Menzies mulls shake-up after ‘good start’ to year

Menzies said revenues at its aviation arm were up on last year. Picture: Contributed

Menzies said revenues at its aviation arm were up on last year. Picture: Contributed

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Baggage handler John Menzies, which earlier this week announced the surprise departure of chairman Iain Napier, has drafted in advisers as it eyes a possible restructuring.

The Edinburgh-based logistics group last year came under pressure to consider breaking itself up into separate aviation and distribution arms, with Swiss activist investor Lakestreet Capital Partners arguing such a move would increase its valuation.

In a trading statement today, Menzies said: “The board is progressing its evaluation of the optimal structure for the group against the potential opportunities for expansion and acquisition in both divisions, as well as being mindful of its obligations to its pension scheme.

“We have therefore appointed additional pension advisers to work with our existing team and, following initial engagement with our pension trustees, we have begun to explore the various options. We intend to provide an update of the preliminary conclusions from this initiative by the end of the year.”

The update, coinciding with Menzies’ annual meeting, comes after the firm said chairman Iain Napier would retire today after six years at the helm. Advisory group Glass Lewis had recommended that investors vote against his re-election, claiming that the board had “failed to address” shareholders’ concerns.

READ MORE: Menzies chairman retires amid investor pressure

Menzies has already been rocked by two high-profile departures this year. Chief financial officer Paula Bell last month said she was leaving to join telecoms company Spirent, while in January the firm surprised the City by announcing the departure of chief executive Jeremy Stafford for “personal reasons” after just over a year in the role.

READ MORE: Menzies profits tumble after ‘challenging’ year

Napier, who will also retire as chairman of cleaning products maker McBride at the end of next month, said: “2016 has started well across the group and we continue to progress our growth strategy across both divisions.

“As I am retiring at the conclusion of today’s annual general meeting I would like to take this opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed my time with the company and wish everyone connected to Menzies all the very best for the future.”

His comments came as the firm said revenues at its aviation division grew 7 per cent on a constant currency basis during the four months to the end of April, helped by new contract wins with British Airways in Copenhagen and Virgin America in Los Angeles.

Menzies also said it continued to seek more acquisition opportunities for its distribution business, which has snapped up a string of parcel delivery outfits in recent months, including Thistle Couriers of Aberdeen.

The group is due to announce its half-year results on 20 August.

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