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Stobart Group Ltd (LSESTOB) is a British infrastructure, aviation, energy and civil engineering company, with operations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company is registered in Guernsey but has its operational head office in London England.

Stobart Group Ltd
Formerly
Westbury Property Fund Limited
Public limited company
Traded asLSESTOB
IndustryAviation, energy and civil engineering
Founded2002
HeadquartersLondon,[1] England, UK
Area served
Ireland, United Kingdom
Key people
David Shearer
(Non-Executive Chairman)
Warwick Brady[2]
(Chief Executive)
Revenue£146.9 million (2019)[3]
£(5.8) million (2019)[3]
£(42.6) million (2019)[3]
Divisions
  • Stobart Energy
  • Stobart Aviation
  • Stobart Rail & Civils
  • Stobart Infrastructure
  • Stobart Investments
Subsidiaries
Stobart Holdings Ltd
Stobart Biomass Holdings Ltd
Stobart Biomass Products Ltd
Stobart Biomass Transport Ltd
Stobart Rail Ltd
Stobart Aviation Ltd
Stobart Air (UK) Ltd
Goosepool 2019 Ltd (25%)
Southend Airport Company Ltd
Connect Airways Ltd (30%)
Stobart Estates Holdings Ltd
Stobart Properties Ltd
WADI Properties Ltd
Moneypenny Ltd
Stobart Group Brands LLP
Eddie Stobart Promotions Ltd
Websitewww.stobartgroup.co.uk

Stobart Group Ltd originally started in January 2002 as the Westbury Property Fund Limited, a closed-ended real-estate investment fund. In August 2016, realising that property prices were reaching the peak of the market, the Westbury Property Fund decided to re-position its portfolio towards the logistics sector, buying Weston Point Docks in Runcorn, AHC Warehousing and the rail operations of Victa Westlink Rail in March 2007. It then agreed an asset swap deal in August 2007 with the privately owned investment company WA Developments, whereby Westbury would sell 90% of its non-logistics related property portfolio to WA Developments in return for its Eddie Stobart Ltd subsidiary. Eddie Stobart Chairman Andrew Tinkler became CEO, whilst his brother-in-law, the Managing Director William Stobart became COO of the renamed Stobart Group, which subsequently diversified into other sectors. After boardroom changes in 2013, in 2014 a 51% stake in its original transport business was sold, becoming Eddie Stobart Logistics with William Stobart as its CEO. The Group retained the rights to the brand Eddie Stobart, licensing it out to the new company. With Andrew Tinkler remaining CEO at Stobart Group, it re-positioned itself around its remaining interests.

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange. However, unlike most UK public companies, Stobart Group retains its "Ltd" status as it is incorporated in Guernsey and not England & Wales or Scotland, which would require it to change its suffix to "plc" status.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

The Stobart Group Ltd company started out as the Westbury Property Fund Limited, a closed ended real estate investment fund based in Guernsey established in January 2002 by Investment Manager Richard Burrell. In August 2016, realising that property prices were reaching the peak of the market, the Westbury Property Fund decided to re-position its portfolio towards the logistics sector, by buying Weston Point Docks in Runcorn, AHC Warehousing and the rail operations of Victa Westlink Rail in March 2007.[4]

Reverse takeover by Eddie StobartEdit

The Stobart Group was created on 15 August 2007 when the Westbury Property Fund entered into a reverse acquisition by the Eddie Stobart Logistics business, which enabled Eddie Stobart Logistics to gain a stock market listing. Westbury acquired the ultimate Eddie Stobart Ltd holding company, Stobart Holdings Ltd, from W.A. Developments International Ltd for £137.7 million: £62 million in cash and £76 million in new Westbury Property Fund shares. The renamed Westbury group then became the London Stock Exchange listed Stobart Group Ltd, with Andrew Tinkler and William Stobart becoming substantial shareholders holding 20% and 8.5% respectively of the Stobart Group.[5][6] In return, Westbury sold the bulk of its commercial property portfolio, Westbury Properties Ltd., to another WA Developments subsidiary, WADI Properties Ltd., for £142.0 million in cash, thereby retaining the assets under the control of Andrew Tinkler and William Stobart (the owners of WA Developments), while being outside the new group.[7]

