AN energy and utilities consultancy firm says it wants to create 120 North-East jobs after being propelled forward by strong financial results.

Utilitywise, based in South Shields, South Tyneside, manages thousands of energy meters and brokers competitive gas and electricity tariffs for major UK businesses.

It hopes to recruit new staff by next summer, which will take its North-East workforce to about 600 people.

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Bosses say it has been galvanised by last year's move to become the first company in the region for five years to float on the stock market.

It unveiled the plans after revealing its full-year results, which showed revenues had increased by 73 per cent to £24.8m, and gross profit had risen by 89 per cent to 11.7m.

The results come just days after Labour leader Ed Miliband vowed to freeze gas and electricity bills for up to 20 months if his party triumphs at the next General Election.

Geoff Thompson, Utilitywise's chief executive, said he was buoyed by the results, which were boosted by three major acquisitions to boost the firm's energy market presence.

The company bought Worcestershire-based rival Energy Information Centre for £15.5m in July to increase its expertise in industrial and commercial markets, acquired water consultancy specialist Aqua Veritas in April, and Portsmouth-based Clouds Environmental Consultancy for £985,000 in October last year, to build on its energy consultancy work.

Mr Thompson said: “We have put in a lot of hard work and are very pleased the results reflect that.

“Our growth has been strong and have already made an equally strong start to this year too.

“It is important we now keep up that momentum, and the 120 jobs will help us do that, just like the acquisitions have.

“When we took the decision to float on the market we knew it would help the business, and it has given us a strong platform to maintain our growth.”

Earlier this year, Utilitywise, which was founded in 2006, revealed plans to take on French and German speakers to increase its European presence.

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