May 23, 2019 / 6:45 AM / 10 months ago

John Menzies eyes strategic options after soft start to 2019

(Reuters) - UK aviation servicing company John Menzies Plc has appointed Swiss private equity fund manager Christian Kappelhoff-Wulff to its board and formed two new committees to consider strategic and structural options for the company.

Menzies, which traces its roots back to a bookshop founded in 1833, divested its newspaper distribution unit last year, in order to focus on its aviation services business.

But it said in March the first two months of the year had been hit by soft cargo volumes and continuing difficult labour markets in North America, and announced the departure of Chief Executive Officer Forsyth Black.

“The current market valuation of John Menzies is substantially lower than what we have seen in private market transactions and we applaud the board for taking the first concrete steps aimed at closing that gap,” said Gianluca Ferrari, an analyst with Frankfurt-based investment fund Shareholder Value Management.

The company named Kappelhoff-Wulff, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Swiss-based Lakestreet Capital Partners AG, as a non-executive director. [reut.rs/2HvUXUZ]

Lakestreet holds a 6.4% stake in Menzies and is the company’s eighth largest shareholder, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London and Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

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