Aviation Arm Recovery Boost for John Menzies
Airport services and newspaper distributor John Menzies signalled a positive start to the year as its aviation arm continued to recover from the impact of last year's Sars outbreak.
The division, which provides passenger, support and cargo services to airlines, posted a 10.8 per cent rise in operating profits to pounds 4.1 million in the year to December 27. This came despite difficult trading conditions earlier in the year for the firm's operations in Hong Kong and Macau.
The operation had already suffered from the knock-on effects of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
Edinburgh-based John Menzies said the adverse impact of Sars on profits was pounds 1.6 million. But the division went on to deliver a stronger second half performance and posted a 1.2 per cent rise in turnover to pounds 239.7 million.
The group expects progress this year after profit for 2003 was knocked by writedowns at its airport business and higher pension costs.
'Both divisions -aviation and distribution -have entered 2004 positively and I believe we are well positioned and look forward to making further progress this year,' said chief executive Patrick Macdonald.
The firm reported pre-tax profits of pounds 3.2 million, down from pounds 17.7 million the previous year.
The fall was due to a pounds 4.8 million increase in pension fund charges and an exceptional charge of pounds 17. …