneside. Mr Thompson, who earlier admitted the move across the river was made with a “heavy heart,” said: “We are delighted to provide an update on what has been another period of growth for the business, both organically and through acquisition.

“The strong trading momentum from the first half of the year has continued into the second half, and as a result, we anticipate results to be in line with market expectations, which were revised upward at the time of the group’s interim results.”

Mr Thompson said staff were due to start moving into the new base in North Tyneside in October, with the total headcount to increase to 1,400 over the next two years.

Full-year results for Utilitywise are due to be announced in the last week of October.

Twitter: @terrykelly16