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Menzies delivers £18m shake-up

5 January 2013 9.00am.

Logistics and distribution firm John Menzies is being forced to swallow £18 million in costs as a result of a major restructuring of the business.

The company yesterday announced it has decided to close its cargo-handling operation at Chicago Airport after exhausting all options for the loss-making facility over the past two years.

Menzies said the move would cost £7m this financial year, but would improve earnings before interest and tax by £1.4m in 2013.

However, in a pre-close update yesterday the Edinburgh-headquartered company said it had continued to make progress in recent months, and full-year results were expected to be in line with financial forecasts.

Much of the firm’s exceptional outlay last year came as it wrestled to turn around its loss-making UK cargo business.

In July the company said it was closing its operations at Glasgow, Birmingham, East Midlands and Manchester airports to concentrate activities on a major
hub at London Heathrow and two 
smaller subsidiary sites at Belfast and Aberdeen.

It said restructuring across its two main divisions — the aviation logistics business and the distribution arm which handles newspapers and magazines for several major publishers in the UK — led to a full-year exceptional charge of about £18m.

The reshaping of the business had left the group “in a stronger position with a more stable platform for growth”, and the enhancement to underlying earnings had been included in the board’s latest financial expectations.

Net debt at the year end is expected to be below £100m.

The update came as Menzies announced that group finance director Paul Dollman was leaving after 11 years to pursue a portfolio career.

Non-executive director Ian Harrison has also indicated his intention to step down, after 25 years, at the general meeting on May 17.

Chairman Iain Napier said: “Paul has done an outstanding job for John Menzies plc over the last 10 years and we wish him well for the future.

“He has been an integral part of the executive team and has played a key role in the success of the group.

“A full search process is under way and we will make a further announcement at the appropriate time.

“I would also like to acknowledge Ian Harrison’s contribution to the group and thank him for his support.”

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business@thecourier.co.uk