Eddie Stobart Logistics returns to the stock market next month with a listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) that will value the operator at more than half a billion pounds.

In a statement today, the haulier’s holding company, Greenwhitestar Capital, said it would be seeking admission to AIM in a bid to raise funds for acquisitions in the “highly fragmented market”.

“The company is targeting a market capitalisation of admission in excess of £550m, with approximately £130m of proceeds to be raised for the company.”

It added that the fund would allow it to grow organically but also make bolt-on acquisitions, with one to strengthen its activities in e-commerce already in the pipeline.

A proportion of the net proceeds from the listing will be used to pay off its debt.

Alex Laffey, CEO of Eddie Stobart Logistics, who will stay at the helm of the business after the listing, said: "Eddie Stobart is widely recognised as a leading supply chain solutions provider and an IPO is an exciting next step for the business that will give us a strong platform for further growth.

“We have transformed the business over the last three years and made significant investment in our customised technology and systems alongside developing our management and workforce to support growth in new business sectors. Our cost-effective solutions and best-in-class service enable our customers to focus on their core activities.

“We look forward with confidence to creating value for our customers and our shareholders in the years to come."

The company

Spun off in 2014, the haulier is majority owned by the Greenwhitestar Holding Company 2 (GHC), with funds managed by DouglasBay Capital, holding 51% of the business. Following the listing GHC is expected to hold no more than 30% of Eddie Stobart Logistics.

Stobart Group currently owns the other 49% of the haulage business.

In a statement issued today Stobart Group said: “The group realised 51% of its investment in Eddie Stobart in March 2014 in order to give the business the opportunity to move to the next phase of its development with a new management team and investor base while the group focused its resources towards delivering on the potential of its energy, aviation, rail and infrastructure divisions.

“The board is pleased that this strategy is bearing fruit across the group, that Eddie Stobart has performed strongly since the group's partial realisation and that the group's interest in Eddie Stobart continues to create considerable value for the group's shareholders.

“The board has indicated its preference to retain a meaningful stake in the company following its IPO.”

Vital statistics

Eddie Stobart Logistics divested its Autologic business in 2015, and currently operates 2,200 vehicles and 3,800 trailers across 24 distribution centres. It operates daily rail services from UK ports and its rail-connected logistics sites, employing 5,500 staff and 3,800 drivers.

In the year ended 30 November 2016, revenue from continuing operations was £549m (2015: £468m) with adjusted EBIT of £41m (2015: 36m).

As part of the listing certain members of the management team, intend to invest in the business and staff will also be granted access to a share scheme.

As well as Laffey, the directors of the business, with additional non-executive directors to be announced shortly, will be chief financial officer Damien Harte and non-executive chairman Philip Swatman.

Harte was most recently global chief financial officer of wind turbine manufacturer LM Windpower, while Swatman was MD and subsequently co-head of investment banking at NM Rothschild. More recently, Swatman has held non-executive roles at a range of companies. He is currently chairman of Wyvern Partners as well as non-executive chairman for Cambria Automobiles.

Eddie Stobart Logistics recently launched an apprenticeship scheme with SP Training and has been working with Lomas Distribution on driver training.

Clients include Tesco, Argos and Aggregate Industries, although it recently lost its long-term Britvic contract to Wincanton.