Stobart Group Web Site - March 1, 2010
Stobart Group ("Stobart" or "the Group"), the UK's leading provider of multimodal transport and logistics solutions, has agreed to dispose part of its Inland Ports asset to Legal & General Assurance (Pensions Management) Limited, for £61m rising to £62.5m on the satisfaction of further conditions. A key element of this sale is a new 528,000 square feet, state-of-the-art sustainable distribution centre developed by Stobart Group. This was recently announced as the new Northern distribution centre for Tesco's fresh operations. In addition, Stobart was confirmed as the transport contractor for Tesco from this distribution centre.
The asset disposal illustrates the fundamental strategy of the Stobart Group to invest in assets to develop existing and new customer relationships and then realise the value of the asset, at a profit, to reinvest elsewhere in the business. The disposal value will generate an initial return on investment in the region of 20% with the potential for further returns. This demonstrates the inherent value within the property assets held on the balance sheet of the Group. The ongoing pre-tax profit impact of the asset disposals is neutral.
The £61m is satisfied by a cash payment of which the majority will be used to repay existing borrowings with RBS and Barclays, significantly reducing the core debt in the balance sheet of the company at 28 February 2010 to around £45m. This will allow the Group flexibility in securing the optimum debt structure for future asset developments, including the commenced capital expenditure programme at London Southend Airport.
Stobart also expects to increase the throughput of the Inland Port terminal (currently only 50% utilised) when the site is fully operational and when the existing Valencia fresh produce rail service is extended to Widnes. This next phase of the pioneering Stobart Rail service will allow Tesco to transport its fresh produce from Southern Spain to Northern England by rail, delivering significant environmental benefits.
In addition to the disposal of the fresh produce distribution centre, the Stobart Ports division has entered into a 25 year sale and leaseback arrangement on the Inland Port terminal. Following this, the Group expects to develop further phases on the remaining 95 acres of the Inland Port in response to customer demand.
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