Stobart Group

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Stobart Group Ltd
Public limited company
Traded as LSESTOB
Industry Infrastructure and Support Services
Founded 2007
Headquarters Carlisle, Cumbria, England
Area served
Ireland, United Kingdom
Key people
Iain Ferguson, Chairman
Andrew Tinkler, CEO
Subsidiaries Stobart Biomass Transport Ltd

Stobart Group Ltd (LSESTOB) (trading as Stobart Group) is a British infrastructure and support services company, with interests in Energy, Aviation and Rail, through operations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company is registered in Guernsey but has its operational head office in Carlisle, Cumbria.

The group had its origins in the transport and logistics business run by Edward Stobart from 1976 to 2004. Trading as Eddie Stobart, Edward had inherited and expanded it from the agricultural business founded by his father "Steady" Eddie Stobart in the 1940s. It eventually grew to become one of the UK's most recognised brands. Following corporate restructurings in 2004 and 2007, the group became a public company and diversified into various other sectors, while retaining Stobart family members William Stobart (Edward's brother) and his brother in-law Andrew Tinkler in the management roles of COO and CEO respectively. After boardroom changes in 2013, in 2014 a 51% stake in its original transport business was sold, becoming Eddie Stobart Logistics with William Stobart as its CEO - the Group retaining the rights to the brand Eddie Stobart, licensing it out to the new company. With Tinkler remaining at Stobart Group, it re positioned itself around its remaining interests, as a services company.

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a former constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. However, unlike most UK public companies, Stobart Group retains its "Ltd" status as it is incorporated in Guernsey and not England & Wales or Scotland, which would require it to change its suffix to "plc" status.

Early history[edit]

A Subaru Impreza with Stobart advertising

The business was started by Eddie Stobart in the late 1940s as an agricultural business in Cumbria. His son, Edward Stobart Junior, was born in Cumberland in England on 21 November 1954 at his parents' house just outside Hesket Newmarket near Carlisle. He was one of four children, with an elder sister Anne, an elder brother John and a younger brother William. He was always called Edward to avoid confusion with his father Eddie. He was very interested in lorries, and when he left school, he started working for his father's contracting business delivering agricultural material in the region. The first truck bought by Eddie Stobart in 1960 was painted post-office red and Brunswick green with yellow lettering. These colours were used for subsequent vehicles up to 1969. By 1970, the company consisted of three main parts: Fertilizer, Haulage and a Farm shop in Wigton. Eddie Stobart controlled the organisation fully until 1973, when, at the age of 19, Edward Stobart took the place of CEO. In 1976, Eddie retired and Edward took full control of the road haulage business and the name, Eddie Stobart Ltd in 1976, becoming Chairman. The other parts of the business went to other family members. That same year, Edward Stobart and the fleet of eight lorries moved to Carlisle to be closer to the M6 motorway.

By 1985 Edward Stobart owned 26 vehicles but he would still personally wash the trucks.[1] A lot of hard work, never declining an order, and a virtual paranoia about keeping his lorries, characterised by their Tautliner bodies, immaculately clean eventually paid off, and Edward started to get orders from larger businesses. One of the key success factors for the company was its specific emphasis on building a strong reputation and corporate image. For example, in the 1980s and 1990s, if any driver was caught not wearing a tie while on duty, he or she could face disciplinary action. Similarly, the company had a policy that all drivers must wave back and honk their horn in the traditional truck-driver fashion when signalled by a passer-by or "Eddie spotter" to do so.

In 1987, Edward Stobart's brother William took the place of CEO. However, in 1992, William also resigned, and so Alan Martin took the place of CEO. However, Martin was fired in 1997 after leading a court case against Stobart in order to receive more payments.

As well as a new management team in 1986, another key element in its growth at this time was the opening, on 1 April 1987, of its first depot in the English Midlands (at Burnaston).[2] Under Edward's management, the fleet quickly grew from 26 lorries in 1985 to 300 in 1990. This rapid expansion gained the company the honour of 'Haulier of the Year' in 1990.

