Shares of Carlisle-based aviation, biomass energy and civil engineering firm Stobart Group — still recovering from recent boardroom battles — rose more than 10% on Wednesday after it said its revenue rose 39% to £146.9 million in the year to February 28.
However, Stobart Group shares are still down roughly 50% on the same stage of last year following a brutal period of boardroom upheaval at the mini-conglomerate.
The group said it made a £42.6 million loss for the year, reflecting “a combination of investment in our aviation and energy divisions, one-off legal costs and non-cash items resulting from the intention to ensure a de-risked balance sheet.”
Energy revenue rose 19% to £65.1 million and aviation revenue soared 53% to £39.4 million.
Stobart’s aviation business includes London Southend Airport, Carlisle Lake District Airport and Durham Tees Valley Airport.
Stobart Group CEO Warwick Brady said: “This has been a transformational year for Stobart Group.
“We have significantly strengthened the board and management team and taken the opportunity to deal with legacy issues while putting in place appropriate operational rigour within the business.
“As a result of the disposals and impairments in the year, the group has de-risked its balance sheet.
“Stobart Group has a clear focus on developing infrastructure assets in the aviation and energy sectors.
“These are high growth assets with strong market positions that are now well positioned to become increasingly cash generative.
“We will invest in accelerating the growth of our aviation and energy businesses through existing cash resources and further non-core asset sales.
“By doing this, we can deliver sustainable operating cash flows and significant long-term value for shareholders.”
In his outlook, CEO Brady said: “We have entered the new financial year with increased confidence.
“We have a clear aim to develop a London airport that will benefit from the capacity constraints within the capital’s other airports and a highly cash generative energy business with long-term contracts to supply 2m tonnes per annum.
“London Southend Airport has visibility on passenger growth following the arrival of Ryanair and Loganair flights, and an enhanced customer proposition that will allow non-aeronautical revenues to mature over time.
“Stobart Energy is now better positioned to maintain attractive margins and generate cash.
“We also have a plan in place to improve the performance of the Rail & Civils Division through an increased focus on securing external contracts.
“We now have a more de-risked balance sheet having decided to impair non-core assets.
“We intend to now grow the value of our core aviation and energy assets and have in place an experienced commercial team with a clear plan to execute our strategy and deliver our targets.
“Stobart Group now intends to invest in developing a 10m+ passenger airport and the infrastructure required to maintain a supply chain to deliver 2m tonnes per annum of biomass fuel.
“The group will also invest in core IT and central services, including our people while retaining an appropriate group cost base.
“The majority of our investment will be focused on London Southend Airport and will be partly funded by the receipt of over £50m raised through the issuance of an exchangeable bond secured over our shares in Eddie Stobart Logistics plc, further asset sales and cash generated from operating businesses.
“By undertaking this investment in our infrastructure assets, we can generate strong and sustainable operating cashflows and significant long-term value for shareholders.”