Eddie Stobart chief quits with immediate effect as shares suspended

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Eddie Stobart's boss has quit. Photo: PA

Shares in Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL.L) have been suspended and its chief executive has stepped down with immediate effect, according to the company.

The transport and logistics giant applied for its shares to be suspended as it carries out a review of its accounting, which is expected to reveal lower earnings for the first half of 2019.

Eddie Stobart said current chief executive Alex Laffey was standing down, with the company’s current head of contract logistics Sebastien Desreumaux to replace him.

The company said in a filing with the London Stock Exchange that the impact of the review on its earnings was “unclear,” but was “likely to be significant lower than anticipated” in its half-year trading update in July.

It also said the changes would lead to the board reviewing its current dividend policies.

READ MORE: Watchdog criticises Google over high-risk bond ads

The suspension of shares from 7.30am on Friday is “pending clarification” of the issues and their impact on earnings, according to the company.

It also announced its interim results will be delayed, with the initial 29 August date postponed to early September.

The company had already revealed issues last month with its results the previous year, knocking £2m off its adjusted pre-tax earnings for the year ending 30 November 2018. It had also said in July these “matters” would cause a £1.6m hit for its 2019 earnings.

“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,” the company said in its latest statement on Friday.

Eddie Stobart is one of Britain’s biggest logistics and transport operators, with more than 2,000 vehicles, 3,500 trailers, and 24 distribution centres across the UK and Europe.

READ MORE: Embattled Woodford’s problems continue as fund takes £30m hit