Corporate history[edit]

By 2000 the enlarged Eddie Stobart Group Ltd. consisted of three divisions: Eddie Stobart Ltd., Eddie Stobart International and Eddie Stobart Promotions.

By 2002 the company was experiencing financial difficulties caused by the fuel crisis. In 2001 the haulage business had posted its first loss,[3] with the fan club making more money than the haulage business.[3]

On 15 October 2003 it was announced that Eddie Stobart was to be sold to WA Developments, a civil engineering company that specialised in railway maintenance, based in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria. At the time, Eddie Stobart was 55% owned by Edward Stobart and 45% owned by his brother William. WA Developments was 27% owned by William and 73% owned by William's school friend, brother-in-law and business partner Andrew Tinkler. In effect, therefore, William Stobart's stake in Eddie Stobart reduced from 45% to 27%.

Eddie Stobart Group Ltd. became a subsidiary of W.A. Developments International Ltd, a parent company of WA Developments. Upon completion on 4 February 2004, Andrew Tinkler became Chairman and William Stobart became Managing Director of Eddie Stobart.

Public listing and further restructuring[edit]

The Stobart Group was created on 15 August 2007 when the Eddie Stobart Logistics business gained a stock market listing through the reverse acquisition of the Westbury Property Fund Ltd, a commercial property and ports company.[4][5]

Westbury acquired the ultimate Eddie Stobart Ltd. holding company, Stobart Holdings Ltd., from W.A. Developments International Ltd. for £137.7 million: £62 million in cash and £76 million in new Westbury Property Fund shares. The renamed Westbury group then became the London Stock Exchange listed Stobart Group Ltd., with Andrew Tinkler and William Stobart becoming substantial shareholders holding 20% and 8.5% respectively of the Stobart Group and becoming Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Stobart Group respectively.

The company was split into three divisions: Eddie Stobart, Stobart Rail and Stobart Ports, with the opportunity of adding a fourth division, Stobart Air, in the future.

On 10 March 2008 the Stobart Group acquired W. A. Developments Ltd. from W. A. Developments International Ltd., for £15 million (£2.5 million in cash and £12.5 million in new Stobart Group shares).[6]

On 21 April 2011, the Stobart Group announced a Placing and Open Offer (similar to a rights issue) of 77,339,766 new ordinary shares in the Stobart Group at 155p each to raise net proceeds of £114.9 million to achieve its growth plans.[7] The company was to be split into five new divisions: Stobart Transport and Distribution, Stobart Estates, Stobart Infrastructure and Civils, Stobart Air and Stobart Biomass.

Boardroom coup and counter-coup[edit]

In January 2013, following an under-performing share price, Stobart Group's largest shareholder, Invesco, initiated a number of boardroom changes. The Non-Executive Chairman, Rodney Baker-Bates, was demoted to become a Non-Executive Director, whilst Avril Palmer-Baunack, the former Chief Executive of Autologic and now Deputy Chief Executive of Stobart Group, was promoted to become Executive Chairman. Her remit was to sell off under-performing parts of the business.

However, disagreements started with Andrew Tinkler and William Stobart, who held 12.6% of the Stobart Group at the time, over what could be classified as an "under-performing asset". Their view was that there were no under-performing assets in the Stobart Group whatsoever.

In April 2013, Stobart Group announced that Avril Palmer-Baunack would be leaving the Group in the next month. In October 2013, Stobart Group appointed Iain Ferguson CBE as its new independent Non-Executive Chairman.

Partial realisation of Transport and Distribution Division[edit]

In March 2014, Stobart Group announced its intention to re-position itself as an Infrastructure and Support Services business, with the announcement of the sale of its original Transport and Distribution business to Douglas Bay Capital for £280.8 million: £195.6 million in cash and £44.1 million in shares (and therefore a 49% stake) of the new Eddie Stobart Logistics business. The deal enabled Stobart Group to pay back almost all of its debt, conduct a £35 million share buy-back and invest £55 million into its new division Stobart Green Energy.

William Stobart left his position as Chief Operating Officer of the Stobart Group to become Executive Chairman of Eddie Stobart Logistics.

