Eddie Stobart Logistics, the haulage firm known for its red and green lorries, says it has secured “overwhelming” shareholder backing for a rescue deal.The debt-laden company, which employs more than 6,000 people including drivers, had been at risk of being placed in the hands of administrators in the run-up to Christmas had investors dismissed the proposal.
It will see current investors, asset management firm DBAY Advisors and William Stobart, take control of the company’s assets, with a 51% stake, in exchange for new financing of £55m.The move would be completed as soon as possible, the Carlisle-based firm said.The plan was opposed in some quarters because of an 18% interest rate attached to the loan though, crucially, the DBAY offer had the support of the embattled company’s lenders.
Among those known to have opposed the deal was Andrew Tinkler, an ex-boss of Eddie Stobart Logistics during its former ownership as part of the Stobart Group.
Sky News reported on Sunday how he had built a 6.5% stake in the trucking firm through his own business vehicle, known as TVFB, in a bid to build momentum behind a refinancing proposal of his own and was attempting to block DBAY from using its voting rights to support its own offer.
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Independent shareholders also voiced anger as the value of their holdings is substantially reduced.Eddie Stobart has driven a rocky road since its 2017 flotation – a listing driven by DBAY that saw it reap a windfall in return for a reduced stake.
Eddie Stobart lorries are given names by the company
Shares in the loss-making company, which has £200m of debts, were suspended in the summer amid alleged evidence of accounting irregularities.Commenting on the result of the shareholder vote, chief executive Sebastien Desreumaux said: “The proposed transaction provides Eddie Stobart with the opportunity to move forward and look to deliver sustainable growth and profitability from a stable footing.”Our main priority and focus is now continuing to deliver the high levels of services expected by our customers as we move into the busy Christmas period.”TVFB responded to the vote by welcoming that a rescue package had now been agreed.Mr Tinkler added: “The Eddie Stobart business has been a great source of personal pride for me ever since I was first employed to wash and maintain the trucks in the early 1980’s through to being CEO from 2004 to 2014.”I hope the company can return to its former glory and the board continue to work in the interests of all stakeholders to help this iconic business thrive again.”
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