Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Stobart Group Ltd https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Stobart Group Ltd RSS feed en Sun, 16 Jun 2019 19:31:13 +0100 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[RNS press release - Annual Report and Accounts ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190613130641_14110082/ Thu, 13 Jun 2019 13:06:41 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190613130641_14110082/ <![CDATA[News - Connect Airways consortium nabs Virgin Atlantic's Mark Anderson for top job ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221990/connect-airways-consortium-nabs-virgin-atlantic-s-mark-anderson-for-top-job-221990.html Connect Airways, a consortium made up of Stobart Group PLC (LON:STOB), Virgin Atlantic and hedge fund Cyrus Capital, has appointed a new boss.

The consortium, which recently bought Flybe, has nabbed Virgin Atlantic’s customer chief Mark Anderson for the top job.  

Anderson has been the executive vice president of Virgin Atlantic’s customer experience since February 2019. Previously to that, he was senior vice president and managing director of Virgin Holidays.

READ: Virgin-backed Connect Airways completes Stobart Air, Flybe acquisitions

Stobart chief executive Warwick Brady said: “Connect Airways represents a compelling financial and strategic opportunity. Having worked with Mark for some months I am confident he will build a talented team capable of establishing a well-structured, profitable airline. Under Mark’s leadership, we can develop a customer-centric regional connectivity strategy that incorporates London.”

Connect Airways awaits EU approval for Flybe deal 

Struggling airline Flybe sold its assets and operations to Connect Airways in February for £2.8mln.

EU regulators are currently reviewing the deal and are expected to make a decision on whether it can go ahead in July.

Connect Airways incoming boss Anderson said: “It’s a real privilege and honour for me to take on the leadership of Connect Airways, at this exciting time.

“We are focused on growing the airline while expanding our franchise business in Dublin, redefining what customers can expect from regional flying in the UK.

“We have all the building blocks in place: Flybe’s heritage and expertise in running Europe’s largest regional airline; the operational excellence and strength of Stobart Air; and in the near future, the magic of the Virgin brand. I can’t wait to get started with the team.”

Ousted Stobart boss has dismissal appeal rejected 

The news comes a day after former Stobart boss Andrew Tinkler was refused an appeal against his court defeat over his dismissal from the company.

Tinkler was booted out by the company, which owns the Southend Airport, last year for alleged breach of contract.

READ: Stobart Group says former CEO Andrew Tinkler has application for February judgment appeal refused

In February, Stobart won a court case against Tinkler after he tried to oust the management team, accusing them of destroying shareholder value.

The court ruled that Tinkler acted in breach of fiduciary duties, including speaking to investors and criticising management.

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal refused Tinkler permission to appeal against the judgment. Tinkler has been ordered to pay 55% of Stobart's legal costs from the case, which are understood to be more than £1mln.

Time to move on, says Tinkler 

He told City AM that it was now time to put the courtroom battle behind him.

“I’ve always said I was about to move on, I thought it was only right trying to go for the appeal, all I was trying to do was protect shareholder value over that period.”

Tinkler said he had no plans to sell his stake in the company as he still sees value in the business.

“I am still a responsible shareholder, I will continue to make sure that value is preserved,” he said.

“There is value in the business although the share price has taken a massive devaluation over the last two years, down some 65%."

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Wed, 12 Jun 2019 15:00:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221990/connect-airways-consortium-nabs-virgin-atlantic-s-mark-anderson-for-top-job-221990.html
<![CDATA[News - Stobart Group says former CEO Andrew Tinkler has application for February judgment appeal refused ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221890/stobart-group-says-former-ceo-andrew-tinkler-has-application-for-february-judgment-appeal-refused-221890.html Stobart Group PLC (LON:STOB) has revealed that permission for its former CEO Andrew Tinkler's to appeal certain aspects of the judgment handed down by Judge Russen QC on 15 February 2019 has been refused by the Court of Appeal.

In a brief statement, the FTSE 250-listed company said it will provide further updates to shareholders on the legal proceedings as required.

READ: Stobart Group updates on legal proceedings with Andrew Tinkler

On May 17, the owner of London Southend airport said that at a hearing in the High Court on the previous day, Judge Russen QC had ordered Tinkler to pay 55% of the company's legal costs related to the first trial in November 2018.

They also pointed out then that Tinkler had applied for permission to appeal certain aspects of the trial judgment handed down on 15 February 2019, although no further details were given.

In a judgment handed down on 15 May, the Court of Appeal had unanimously upheld a preliminary decision of the High Court which found (among other things) that the words complained of by Tinkler were not sufficiently defamatory to give rise to an inference of serious harm under Section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013. The case continues in the High Court.