There are now four main operating divisions within the company: Stobart Energy, Stobart Aviation, Stobart Rail, and Stobart Infrastructure.


Following growth, the company had previously been looking to move from its long standing Carlisle base and was considering a relocation further down the M6 motorway to Warrington. These plans were rejected in 2006 due to potential job losses in Carlisle.[3]

Financial performance[edit]

Stobart Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol STOB.

Figures below show the recent results for the Group; their financial year now runs to the last day of February each year:

Period ended Turnover (£m) Profit before tax (£m) Dividend per share (p) Adjusted earnings per share diluted (p)
28 February 2013 572.4 36.0 6.0 8.98
29 February 2012 551.92 30.55 6.0 8.97
28 February 2011 500.39 29.47 6.0 9.02
28 February 2010 447.66 33.29 12.0 11.58
28 February 2009 431.06 29.72 6.0 (4.07)
29 February 2008 (14 months) 108.84 3.52 8.3 (22.92)
31 December 2006 0.42 (1.12) 6.0 58.29
31 December 2005 7.59 13.70 6.0 26.48
31 December 2004 5.43 7.56 8.0 54.04


Current Stobart Group operations[edit]

Biomass road haulage[edit]

On 24 March 2010, the Stobart Group announced the purchase of 50% of A. W. Jenkinson Biomass Ltd, from A. W. Jenkinson Forest Products, for £30 million, as an equal mix of cash and shares. A. W. Jenkinson Biomass Ltd was then renamed Stobart Biomass Products Ltd.[8]

The Stobart Group also announced it was buying the remaining 50% of Stobart Biomass Products it did not already own for £20 million.[9]

Stobart Biomass transports sustainable wood products (primarily life-expired timber and low grade softwood) for use in low-carbon emission power plants, producing electricity at both large and small scale power plants, including for export. The business also sources sustainable timber and waste products, which are used in the production of Biomass Energy. Stobart Biomass operates from several sites throughout the UK, with its HQ at Penrith, Cumbria.

Stobart Energy will move it's HQ to Widnes in Cheshire in 2017 where they will have a new office building and production site.

Railway infrastructure[edit]

At the beginning of June 2008, W. A. Developments Ltd. was renamed Stobart Rail Ltd and became responsible for all the railway maintenance and infrastructure activities of the group.[10]

Stobart Rail incorporates the major engineering and redevelopment projects including road/rail freight distribution centres, ambient and chilled warehousing facilities, construction/refurbishment of rail stations, sidings and airport buildings. It includes Stobart Rail: Infrastructure Engineering and Stobart Developments.

Stobart Rail operates the Southend Airport railway station which it opened on 18 July 2011.

Railway engineering[edit]

Stobart Rail: (originally W. A. Developments Ltd) carries out railway works for Network Rail.

The railway infrastructure division uses low-loader trucks and trailers to transport its plant equipment - these carry the Stobart Group design of livery, but with a blue and white colour scheme.

Stobart Infrastructure[edit]

Stobart Infrastructure is the construction division of the Stobart Group. It is responsible for the development and improvement of the Stobart Group's property holdings. It currently has over 2 million sq ft of warehousing under construction throughout the UK.

Carlisle Lake District Airport[edit]

In 2006, Stobart had also been considering expanding into the air freight business. On 7 April 2006 Haughey Airports Ltd – the company which operated Carlisle Airport – was acquired by Eddie Stobart's parent company WA Developments, through a subsidiary company Stobart Air Holdings Ltd.[11] Haughey Airports Ltd was then renamed Stobart Air Ltd, and Carlisle Airport was re-branded as Carlisle Lake District Airport.

Plans were announced to redevelop the airport site to include a new passenger terminal, an air freight service, a new joint headquarters for WA Developments and Eddie Stobart, and a 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) distribution centre.[3]

After the reverse takeover in 2007, the Stobart Air operation remained outside the enlarged Stobart Group, i.e. it was still owned by WA Developments.[5]

The March 2008 purchase by the group of W. A. Developments Ltd included a £50,000 option agreement to purchase the airport, controlled by WA Developments through Stobart Air Holdings.[6]

In January 2009, Stobart Group's subsidiary, Stobart Airports Ltd., exercised its option to acquire Carlisle Lake District Airport from Stobart Air Holdings for £14 million (£1 million less than originally announced). Following an independent shareholder vote, the acquisition was completed in May 2009, and the purchase price was reduced to £9.9 million due to a fall in the value of Stobart Group shares.[12] Stobart Group purchased the lease on 30 May 2009.

