AN energy and utilities consultancy firm says it will create 150 North-East jobs as it looks to continue its rapid expansion.

Utilitywise, in South Shields, South Tyneside, says it wants to take on managers and French and German speakers to increase its presence with European clients.

The move comes after the company, which which last year became the region's first firm for five years to float on the stock market, bought Worcestershire-based rival Energy Information Centre (EIC) for £15.5m and water consultancy specialist, Aqua Veritas.

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The deal will see Utilitywise benefit from working with EIC's large corporate clients, and take on its energy market and consultancy services.

Founded in 2006, the firm employs about 400 workers and brokers competitive gas and electricity tariffs for UK businesses, which bosses say the new jobs will build upon.

Claire Waterson, Utilitywise director of people and human resources, said: “The recent deals have made Utilitywise one of the biggest players in our industry, and we are looking to bring in more talent to help us grow even further.

“We have ambitious growth plans, and now have a vast amount of energy management and utilities expertise at our disposal.

“We know that our success in recent years has been due to the exceptional people we have working here and we are keen to add to these numbers with a rapid recruitment programme.

“We want people to build careers at Utilitywise and there are numerous opportunities for ambitious and talented people to progress.”

Last year, Utilitywise’s bought Portsmouth-based Clouds Environmental Consultancy Limited in a £985,000 deal to expand its operations in the South of England.