In afternoon trading on Tuesday, Stobart shares were 4.4% higher at 108.20p.

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Tue, 11 Jun 2019 13:43:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221890/stobart-group-says-former-ceo-andrew-tinkler-has-application-for-february-judgment-appeal-refused-221890.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Update on Legal Proceedings ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190611132732_14106762/ Tue, 11 Jun 2019 13:27:32 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190611132732_14106762/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - TR-1: Notification of Major Interest in Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190611100517_14106392/ Tue, 11 Jun 2019 10:05:17 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190611100517_14106392/ <![CDATA[News - Stobart airport and energy assets “consensually attractive” says Jefferies as it initiates at ‘buy’ ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221634/stobart-airport-and-energy-assets-consensually-attractive-says-jefferies-as-it-initiates-at-buy-221634.html Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) has been initiated with a ‘buy’ rating and 174p target price by Jefferies as the broker said progress on several issues was likely to drive up the value of the company’s “consensually attractive” key assets in Aviation and Energy.

In its initiation note, Jefferies said the company’s Southend airport was only one of the six London airports with spare peak daily capacity and was on target to increase the number of passengers to 5mln by 2023, leaving scope for increased performance.

READ: Stobart issues upbeat outlook as it focuses on airport expansion

The US broker's analysts said that contracts between the firm’s waste wood supply business and UK renewable energy plants were “valuable” as the plants began to ramp up following commercial handovers.

While Jefferies said simply rating the stock as a ‘buy’ based on the two assets alone would be “disingenuous”, as more issues were resolved at the company and progress was confirmed they saw value being revealed as obstacles were cleared.

“Below-the-line” negatives for the Aviation and Energy divisions such as launch costs and supplier payments would “begin to decline this year” Jefferies said, adding that remaining real estate could be monetised and provide confidence over funding and dividend sustainability.

“We see upside as potentially coming via three routes – higher valuation of the key assets, higher performance of these businesses and removal of the issues/doubts over their value and that of the business as a whole”, the broker said.

The upbeat assessment follows Stobart’s full-year results last week, where the firm said it was ramping up investment to expand Southend airport after de-risking its balance sheet through disposals.

The group also said that planned to use £53.1mln secured through the issue of a five-year exchangeable bond as well as the money from disposals to invest in growing its airport to accommodate more than 10mln passengers and in expanding its energy business to deliver 2mln tonnes per year of biomass fuel.  It will also invest in its IT and central services, including staff, while retaining a appropriate cost base. 

The positive outlook sent Stobart’s shares up 4.9% to 107.2p in late-morning on Thursday, boosted as well by a reported upgrade in rating from analysts at HSBC Securities to 'hold'.

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Thu, 06 Jun 2019 11:24:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221634/stobart-airport-and-energy-assets-consensually-attractive-says-jefferies-as-it-initiates-at-buy-221634.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190606070008_14100555/ Thu, 06 Jun 2019 07:00:08 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190606070008_14100555/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190605070014_14098777/ Wed, 05 Jun 2019 07:00:14 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190605070014_14098777/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190531070005_14093289/ Fri, 31 May 2019 07:00:05 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190531070005_14093289/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190529163607_14091370/ Wed, 29 May 2019 16:36:07 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190529163607_14091370/ <![CDATA[Media files - Stobart Group focused on increasing capacity at London Southend Airport ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/13511/stobart-group-focused-on-increasing-capacity-at-london-southend-airport-13511.html Wed, 29 May 2019 08:51:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/13511/stobart-group-focused-on-increasing-capacity-at-london-southend-airport-13511.html <![CDATA[News - Stobart issues upbeat outlook as it focuses on airport expansion ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221108/stobart-issues-upbeat-outlook-as-it-focuses-on-airport-expansion-221108.html Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) said it was confident about the outlook for the new year as it ramps up investment in expanding its London Southend Airport after de-risking the balance sheet through disposals.

The company is focused on increasing capacity at the airport after selling its regional airline, Stobart  Air, and aircraft leasing businesses,  Propius,  to Connect Airways – the joint venture it set up with Virgin Atlantic and Cyrus Capital.

READ: Stobart to release full-year results two weeks later than planned

The company sold the businesses in exchange for becoming a 30% shareholder in the venture. Cyrus is the lead partner in the venture with a 40% stake while Virgin owns a 30% interest.

Connect Airways bought Flybe Group’s main trading assets for £2.8mln in February.

Investments to deliver long-term value for shareholders, says Stobart 

In its full-year results statement on Wednesday, Stobart said the venture will identify cost synergies between Stobart Air and Flybe, reset the cost base and develop a London connectivity strategy that will involve London Southend Airport.