On 4 April 2008 controversy emerged surrounding the proposed developments to Carlisle Lake District Airport. In response to 63 apparently overly restrictive planning conditions placed on the development plans of Stobart Air, Andrew Tinkler apparently intended to move the Stobart haulage and warehousing operation out of Carlisle to Widnes, as a contingency 'plan B', asserting the redevelopment under the proposed condition would not be completed in time.[13] By 8 April talks had proceeded, and centred on ten disputed points.[14] On 10 April it was announced that Andrew Tinkler and Carlisle City Council leader Mike Mitchelson shook hands on a revised list of conditions for the plan.[15] However the plans were called in by the Government and Andrew Tinkler withdrew the application.

In January 2011, Stobart Air submitted proposals to build a 394,000 sq ft Air Freight Distribution Centre on the site. Under the plans, Eddie Stobart would re-locate all its Carlisle depots to the airport, and there would be passenger flights to and from London Southend Airport, operated by Aer Arann, an airline 5%-owned by the Stobart Group through a 35 convertible preference shares of €1 each acquired on 10 November 2010.[16] Further details on jobs and flights were supplied in support of the application in July 2011.[17] A decision was finally reached on 3 August 2012 when Stobart Air was given permission by Carlisle City Council to develop the airport. However, on 21 March 2014 this planning permission was quashed, but Stobart Aviation said it would re-submit a proposal to re-develop Carlisle Lake District Airport in the future.

London Southend Airport[edit]

On 2 December 2008, Stobart Group announced the surprise £21 million purchase of London Southend Airport, through its subsidiary Stobart Airports Ltd from Regional Airports Ltd (who also own London Biggin Hill Airport). The deal completed on 5 December 2008. At the time, the book value of London Southend Airport's assets were £25.5 million, and the acquisition was later described as a "bargain purchase" by the Stobart Group. The deal was paid as to £10 million in new Stobart Group shares, £6 million by a vendor loan note, and the remaining £5 million was to be paid on the completion of the London Southend Airport expansion plans in July 2012.[18] It is operated by the London Southend Airport Company Ltd.

Air passenger services[edit]

On 11 October 2010, the Stobart Group announced that it was purchasing 35 convertible preference shares of €1 each in the parent company of the Irish airline Aer Arann, Everdeal Ltd, through its subsidiary Aer Arann UK Ltd, for €2.5 million, enabling it to have a 5% stake in the airline. Stobart Group has an option to increase its stake by a further 27.5% to 32.5%. At the same time, Aer Arann announced that it would start twice daily flights from Stobart Group's London Southend Airport to Galway and Waterford in Ireland from 27 March 2011.[19]

As Stobart Air, the group now operates scheduled services under the brands Aer Lingus Regional and Flybe on behalf of their respective owners, through its operating bases at Cork and Dublin (for Aer Lingus Regional) and at London-Southend and Isle Of Man (for Flybe).

Stobart Investments[edit]

Stobart Estates Holdings Ltd (known as Stobart Investments) comprises the Stobart Group's portfolio of properties, including retail sites, light industrial buildings and distribution centres, office space and holdings which are owned or used in the Group's day-to-day business. It also includes the Group's 49% stake in Eddie Stobart Logistics and the Group's 45% stake in Stobart Air.

Stobart Properties[edit]

Stobart Properties Ltd (known as Stobart Properties) owns most of the original Eddie Stobart Logistics buildings and also the Westbury Property Fund's original joint-venture property interests.

