Edinburgh's Menzies labels takeover bid 'opportunistic' as war of words heats up

Menzies, the Edinburgh-headquartered aviation services group, has branded a £469 million takeover approach “opportunistic” as the war of words with its suitor intensified.

The group, which provides fuelling, ground handling, lounge and maintenance services at more than 200 airports in 37 countries, saw its shares surge last week after it received a 510p-a-share unsolicited bid proposal from National Aviation Services (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.

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However, Menzies swiftly turned down the proposal, which came months after an earlier 460p per share move by NAS was also rebuffed.

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

On Monday, the Kuwait-based suitor suggested it would not raise its offer soon, describing its proposed deal as “full and fair” for the UK business.

NAS chief executive Hassan El-Houry said: “We made a compelling offer that represents a 76 per cent premium to the share price less than two weeks ago.

“As operators ourselves, we also see a sector facing a number of challenges and a company that lacks the balance sheet to thrive.”

In a new update, the Scottish group said it has engaged with its shareholders following the approach.

“As previously announced, the board of Menzies has unanimously rejected the NAS proposal, having concluded that it is opportunistic, conditional and that the terms fundamentally undervalue Menzies and its future prospects,” it added.

John Menzies started out in 1833 when its eponymous founder opened a bookshop in Edinburgh. The newspaper distribution business was spun out in 2018, creating Menzies Distribution, and leaving the rest of the firm to focus on providing aviation services.

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