Stobart has also raised £53.1mln through the issue of a five-year exchangeable bond secured over its shares in Eddie Stobart Logistics PLC.

The group plans to use the money raised from the bond issue and disposals to invest in growing its airport to accommodate more than 10mln passengers and in expanding the energy business to deliver 2mln tonnes per year of biomass fuel.  It will also invest in its IT and central services, including staff, while retaining a appropriate cost base.  

“By doing this, we can deliver sustainable operating cash flows and significant long-term value for shareholders,” said chief executive Warwick Brady.

Revenue boosted by growth in aviation and energy businesses 

In the year to the end of February 2019, revenue gained 39% to £146.9mln and underlying earnings (EBITDA) from the two main operating divisions – aviation and energy – jumped 75% to £24.1mln.

The aviation arm delivered a 53% increase in revenue to £39.4mln as passenger numbers rose 33% to 1.5mln.

The energy division saw revenue grow 19% to £65.1mln as tonnes supplied advanced 51% to 1.3mln.

Overall, the total loss for the period widened to £58.2mln from £23.9mln, reflecting losses in the rail and civils unit.

Medium-term targets

The group said it has set a five-year strategic plan for the rails and civils unit to increase contracts with existing partners and external customers. It aims to return the business to profitability over the “medium term”.

For the airport, Stobart aims to reach 5mln passengers in the year to February 2023 with each customer bringing in £8 EBITDA. This target supported by Ryanair flights, which started at the airport in April, and Loganair flights in May.

The target for the energy business over the same period is to maintain EBITDA per tonne at £12.

“We have entered the new financial year with increased confidence,” Brady said.

Shares jumped 10.6% to 129.8p in late morning trading. 

Aiport expansion could have 'dramatic impact on profits'

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “Southend Airport owner Stobart is taking flight this morning as it begins to emerge as a more streamlined business.

“Having put some testing boardroom battles behind it and agreed to funnel regional airline Stobart Air into its 30%-owned Connect Air joint venture, the company is free to concentrate on its 2022 target of getting five million passengers through Southend a year from around one million today.

“Assuming these passengers spend the £8 each the company is hoping they will, this could have a dramatic impact on the company’s profitability."

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Wed, 29 May 2019 07:56:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221108/stobart-issues-upbeat-outlook-as-it-focuses-on-airport-expansion-221108.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190529070005_14089927/ Wed, 29 May 2019 07:00:05 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190529070005_14089927/ <![CDATA[News - Stobart Group updates on legal proceedings with Andrew Tinkler ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220525/stobart-group-updates-on-legal-proceedings-with-andrew-tinkler-220525.html Stobart Group Limited (LON:STOB) has updated on its ongoing legal proceeds against its former CEO Andrew Tinkler.

The FTSE 250-listed company said that at a hearing in the High Court on 16 May, Judge Russen QC ordered Tinkler to pay 55% of the company's legal costs related to the first trial in November 2018. They pointed out that Tinkler has applied for permission to appeal certain aspects of the trial judgment handed down on 15 February 2019.

READ: Stobart names Speedy Hire's David Shearer as new chairman

Separately, the group noted that Tinkler had himself brought proceedings in June 2018 against certain directors of the company alleging defamation and malicious falsehood.

In a judgment handed down on 15 May, it added, the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld a preliminary decision of the High Court which found (among other things) that the words complained by of Tinkler were not sufficiently defamatory to give rise to an inference of serious harm under Section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013. The case continues in the High Court.

Stobart’s board said they would provide further updates to shareholders on the proceedings as required.

In mid-afternoon trading on Friday, Stobart shares were up 0.5% at 121p.

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Fri, 17 May 2019 14:10:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220525/stobart-group-updates-on-legal-proceedings-with-andrew-tinkler-220525.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Update on Legal Proceedings ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190517134103_14078799/ Fri, 17 May 2019 13:41:03 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190517134103_14078799/ <![CDATA[News - Stobart names Speedy Hire's David Shearer as new chairman ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220278/stobart-names-speedy-hire-s-david-shearer-as-new-chairman-220278.html Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) performed a mini boardroom shake-up as it named a new chairman and announced the departure of a Senior independent director.

Turnaround specialist David Shearer, who currently chairs Speedy Hire, will replace Iain Ferguson at the head of the company, which owns Southend and Carlisle airports. He joins on June 1 and will assume his new role at the next AGM.

The former accountant previously chaired infrastructure specialist Mouchel Group and builder Crest Nicholson PLC (LON:CRST) and currently has boardroom roles at Scottish Edge Fund and Aberdeen New Dawn Investment Trust. He plans to step down from Aberdeen in September.

