Stobart buoyant about economic climate

Michael Hunt

Carlisle-based Stobart has said it expects the current economic climate to prevent a challenge rather than a threat, following its report of revenue from continuing operations topping nearly £200m.

Within its report of interim results for the first six months ending on 31 August this year, Stobart stated its acquisitions of James Irlam and WA Developments (now Stobart Rail) were key operational highlights for the company.

These acquisitions followed the group's merger of Eddie Stobart and the Westbury Property Fund last year.

Other operational highlights in Stobart's report included:

  • The utilisation of Eddie Stobart fleet increasing from 82.1% to 83.9%
  • An increase from four to five trains per day to Widnes rail freight terminal
  • Opening of rail freight service between Daventry and Glasgow and two more services to be opened by end of November 2008

Stobart stated these results represent a period of sustained growth in the group's road transport operations and of significant developments in its rail, port and asset development activities.

Rodney Baker-Bates, chairman of the Stobart Group, said: "Total revenue for the period from continuing operations was £199.2m, producing earnings after fleet financing costs of £13.4m and a profit before taxation of £11m. Earnings per share from continuing operations totalled 3.7p. It is pleasing to note in the current environment that the group has a robust balance sheet."

Stobart also recently announced its planned development of Carlisle Airport, which has been extended to January next year, could protect and create 1,500 jobs while contributing £38m a year to Cumbria's economy.

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