A crunch meeting to decide what could prove to be a pivotal day in the history of Cumbrian-born logistics giant Eddie Stobart will take place today.

Shareholders will gather in London this morning (Friday) to vote on a proposal from asset management firm DBAY Advisors, who plan to take a 51 per cent stake in the troubled Cumbrian-born haulage giant and provide a £55 million high interest loan to keep it on the road.

But shareholders will not be given the chance to vote on the rival proposal from high-profile county businessman Andrew Tinkler, who dramatically re-entered the race last week pledging to inject £80m of equity funding and restore Eddie Stobart to its former glory through his company TVFB.

The future of the company – which has a depot at Lillyhall – is hanging in the balance, as it struggles with debts of £155m and the fall-out from a £2m accounting error that resulted in its shares on the junior AIM stock exchange being suspended in August.

DBAY has warned shareholders that it could go bust if they do not vote through their proposal – which involves parachuting in William Stobart, son of the company’s founder, to lead the company’s turnaround.

DBAY and the Eddie Stobart board – which is backing the deal – have traded blows with Mr Tinkler in the run-up to the meeting.

Offering a £20m bridge loan to keep the company going, the former Eddie Stobart chief executive claimed it was not facing an imminent liquidity issue.

But the Eddie Stobart board and DBAY hit back, saying DBAY’s deal was the only one to have had the backing of its lenders, Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, BNP Paribas and KBC, who are owed a combined £200m, relating to breaches of its credit facility.

Eddie Stobart bosses have confirmed that a waiver has been secured until December 13.

It said: “As previously stated, in the event that the EGM vote is not successful the Board will be faced with an imminent liquidity shortfall, imminent expiry of the waiver and no support from the Lenders to explore alternative options.”

It remains to be seen which way shareholders will go.

Mr Tinkler has claimed shareholders have an “overwhelming preference” to his alternative proposal, which is certain to be raised at today’s meeting.

He also claims to have the backing of his former employees, Stobart Group, itself a significant shareholder in Eddie Stobart – which was spun out of the company in 2014 and is now headquartered in Warrington.

Mr Tinkler has also snapped up a 6.5 per cent stake in Eddie Stobart in a move described as “indicative of our belief in the prospects of ESL as an independent listed company”

Meanwhile, DBAY has also increase its stake in the company to around 27 per cent. Along with William Stobart and other “concert parties” is controls around a third of the company.

According to reports in the national media earlier this week, advisers to Mr Tinkler were to lodge an appeal with the Takeover Panel to block DBAY’s bid in light of the significant stake DBAY and its backers had amassed.

However, there has been no sign any appeal has been made and it understood that the regulator has no jurisdiction over this type of deal.

Elsewhere, the Unite union – which represents around 1,000 members employed in driving and warehouse roles at company – has issued its own warning against DBAY’s approach and criticised the Eddie Stobart board’s handling of the situation, saying staff had become “piggy in the middle”.

It has also said it is contacting Eddie Stobart customers – which include the likes of Tesco, Pepsi Co, Nestle, Cooperative, Argos, Coca Cola – to find out “what contingencies are in place” should the worst happen and they are left in the lurch during one of the busiest times of the year.