Thought leadership

Eddie Stobart shareholders have approved a rescue plan for the truck company, staving off possible collapse. One of the firm’s largest shareholders, DBay Advisors, will lend it £55m through high-interest bonds and assume control of the haulier. Shareholders voted “overwhelmingly” for the deal, the company said.

It means the company will avoid breaking its banking agreements and will not face administration. Under the plan, in return for the £55m loan DBay will increase its stake in Eddie Stobart Logistics to 51%, but will charge the company an interest rate of 18% for the loan.

This will hand DBay control of the haulier as well as a stronger claim to any money it makes, as debts are paid before shareholders see any payments.

The loan is a so-called payment-in-kind (PIK) loan, an unusual type of borrowing which last came to public prominence during the controversial takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family. They were also partly blamed for the 2012 collapse of retailer Peacocks.

The Unite union said it wanted early talks about the company’s future. “The recent financial problems experienced by Stobart’s has led to our members at the company becoming very anxious about their employment. A situation made worse by the lack of information provided,” said Unite’s national officer for road transport Adrian Jones.

“Unite hopes that early discussions will pave the way for an improved industrial relations climate with Stobart’s,” he said.

Eddie Stobart 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.”

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