Having bought back Stobart Air from Bankruptcy in April last year, Stobart Group, now renamed Esken, has agreed to sell the airline to Ettyl for an initial, token £2.00.
Ettyl is an Isle of Man-based startup whose CEO is 26-year-old serial entrepreneur Jason Scales who runs a blockchain and technology incubator called The Hubb. In its sole filing to Companies House dated May 2020, Ettyl reported holding capital of £100.00. The agreement is relatively complicated, with the sale price being a token £2.00 and the value of cash on the balance sheet at completion, plus up to £7.5 million dependent on certain trigger events, until July 2024. The deal also involves the sale of Carlisle Lake District Airport.
Currently, Stobart Air has a contract with Aer Lingus which involves operating a fleet of 13 aircraft which service flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry and Donegal. However, this contract ends in December 2022 and Emerald Airlines will take over operations from 2023. Scales has confirmed it would be “business as usual” and that the intention is to retain all staff, including 480 jobs at Stobart Air. Scales added that: “Ettyl sees significant opportunities for increased regional connectivity as economies recover from the impacts caused by the pandemic and return to stability across the U.K. and Ireland.”
David Shearer, Esken’s chairman, said the sale of Stobart Air had been “a difficult and protracted process” because of the impact of the pandemic on air travel. He said: “Stobart Air remains a critical part of connectivity between Ireland and the U.K. and I am pleased that we have managed to secure the future of that business and its 480 staff under a new owner with ambitions to grow its network of routes. The sale of the airline presents a significantly better financial outcome than that resulting from a closure.” (£1.00 = US$1.39 at time of publication.)