Eddie Stobart chief executive to step down amid accounting probe

Trading in shares suspended at logistics and haulage group

Eddie Stobart said on Friday that Alex Laffey would step down as chief executive with immediate effect

Eddie Stobart said on Friday that Alex Laffey would step down as chief executive with immediate effect

 

Trading in shares of Eddie Stobart, the UK logistics and haulage group, has been suspended and the company said its chief executive would be leaving as it investigated a number of issues with its half-year results.

Alex Laffey would step down as chief executive with immediate effect, Eddie Stobart said on Friday, to be replaced by Sebastien Desreumaux, who is currently chief executive of subsidiary iForce and head of contract logistics at the group.

The announcement came as the British trucking group, backed by former star stockpicker Neil Woodford, said it was re-evaluating certain accounting practices in its results, which would delay the publication of figures for the six months to May until early September. They had been due to be released on August 29th.

The shares were suspended following an application by the company, effective from 7.30am on Friday.

It comes a little more than two years after Eddie Stobart returned to the stock market with a listing on London’s junior Aim board and follows its disclosure last month of an accounting mistake that wiped £2 million off last year’s profit.

Eddie Stobart said on Friday that as part of a review carried out with its auditors into its interim results, it was now “applying a more prudent approach to revenue recognition”, “reassessing the recoverability of certain receivables” and “considering the appropriateness of certain provisions”.

It said the review was likely to mean its adjusted earnings before interest and tax for the first half of the year would be “significantly lower than anticipated” in July. Revenue should remain “broadly in line with previous guidance”, it added.

The news will pile more woe on Mr Woodford, whose reputation has taken a hammering following the suspension of investor withdrawals from his £3.5 billion flagship fund in June.

According to a recent regulatory disclosure, Woodford Investment Management owned 23 per cent of Eddie Stobart and was its single largest shareholder. The stock was trading at 71p on Thursday, well below its initial public offer price of 160p. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019