The enlarged Stobart Group then diversified into other sectors, making acquisitions including WA Developments Ltd from W A Developments Holdings Ltd in 2008, Carlisle Lake District Airport in 2009 and 50% of A. W. Jenkinson Biomass Ltd in 2010.[8]

On 21 April 2011, the Stobart Group announced a Placing and Open Offer (similar to a rights issue) of 77,339,766 new ordinary shares in the Stobart Group at 155p each to raise net proceeds of £114.9 million to achieve its growth plans.[9] The Stobart Group also announced it was buying the remaining 50% of Stobart Biomass Products it did not already own for £20 million.[10]

In January 2012, Stobart Group announced it was buying back its former commercial property portfolio which it sold to WA Developments in 2007, by acquiring WADI Properties Ltd for £12.35 million.[11]

Boardroom coup and counter-coupEdit

In January 2013, following an under-performing share price, Stobart Group's largest shareholder, Invesco, initiated a number of boardroom changes. The Non-Executive Chairman, Rodney Baker-Bates, was demoted to become a Non-Executive Director, whilst Avril Palmer-Baunack, the former Chief Executive of Autologic and now Deputy Chief Executive of Stobart Group, was promoted to become Executive Chairman. Her remit was to sell off under-performing parts of the business.[12]

However, disagreements started with Andrew Tinkler and William Stobart, who held 12.6% of the Stobart Group at the time, over what could be classified as an "under-performing asset". Their view was that there were no under-performing assets in the Stobart Group whatsoever. In April 2013, Stobart Group announced that Avril Palmer-Baunack would be leaving the Group in the next month. In October 2013, Stobart Group appointed Iain Ferguson CBE as its new independent Non-Executive Chairman.[13]

Partial realisation of Transport and Distribution DivisionEdit

In March 2014, Stobart Group announced its intention to re-position itself as an Infrastructure and Support Services business, with the announcement of the sale of its main Transport and Distribution business to Douglas Bay Capital for £280.8 million: £195.6 million in cash and £44.1 million in shares (and therefore a 49% stake) of the new Eddie Stobart Logistics business. The deal enabled Stobart Group to pay back almost all of its debt, conduct a £35 million share buy-back and invest £55 million into its new division Stobart Green Energy. At the same time William Stobart left his position as Chief Operating Officer of the Stobart Group to become Executive Chairman of Eddie Stobart Logistics.[14]

On 11 May 2017, it was announced that the Stobart Group CEO would change to Warwick Brady from the June AGM, with Andrew Tinkler remaining as an Executive Board Member and also heading up Stobart Capital, a new venture independent of the Stobart Group. On Thursday 14 June 2018, it was announced that Stobart Group had served notice on its Executive Director and former Chief Executive Andrew Tinkler and removed him from the board of directors of Stobart Group.[15][16]

Financial performanceEdit

Figures below show the recent results for the Group; the financial year runs to the last day of February each year:[3][17]

Period ended Turnover (£m) Profit before tax (£m) Adjusted earnings per share diluted (p)
28 February 2019 146.9 (42.1) (16.6)
28 February 2018 242.0 100.6 28.7
28 February 2017 129.4 (8.0) (2.67)
29 February 2016 126.7 10.0 2.68
28 February 2015 116.6 (9.4) (2.43)
28 February 2014 99.2 (10.2) (3.06)
28 February 2013 572.4 36.0 8.98
29 February 2012 551.92 30.55 8.97
28 February 2011 500.39 29.47 9.02
28 February 2010 447.66 33.29 11.58
28 February 2009 431.06 29.72 (4.07)
29 February 2008 (14 months) 108.84 3.52 (22.92)
31 December 2006 0.42 (1.12) 58.29
31 December 2005 7.59 13.70 26.48
31 December 2004 5.43 7.56 54.04

