Utilitywise founder puts together rescue package
The founder and former CEO of Utilitywise is in talks to rescue the struggling energy consultancy.
Geoff Thompson, who grew the north Tyneside-headquartered firm from a North Shields bedroom into a multi-million-pound listed company, stepped down from its board two years ago.
Utilitywise recently delayed the publication of its accounts for a second time and announced that it is up for sale after auditors BDO called into question how it estimates revenues.
Its share price currently stands below 2p after plummeting from around 40p last January. The price peaked in 2014 at £3.70.
Thompson heads a team which has put together a rescue package for the firm, which employs around 1,000 people, and confirmed that he plans to return to the boardroom.
“I can confirm that we’ve put a proposal forward. It’s a very credible plan for the business and I still believe that, with the right strategy and right execution, there’s still a very good business there,” he said.
“I hope we can take our proposal forward, but that stage is out of our hands. I don’t hold all the cards but I hope we can save what is a fundamentally good business and execute a plan and achieve success.”
Thompson said other parties may also have made an approach for Utilitywise, which has said £10 million investment is needed to make further strategic changes in order to improve revenue streams.
Negotiations over the refinancing of its existing banking facility of £25 million have also stalled until Utilitywise can secure further equity investment, the firm said.
It has stated the need to prioritise its Internet of Things solutions and the creation of a digitally driven channel “targeting micro-SME customers and offering a multi-utility bill management service with automation at its core”.
Last year Utilitywise, which has 27,000 customers, repaid £7.6m to a leading energy company after it overestimated energy use.