Edinburgh group confident about aviation sector recovery

ONE of Scotland’s oldest companies, John Menzies, appears to have given up on the pound, for reporting purposes at least, as it looks to capitalise on growth in the modern aviation services business.

The Edinburgh-based company, which began life as a bookseller in 1833, said it had decided to change its presentational currency to the US dollar after using the pound in around 190 sets of annual accounts.

The company said the use of the dollar would better reflect the global nature of the business it operates in and the fact that around 90 per cent of its revenues are earned overseas.

READ MORE: John Menzies makes pioneering move into Iraq

“John Menzies is a global aviation logistics services business with operations worldwide,” declared the group, adding: “The percentage of our services that are provided in the UK has reduced significantly and now accounts for around 11% of the Group’s revenue.”

The group noted a “significant and increasing proportion” of its revenues are earned in dollars.

HeraldScotland: Picture: John MenziesPicture: John Menzies

The change comes around three years after John Menzies severed its links with the newspaper distribution trade on which it focused for more than a century.

The company sold its print distribution business to the Endless private equity firm for £74.5 million in September 2018 after deciding it had better prospects in the aviation support market, which it entered in the 1990s.

READ MORE: Scottish logistics stalwart severs historic links with newspaper trade

John Menzies provides services ranging from passenger check-in to plane refuelling at airports around the world.

The group faced big challenges amid the slump in aviation markets triggered by the pandemic, which resulted in huge numbers of flights being cancelled.

However, it benefited last year from the recovery in activity that has followed the easing of lockdown measures around the world.

In November the company played down fears about the impact of the Omicron variant and said it expected the recovery to continue this year. Corporate affairs director John Geddes said Omicron was most likely to effect the long haul market, to which John Menzies has limited exposure.

READ MORE: John Menzies reassures on impact of Omicron variant

In an update issued yesterday John Menzies said trading through the latter part of the fourth quarter was in line with the board’s expectations and the group had finished the year strongly. It added: “The excellent performance in 2021 has continued with further contract wins … we remain confident in our current projections for a continued recovery of global flight volumes.”

The company cut employee numbers in Scotland to around 500, from more than 750 before the pandemic, under moves to reduce its cost base in response to the downturn.

In November Mr Geddes said the company hoped to start building that number back up again. 

It has significant operations in Edinburgh and Glasgow.


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