Historic Edinburgh-based Menzies likely to be bought by Kuwaiti suitor in £560 million deal

Edinburgh-headquartered aviation services group Menzies, one of Scotland’s oldest companies, is likely to be sold after bosses said they planned to accept a renewed takeover offer of nearly £560 million.

The board said that Kuwaiti suitor National Aviation Services (NAS), a subsidiary of Agility, had upped its bid for the company by around £90m.

“The board has considered the final proposal and indicated to NAS that it would be willing unanimously to recommend an offer at the financial terms of the final proposal to Menzies shareholders,” the board said in a statement to the stock exchange.

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After two previous attempts, it seems like NAS’ 608p-per-share deal will bring to a close a war of words surrounding the takeover.

Menzies Aviation operates at more than 200 airports in some 37 countries, supported by a team of 25,000 people.Menzies Aviation operates at more than 200 airports in some 37 countries, supported by a team of 25,000 people.
Menzies Aviation operates at more than 200 airports in some 37 countries, supported by a team of 25,000 people.

The final proposal follows earlier approaches from NAS to the board regarding possible all-cash offers for Menzies at 460p, 510p and 605p per share.

Menzies’ board said it will recommend the new near-£560m approach to shareholders if it is happy with Agility and NAS’s approach to getting a sign-off from the authorities.

“Accordingly, the board is in discussions with NAS in relation to these terms and will be providing NAS with access to management and due diligence information,” the board noted.

“NAS has confirmed to the board that the financial terms of the final proposal are final and will not be increased, except that NAS reserves the right to increase the amount of the offer price if there is an announcement on or after the date of this announcement of a firm offer for Menzies by a third party offeror.”

Shares in Menzies, which provides fuelling, ground handling, lounge and maintenance services at more than 200 airports in 37 countries, leapt earlier this month after the firm said it had rebuffed an unsolicited bid proposal from NAS.

The bidder is an aviation services provider in emerging markets, which has its headquarters in Kuwait and is part of the wider Agility Public Warehousing Co.

Chairman and chief executive Philipp Joeinig stressed at the time: “Menzies continues to make good progress with strong performance across a number of service lines, which together with productivity gains, saw the group to finish last year strongly.

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“This strong performance and momentum in 2021 has continued in 2022 with further contract wins and renewals alongside the continued recovery of global flight volumes.”

John Menzies started out in 1833 when its eponymous founder opened a bookshop at 61 Princes Street, Edinburgh which was to become the only wholesale bookseller north of the Border. The newspaper and magazine distribution business was spun out in 2018, creating Menzies Distribution, and leaving the rest of the firm to focus on providing aviation services.

Last month, the group reported a solid performance in recent months despite the travel sector being battered by the pandemic.

Issuing a trading update ahead of March’s scheduled full-year results, the firm said overall trading through the latter part of the fourth quarter had been in line with the board’s expectations.

The group also said it would be changing its reporting currency to US dollars from pounds.

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Edinburgh aviation services giant Menzies rejects 'highly opportunistic' takeove...

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