Westbury Properties[edit]

In return for the reverse takeover deal in 2007 which saw Westbury become the new Stobart Group, Westbury sold the bulk of its commercial property portfolio, Westbury Properties Ltd., to another WA Developments subsidiary, WADI Properties Ltd., for £142.0 million in cash, thereby retaining the assets under the control of Tinkler owner of WA Developments), while being outside the new group.[5] Westbury Properties Ltd, owned Moneypenny Ltd, (known as the Moneypenny Property Portfolio) which comprised 18 freehold and long leasehold properties, a mixture of commercial, industrial and residential properties primarily in the South-East.

Due to a fall in property values during 2007–2011, the Stobart Group also announced an option to buy back Westbury Properties Ltd. from WADI Properties Ltd. expiring on 15 August 2011, as some of its properties, owned by a Westbury Properties Ltd. subsidiary, Moneypenny Ltd., were used by the Stobart Group for its operations.[20] On 17 January 2012, Stobart Group announced it was purchasing WADI Properties Ltd. itself for £12.35 million (£5.15 million in cash and £7.2 million in new Stobart Group ordinary shares) from W. A. Developments International Ltd. Following another independent shareholder vote, the acquisition was completed on 28 February 2012. [2]

Two of the properties are occupied by the Stobart Group itself. One property is a B&Q Retail Park in Kingston upon Hull.

By the end of 2013, Stobart Group had disposed of the majority of these properties.

Brand promotion[edit]

Stobart Group Brands LLP and Eddie Stobart Promotions Ltd have various Brand Promotion services, such as the Stobart Members Club, Stobart Fest, Stobart Sponsorship and Stobart Motorsport.

In 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Eddie Stobart was recognised as a UK Superbrand by Superbrands Ltd.

Stobart Members Club[edit]

The tradition of naming Eddie Stobart lorry cabins with female names, combined with a very distinctive livery, has led members of the general public to "collect" sightings of Stobart lorries. This has occurred to the extent that a fan club was formed, eventually supported by the company which arranges depot tours and lorry rides, and sells model lorries etc. For a few years in the 1990s the company ran a fan club shop in Carlisle's city centre.

Stobart Fest[edit]

In 2011 the Stobart Group announced that they would be holding an event called Stobart Fest. The event was originally planned to be held at their Crick Depot, but a week before the event it was announced that it would be held in conjunction with the British Touring Car Championship on Saturday 17 September 2011 at Rockingham Motor Speedway. They also announced that filming will take place on the day for the 3rd series of the Stobart Group TV show Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers.

On the weekend of 26/27 May, Stobart Fest 2012 was held at the Etihad Stadium home of the Manchester City Football Club to coincide with the Stobart Group sponsored Rugby Super League Magic Weekend.


Since the takeover of Eddie Stobart by WA Developments in 2004 and its subsequent listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2007, Stobart has taken to a high-profile sponsorship programme, including:

Sponsorship of the Professional Jockeys Association.

On 25 January 2012 Stobart was announced as Super League's new naming sponsors, replacing engage Mutual Assurance.[23]

Former Stobart Group operations[edit]

Rail tours[edit]

The Stobart Group also briefly entered the passenger railtour market, through the Stobart Pullman, which was a re-branding of the Hertfordshire Rail Tours business inherited from Victa Westlink Rail, a joint venture between its Westlink subsidiary and Victa Railfreight.[4] Traction was provided by Direct Rail Services using Stobart branded carriages. It was launched in February 2008 but as of July 2008 the operation was suspended, presumed closed.[24]

Current Eddie Stobart Logistics operations[edit]

Eddie Stobart Logistics comprises transport, storage and handling services, meeting ambient and chilled distribution, and warehousing requirements across ten business units.

It operates from 40 sites in the UK and Europe and includes the previous divisions of Eddie Stobart: The original trucking business; Stobart Ireland: Warehousing and cross-docking facilities for all of Ireland; Stobart Rail: Rail Freight solutions; and Stobart Ports: Waterway and inland container ports.

William Stobart is the Chief Executive Officer of Eddie Stobart Logistics, with a 6% stake.

