Eddie Stobart delivers strong growth as it plots more acquisitions

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Eddie Stobart posted encouraging interim results
Eddie Stobart posted encouraging interim results (Source: Eddie Stobart)

Trucking giant Eddie Stobart reported double-digit growth in the first half of the year following its float on London's junior market in April as it seeks to continue snapping up new acquisitions.

The figures

In the six months to the end of May, the company's underlying revenue rose 13 per cent to £286.8m from £253.6m the previous year.

It revealed it swung to a pre-tax loss of £7.4m for the period from a profit of £1.7m the year before. That was mainly due to £12.6m of exceptional items, much of which related to the initial public offering (IPO) and associated refinancing.

The company's key manufacturing, industrial and bulk and e-commerce businesses grew significantly, with underlying revenue up 22 per cent and 51 per cent respectively.

Shareholders are set to receive an interim dividend of 1.4p per share.

Read more: Eddie Stobart to float on junior market this week, valued at nearly £600m

Why it’s interesting

Chief executive Alex Laffey told City A.M. the firm has maintained business as usual as it launched its IPO, the biggest Aim flotation so far this year.

Using some of the funds raised via the IPO, Eddie Stobart acquired iForce Group in April for £44.9m. The acquired company bolsters the group's key e-commerce capabilities to provide a true end-to-end service.

After the period end, the company acquired a 50 per cent stake in Speedy Freight, a complementary business which offers express freight services to handle smaller, speedier deliveries.

Laffey said it is still actively searching out new acquisitions, looking to snap up firms that will expand Eddie Stobart's capabilities without impacting the profitability of the business.

Analysts at Cenkos said the results were "encouraging".

"The business has been repositioned into higher-growth, complementary sectors by new management and with a refreshed capital structure now looks well-placed to continue to drive attractive growth supplemented by further bolt-on acquisitions," the analysts said.

What Eddie Stobart said

Laffey said:

Following our successful IPO in April this year, we have delivered a strong performance in line with our expectations.

I am also pleased to announce our maiden interim dividend in line with our progressive dividend policy and underlying our confidence in the business. Our traditionally stronger second half of the year has started encouragingly and we are confident of delivering a full year performance in line with market expectations.

Read more: FTSE reshuffle: G4S, Bill Ackman's fund and Debenhams set for moves

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