Stobart volvo FH Euro 6

Stobart Group has made a “solid” start to its financial year despite a cold and wet June followed by the July heat wave causing volatility in its retail distribution business.

The Group said today (23 August) that in the six months to the 31 August its transport and distribution division had “performed well” and it had begun to implement Eddie Stobart systems and processes into Autologic as it looked to improve the divisions profitability.

The changing weather patterns had led to swings in retail sales volumes, which was a challenge in “unforeseen volatility,” it said. However, Stobart believed that improvements to its planning systems had led to it meeting its customers needs.

In its biomass division it reported that tonnages, revenue and profit were ahead year-on-year but volume growth was difficult to predict.

Last month it signed a 15-year, £75m biomass contract to supply fuel to the Evermore Renewable Energy Plant in Northern Ireland.

Andrew Tinkler, Stobart Group

Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of the Stobart Group, said: "As stated in our annual results, we are now moving the business from investment phase into its value optimisation stage and we are making steady progress in this transition, in line with our four-year strategy.

“The management team is focused on delivering value to shareholders and we will continue to work on achieving the potential of each of our divisions," he added.

Today Stobart also revealed that Iain Ferguson would join its board as chairman in October. He is currently chairman of textile business Berendsen.

Stobart added that Paul Orchard-Lisle, interim chairman, and former chairman and current board member Rodney Baker Bates intend to step down from the board in due course.

Ferguson said: “I am delighted to be joining Stobart at a key point in its development. With its industry-leading transport and distribution business and its newer, fast growing biomass and London Southend airport businesses, the group has a fascinating portfolio.”