General road haulage[edit]

The largest part of Eddie Stobart Logistics is the original Eddie Stobart road haulage business. It also includes the former operations of James Irlam and Innovative Logistics. The Stobart Group completed the acquisition of Autologic in August 2012. It comprises 2,280 trucks and 3,500 trailers as of August 2012 and uses a "Pay per Mile" system to charge clients, as opposed to a Fixed Payment System.

When the Stobart Group became listed on the stock exchange, to reflect the new ownership and to take advantage of a new wraparound shrink wrap adhesive plastic application technique, in 2000 the standard truck livery in use since 1970 of red, green and gold was refreshed, in a lighter green, and simplifying the brand name to just Eddie Stobart. This new livery became known as Modern Skin, the previous scheme becoming known as Classic Skin.

In May 2007 the Stobart Group was the subject of controversy when it reportedly offered bonuses to its Carlisle-based drivers to work in Livingston in Scotland, to transport goods for Tesco who were in dispute with their distribution centre drivers and facing disruption to their supply chain. The Stobart drivers refused to cross the Livingston picket line.[25]

On 14 September 2009, MP David Taylor officially opened Stobart's Nestlé distribution centre in Bardon, Coalville, Leicestershire, after a £7 million refurbishment creating an extra 62 jobs. The new site previously owned by Innovate Logistics, at full capacity, will hold 110,000 pallets, and 88,000 tonnes of goods. The hub distributes approx 75% of Nestlé UK's deliveries of products such as Kit-Kats, Smarties and Nescafé.[26] In July 2008 it was announced that the group had taken over the chilled and ambient goods distribution operations from the administrators of Innovate Logistics Limited, saving the jobs of around 1,300 Innovate employees.[27]

On 10 March 2008 the Stobart Group announced the acquisition of James Irlam & Sons Ltd, one of the largest independently owned road transport logistics providers in the UK.[28] The company was purchased from the Irlam family for £59.9 million.

On 1 April 2008 the Stobart Group (incorporating Eddie Stobart Ltd) started its first dedicated operations in Ireland, Stobart Ireland, based in Dublin, following the acquisition of TDG's Irish trailer operations.[29]

Despite news reports to the contrary in 2008,[30] the Irlam and O'Connor fleets have received Stobart liveried trucks, although the "Stobart" at the top front of the tractor unit is changed to "Irlam" or "O'Connor", with the relevant web address in place of the Eddie Stobart one.[31] As of 2011 all Stobart tractor units that had previously carried the "Irlam" or "O'Connor" branding now carry Stobart Group branding.

There are ten main business units and 40 main sites in the UK.

Eddie Stobart's clients include: A H Barr, Britvic, B&Q, Coca-Cola, Crown Paints, Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Golden Wonder, Groupe Danone, Homebase, InBev, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Incorporated, Mercedes AMG Petronas, Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom), Pirelli, Tesco and Unilever.

Eddie Stobart has a 2% market share of the road haulage industry.

The Eddie Stobart fleet includes a number of Volvo FM dual-fuel trucks, running primarily on liquid natural gas with diesel as a back-up.[32]

Temperature controlled distribution[edit]

A large segment of the business consists of temperature controlled distribution, identified by their white colour scheme on their trailers, in place of the standard green.

Specialist road haulage[edit]

On 18 June 2012, Stobart Group's subsidiary, Stobart Holdings Ltd., announced the acquisition of the car transporter logistics operator, Autologic Holdings PLC, for 20p in cash per Autologic ordinary share, valuing the company at £12.4 million. After Autologic shareholder approval, the acquisition was completed on 10 August 2012.[33]

Rail freight services[edit]

Under the brand Stobart Rail, the group commenced a rail freight service with rail operations provided by Direct Rail Services (DRS). For rail freight transport the group owns warehousing at the rail-connected Daventry International Railfreight Terminal (DIRFT), and owns the rail-connected Widnes Intermodal Rail Depot.