Senior non-exec Andrew Wood, who led the hunt for Ferguson’s successor, will depart at the annual meeting. A successor is yet to be announced.

"Stobart Group is a much-changed business since I joined six years ago, and one that is now very focused and well-positioned to deliver value to shareholders,” said Ferguson.

“Over the last year, we have strengthened the board, adding more expertise, and ensuring shareholders continue to have a strong independent voice.”

The changes come in the wake of a public and protracted legal spat with Stobart’s former chief executive Andrew Tinkler.

As well as owning and managing airports, the company recently took a stake in regional airline Flybe as part of a consortium involving Virgin Atlantic.

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Wed, 15 May 2019 07:34:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220278/stobart-names-speedy-hire-s-david-shearer-as-new-chairman-220278.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Board Changes ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190515070020_14074101/ Wed, 15 May 2019 07:00:20 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190515070020_14074101/ <![CDATA[News - Stobart to release full-year results two weeks later than planned ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220130/stobart-to-release-full-year-results-two-weeks-later-than-planned-220130.html Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) has pushed back the release of its full-year results by two weeks as the disposal of its airline business has taken up most of its time.

In late February, the company sold its regional airline, Stobart Air, and aircraft leasing business, Propius, to Connect Airways – a joint venture set up with Virgin Atlantic and hedge fund Cyrus Capital.

READ: Virgin-backed Connect Airways completes Stobart Air, Flybe acquisitions

Cyrus is the lead partner in the joint venture with a 40% stake and Virgin Atlantic and Stobart have a 30% interest each.

Stobart said on Monday that the disposal and the regulatory approval process meant it had “limited additional time” to complete its annual report and accounts.

The results will now be published on May 29, instead of May 15 as previously planned.

“Stobart Group is confident of delivering full-year revenue, underlying EBITDA performance and the recommendation of a final dividend in line with management expectations,” the group said.

“In particular, management is pleased with the ongoing commercial progress within its Aviation and Energy divisions.”

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Mon, 13 May 2019 11:27:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220130/stobart-to-release-full-year-results-two-weeks-later-than-planned-220130.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results Publication ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190513111501_14071610/ Mon, 13 May 2019 11:15:01 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190513111501_14071610/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190507100003_14064562/ Tue, 07 May 2019 10:00:03 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190507100003_14064562/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Pricing of Exchangeable Bond ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190503075545_14062220/ Fri, 03 May 2019 07:55:45 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190503075545_14062220/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Exchangeable Bond Offering ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190502170501_14061543/ Thu, 02 May 2019 17:05:01 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190502170501_14061543/ <![CDATA[News - Stobart Group names executive with significant airlines experience as its chief financial officer from 1 April ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/217660/stobart-group-names-executive-with-significant-airlines-experience-as-its-chief-financial-officer-from-1-april-217660.html Stobart Group PLC (LON:STOB) has named an executive with significant airlines experience as its chief financial officer with effect from 1 April 2019.

The FTSE 250-listed aviation, energy and civil engineering group said the appointee, Lewis Girdwood, has served as the chief financial officer since 2017 of IAG Cargo, which provides global cargo services to British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and other airlines owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group PLC (LON:IAG).

READ: Stobart to ramp up investment at London Southend airport

Prior to joining IAG, the firm added, Girdwood was head of financial planning and analysis at easyJet PLC (LON:EZJ), responsible for financial business partnering across the airline.

The company said that following Girdwood’s appointment, Michael Williamson will step down from his position as its interim chief financial officer following a short handover.

Warwick Brady, Stobart’s chief executive officer commented: "I am delighted that Lewis is joining Stobart Group. He will bring a wealth of relevant experience as we continue to implement our ambitious growth plans and provide the framework to deliver the Company's strategy.”

Brady added: "I also want to thank Michael Williamson for his support over the last six months, during which time we have reported growth in our operating divisions, secured new debt facilities and successfully bid for the assets of Flybe."

In February, Stobart Group – which runs London Southend airport - completed the sale of its own-branded regional airline to Connect Airways, a joint venture it set up with Virgin Atlantic to acquire cash-strapped Flybe Group PLC’s (LON:FLYB) main trading assets.

Connect Airways, which also has New York-based hedge fund Cyrus Capital as a partner, paid £40mln to acquire Stobart Air, as well as Propius – Stobart’s aircraft leasing business.

Cyrus is the lead partner in Connect with a 40% stake, and the US hedge fund has also taken a 4.65% interest in Stobart after agreeing to invest £24.7mln in the group. Stobart and Virgin each have a 30% interest in Connect.

