JOHN Menzies group finance director Paul Dollman said “it has been a great ride” as he attended his last annual general meeting for the distribution and aviation firm after ten years leading the two divisions.
He joined the Edinburgh-based group in 2002 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which occurred just after the firm had entered the aviation support industry. During his tenure, profits from luggage and cargo handling surpassed that of its more traditional print media distribution business.
Dollman said: “It has been a phenomenal turn around. The whole business has completely reinvented itself.”
Asked if he had any regrets, he said it was that Menzies Aviation is still number two in the market behind private equity-owned Swissport International. But he added: “It is not an industry where big is beautiful – we are probably more profitable.”
Menzies delivered an update to shareholders at its AGM which said that volumes in its distribution side had been hit with a slump in weekly magazine sales – particularly the Auto Trader title, which has gone digital, Dollman said. But the company added that the integration of Orbital Marketing Services, which it acquired last year and specialises in distributing travel brochures, is making up for the slide.
The firm added that trading in its aviation business is ahead of last year as a result of contract wins and some favourable foreign exchange movements. It said the division was “bang on where we said it would be”.
Dollman is succeeded by Paula Bell of Ricardo.