OperationsEdit

Stobart EnergyEdit

 
Stobart Biomass Scania R480 "Evie Sophia" lorry

On 24 March 2010, the Stobart Group announced the purchase of 50% of A. W. Jenkinson Biomass Ltd, from A. W. Jenkinson Forest Products, for £30 million, as an equal mix of cash and shares. A. W. Jenkinson Biomass Ltd was then renamed Stobart Biomass Products Ltd. Stobart Biomass transports sustainable wood products for use in low-carbon emission power plants, producing electricity at both large- and small-scale power plants, including for export.[18] The Stobart Group also announced it was buying the remaining 50% of Stobart Biomass Products it did not already own for £20 million.[19]

Stobart AviationEdit

Carlisle Lake District AirportEdit

 
Original Carlisle Lake District Airport entrance
 
Stobart Group's Carlisle office is located in the Carlisle Lake District Airport terminal building

In 2006, Stobart had also been considering expanding into the air freight business. On 7 April 2006 Haughey Airports Ltd – the company which operated Carlisle Airport – was acquired by Eddie Stobart's parent company WA Developments, through a subsidiary company Stobart Air Holdings Ltd. Haughey Airports Ltd was then renamed Stobart Air Ltd.[20] After the reverse takeover in 2007, the Stobart Air operation remained outside the enlarged Stobart Group, i.e. it was still owned by WA Developments.[6] The March 2008 purchase by the group of W. A. Developments Ltd included a £50,000 option agreement to purchase the airport, controlled by WA Developments through Stobart Air Holdings.[21]

In January 2009, Stobart Group's subsidiary, Stobart Airports Ltd, exercised its option to acquire Carlisle Lake District Airport from Stobart Air Holdings for £14 million (£1 million less than originally announced). Following an independent shareholder vote, the acquisition was completed in May 2009, and the purchase price was reduced to £9.9 million due to a fall in the value of Stobart Group shares.[22]

Teesside International AirportEdit

 
Teesside Airport Terminal

On 14 March 2019, the Mayor of the Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, who in January 2019 brought Durham Tees Valley Airport back into public ownership, unveiled Stobart Aviation as the new operators of the airport. Stobart manage the airport on behalf of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and invested in a 25% stake in the new airport company. The airport reverted to its previous name of Teesside International Airport in July 2019.[23]

London Southend AirportEdit

 
New London Southend Airport terminal building

On 2 December 2008, Stobart Group announced the surprise £21 million purchase of London Southend Airport, through its subsidiary Stobart Airports Ltd from Regional Airports Ltd (who also own London Biggin Hill Airport). The deal completed on 5 December 2008. At the time, the book value of London Southend Airport's assets were £25.5 million, and the acquisition was later described as a "bargain purchase" by the Stobart Group. The deal was paid as to £10 million in new Stobart Group shares, £6 million by a vendor loan note, and the remaining £5 million was to be paid on the completion of the London Southend Airport expansion plans in July 2012.[24]

Stobart Aviation ServicesEdit

 
Stobart Aviation London Southend Airport Mercedes-Benz "Aqua" van

Stobart Aviation Services offers landside and airside services to time critical logistics operations, whilst working alongside airline partners and airports. It has operations at London Stansted Airport, London Southend Airport, Edinburgh Airport and Glasgow Airport.[25]

Connect AirwaysEdit

 
Stobart Air ATR 72

On 11 October 2010, the Stobart Group announced that it was purchasing 35 convertible preference shares of €1 each in the parent company of the Irish airline Aer Arann, Everdeal Ltd, through its subsidiary Aer Arann UK Ltd, for €2.5 million, enabling it to have a 5% stake in the airline. Stobart Group had an option to increase its stake by a further 27.5% to 32.5%. At the same time, Aer Arann announced that it would start twice daily flights from Stobart Group's London Southend Airport to Galway and Waterford in Ireland from 27 March 2011.[26]

On 24 February 2017 Stobart Group completed 100% acquisition of Stobart Air, after purchasing the remaining 19% of Everdeal Holdings. Stobart Group also completed 100% ownership of Propius Holdings Ltd, the aircraft leasing firm through which many of the Stobart Air aircraft are sourced.[27] In February 2018, it was reported that Stobart was considering purchasing 100% of Flybe for whom it currently operates flights from London Southend.[28]