A service operated by DRS started on 4 November 2008 from Inverness southwards carrying containers operated for Tesco. The containers all carry the "Stobart Rail" or "Tesco - Less CO2" branding. Trucks carrying Stobart Rail branded containers are also carried by the haulage company J G Russell which partners Stobart in this operation.[34]

In 2009 Stobart switched rail partner from DRS to DB Schenker Rail (UK).[35] On 30 October 2009 Stobart Rail commenced a new train service (operated in conjunction with DB Schenker Rail (UK); it operates a 1,100 mile journey from Valencia, providing a low carbon alternative for the import of fresh Spanish produce, terminating at the Ford Dagenham rail head.[36]

Widnes inland port and industrial park[edit]

With the Westbury takeover Stobart gained the Port of Weston in Runcorn. At the same time as the Westbury merger it was announced that the "O'Connor Group" was also being purchased by Westlink, at the time a wholly owned business of Westbury, from the O'Connor family for £22 million.[37] The O'Connor Group operates a truck fleet of approximately 90 vehicles, offering transmodal road rail services at the 'inland port', Widnes Intermodal Rail Depot. In March 2007 Westbury had also acquired AHC – a rail terminal operator and storage, facilities handling and transport business – operating on a site adjacent to the O'Connor terminal.[4]

O'Connor Group Management Ltd (trading as Stobart Ports) is the ports division of the Stobart Group. It owns a site in Widnes, Cheshire.

Stobart Ports was formed from the merger of the Westbury Property Fund's Port of Weston in Runcorn with the adjacent site owned by O'Connor Ports in Widnes, Cheshire.

It handles 150,000 containers each year.

Prior to its full takeover in March 2008, WA Developments had been advising Stobart Group on the redevelopment of the inland port operation in Widnes and potential port operation in Runcorn.[6]

Stobart Park[edit]

Stobart Park is an industrial park located in Widnes, Cheshire. Stobart Park's biggest tenant is Tesco. [3]

In popular culture[edit]

Channel 5 and Princess Productions released a program dedicated to the Stobart group, Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers which first aired on 24 September 2010. Ever since, the popular TV show has ratings of 1.85 million and shows an insight into the company and some of its famous drivers on a day-to-day basis.

The Stobart Group was featured on Top Gear in 1995, when presenter Tony Mason visited the company's Carlisle headquarters. Mason talked to members of staff and discussed the popular perception of the company. Another appearance was made on Top Gear during the Reliant Robin rocket challenge. The Reliant was transported to the launch site on a flatbed Stobart truck to Richard Hammond and James May.

A one-off TV show was produced for ITV4 called Eddie Stobart - Smart truckers. Narrated by Paddy McGuinness, the show included the boss William Stobart doing deliveries to distribution centres and the firm's race horses.

Recently, a CD has been produced called Eddie Stobart trucking songs. The CD features all the truckers rock songs and artists including Queen, Fleetwood Mac and Motorhead. It made No.1 in the charts and is available from most supermarkets.

To help celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Eddie Stobart Ltd, the Somerset group The Wurzels recorded a new song "I wanna be an Eddie Stobart Driver". The song graced the UK Top 100 in 1995. The original, together with a spoof called "I wanna join the Eddie Stobart fan club", are still available for download via iTunes. There is also a range of Eddie Stobart toys available.

Its familiar red, green, and white paint jobs are seen in Euro Truck Simulator 2 [game by SCS Software] as a mod created by Eddie Stobart and Trucking fans. The Stobart Rail group also features in the game as a skin on the Scania R-series only.

Vehicle naming[edit]

Eddie Stobart has a long tradition of giving its trucks female names. The first four owned by Eddie Stobart were named after model "Twiggy" and singers "Tammy" (Wynette), "Dolly" (Parton) and "Suzi" (Quatro). Names are now often chosen with connections to drivers, or to commemorate long-serving employees. The practice has been expanded to cover other Stobart vehicles, including their sponsored sports cars and the Stobart Rail locomotive "Eddie the Engine".

With the expansion of the fleet, names have become harder to choose, and the fleet now features "Tuula Karina" (Finnish), "Angharrad" (Welsh), "Anstice" and "Saoirse Erin" (Irish, meaning 'Free Ireland'). Currently the vehicles with the shortest and longest names are "Nia" and "Gladys Duchess of Overton", both on Scania R 420s.

