Eddie Stobart crisis as CEO leaves, shares suspended, and results delayed amid accounting probe

Warrington-based Eddie Stobart Logistics plc said on Friday its CEO Alex Laffey will “stand down … with immediate effect” as the firm said it will suspended its shares and delay its half-year results amid an ongoing accounting probe.

The firm also intends to review its current dividend policy.

Last month, Eddie Stobart said it would restate parts of last year’s earnings after its new chief financial officer (CFO) Anoop Kang found problems in its accounting that would likely reduce adjusted EBIT by £2 million.

Eddie Stobart’s largest shareholder is troubled fund manager Neil Woodford with a 22.9% stake.

On Friday, Eddie Stobart said in a statement Sebastien Desreumaux, currently CEO, iForce and head of contract logistics, will take over as CEO “and is expected to be appointed to the board in due course.”

Eddie Stobart added: “As part of the group’s review carried out in conjunction with the group’s auditors in relation to the interim results, the board is applying a more prudent approach to revenue recognition, re-assessing the recoverability of certain receivables, as well as considering the appropriateness of certain provisions.

“While revenue expectations for the first half are broadly in line with previous guidance, the full impact of these items on adjusted EBIT is unclear, but it is likely to be significantly lower than anticipated at the time of the half year trading update on 9 July 2019.

“As a result, the board also intends to review the Group’s current dividend policy.

“Pending clarification of the impact of these items, the group has applied to suspend trading of the company’s ordinary shares on AIM, which will be effective from 7.30 a.m. today.

“The group previously announced that the company would release its interim results for the six months to 31 May 2019 on 29 August 2019.

“However,the ongoing review will result in a delay to the publication of the group’s interim results, and it is now anticipated that the group will release its interim results in early September.

“The board has full confidence in the ability of Eddie Stobart’s management team to deliver an improved performance for the group going forward, and remains confident in the strength of the underlying business.”