THE Cumbrian entrepreneur credited with transforming Stobart Group into a £1 billion company has joined an ex-colleague to launch a new venture that aims to help firms beat the Covid-19 downturn.

Andrew Tinkler and his former colleague Ben Whawell have unveiled Svella.

The firm’s name is derived from an old Norse word that means to rise and flourish – precisely what the company hopes to achieve for its partners, said Mr Tinkler.

The plan is to combine investing in companies impacted by the pandemic with the business skills of the two men to turn them around.

More than £20 million of funding has already been pledged by investors.

Tinkler and Whawell believe that their skills – which they say were key to making Stobart Group a success – could help achieve a similar turnaround for other companies as they battle to come back from the devastating economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cumberland News has been given access to a Svella presentation document which outlines its plans.

It begins by telling potential partners: “Our team previously turned a £1m investment into a £1.6bn diversified group across two listed companies – generating more than £7.3bn in revenue and creating more than 10,000 jobs.”

Of Tinkler, the document states: “Andrew is one of the UK’s most successful and visionary entrepreneurs.

“His strong business instinct and attention to detail were the driving forces behind the creation of the UK’s best-known logistics conglomerate and recognised Superbrand.

“As CEO, Andrew delivered an average annual shareholder return of 26.1 per cent over 9.5 years at the helm, until stepping down in July 2017 and founding Stobart Capital.”

The presentation adds that Tinker made Stobart Group one of the UK’s front-runners in infrastructure and support services, with a market value in 2017 of £1bn.

Of Mr Whawell, the document says that between 2004 and 2017, he was a key part of the executive team that grew a £1m investment into £1.6bn across two listed companies, Stobart Group and Eddie Stobart Logistics.

Svella will concentrate its efforts on those areas which both men have experience of: infrastructure, energy, logistics, civil engineering and real estate.

“These are difficult times,” said Mr Tinkler. “Unfortunately, there are going to be businesses which won’t survive the pandemic.

“But there will be others which can come through it if they have the right help.

“We’re not just going to be investors.

“We aim to provide management expertise, helping businesses to think outside the box and helping with systems and procedures and systems that will help them come through it and to grow.”

Mr Tinkler said he and Mr Whawell feel they can be of “massive assistance” as the country begins to move beyond Covid and battles to repair the battered UK economy.

He added: “It’s about supporting businesses and using our expertise to come through this, so we can protect and create jobs.

“That’s what we’ll need more than anything to come back from this. Business recovery is what I do; it’s what we did with Stobart Group.”