Belfast Telegraph

John Menzies secures deal for plane refuelling firm ASIG

Logistics group John Menzies has bolstered its airport services business by securing a 202 million dollar deal (£153 million) to buy plane refuelling specialist ASIG.

The Edinburgh-based firm said the tie-up will double the size of its North American aviation arm and create one of the largest airport services companies in the world.

ASIG, which is based in Orlando, Florida, but owned by BBA Aviation in the UK, has operations in seven countries and notched up annual revenues of 415.8 million US dollars (£272 million) to the end of December last year.

Menzies will fund the deal through a new debt package, including a 250 million dollar (£189 million) loan, a £150 million revolving credit facility and a £75 million equity rights issue.

Dermot Smurfit, chairman of Menzies, said the takeover will significantly increase the company's global footprint.

"The transaction will create one of the largest aviation services businesses in the world, doubling the size of our North American operations, while strengthening Menzies Aviation's service offering at major international gateways such as London Heathrow, San Francisco, Denver and Los Angeles."

Menzies said the tie-up will be "materially earnings-enhancing" in the first full year, while delivering pre-tax cost savings of around £10.5 million in the financial year to December 31 2018.

The takeover is slated for completion by the end of 2016. Shares in Menzies rose by more than 5% on the London Stock Exchange.

Liberum analyst Gerald Khoo said while the deal was expected, it was still " a positive move nonetheless".

"The proceeds are to be used to reduce debt, improving the group's leverage headroom. The sale also further increases the group's focus on business aviation.

"Despite the improved balance sheet and stabilising earnings momentum, we remain concerned about lacklustre industry growth and believe neither this nor the late stage of the cycle are reflected in the valuation."