The fate of troubled trucking firm Eddie Stobart is set to be decided by a crucial meeting on Friday, with investors voting on a rescue proposal.
One of the firm’s largest shareholders, DBay Advisors, wants to lend it £55m through costly, high-interest bonds.
If shareholders say no, the company could break its banking agreements and have to call in administrators.
Eddie Stobart said last month it expected to report a loss of at least £12m for the first half of the year.
Trading in the company’s shares has been suspended since August when it announced that its chief executive Alex Laffey would stand down.
The transport company – famed for its distinctive green and red lorries – had revealed a £2m error in its 2018 results.
Under its plan, in return for the £55m loan DBay Advisors will increase its stake in Eddie Stobart Logistics to 51%, but will charge the company an interest rate of 18% for the loan.
This will hand DBay control of the haulier as well as a stronger claim to any money it makes, as debts are paid before shareholders see any payments.
The loan is a so-called payment-in-kind (PIK) loan, which came to public prominence during the controversial takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family.
Late last month, rival haulier Wincanton decided not to make a bid after reviewing Eddie Stobart’s books.
A firm backed by former boss Andrew Tinkler is also making an offer. Under its plan, it will grant a £20m loan to the haulier and wants to raise £80m by selling more shares to cut Eddie Stobart’s costlier debts.
Mr Tinkler’s firm said its offer was “advantageous to all stakeholders” since no one shareholder would control the company, and urged Eddie Stobart’s board to endorse its plan. It said in a statement on Wednesday that it believes the trucker would not run out of cash this week.
However, Eddie Stobart said only DBay’s proposal had the support of the firm’s banks.