Spotlight on: Andrew Tinkler, Chief executive of Stobart

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The Independent Online

The lorry business?

Stobart has grown beyond its distinctive green and red trucks – each of them bearing a different woman's name – to take on interests in airports (it's launching Southend as a revamped London flying base next month), biomass and engineering. Oh, and property, which has become a bit of a sticking point of late.

Why?

Stobart yesterday said it would buy 18 properties from a business owned by its chief executive, Andrew Tinkler, in a deal worth more £101m. The deal covers the Wadi Properties portfolio at a price of £12.4m, plus almost £89m of bank debt. This is a chunk of real estate that Mr Tinkler and his brother-in-law William Stobart, also Stobart Group's chief operating officer, bought from Stobart for £140m at the height of the property boom in 2008. In another connection, Ben Whawell, Stobart's finance director and main board director, and Richard Butcher, Stobart's deputy chief executive, are also directors of Wadi Properties.

Good value?

Depends who you ask. The portfolio's value plunged during the recession and it breached banking covenants. Now, however, Stobart says the portfolio was independently valued at £98.9m in November. The deal isn't set in stone yet. It requires shareholder approval, and a meeting is to take place in the next few weeks.

Pushover?

Some investors are likely to dissent. But Mr Tinkler and Stobart Group are experienced operators in this area: the listed company took over Carlisle Airport from its chief executive and William Stobart in 2009. Also last month the logistics group awarded its three top executives, including Messrs Tinkler and Stobart, share incentives worth up to £34m at the current share price. That was despite almost 30 per cent of shareholders voting against the company's remuneration report.

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