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Mon, 01 Apr 2019 14:25:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/217660/stobart-group-names-executive-with-significant-airlines-experience-as-its-chief-financial-officer-from-1-april-217660.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Board Appointment ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190401134502_14023856/ Mon, 01 Apr 2019 13:45:02 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190401134502_14023856/ <![CDATA[News - Stobart focuses on expansion of Southend Airport and energy business after 'transformational year' ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/217260/stobart-focuses-on-expansion-of-southend-airport-and-energy-business-after--transformational-year--217260.html Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) is a FTSE 250-listed infrastructure and support services firm with interests in aviation, energy and rail.

Within the aviation arm, the company owns London’s Southend Airport.

Stobart has been ramping up investment at the airport after selling its regional airline and aircraft leasing businesses to Connect Airways – the joint venture it set up with Virgin Atlantic and Cyrus Capital.

The company sold the businesses in exchange for becoming a 30% shareholder in the venture. Cyrus is the lead partner in the venture with a 40% stake while Virgin owns a 30% interest.

Stobart’s energy services division delivers waste wood and other waste derived fuels to biomass plants in the UK.

The rail and civils unit provides specialist rail, civil and infrastructure engineering and management services to customers such as Network Rail. 

Inflection points: Stobart is expanding its Southend Airport to accommodate more than 10mln passengers. The airport welcomed 1.5mln passengers in the year to February 2019 and the company aims to reach 5mln passengers by 2023  The firm has spent more than £150mln to date developing the airport, attracting tier one airlines and building a new terminal, control tower, jet centre, hotel, car parks and train station. Last year it also spent £10mln on a runway improvement programme. The company is also investing in growing the energy business to deliver 2mln tonnes per year of biomass fuel. To support its investments, Stobart has raised £53.1mln through the issue of a five-year exchangeable bond secured over its shares in Eddie Stobart Logistics PLC. 2019 revenue gained 39% to £146.9mln and underlying earnings (EBITDA) from the two main operating divisions – aviation and energy – jumped 75% to £24.1mln. The total loss for the period widened to £58.2mln from £23.9mln, reflecting losses in the rail and civils unit. Stobart has set a five-year strategic plan for the rails and civils unit to increase contracts with existing partners and external customers. It aims to return the business to profitability over the “medium term”. Stobart has derisked its balance sheet with recent disposals in aviation and impairments on non-core assets  What the CEO says: 

Chief executive Warwick Brady said fiscal 2019 was a "transformational year", having dealt with legacy issues and derisked the balance sheet.

"Stobart Group has a clear focus on developing infrastructure assets in the aviation and energy sectors," he said.

"These are high growth assets with strong market positions that are now well positioned to become increasingly cash generative."

He added: "We will invest in accelerating the growth of our aviation and energy businesses through existing cash resources and further non-core asset sales. By doing this, we can deliver sustainable operating cash flows and significant long-term value for shareholders."

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Tue, 26 Mar 2019 07:07:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/217260/stobart-focuses-on-expansion-of-southend-airport-and-energy-business-after--transformational-year--217260.html
<![CDATA[News - Stobart to ramp up investment at London Southend airport ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/216355/stobart-to-ramp-up-investment-at-london-southend-airport-216355.html Stobart Group Limited (LON:STOB) is to ramp up investment at its London Southend Airport as it looks to make good on its ambitious long-term target of serving ten million passengers a year.

The FTSE 250 firm’s coffers have been topped up by the recent sale of its airline and aircraft leasing business to Connect Airways – its newly-formed joint venture with Virgin Atlantic and Cyrus Capital.

READ: Connect Airways completes Stobart Air, Flybe acquisitions

Cyrus, a New York-based hedge fund, also subscribed for a 4.65% stake in Stobart back in January which brought in another £24.7mln.

Much of the investment into Southend will go into new infrastructure that will enable the airport to handle several times the number of passengers it welcomed in 2018 when 1.5mln people walked through its departure lounge.

That was up from 1.1mln a year earlier, and the figure looks set to jump again in 2019, with Ryanair basing three of its aircraft at Southend from April, while Loganair is launching three new routes shortly after.

To help fund the planned investment, Stobart is trimming its dividend to 3p every six months. That will mean an annual pay-out of 6p – down from the 15p it is set to return for the 12 months to the end of February.

Biomass deliveries surge in 2018

Away from the aviation side of its business, Stobart supplied 1.3mln tonnes of biomass to UK power stations last year – some 45% more than it supplied the previous year.

The surge in deliveries was because all but three of the power stations have now been commissioned and are in full contractual operations.

