Business

Eddie Stobart: Lorry firm targets £550m stock market listing

Eddie Stobart lorry Image copyright Eddie Stobart

Lorry firm Eddie Stobart is listing its shares in London next month, a move that should value the firm at £550m.

The company's green and red trucks - each of them bearing a different woman's name - are a mainstay of British motorways.

It is returning to the stock market three years after its parent company sold half the business to pay debts.

Since then, it has invested heavily and is raising fresh funds to help it grow further.

Founded in 1970, its distinctive lorries have attracted thousands of dedicated truck-spotting fans.

Celebrity spotters include musicians Jools Holland, Shane Lynch, Chico and Ronan Keating, according to the Stobart Club.

It employs more than 5,500 members of staff and operates 2,200 vehicles, as well as logistics centres and freight rail services.

'Transformed'

Eddie Stobart was started by entrepreneur Edward Stobart with only eight trucks and 12 employees before he later sold it to his family. Mr Stobart died in 2011.

One of his ideas was to give each lorry a woman's name, starting with Twiggy, after the model, and later there was a Tammy and a Dolly, after singers Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton.

The first time that the firm listed on the stock market in 2007, it was as part of the wider Stobart Group, whose other businesses include Southend Airport and a regional airline in Ireland.

But the Stobart Group sold 51% of the truck business for £281m in 2014 as it looked to pay off debts and focus on other areas.

Eddie Stobart's chief executive Alex Laffey said that in the last three years, the truck company had been "transformed".

"An IPO [initial public offering] is an exciting next step for the business that will give us a strong platform for further growth," he said.

The freight firm had revenues of £549m and adjusted profits of £41m last year.

It is expected to start selling shares on London's Alternative Investment Market in April 2017.

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