Stobart Group has announced it will issue nearly 16.5 million new shares to investment firm Cyrus Capital Partners, raising GBP24.7 million pounds (USD31.8 million) or 4.65% in Stobart's registered share capital.

"This is a significant step in terms of delivering our strategy and I am pleased to also welcome a supportive, long-term shareholder to our register. Cyrus Capital is a well-capitalised strategic partner with significant aviation transaction experience and is fully aligned with our ambitious growth strategy," Stobart Group CEO Warwick Brady said.

The announcement follows a decision to establish Connect Airways, a joint venture between Stobart Group, Cyrus Capital, and Virgin Atlantic (VS, London Heathrow) with the aim of taking over flybe. (BE, Exeter).

The consortium has separately upped its previous offer of GBP2.2 million pounds (USD2.8 million) to GBP2.8 million pounds (USD3.6 million) for the entire share capital of flybe. The regional carrier also said in a stock market filing that out of the initial bridge loan of GBP20 million pounds (USD25.5 million) from the new owners, half was released immediately on January 15, 2019, as flybe. failed to meet the criteria of drawing any new credit from the market.

"The combination of flybe. with our franchise airline, Stobart Air (RE, Dublin Int'l) will provide us with an opportunity to increase passenger numbers at London Southend Airport. We intend to extend and expand London Southend Airport to cater for the accelerated growth that we are targeting, and Cyrus Capital is aligned to this aim," Brady said.

Separately, in a regulatory filing flybe. said that the former CEO of Stobart Group William Andrew Tinkler bought a 12.23% stake in the regional carrier. Tinkler was ousted from Stobart Group after the company had accused him of breaching his contract and fiduciary duty to shareholders, and trying to destabilise the company by trying to oust the Group Chairman Iain Ferguson and replace him with one of his associates.

Tinkler said that his acquisition of a stake in flybe. was purely an "investment decision" and had nothing to do with Stobart Group.