Eddie Stobart shareholders have “overwhelmingly” backed a £55m rescue deal in a bid to protect 6,500 jobs at the troubled haulage company.

The firm, which is well-known for its distinctive green and red lorries, is struggling under £200m of debt and was facing administration unless new funding was secured.

Private equity firm Dbay Advisors will acquire a 51 per cent stake in exchange for injecting £55m of funding. The lifeline will pay Eddie Stobart’s lenders using a controversial “payment in kind” loan which will charge the company 18 per cent interest.

The Unite union accused Dbay of perpetrating “bandit capitalism” by taking advantage of Eddie Stobart’s vulnerable financial position.

“The recent financial problems experienced by Stobart’s has led to our members at the company becoming very anxious about their employment. A situation made worse by the lack of information provided,” said Unite’s national officer for road transport Adrian Jones.

“Unite hopes that early discussions will pave the way for an improved industrial relations climate with Stobart’s.

“However, the new owners need to be fully aware that Unite will not allow profits to be ramped up at the expense of our members’ jobs, pay or conditions.”

According to Unite, Dbay’s proposal primarily serves to pay back lenders and cover Dbay’s own fees, rather than investing in Eddie Stobart’s long-term future.

Chief executive Sébastien Desreumaux, said: “The Proposed Transaction provides Eddie Stobart with the opportunity to move forward and look to deliver sustainable growth and profitability from a stable footing. Our main priority and focus is now continuing to deliver the high levels of services expected by our customers as we move into the busy Christmas period.”

Former Stobart chief executive Andrew Tinkler had put forward a rival package to raise £80m from shareholders as well as a £20m bridging loan. Mr Tinkler said investors were in support of his plan but Stobart’s board rejected it earlier this week, throwing its weight behind Dbay’s proposal.

Mr Tinkler said on Friday that the emergency meeting had been “pretty calm” and that protecting staff was the most important issue.

The company has been through turbulent years since being floated in 2004. In 2014, the trucking and warehousing arm was split off and sold to DBay Capital as Eddie Stobart Logistics, with William Stobart leading the firm.

It then made a number of acquisitions before floating again in 2017. The company’s shares were suspended in August after the discovery of a £2m accounting hole and prior to Friday’s meeting Deloitte had reportedly been lined up as administrators. Rival haulage firm Wincanton had expressed an interest in investing in Eddie Stobart but pulled out late last month.



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