AN energy and property firm has recorded a rise in sales and pre-tax profits in its latest annual results.

The Banks Group has reported a combined operating profit across its businesses of £17.4m for the financial year ending September 30 2018, up from £16.2m in the previous financial year, on group sales of £98.7m, up from £94.6m for the previous period.

The family-owned business's operating profits also showed an improvement to £4.5m from £2.6m in the previous year, supported by new wind farms at Lambs Hill near Stockton-on-Tees and Moor House near Darlington.

Simon Fisher, group finance director at The Banks Group, said: “The board believes the group is in good shape to maximise the opportunities available from the markets in which we operate, and for results to remain strong although with some volatility.

“In recent years, we have accelerated the growth in our renewables business as the group shifts its dependence from coal extraction to renewable energy production. We now have 224MW of electricity generation capacity from our portfolio of wind farms and are looking to increase this further by bringing forward further wind and other renewable energy projects.

"Our property division is developing a growing portfolio of high-quality sites across Northern England, and while the nature of our markets means a degree of volatility should still be expected, we expect to see good progress continuing to be made.

"All our operations are specifically designed to bring a wide range of long-term benefits to communities."