On 11 January 2019, the Connect Airways consortium formed by Stobart Aviation and Virgin Atlantic announced a takeover bid for Flybe. The consortium will initially lend £20 million to enable Flybe to continue operations, and will also take over Stobart Air; after the acquisition is complete it will provide a further £80 million.[29] The consortium's aim is to combine Flybe and Stobart Air with Virgin Atlantic to create an integrated carrier operating under the Virgin Atlantic brand. Flybe and Stobart Air would however retain their own Air Operator Certificates[30] and Stobart Air's other wet lease operations and its aircraft leasing business would continue unchanged.[31] On 15 January 2019, Connect Airways announced an increased offer, which Flybe's board accepted.[32] Flybe's operating assets were transferred to Connect Airways on 21 February 2019, despite a last-minute rival bid.[33]

Stobart Rail & CivilsEdit

 
Stobart Rail Civil Engineering Ford Transit van

On 10 March 2008 the Stobart Group acquired W. A. Developments Ltd from W. A. Developments International Ltd, for £15 million (£2.5 million in cash and £12.5 million in new Stobart Group shares).[21]

At the beginning of June 2008, W. A. Developments Ltd. was renamed Stobart Rail Ltd and became responsible for all the railway maintenance and infrastructure activities of the group.[34] Stobart Rail operates the Southend Airport railway station which it opened on 18 July 2011.[35]

Stobart InfrastructureEdit

 
Stobart Chilled distribution depot

Stobart Estates Holdings Ltd (trading as Stobart Infrastructure) comprises the Stobart Group's portfolio of properties, including retail sites, light industrial buildings and distribution centres, office space and holdings which are owned or used in the Group's day-to-day business. It also includes WADI Properties Ltd. In return for the reverse takeover deal in 2007 which saw Westbury become the new Stobart Group, Westbury sold the bulk of its commercial property portfolio, Westbury Properties Ltd., to another WA Developments subsidiary, WADI Properties Ltd., for £142.0 million in cash, thereby enabling these assets to also be controlled by Andrew Tinkler and William Stobart (the owners of WA Developments), while being outside the new group.[6] Westbury Properties Ltd, owned Moneypenny Ltd, (known as the Moneypenny Property Portfolio) at the time comprised 18 freehold and long leasehold properties, a mixture of commercial, industrial and residential properties primarily in the South-East. Because of a fall in property values during 2007–2011, the Stobart Group also announced an option to buy back Westbury Properties Ltd. from WADI Properties Ltd. expiring on 15 August 2011, as some of its properties, owned by a Westbury Properties Ltd. subsidiary, Moneypenny Ltd., were used by the Stobart Group for its operations.[36] On 17 January 2012, Stobart Group announced it was purchasing WADI Properties Ltd. itself for £12.35 million (£5.15 million in cash and £7.2 million in new Stobart Group ordinary shares) from W. A. Developments International Ltd. Following another independent shareholder vote, the acquisition was completed on 28 February 2012.[37]

Stobart InvestmentsEdit

 
Eddie Stobart Scania R420 "Sandra Ann" lorry

Stobart Investments includes the group's remaining 11.8% stake in the Eddie Stobart Logistics business, a multi-model logistics company operating across the road, rail and ports sectors, which between 2007 and 2014 was Stobart Group's main operation, when it was a wholly owned subsidiary.[38]

Brand promotionEdit

Stobart Group Brands LLP and Eddie Stobart Promotions Ltd have various Brand Promotion services, such as the Stobart Members Club, Stobart Fest, Stobart Sponsorship and Stobart Motorsport. In 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Eddie Stobart was recognised as a UK Superbrand by Superbrands Ltd.[39]

Stobart Members ClubEdit

The tradition of naming Eddie Stobart lorry cabins with female names, combined with a very distinctive livery, has led members of the general public to "collect" sightings of Stobart lorries. This has occurred to the extent that a fan club was formed, eventually supported by the company which arranges depot tours and lorry rides, and sells model lorries etc.[40]

