Stobart Group, who started life as a long-haul trucking company in the UK and have an enormous following, based on their smart-looking trucks and ebullient owner Eddie Stobart, have turned into a multi-faceted group with airport (Southend) and aviation (Stobart Air) interests. They’ve worked with Flybe in the past on a wet/dry lease arrangement and the often struggling Flybe is now an acquisition target for the group.
Stobart Group, which is cash-rich, are looking at ways to buy the airline outright – its worth is around £105m ($138m USD).
Flybe has stumbled about from one crisis to another in the recession years, but managed to survive. It even weathered the fact it was paying for outrageously expensive leases on 5 E190’s it couldn’t afford to pay the penalty to return, laying them up for a year. They’re now back in service on busy routes to Amsterdam and Paris.
Flybe has managed to generally turn a corner, with routes nobody else wants domestically but Flybe’s business model makes work. They’ve recently received a fleet of new Dash-8’s in a deal with Republic and the airline seems to have stabilised its income. However, it’s not strong enough to fight off a takeover and it would almost certainly benefit from being part of a larger group.
Shares rocketed almost 50% on the news, but no formal offer has yet been made.