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Eddie Stobart CEO steps down, suspends trading

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(Reuters) – Eddie Stobart Logistics Plc <ESLE.L> on Friday announced the departure of Chief Executive Officer Alex Laffey and suspended shares from trading after it failed to publish its half-year results in time.

The company also decided to review its dividend policy and said it would publish the first-half results in early September, with its adjusted operating profit likely to be significantly lower than anticipated.

The logistics company had last month said that after a review of its previous statements under new Chief Financial Officer Anoop Kangits, it found that 2018 adjusted operating profit was overstated by about 2 million pounds.

In a statement on Friday, it said it was now applying a more “prudent approach to revenue recognition, re-assessing the recoverability of certain receivables, as well as considering the appropriateness of certain provisions”.

The company, whose largest shareholder is troubled fund manager Neil Woodford with a 22.9% stake, had last month flagged slowdown in some businesses and a forced exit from a “problematic” contract as reasons for a weak first-half.

It said on Friday Laffey will be replaced by Sebastien Desreumaux, the head of iForce unit. Desreumaux joined the firm in 2018 and has a vast experience in the logistics sector, including 20 years with France’s Norbert Dentressangle.

Eddie Stobart operates about 2,700 vehicles, around 5,000 trailers and 43 operating centres throughout the UK and Europe, and has roughly 6,600 employees, according to its website.

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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