Stobart Group has announced it is reducing its dividend payments to help build up its capital resources.

In an update to the Stock Exchange, it said since March 2017, it had paid £105 million-worth of dividends to shareholders, funded via disposals of non-strategic assets.

Its update said: "Though the group owns non-strategic assets with a book value at August 31 included in the interim statement of £149m, the board believes it is prudent financial discipline to use proceeds from further disposals in the medium term primarily to invest in value-creating opportunities based on sustainable operating cash generation and to maintain a strong balance sheet."

The Carlisle-based Stobart Group said it would reduce the quarter four dividend to 1.5p per share.

It means that the total dividend paid in the current financial year is 15p per share. In the previous financial year, the dividend was 16.5p per share.

The update added that Stobart Aviation reported a 37 per cent year-on-year increase in passenger numbers at London Southend Airport and Stobart Aviation reported a 72 per cent year-on-year increase in tonnes supplied.

It said: "The expansion opportunities at London Southend Airport are increasingly evident in view of the opportunities arising from the commercial agreements with Ryanair and easyJet, together with other airline partners.

"The agreements provide confidence that the airport will record significantly increased passenger numbers from next year, with the group targeting five million passengers from 2022 at £10 EBITDA per passenger.

"Similarly, Stobart Energy has a number of investment opportunities which are being evaluated including building, owning and operating renewable energy plants that will generate long-term, sustainable operating cashflows."