Menzies ‘very pleased’ after takeover of rival gets provisional thumbs up

'We really think we've got a bright future ahead of us,' says CEO Forsyth Black. Picture: contributed.
'We really think we've got a bright future ahead of us,' says CEO Forsyth Black. Picture: contributed.
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John Menzies has hailed the decision by the competition watchdog to provisionally approve its aviation arm’s acquisition of a rival.

The Competition and Markets Authority had referred the takeover of Manchester-based Airline Services for an in-depth “Phase 2” investigation after an initial probe raised concerns over de-icing services at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Heathrow airports, and ground-handling services at Gatwick and Manchester airports.

However, the CMA said today that the second investigation “allayed competition concerns”, with a final deadline for submissions scheduled for the end of January.

The provisional approval was very much welcomed by Menzies’ chief executive Forsyth Black, who told The Scotsman that the firm is “very pleased”, and has been advised that a reversal before the final decision is highly unlikely.

“It’s been worthwhile going into that second process, because we got what we thought was right in the end.”

The deal progresses Menzies’ strategy as wholly focused on aviation after it, in September, closed the sale of its Menzies Distribution arm to private equity fund manager Endless LLP in a £74.5 million deal, marking its exit from print media.

Menzies started out as a print distribution business in 1833, selling The Scotsman from its shop on Edinburgh’s Princes Street.

Forsyth also said there is “every chance” it could unveil another acquisition in 2019, more likely to be at the smaller end of the scale. “I’m sure there’ll be something good along the way.”

Menzies last month said in a trading update that it was on track to meet expectations for the full year. “We’re still confident about the year-end and we’re looking forward to a bright 2019,” Forsyth added. “We really think we’ve got a bright future ahead of us.”