Stobart announces plans to raise £115m

Stobart Group has announced plans for a £115m fundraising and reorganisation of its business.

In an announcement on the London Stock Exchange, Stobart said it has issued 77,339,766 new shares to a placing and open offer at a price of 155p a share, up 4.6% to the closing share price on 20 April 2011.

Stobart said the placing and open offer is conditional on the approval of shareholders at a general meeting to be held at 10am on 13 May.

The company added that, following a strategic review, it is being restructured into five divisions including transport and distribution, estates, airports, biomass, and infrastructure management.

Stobart said the board expects up to £25m of the proceeds will be required for developments at London Southend Airport and Carlisle Lake District Airport, with up to £32m of the proceeds needed for its Widnes biomass facility and planned developments at its Mersey Multimodal Gateway; and the remainder will be used for new projects in the Stobart estates division.

Stobart also remains committed to Eddie Stobart, the transport part of the business, which represents 85% of company turnover, but said it will benefit from realignment in the group's management structure.

Stobart has agreed to acquire the remaining 50% share of Stobart Biomass Products from Allan Wilson Jenkinson for £20m in shares and loan notes.

Stobart Biomass Products is a UK supplier of wood related biomass, which is used as a renewable energy source.

The company has also entered into an agreement to acquire the Westbury property portfolio from WADI Properties, a company controlled by Andrew Tinkler and William Stobart.

Rodney Baker‐Bates, Stobart chairman, said: "Stobart has come through a phase of consolidation, following strategic acquisitions made in 2008 and 2009. It is now stepping up its organic growth within the core transport and distribution businesses. In addition, the company has significant potential value in existing assets which, with the capital being raised through this placing, it is now in a position to unlock."

Andrew Tinkler, chief executive officer, added: "Since listing in 2007 we have delivered consistently good performance with substantial growth in all areas of the business and also been able to invest in other areas of high growth potential such as Biomass. We are now a diverse company with risk and returns spread across a number of sectors. The new funding will give us the firepower to invest in those businesses which have the greatest potential, particularly Stobart Estates and Stobart Airports. The restructuring will clarify and sharpen the focus, strategic aims and value of each part of the business."

Stobart was advised on its fundraising plans by law firm Hill Dickinson.

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