John Menzies’ takeover deadline for Kuwaiti rival extended as British aviation services group returns to profitability
- National Aviation Services now has until March 30 to ‘line up or shut up’
- John Menzies posted an annual profit of £76m in 2021, up from a loss in 2020
John Menzies is still in takeover talks with a potential Kuwaiti bidder, who has now been given a new deadline to submit a firm bid for the group.
The FTSE 250 Group announced that the UK takeover body has extended the deadline for National Aviation Services to either make an offer or withdraw, allowing the companies to continue talks.
The aviation services group last month received an improved £558.8million takeover proposal that its board would recommend to shareholders.
The deal now has a deadline of March 30, having been extended from the original March 9 deadline.
Act? John Menzies is still in talks with a potential Kuwaiti suitor
Under the latest proposal, NAS is offering 608p for each John Menzies share, up from a previous proposal of 605p per share.
John Menzies said there was no certainty that a firm offer would be made.
The group reported an underlying operating profit of £76m for the year ended 31 December compared to a loss of £24m a year earlier. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, the group unveiled plans to cut 17,500 jobs worldwide.
Edinburgh-based John Menzies, one of the largest providers of fueling, groundhandling and maintenance services with operations in around 38 countries, suffered severe pandemic-related losses in 2020 but has since recovered through cost-cutting and restructuring.
It has also benefited from new business as demand in the travel sector picks up again.
While the group does not expect to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2024, it forecasts steady growth in passenger air travel this year and beyond, which will help boost revenue for its fueling and ground services businesses.
John Menzies is now targeting $100 million in net new income this year and approximately $200 million to $275 million in the short to medium term.
The group, which operates at more than 200 airports worldwide, added that while it is monitoring the wider impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on air travel, it is difficult to assess at this time. It does not operate in either country.
John Menzies shares are down today, falling 2.76 per cent or 14.00p to 494.00p at 9.30am.
But over the past year, shares in the FTSE 250-listed group are up over 110 per cent, standing at 235.00 pa a year ago.
John Menzies was founded in 1833 when John Menzies opened a bookshop on Edinburgh’s Princes Street.
This shop started out selling The Scotsman newspaper over the counter and Menzies became famous in the UK for retail and wholesale.
It was a major British high street name until the late 1990s, when it reinvented itself as a global provider of airline fueling and cargo handling.