Esken battens down in Southend for air travel recovery

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What Esken does

Esken Limited (LON:ESKN) is the owner of London’s Southend Airport, Dublin-based air franchise operator Stobart Air and aircraft leasing business Propius.

The London-listed group, which changed its name from Stobart Group in February 2021, has been ramping up investment at the airport in recent years.

After selling its regional airline and aircraft leasing businesses as part of as the formation of Connect Airways with Virgin Atlantic, Stobart bought them back from the administrators in April after the collapse of the Flybe arm, but is looking to move them on again.

 

How it’s doing

Esken said it had £77.4mln of cash and undrawn bank facilities available at the end of February.

The group’s business has been hit hard by the fall-out from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but said that thanks to strict financial division, cash burn – excluding the Stobart Air and Propius parts of the business – was just £9.4mln in the six months to the end of February.

Esken said it remains committed to exiting Stobart Air and Propius and expects to do so in the near term.

The group said London Southend Airport benefited from continued activity through its global logistics operation while gate fees at Stobart Energy have continued to improve towards pre-COVID-19 levels.

What David Shearer, the executive chairman says: 

“Stobart Energy is delivering important cash generation at a time of challenge within our aviation businesses.

“We have continued to deliver against the strategy we set out at the time of our capital raise in June 2020 despite the business interruption caused by COVID-19 extending far beyond all reasonable expectations at that time,” Shearer said.

“Esken is becoming a more focused business. We divested the Rail & Civils division and remain committed to exiting Stobart Air and Propius. As a board, we are undertaking a review of our strategic options in light of the impact of the pandemic. We are doing this to ensure that we protect the capability of our core operations and focus on delivering value for shareholders,” Shearer declared.

 

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Inflexion points:

  • Lifting of travel restrictions in 2021
  • Exits from Stobart Air franchise and Propius air leasing businesses
  • Results of the strategic review in light of the impact of the pandemic

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