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Warrington Council Unconcerned Over Eddie Stobart Future Prospects

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 10:35am

By Aran Dhillon - Local Democracy Reporter

Warrington Borough Council says it has ‘no concerns’ about Eddie Stobart’s future prospects or ongoing commitments after it suspended trading of its shares.

The logistics firm has also announced its chief executive Alex Laffey will stand down with immediate effect.

The news comes as the firms looks into accounting discrepancies after revealing a £2 million error in its 2018 results last month.

A review of past accounts uncovered the problem.

WBC completed a £26.1 million deal to buy Eddie Stobart’s headquarters at Stretton Green Distribution Park last year.

The deal is expected to see the company pay the council around £1.2 million a year in rent, which the authority can use to deliver services.

Eddie Stobart has also been looking to expand in Warrington, with its planning application to construct a £75 million national distribution centre on green belt land in the south of the town approved last month.

It is set to be built on land north of Barleycastle Lane, opposite the firm’s existing headquarters.

However, it still needs to get the nod from secretary of state for housing, communities and local government Robert Jenrick.

Speaking after the plans were approved last month, Mr Laffey thanked councillors ‘for supporting our ambitions’ to invest in the borough.

The firm has warned its results for the first half of 2019 would be ‘significantly lower’ than forecast.

But the board says it 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’.

Senior figures at the Town Hall have been keeping an eye on the situation.

“We monitor carefully any significant change in all of our town manager businesses,” said a council spokesman.

“We have no concerns about the overall financial position of the company or its future prospects or ongoing commitments.”

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