The improvement was achieved despite continued teething problems with a handful of the plants during their commissioning period.

As a result of these challenges, Stobart said it will continue to carry non-underlying pre-contract costs until the plants all reach the end of their commissioning periods, although it is looking to recoup some of the costs from the plant owners where possible.

Rail & civils picking up new contracts

Back in its interim results, the company said it had seen a “material reduction” in profitability in its Rail and Civils division following a review of some of its ongoing contracts.

Following that review, Stobart strengthened the management team and tasked it with winning more contracts with tier-one customers. This strategy is “generating improved results” in terms of new business,

“The company continues to make strong commercial progress in its core aviation and energy operating divisions and is trading in line with management expectations,” concluded Wednesday’s statement.

Full-year results for the 12 months to the end of February are due to be published on May 15.

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Wed, 13 Mar 2019 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/216355/stobart-to-ramp-up-investment-at-london-southend-airport-216355.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Pre-Close Trading Statement ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190313070002_13999784/ Wed, 13 Mar 2019 07:00:02 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190313070002_13999784/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Price Monitoring Extension ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190308163603_13996209/ Fri, 08 Mar 2019 16:36:03 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190308163603_13996209/ <![CDATA[News - Stobart makes further remarks on victory in legal battle with former boss Andrew Tinkler ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/215638/stobart-makes-further-remarks-on-victory-in-legal-battle-with-former-boss-andrew-tinkler-215638.html Fri, 01 Mar 2019 14:54:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/215638/stobart-makes-further-remarks-on-victory-in-legal-battle-with-former-boss-andrew-tinkler-215638.html <![CDATA[RNS press release - Update on High Court Judgment ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190301140101_13987651/ Fri, 01 Mar 2019 14:01:01 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190301140101_13987651/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Board Appointment ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190301070010_13986383/ Fri, 01 Mar 2019 07:00:10 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190301070010_13986383/ <![CDATA[News - Virgin-backed Connect Airways completes Stobart Air, Flybe acquisitions ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/215106/virgin-backed-connect-airways-completes-stobart-air-flybe-acquisitions-215106.html Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) has completed the sale of its regional airline to Connect Airways – the joint venture it set up with Virgin Atlantic which has also finalised the £2.8mln acquisition of Flybe Group PLC’s (LON:FLYB) main trading assets.

Connect, which also includes New York-based hedge fund Cyrus Capital, has paid £40mln to acquire Stobart Air, as well as Propius – Stobart’s aircraft leasing business.

READ: Stobart teams up with Virgin to take out Flybe

“The combination of Stobart Air and Propius with Connect Airways is expected to bring benefits to customers, suppliers and employees, providing stability in a tough trading environment,” read Stobart’s statement on Friday morning.

With Flybe Limited and Flybe.com Limited now also on board, Connect has completed what it initially set out to, despite some protests from certain Flybe shareholders.

It plans to use the Virgin Atlantic brand to operate a network of regional flights provided by both Flybe and Stobart Air.

Last month, Stobart, Virgin and Cyrus announced they were setting up a domestic airline called Connect Airways.

Cyrus is the lead partner with a 40% stake, and the US hedge fund is also taking a 4.65% interest in Stobart after agreeing to invest £24.7mln. Stobart and Virgin will each have a 30% interest.

Flybe now a cash shell

As part of the initial formation, Stobart agreed to sell its airline and leasing businesses to Connect, which next launched a cut-price £2.2mln bid for Flybe, an offer which was recommended by the cash-strapped carrier’s board.

They also agreed to pump in up to £100mln of fresh cash into their new venture.

The following week, Connect confirmed it had agreed to buy Flybe’s main trading assets – comprising Flybe Limited and Flybe.com Limited – for £2.8mln.

Investors are yet to vote on the original 1p-a-share takeover offer, but the sale of the assets didn’t require shareholder approval.

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Fri, 22 Feb 2019 07:51:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/215106/virgin-backed-connect-airways-completes-stobart-air-flybe-acquisitions-215106.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Disposal of Stobart Air and Propius ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190222070005_13978014/ Fri, 22 Feb 2019 07:00:05 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190222070005_13978014/ <![CDATA[News - Court rules Stobart’s decision to dismiss ex-CEO Tinkler was “lawful and valid” ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/214713/court-rules-stobarts-decision-to-dismiss-ex-ceo-tinkler-was-lawful-and-valid-214713.html Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) shares flew higher on Friday morning after it emerged victorious from the bruising legal battle with its former boss and major shareholder Andrew Tinkler.

Tinkler (pictured), who still holds a 5.9% stake in the company he used to run, had sued Stobart after he was dismissed last summer.

