The Group continued with its stated strategy by realising good value from its mature assets during the year and post the year end:
o The partial realisation of a significant proportion of the Transport & Distribution division in April 2014 generated significant value, including cash and loan notes of £195.6m.
o Property realisations generated £73.5m of cash and a 23% return on investment.
o The significant net debt reduction during the year, with a net cash position following the realisations, will materially reduce future interest costs.
The growth divisions have made good progress, with attractive returns from Estates and a solid performance from Infrastructure and Civil Engineering.
o Extended terminal completed at London Southend Airport with capacity now to handle over 5 million passengers per annum.
o Passenger numbers through London Southend Airport increased by 38% during the year and now exceed 1 million.
o London Southend Airport is the fastest growing airport across Europe's 368 airports for the second year running.(1)
o Rated best UK airport for customer satisfaction in Which? Magazine.
o Biomass tonnage supplied increased by 41% to over 900,000 tonnes.
o Major new long term contracts commenced but initial commissioning issues delayed anticipated profit growth.
o Increasing supply to export markets pending future UK power plant build out.
o Entered growing small scale market supported by the recent Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) legislation.
Infrastructure and Civil Engineering
o Completed London Southend Airport's terminal extension on time and on budget.
o Revenue from external projects up 40% with an improving order book.
o Good asset management initiatives and improving property market has resulted in solid returns.
Transport & Distribution (Biomass)
o Biomass transport retained by the Group and will be integrated into the fuel supply business to support long term contracts.
Transport & Distribution (Eddie Stobart Logistics)
o Realised 51% of the remaining transport operation on 10 April 2014, retaining a 49% interest. Reported as a discontinued operation.
o New management introduced by DBAY Advisors to support William Stobart and his existing team to take the business to its next stage.
Impairment charge of £13.0m resulted from delays in developments, intended recategorisation of property assets and change of CGUs caused by the realisation.
Clear focus on growth businesses with cash reserves available to develop Energy and Aviation further.
A portfolio of property assets to realise at the right time. The resulting cash flow and profits will contribute to dividend payments in the short term.
Board strengthened with a new Chairman, Iain Ferguson, and Senior Independent Director, Andrew Wood, appointed during the year and three further Board members joining in July.