Scotland business

John Menzies reports rise in pre-tax profits

Menzies Aviation logo at airport terminal Image copyright Menzies Aviation

Aviation and print distribution group John Menzies has posted a rise in revenue and profits, helped by a strong performance from its ground handling division and favourable exchange rates.

The Edinburgh-based company said pre-tax profits for 2016 rose year-on-year by £1.6m to £19.8m. Underlying pre-tax profits were up 30% at £49.7m.

Turnover climbed from just under £2bn to more than £2.07bn.

John Menzies described it as a "transformational" year for the group.

Its aviation business saw underlying operating profit rise by £11.1m to £34.2m. Ground handling volume grew by 5%, driven by contract wins in Europe and North America.

However, cargo handling volumes were down in absolute terms by 7%, which the group attributed in part to high volumes in North America in the previous year.

Menzies recently completed the acquisition of plane refuelling business Asig, which has doubled the size of its North American operations.

It said it was now focusing its efforts on integrating the businesses before looking "to take advantage of the exciting opportunities that the combined platform gives us".

Image copyright Menzies Distribution

The group's distribution division performed broadly in line with the previous year despite increased cost pressures, the company said.

Underlying operating profit for the division was £24.7m, compared with £25.1m in 2015.

The company said trading benefited from strong football-related sticker sales and cost reduction measures.

It added: "Our strategy to diversify into new market segments, reducing our reliance on newspapers and magazines, continues to make progress with an acquisition within Menzies Parcels and new contracts delivered in the retail logistics sector."

Menzies, which came under pressure from an investor last year to split up the two divisions, said it continued to work on a review of the group's structure.

It hopes to update shareholders on the outcome of the review when its interim results are released in August.

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