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06 Jul 2020 | 13:05

Eddie Stobart Logistics full-year losses balloon, but chairman optimistic

(Sharecast News) - Eddie Stobart Logistics posted a huge increase in its full-year loss before tax even as management tried to draw a line under past accounting shortfalls and sounded a confident note on the firm's finances and outlook. The company, an AIM-listed cash shell holding a 49.0% stake in logistics specialist Eddie Stobart Group, said that on a statutory basis its red ink for the year ending on 30 November 2019 reached £238.9m, against -£22.3m one year earlier, chiefly due to a previously disclosed impairment charge of £169.2m.

Eddie Stobart Logistics's full-year sales did increase by 9.7% to £857.5m, albeit due to the 2018 acquisition of TPN, and its debt pile increased substantially, rising by £54.9m to £214.5m.

Adrian Collins, Eddie Stobart Logistics's chairman, admitted that the annual results made "for difficult reading" but assured investors that the company was "putting these issues behind us" and that he looked to the future with optimism.

ESG's chief executive officer was sacked in late 2019 after the results of the probe into the firm's accounting were published, although the company avoided going into administration thanks to Douglas Bay Capital, who took a 49% stake and injected £70.0m into the business.

Nonetheless, according to Eddie Stobart Group's management, following that investment from Douglas Bay, the group "continues to be well funded in this period of uncertainty".

In a trading update covering the period since November 2019 and provided to Eddie Stobart Logistics, ESG also highlighted how the majority of its staff were "front-line key workers delivering essential goods and providing a critical service across the UK", its "strong exposure" to so-called fast-moving consumer and grocery goods, and the "strong volumes" that it was experiencing in e-commerce related activities.

As of 1232 BST, shares of Eddie Stobart Logistics were 7.97% higher to 7.45p.

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