Edinburgh's Menzies Aviation opens 'new chapter' after takeover by Kuwaiti firm completes

Menzies, the aviation services group that has come under fire for baggage handling delays at Edinburgh Airport, has entered a “new chapter” after its takeover by a Kuwaiti firm was completed.

By Scott Reid
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 12:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 12:37 pm

Supply chain services and infrastructure group Agility said it had finalised its acquisition of the historic Edinburgh-based group and would combine it with its National Aviation Services (NAS) business to create a “world leader in aviation services in 58 countries”.

Bosses at Menzies had accepted the £763 million takeover deal back in March.

Once integrated, the combined company will operate as Menzies Aviation and will be the world’s largest aviation services business by number of countries and second largest by number of airports served.

The new company will have some 35,000 employees and operations at 254 airports in 58 countries, handling 600,000 aircraft “turns”, some two million tonnes of air cargo and 2.5 million refuellings per year.

John Menzies started out in 1833, making it one of Scotland’s oldest companies, when its eponymous founder opened a bookshop at 61 Princes Street, Edinburgh which was to become the only wholesale bookseller north of the Border.

The newspaper and magazine distribution business was spun out in 2018, creating Menzies Distribution, and leaving the rest of the firm to focus on providing aviation services.

Hassan El-Houry, who becomes chairman of the combined Menzies Aviation business, having previously held the role of NAS chief executive, said: “Menzies and NAS will create the world leader in aviation services. We will have the scale and resources to expand and grow as the industry recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new combined company will have some 35,000 employees and operations at 254 airports in 58 countries, handling 600,000 aircraft 'turns', some two million tonnes of air cargo and 2.5 million refuellings per year.

“Commercial aviation is a key engine of global economic growth, and our customers need partners they can count on as flight volumes return.”

The company’s customers will include Air France-KLM, British Airways, EasyJet, Qantas Group, United Airlines and Wizz Air.

Menzies Aviation recently offered a “whole-hearted apology” to passengers for the baggage chaos at Edinburgh Airport, which it admitted had been “off the scale”. The company said that up to 3,000 bags had piled up at the airport due to luggage arriving late on connecting flights from hub airports like Heathrow.

Menzies Aviation chief executive Philipp Joeinig, who will hold the same role at the combined company, said: “With the combination of Menzies and NAS, our customers will receive world-class service, expanded product offerings, and the industry’s best safety practices at airports on six continents.”

“Agility’s backing gives us the resources to provide innovative solutions for growing and forward-thinking customers, and to develop our talent, technology, and sustainability; critical factors for our future success. It also means we are well-positioned to support our customers in tackling supply chain challenges and labor shortages.”

Agility vice chairman Tarek Sultan said: “This is a new chapter for Agility, Menzies, and NAS. By acquiring Menzies and combining it with NAS, Agility has the opportunity to unlock greater value in both. We’re looking forward to seeing the new Menzies soar with Agility’s backing.”

The deal values Menzies at approximately £763m on an enterprise value basis.

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