Belfast Telegraph

Eddie Stobart in takeover bid

The trucking group is under pressure as it deals with a £2m accounting scandal that has seen shares suspended.

Eddie Stobar is facing a potential takeover by one of its shareholders (Eddie Stobart/PA)
Eddie Stobar is facing a potential takeover by one of its shareholders (Eddie Stobart/PA)

By Simon Neville, PA City Editor

Eddie Stobart Logistics is being lined up for a possible takeover, less than a month after shares were suspended and the chief executive was shown the door.

The haulage company confirmed that DBAY Advisors, which already has a 10% stake in the business, has received an “expression of interest”.

It means the suitors now have until 5pm on October 7 to either table a formal bid, or walk away, under stock market rules.

Stobart, which gave no further details, said: “There can be no certainty either that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms of any offer, if made. A further announcement will be made when appropriate.”

Neil Woodford’s fund has a 23% stake in Stobart and could block any takeover plan (Woodford Investment Management/PA)

However, for any deal to be approved, it would need to be voted through by shareholders – including Neil Woodford’s fund, which has a 23% stake in the trucking business.

Mr Woodford, who has suspended his fund following poor results that led to hundreds of investors attempting to cash out, bought the 20% stake in Stobart when it floated in 2017 for 160p a share.

But last month shares in Stobart were suspended at 70p after the company, which trades on the junior AIM stock exchange, revealed that bosses had found a £2 million accounting error.

They said profits for the first half would be “significantly lower” than forecast and led to chief executive Alex Laffey being shown the door with immediate effect.

The board said it would be applying a “more prudent approach to revenue recognition, re-assessing the recoverability of certain receivables, as well as considering the appropriateness of certain procedures”.

Isle of Man-based DBAY Advisors has been involved with Stobart for several years, including its flotation in 2017 in which Stobart Group – which owns Southend Airport – sold its stake in the haulage business.