Shareholders of troubled trucking group Eddie Stobart are set to vote this week on a controversial corporate finance package.
According to news reports, investors will meet on Friday to vote on whether to approve a £55 million rescue fund made up of expensive, high-interest bonds.
Commentators say failure to agree on a deal could result in the group’s collapse, with professional services firm Deloitte already lined up as administrators.
Under the terms of the loan, investment group DBay Advisors (DA) would take a majority stake in Eddie Stobart in return for a £55 million high-risk loan. DA says the cash will enable the firm to continue operating while a rescue plan is devised.
The deal has already been approved by the firm’s creditors, which include the Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Bank, KBC and BNP Paribas, who are reportedly owed more than £200 million.
The banks gave Eddie Stobart one year to turn the business around with the support of investment from DA.
The crunch time deal comes after the AIM-listed company revealed a multi-million-pound accounting error earlier this year.
The group’s new finance chief, Anoop Kang, said an audit revealed accounting anomalies in four site leases, which will reduce the company’s adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by approximately £2 million – although the accumulated impact is believed to be much closer to £11.5 million.
Shares in the Eddie Stobart group – which operates a network of approximately 2,000 vehicles and 3,500 trailers from 24 distribution centres across the UK – have also been suspended.