Scotland business

John Menzies buys foreign aviation rivals

Menzies Aviation logo at airport terminal
Image caption John Menzies' aviation division has won 30 new contracts during the year

John Menzies, the Edinburgh-based aviation services firm, has bought ground and cargo handling firms in Australia and Colombia.

It paid £7.7m for Skystar in Australia and New Zealand.

Skystar employs about 400 people and operates at eight airports for 10 airlines, including Jetstar and Qantas.

The firm paid £4.7m, also in cash, to buy Desacol, which mainly operates in Bogota, as well as four other Colombian airports.

In a statement, John Menzies said: "Bogota is a key attractive airport in our growth strategy, as well as Colombia being a strong Latin American market that provides a bridgehead for further opportunities in other countries."

Managing director Craig Smyth, said the acquisitions are "an excellent consolidation play".

"Skystar fits well with our existing successful operations in Oceania and I look forward to growing the market share of our enlarged network in the region."

Menzies Aviation claims to be the second-largest ground and cargo handling organisation in the world, operating at 134 airports in 29 countries. It employs 18,000 staff.

In its half-year results to June, published on Tuesday, John Menzies announced pre-tax profits up from £16.4m to £18.4m.

Turnover, including joint ventures, was up from £988m to £998m.

Operating profit on its distribution business, mainly in newspapers and magazines, was down from £13.5m to £11.8m. This was explained by falling magazine sales.

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