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Stobart says passenger numbers drop at Southend though freight holds up

The sale of Stobart Air is a priority, the group said in its interim results statement

Stobart Group Ltd -
Stobart Energy has built up supplies of wood for the winter

Stobart Group Limited (LON:STOB) said freight operations at Southend Airport had helped offset some of the disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the six months to end September 2020.

The company said revenues for the period dropped by 29% to £53.2mln, with Aviation seeing a 49% drop and Energy, Stobart’s other key division, down by 22.5%.

Stobart posted an underlying loss of £4.9mln against a profit of £2.5mln a year ago, though losses by businesses for sale and also a £55mln impairment charge for airlines Stobart Air and aircraft lessor Propius.

“Whilst passenger travel has been severely disrupted by lockdowns and evolving quarantine arrangements, London Southend Airport has benefited from uninterrupted income from its global logistics operation,” said Warwick Brady, Stobart chief executive in the interim results statement.

Aviation cut its underlying loss (EBITDA) to £1.7mln, down from a £0.9mln loss a year earlier, due to what it said were strong uninterrupted income through the global logistics operations and lower marketing support costs.

At Stobart Energy, Brady said the company had built up supplies of waste wood for the winter to guarantee certainty of supply.

At the end of the period, Stobart had cash facilities of £119mln and had reduced the cash burn for its two core businesses to £2mln per month. The group raised £100mln in June.           

Cash burn for Stobart Air and Propius was £3.6mln in August, Stobart added, and the group’s net debt was £89.2mln.

Stobart said it is talking to airlines that use Southend about their summer schedules, which start in April, while gate fees at the energy arm had started to improve in September and October.

Talks are ongoing abut a sale of Stobart Air where trading has turned since COVID-19 quarantine restrictions were imposed in Ireland.

The sale of Stobart Air is a priority, the group added.

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