But a UK high court ruled that the aviation, energy and civil engineering group’s decision to remove him as both an employee and a director was a “lawful and valid act”.

READ: Stobart sees off boardroom rebellion

When Tinkler was re-elected at July’s annual general meeting, the court also backed Stobart’s decision to remove him again a day later.

Judge Russen QC found that Tinkler acted in breach of his fiduciary and contractual duties to the company, including when he criticised the board and agitated for the removal of chairman Iain Ferguson.

The judge rejected Tinkler’s counterclaim that he should be reinstated as an employee and a director.

Four directors – Iain Ferguson, Warwick Brady, John Coombs and Andrew Wood – were found not to have breached their duties to the company, except in respect of a transfer of 5.32mln shares to the Employee Benefit Trust ahead of the FTSE 250 group's AGM.

‘Strong commercial progress’

However, the court concluded that this transfer of shares was valid as a matter of law, and even if the votes for these shares had been discounted, Ferguson would still have been re-elected.

Stobart did not establish its claim of an unlawful conspiracy.

A further hearing will take place “in due course” to determine what relief Stobart is entitled to receive from Tinkler arising from the breaches of his fiduciary and contractual duties to the company.

“The matter of Mr Tinkler's valid dismissal from the company is now determined,” Stobart said.

“As reported in its RNS on 3 December, Stobart Group is delivering strong commercial progress in its core operating businesses; Stobart Aviation and Stobart Energy.”

Stobart shares rose 2.3% to 149.4p in late-morning trading on Friday.

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Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:08:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/214713/court-rules-stobarts-decision-to-dismiss-ex-ceo-tinkler-was-lawful-and-valid-214713.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - High Court Judgment ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190215101045_13971013/ Fri, 15 Feb 2019 10:10:45 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190215101045_13971013/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Form 8 (OPD) - Flybe Group PLC ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190124113510_13945813/ Thu, 24 Jan 2019 11:35:10 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190124113510_13945813/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - TR-1: Notification of Major Interest in Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190122070009_13942026/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 07:00:09 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190122070009_13942026/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Correction: Major Interest in Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190118163513_13940160/ Fri, 18 Jan 2019 16:35:13 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190118163513_13940160/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Admission of New Ordinary Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190118133024_13939988/ Fri, 18 Jan 2019 13:30:24 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190118133024_13939988/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - TR-1: Notification of Major Interest in Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190118101242_13939691/ Fri, 18 Jan 2019 10:12:42 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190118101242_13939691/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - TR-1: Notification of Major Interest in Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190115070007_13934367/ Tue, 15 Jan 2019 07:00:07 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190115070007_13934367/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Form 8.5 (EPT/RI) - Flybe Group plc ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190114120002_13933765/ Mon, 14 Jan 2019 12:00:02 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190114120002_13933765/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Subscription for Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190111080101_13931752/ Fri, 11 Jan 2019 08:01:01 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190111080101_13931752/ <![CDATA[News - Stobart soars as it teams up with Virgin to take out Flybe in cut-price £2.2mln takeover ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/212377/stobart-soars-as-it-teams-up-with-virgin-to-take-out-flybe-in-cut-price-22mln-takeover-212377.html Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) shares soared on Friday after it teamed up with Virgin Atlantic and a New York-based hedge fund to take out cash-strapped Flybe Group PLC (LON:FLYB) in a cut-price £2.2mln deal.

Flybe, still one of the UK’s best-known airlines despite its troubles, put itself up for sale back in November after a slump in first-half profits.

READ: Flybe blames Brexit as it puts itself up for sale

The regional airline, like many of its peers, has been hit by higher fuel costs, Brexit uncertainty and intense competition in the sector.

Stobart, Virgin and Cyrus Capital have formed a joint venture called Connect Airways which will house the Flybe business as well as Stobart’s regional airline, Stobart Air, which is being acquired in a £40mln deal.

Cyrus invests in Stobart

Cyrus is the lead partner with a 40% stake, and the US hedge fund is also taking a 4.65% interest in Stobart after agreeing to invest £24.7mln.

Stobart and Virgin will each have a 30% interest in Connect, which will use the Virgin Atlantic brand to operate a network of regional flights provided by a combination of Flybe and Stobart Air.

The trio, through Connect Airways, is offering 1p a share to Flybe shareholders, some way below Thursday’s closing price of 16.4p. On top of this, they have also committed to ploughing up to £100mln of further funding into their new venture.

Offer recommended

Flybe bosses have unanimously recommended the offer, with chief executive Christine Ourmières-Widener saying that being part of the enlarged group leaves it “better placed” to withstand some of the issues it is facing.

