Talks between Menzies and would-be acquirer Agility’s National Aviation Services (NAS) have been extended, with no decision required for a further three weeks.

The deadline for NAS to acquire Menzies or walk away is now 30 March, instead of tomorrow, and one finance source told The Loadstar that ,while such extensions were common, it was “totally understandable in this market, when anything can happen”.

“Right now, you could agree a price on Monday and find the world in a very different place by Wednesday. You are just exposed to various things in this kind of market.”

Menzies does, for example, have Russia’s AirBridgeCargo as a customer – but it is not yet clear what its financial exposure to that might be.

The source added that the banks are “not saying an awful lot, there’s a bit of a vacuum”, adding: “Banks have a huge stake in this and want it to go ahead, but a lot has changed in the past few days.”

Menzies said it had “no exposure in terms of revenue in [Russia and Ukraine]”, but was “continuing to monitor any wider impacts on air travel”.

It announced the deadline extension alongside its financial results for the year ending 31 December, which broadly supported the board’s recent claims that it had turned the business around and has found cost savings along with growth.

Revenues were $1.35bn, resulting in a $58.7m operating profit, up from a loss of $124.2m a year earlier. It said: “Substantial profit turnaround reflects air cargo robustness, returning flight volumes, continued management actions to control costs and reshape the business and governmental support schemes.”

The business expanded into Pakistan, Iraq, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala, as well as winning new business, such as Avianca at Miami, which contributed $112m in incremental revenue.

Its Air Menzies International (AMI) freight forwarding business reported record revenue, up 33% to $296m, with underlying operating profit of $13m. It increased the number of its air cargo warehouses from 49 to 58 and freight forwarding depots from 21 to 24.

The handler added: “We anticipate that our air cargo business line will continue to grow, reflecting ongoing strong demand for fast and flexible logistics solutions for moving freight worldwide.

“In addition, we expect the steady increase in passenger flight volumes will continue and that this trend will accelerate as we progress through 2022. This recovery will extend beyond 2022 as air travel activity volumes are not expected to return fully to the levels we saw pre-pandemic, until 2024. This continued recovery would support further growth in revenues for our fuelling and ground services businesses into the medium-term.

“Our pipeline of opportunities is full. In 2022, we are targeting approximately $100m of net new annualised revenue and several business development opportunities that would deliver approximately $200-275m of new revenue over the short- to medium-term.”

Philipp Joeinig, chairman and CEO of John Menzies, added: “The rebalancing of our business as a major aviation logistics player continues at pace. We have seen significant growth in our air cargo business by winning contracts and widening the global reach of our network, while our fuel and ground services businesses go from strength to strength.

“Our future growth will be driven by continued recovery in volumes, growth in the global aviation market, further commercial gains and the successful conversion of our exciting business development pipeline. As a result of significant management action to reduce costs, we expect this growth will be achieved while delivering structurally higher margins. Our strong results and the successful implementation of our strategy would not be possible without the hard work of our global team.”

The share price fell as the results were announced, but the source said it was to be expected.

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