SponsorshipEdit

Since the takeover of Eddie Stobart by WA Developments in 2004 and its subsequent listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2007, Stobart has taken to a high-profile sponsorship programme, including:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Stobart Holdings etc HQ".
  2. ^ "Stobart Group Board & Management".
  3. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2019" (PDF). Stobart Group. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  4. ^ "The Westbury Property Fund Limited: Proposals including a merger with the Eddie Stobart Group". 15 August 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Eddie Stobart reverses on to stock market". The Guardian. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Eddie Stobart merges with Westbury and goes public". Commercialmotor.com. 15 August 2007.
  7. ^ "Westbury Property Fund sells all commercial property assets to buy Eddie Stobart for £138 million". UK Business Property. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  8. ^ "AW Jenkinson and Stobart Group secure £5m deal with BSW Timber". Commercial Motor. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Stobart to raise £120m via placing and open offer". IB Times. 21 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. ^ "Stobarts' buyback plans no transport of delight for confused investors". The Telegraph. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Stobarts' Wadi Properties acquisition completed". Inside Media. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Stobart under fire for appointing executive chairman". 21 January 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  13. ^ "No more fireworks as Iain Ferguson takes wheel at Stobart". The Telegraph. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Stobart family gets back behind the wheel of famous lorry company". The Guardian. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Andrew Tinkler sacked from Stobart Group". Cumbria. 14 June 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Board Change - RNS - London Stock Exchange". www.londonstockexchange.com. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Stobart Group". Interactive Investor. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  18. ^ "AW Jenkinson and Stobart Group secure £5m deal with BSW Timber". Commercial Motor. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  19. ^ "Stobarts' buyback plans no transport of delight for confused investors". The Telegraph. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  20. ^ Carlisle Airport News Archived 27 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 April 2006.
  21. ^ a b "Stobart executives to net £10m in deal". FT.com. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2007.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Can this man finally help Carlisle Airport take off?". Cumberland News. 9 October 2009. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  23. ^ "Durham Tees Valley Airport becomes Teesside International". bbc. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  24. ^ "Stobart Group unexpected buyer of London Southend Airport from Regional Airports Ltd for GBP21 million". CAPA. 10 December 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  25. ^ "Loganair and Stobart Aviation Services agree five-year deal". Insider. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  26. ^ "Stobart to buy stake in Aer Arann". Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  27. ^ "Stobart completes takeover of Propius Holdings". In Cumbria. 28 February 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  28. ^ "Britain's Stobart considering bid for airline Flybe". Reuters. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  29. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David (11 January 2019). "Virgin Atlantic and Stobart link up to take over Flybe". Flightglobal.com.
  30. ^ Dyson, Molly. "Virgin Atlantic and Stobart agree Flybe take-over". buyingbusinesstravel.com.
  31. ^ Calder, Simon (11 January 2019). "Consortium strikes takeover deal for Flybe". Insider Media Ltd.
  32. ^ Reals, Kerry. "Connect Airways raises takeover offer for Flybe". atwonline.com.
  33. ^ Warrington, James (21 February 2019). "Flybe completes sale to Virgin-led consortium". www.cityam.com.
  34. ^ "Stobart eyes profits despite soaring fuel costs". The Times. 20 June 2008.
  35. ^ "Southend Airport rail station opens". Basildon Echo. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  36. ^ Fletcher, Richard (27 April 2011). "Stobart investors need some answers on proposed property buy-back". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  37. ^ "Logistics giant Stobarts buys 18 properties". Runcorn and Wides World. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  38. ^ "Stobart to sell core of transport business". FT. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  39. ^ "Superbrands video". Retrieved 1 June 2017.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "Ladies can jump the Stobart Club queue". Doncaster Free Press. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  41. ^ "Stobart Group maps out road to success for Vikings". Halton Borough Council. Retrieved 7 December 2007.[dead link]
  42. ^ "Manor House Stables sponsored by Stobart Group". Manor House Stables LLP. Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  43. ^ "RFL confirm Stobart as new Super League sponsor". Wakefield Express. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2012.

External linksEdit