Eddie Stobart saved after £55m rescue sale backed by investors

Eddie Stobart shareholders have approved a £55 million rescue sale in a bid to secure the future of its 6,500 employees.

The Carlisle trucking firm, famed for its green and red lorries, had been on the brink of collapse after struggling to deal with a £200 million debt pile and recent accounting errors.

Investors voted in favour of private equity firm Douglas Bay (DBay) Capital’s offer for the business in a crunch vote at a general meeting in central London on Friday.

DBay said it will inject approximately £55 million of new financing into the historic distribution company to provide “necessary liquidity” to continue to trade.

It said shareholders voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of the DBay offer – which had been backed by Eddie Stobart management – and both parties intend to complete the move as soon as possible.

The meeting saw the buyer go head to head with former Stobart Group boss Andrew Tinkler, who put forward an £80 million equity raise to save the troubled firm.

Insolvency experts at Deloitte had reportedly been lined up to take over as administrators if a rescue deal was not secured.

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.”

The company was founded by Eddie Stobart in 1970 before its expansion was driven by his second son, Edward.

The logistics firm’s more recent history has been blighted by uncertainty.

The business was floated as Stobart Group in 2004 by Andrew Tinkler, who expanded the firm into new sectors, including buying Southend Airport.

In 2014, the trucking and warehousing arm was split off and sold to DBay Capital as Eddie Stobart Logistics, with William Stobart leading the firm.

Under his leadership, the company made a number of acquisitions before floating again in 2017, with a list of investors including high-profile stock-picker Neil Woodford.