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Trading statements

Stobart on track to deliver strategy by 2018

30 June 2016 07:59

Stobart (STOB) said it is on track to deliver its strategy by 2018 and drive shareholder value through three growth operating divisions of energy, aviation and rail, while generating a cash surplus through the exit of infrastructure and investment portfolios at the right time.

ENERGY

Our target is to supply over 2 million tonnes per year of biomass fuel and grow EBITDA to £10 per tonne by 2018.

We reported, last month, that we supplied 1 million tonnes in the year to 29 February 2016 and we had further long-term customer contracts in place for plants to come on-stream between December 2016 and May 2018, allowing us to achieve our target.

Total tonnages supplied in the three months to 31 May 2016 increased by 2% year-on-year to 247,000 tonnes.

Our focus remains on fulfilling the contracts we have in place and growing EBITDA per tonne.

In order to do so, we are developing processing sites to meet up to 50% of the contractual requirements from our own facilities with the remainder being sourced from partners.

AVIATION

Our target is to grow passenger numbers at London Southend Airport to over 2.5 million passengers per year and deliver £8 EBITDA per passenger by 2018.

Last month, we reported the airport served 0.9 million passengers in the year to 29 February 2016.

In the three months to 31 May 2016, like-for-like passenger numbers and load factors were broadly in line with the prior year, on-time performance continues to outperform airline targets and revenue per passenger increased.

London Southend Airport's management team have advanced talks with a number of low-cost carriers and full service operators, who want to take advantage of the airport's access to London capacity at peak times, to deliver this growth.

Our airline investment, Stobart Air, carried 353,000 passengers in the three months to 31 May 2016, an increase of nearly 17% and we are considering opportunities with the airline to develop sustainable routes to and from London Southend Airport.

RAIL

Our target is to grow the business by 20% per annum by 2018 and we have a strong order book in place. We have made a successful start to the Gospel Oak to Barking electrification contract, part of TFL London Underground.

INFRASTRUCTURE AND INVESTMENTS

For our infrastructure and investment portfolios, our target is to enhance their value and to exit these portfolios at the right time.

Our infrastructure division exceeded management expectations.

As previously announced, we completed the profitable disposal of our Speke investment property in May 2016, realising £37 million of cash (net of VAT) and generating a profit of £11.6 million in the current year.

Our Eddie Stobart and Propius investments are performing in line with their respective management's expectations.

DIVIDEND POLICY

We reported, last month, a proposed final dividend of 4p payable on 8 July 2016, subject to shareholder approval at today's AGM, bringing the total dividend for the year to 6p per share.

The board now proposes to increase the level and frequency of dividend payments to reflect the cash generation of the group.

The Board expects to pay a quarterly dividend commencing in October 2016.

The dividend is expected to be 3p per quarter initially, representing an annualised dividend of 12p, with scope to increase the level of the dividend or return cash to shareholders through share buybacks or special dividends as circumstances permit.

OUTLOOK

Stobart notes the outcome of the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU.

The Company benefits from diverse assets and sources of income, and its entrepreneurial culture leaves it well placed to respond to future developments and opportunities.

The group remains confident of delivering growth and good returns for shareholders over the coming years as it continues its strategy of growing our operating businesses to create value, and realising value for shareholders in our infrastructure and investments divisions.

The group will provide an update at the time of announcement of its results for the six months to 31 August 2016, which is expected to be made on 27 October.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Related Company: STOB

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