Stobart Group has raised £100m through a share placing after announcing an annual pre-tax loss of £158 million.

The group, which owns Carlisle airport, said the money would be used to stabilise the business, after also revealing it took a £54 million hit from the collapse of Flybe, which it owned with Cyrus Capital and Virgin Atlantic.

Bosses suggested Flybe could have survived, had the coronavirus crisis not hit, and said the pandemic had "severely impacted" business with several cost-cutting measures in place, including 50 per cent of staff on furlough and pay cuts for senior executives.

To cut back, the board has also said the firm will quit its rail and civil engineering operations from next year.

Stobart Rail is one of the companies involved in the HS2 railway project.

Bosses said they would look to "monetise value" from their energy division, either through a sale or strategic partnership.

The announcement, made almost two hours after stock markets closed yesterday, also revealed that the company saw revenues for the year to February 29 up 15.9 per cent to £170 million, but pre-tax losses more than doubled to £138 million from £58 million a year earlier.

Warwick Brady, chief executive of Stobart Group, said: "Flybe had shown promising signs of a turnaround despite the delay to receiving merger control clearance.

"However, given the Covid-19 pandemic and despite the best efforts of all, the Connect Airways consortium was no longer able to continue to fund it."

The airline had tried to raise funds from the Government to survive, but rivals said at the time the industry should not be subsidised with taxpayer funds.

Infrastructure assets have been written down by £26.6m, and the group disposed of the Stobart and Eddie Stobart brands.

In the current financial year, the group will focus on its aviation division.

Its Carlisle Lake District Airport has been closed due to the pandemic and it is not known when it will reopen.

David Shearer, chairman of Stobart Group, said: "We are delighted to have received support from both our existing shareholders and new investors for our equity issue, which will place the group on a sound financial footing going forwards.

"On behalf of the board, I would like to express my gratitude to those who have provided their support. We look forward to repaying their trust in us by delivering on our strategic objectives in the coming years."