Simon Fisher, group finance director at The Banks Group.
Chloe Shakesby

Durham energy group boosts profits 92 per cent with £10m sales increase

A North East energy and property group has reported that its profits nearly doubled across its businesses last year.

The Banks Group, headquartered in Durham, reported combined profits of £18.3m for 2019, up 92.6 per cent from £9.5m in 2018.

The group reported that its sales also rose by £10m, jumping from £99m to £109m.

The financial year ended before the coronavirus pandemic, and the company has said that its effects are “now being felt to varying degrees” across its portfolio.

As well as Banks Property, the group owns Banks Renewables and Banks Mining, and has said that it expects to see more UK businesses opting for coal from within the country to help combat the greenhouse gas emissions associated with acquiring fuel from overseas.

Simon Fisher, group finance director at The Banks Group, commented: “The board believes that, despite the potential impact of Covid-19, the group will be in a good position to maximise the opportunities available from all the markets in which we operate provided new mines are consented to replace those nearing completion.

“Our mining business continues to transition sales away from electricity generation to industrial customers in the steel, cement and brick manufacturing industries where no viable alternative low carbon sources are yet available.

“Over 60 percent of coal sales in 2019 were to industrial and heritage customers, and with the phase-out of coal for use in UK electricity generation, this proportion is anticipated to grow to 100 per cent.

“We have a pipeline of wind farm sites in development with a total potential capacity of over 200MW, and further technologies including solar power generation and battery storage are being assessed for future deployment.

“A legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic will be for policymakers to reinforce the importance of maximising UK raw material supplies across all sectors, including industrial users of coal and fire clay, where this can be done economically.

“We have consistently demonstrated that our mining business has the capacity to be at the forefront of meeting this need with a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with importing these essential minerals from overseas.

“The UK currently imports 86 per cent of its need for coal even though the extra greenhouse gas emissions caused by dragging this coal halfway around the planet are enormous.

“There is no environmental or economic sense whatsoever in sourcing supplies from thousands of miles away when they are readily available at home.

“The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak is now being felt to varying degrees across our portfolio.

“As an essential supplier of both electricity and coal to UK consumers and industry, and to the credit of our skilled and dedicated workforce, we have ensured our operations across these businesses have maintained essential supplies.

“All our operations have continued to bring a wide range of long-term local benefits to the communities in which they’re based, in line with our ‘Development with Care’ approach.

“We’re proud of the substantial continuing contribution that our schemes enable us to make to the excellent work of local community groups and good causes in these areas and will be maintaining and strengthening our commitment to support these communities as they begin to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.”

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