There are some exceptions to the female naming convention (including Eddie the Engine). In 2005, in celebration of 20 years of Transformers Stobart named a MAN tractor "Optimus Prime" and recently during the filming of a television series entitled "Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers" a Volvo FH12 was christened "Valentino" after Valentino Rossi, the legendary Italian motorcycle racer, which caused a furore among spotters. They have a static Volvo FH in the "Glasshouse" at their Crick depot which is named in honour of fusilier "Lee Rigby".

Members of the Stobart Members Club can also request a name, providing it is not already in use, but currently there is a three-year waiting list. When the name does finally get added to a truck a certificate and letter is sent to the person who requested it.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Edward Stobart". The Economist. 7 April 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Davies, Hunter (2001). The Eddie Stobart Story. London: HarperCollinsEntertainment. ISBN 0-00-711597-0. 
  3. ^ a b c d Where next for 'Steady Eddie' Stobart? BBC News, 6 September 2006
  4. ^ a b c Eddie Stobart joining Stock Market Eddie Stobart News, 15 August 2007. Retrieved April 2008.
  5. ^ a b c Eddie Stobart merges with Westbury and goes public, 15 August 2007
  6. ^ a b c EGM approves acquisition Eddie Stobart News, April 2008. Retrieved April 2008.
  7. ^ "Stobart to raise £120m via placing and open offer". IB Times. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "AW Jenkinson and Stobart Group secure £5m deal with BSW Timber". Commercial Motor. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Stobarts' buyback plans no transport of delight for confused investors". The Telegraph. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Stobart eyes profits despite soaring fuel costs The Times, 20 June 2008
  11. ^ Carlisle Airport News. Retrieved 8 April 2006.
  12. ^ "Can this man finally help Carlisle Airport take off?". Cumberland News. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Stobart Pulls Out Of Cumbria Carlisle News and Star , 8 April 2008
  14. ^ Stobart and Council Edge Towards City Airport Deal Carlisle News and Star, 8 April 2008
  15. ^ "News & Star". Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  16. ^ "BBC News - New Carlisle Airport development plan submitted". 17 January 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "Stobart Group submits extra detail for Carlisle Airport revamp plans". in-cumbria. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  18. ^ "Stobart Group unexpected buyer of London Southend Airport from Regional Airports Ltd for GBP21 million". CAPA. 10 December 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "Stobart to buy stake in Aer Arann". Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  20. ^ Fletcher, Richard (27 April 2011). "Stobart investors need some answers on proposed property buy-back". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  21. ^ "Stobart Group maps out road to success for Vikings". Halton Borough Council. Retrieved 7 December 2007. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Manor House Stables sponsored by Stobart Group". Manor House Stables LLP. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  23. ^ "RFL confirm Stobart as new Super League sponsor". Wakefield Express. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  24. ^ "Scot-rail charter trains 2008". Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  25. ^ "Socialist Worker report". Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  26. ^ MP opens £7m Nestle hub This is Business East Midlands, 15 September 2009
  27. ^ Stobart deal saves 1300 jobs at Innovate Logistics Yorkshire Post, 1 July 2008
  28. ^ Irlam brothers sell to rival Eddie Stobart The Telegraph, 14 March 2008
  29. ^ Eddie Stobart arrives in Ireland HGV Ireland, 5 April 2008
  30. ^ Stobart haulage unveils expansion BBC News, 10 March 2008
  31. ^ Rebranded Irlams Lorry Spotting - Image of new Stobart Irlam and O'Connor tractors in Stobart colours. This has now changed again; Irlam and O'Connor Tractor Units are now being re-branded with "Stobart" and
  32. ^ ""Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers - Series 2 Episode 5" at". Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  33. ^ [1]
  34. ^ "New Freight Terminal for Inverness" (PDF). Railway Herald (162): 3. 19 January 2009. 
  35. ^ "Stobart appoints DB Schenker Rail as provider of UK rail freight services". Stobart Group. 14 August 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2009. 
  36. ^ "Stobart launches Valencia rail service". World Cargo News. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  37. ^ Takeover announcement O'Connor Group, 15 August 2007. Retrieved April 2008.

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