Banks Group pivots to property and mining

County Durham-headquartered energy, property and mining firm the Banks Group said it delivered a “robust performance” in 2023 across all of its business areas in the lead up to the sale of its renewable energy arm.

In the family firm’s final set of annual results while still operating in the renewable energy sector, it reported a combined operating profit of £21 million across all its businesses for the financial year ending September 30, 2023, down from £36 million in the previous year.

Overall group sales for the year were £90 million, down from £112 million in the previous period.

During the year, the group sold its Banks Renewables business to Canadian asset management giant Brookfield. News reports speculated the deal was worth almost $1 billion.

Banks Renewables has since rebranded as OnPath Energy and will operate from its new headquarters in Rainton Bridge.

Banks Group has launched a dedicated regional housebuilding company, Banks Homes, which is focussing on building its own houses on sites of all sizes across North East England and Yorkshire.

“Banks Homes operates independently from, but alongside, the group’s existing property development arm, Banks Property, which is continuing to work with many of the UK’s best-known housebuilders, as it has done successfully over the last 35 years,” said the company.

Banks Group chairman and CEO Harry Banks said: “In line with our expectations, the performance of our business in 2023 was at a lower level than the previous year, while we have managed the sale of the group’s renewable interests and focussed on enhancing the group’s future growth prospects across all our retained business areas.

“Prior to its disposal, our renewables arm represented a large proportion of the overall group, and delivered a significant contribution to our revenue and profits.

“The disposal to Brookfield with its greater resources will enable further growth and development under its new name, and we wish all our former colleagues who have moved to OnPath Energy the very best of good fortune for the future.

“While the group will be substantially smaller in the near term, its board believes that it remains well placed to deliver good growth in the coming years from our operations in residential and commercial property, mining and minerals, and plant management services.”

The group said Banks Homes’ first site, the Symeon Court development of nine luxury homes at Mount Oswald in Durham City, is progressing well, while work is also underway at its first large-scale residential development, Cathedral Meadows in West Rainton, where 150 new homes will be built.

“Following a number of Banks Property projects concluding in the previous financial year, coupled with delays in the planning system, fewer reached completion in the current financial year, but the business is continuing to work on a large volume of projects with targeted planning consents,” said the group.

“The group’s mining business continues to deliver growth from its role as principal contractor at the Bantycock gypsum mine near Newark in Nottinghamshire on behalf of owners Saint Gobain Formula.”

Harry Banks added: “We are pleased with the early stages of our housebuilding business’s development, and having assembled a strong and experienced team, we are working confidently towards delivering an increasing number of quality developments and homes across the North East and Yorkshire.

“Banks Property is continuing to work on a large volume of projects, and together with expected growth in our new Homes business, we expect to make up ground lost by our renewables sale.

“We are making good progress, but we see continuing evidence that the current planning system remains unpredictable and slow, and this is causing significant delays across the UK.

“Our mining business is performing well in its new form operating the mining contract at Bantycock, while also exploring other options for further growth.”