Stobart chief executive Warwick Brady added: “The board of Stobart Group believes that bringing Stobart Air together with Flybe and partnering with Virgin Atlantic and Cyrus Capital is the best way for us to play an active role in UK regional flying.

“The combined entity will be a powerful combination with sufficient scale to compete effectively in the UK and European airline markets. It will allow us to continue to work with Flybe and provides an excellent opportunity to continue to grow passenger numbers at London Southend Airport.”

More consolidation expected

“This [take-out] was always on the cards, or at least has been for the last two or more years,” said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.

“Flybe never made any money and was always saddled with too many planes. Combined with sector challenges like higher fuel prices and currency moves, it’s just proved too much for the company to manage on its own.

“We must expect further consolidation in European short-haul – several airlines have failed in the last couple of years but the process is not over.”

Shares were up 3.9% to 155.8p in early deals on Friday. They had reached as high as 164.5p earlier in the session.

--Adds Cyrus investment in Stobart, share price and analyst comment--

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Fri, 11 Jan 2019 07:42:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/212377/stobart-soars-as-it-teams-up-with-virgin-to-take-out-flybe-in-cut-price-22mln-takeover-212377.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Formation of Aviation Joint Venture ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190111070102_13931284/ Fri, 11 Jan 2019 07:01:02 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190111070102_13931284/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Recommended cash offer for Flybe Group ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190111070004_13931233/ Fri, 11 Jan 2019 07:00:04 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20190111070004_13931233/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Update on Q4 dividend ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20181211084618_13898995/ Tue, 11 Dec 2018 08:46:18 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20181211084618_13898995/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - TR-1: Notification of Major Interest in Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20181205160001_13893044/ Wed, 05 Dec 2018 16:00:01 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20181205160001_13893044/ <![CDATA[News - Stobart trading in line with expectations as it pushes ahead with growth plans ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/210356/stobart-trading-in-line-with-expectations-as-it-pushes-ahead-with-growth-plans-210356.html Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) said it was trading in line with expectations as it continues to progress its growth plans for its aviation and energy businesses.

The aviation division saw a 37% increase in passenger numbers at its London Southend Airport in the first half while the energy arm posted a 72% jump in tonnes supplied over the period.

Stobart said the operational progress seen in the first half has continued into the second half, leading the group to identify an increasing number of potential projects with “attractive” forecast returns on capital.

The company expects commercial agreements with Ryanair, easyJet and other airline partners to result in a “significant” rise in passenger numbers at London Southend Airport next year.  It is targeting 5mln passengers from 2022 at £10 in earnings (EBITDA) per passenger.

READ: Stobart Group’s Stobart Air clinches services deal with BA CityFlyer

For Stobart Energy, the firm said there are a number of investment opportunities being evaluated including building, owning and operating renewable energy plants that will generate “long-term, sustainable operating cash flows”.

Stobart to use disposal proceeds to fund investments instead of dividend

The company intends to reduce its fourth-quarter dividend to 1.5p each in order to prioritise these investments and ensure it has a strong balance sheet. That means the total dividend for the year will be lowered to 15p from 16.5p last year.

Since March 2017, Stobart has funded dividends through disposals of non-core assets and gross capital expenditure of £67mln has been invested in its operating divisions.

“Though the group owns non-strategic assets with a book value at 31 August 2018 included in the interim statement of £149mln, the board believes it is prudent financial discipline to use proceeds from further disposals in the medium term primarily to invest in value-creating opportunities based on sustainable operating cash generation and to maintain a strong balance sheet,” Stobart said.

It added: “The board recognises the importance of dividends to its shareholders and will update the market accordingly, once it has completed the capital review.”

Analyst says reduced dividend 'sensible'

AJ Bell investment director, Russ Mould, thinks the decision to cut the dividend is "sensible" given that the income stream from Stobart has been sustained by the disposal of non-core assets in recent years. 

“Investors like dividends because a big component of the potential gains from investing in the stock market is associated with these regular shareholder payments," he said.

“However, that doesn’t mean a dividend should be preserved at all costs and the decision by infrastructure services firm Stobart to trim its full-year dividend could turn out to be the right one for the business and therefore ultimately for shareholders."

--All else being equal--

 

-- Adds analyst comments --

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Mon, 03 Dec 2018 07:29:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/210356/stobart-trading-in-line-with-expectations-as-it-pushes-ahead-with-growth-plans-210356.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Update on Capital Review and Q4 dividend ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20181203070008_13887992/ Mon, 03 Dec 2018 07:00:08 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3625/LSE20181203070008_13887992/