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UK's John Menzies rejects takeover approach from Kuwait firm

By Reuters

-British airport services group John Menzies on Wednesday turned down a roughly 469 million pound ($636 million) takeover proposal from a unit of Kuwait-based Agility Public Warehousing Co, saying it undervalued the company.

Shares in the London-listed firm climbed 41% to levels not seen since January 2020. They were trading at 466 pence by 0850 GMT, below the rebuffed 510 pence per-share proposal from National Aviation Services (NAS), which offers airport services in emerging markets.

The proposal represents a hefty premium of about 52% to John Menzies’ closing price on Tuesday.

John Menzies, among the biggest providers of fuelling, ground handling and maintenance services operating in around 37 countries globally, had suffered heavy losses in 2020 but has since recovered ground on cost controls and restructurings.

“The proposal is highly opportunistic and comes at a time when the full impact of management actions is not yet reflected in Menzies valuation and underlying volumes have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels,” John Menzies said in a statement.

The aviation industry is still recovering from the pandemic hit to air travel.

The over-188-year-old Edinburgh-based company, whose board unanimously rejected the approach, said the proposal followed a previous possible all-cash offer of 460 pence a share from NAS.

NAS and Agility did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Goldman Sachs was financial adviser to John Menzies.

($1 = 0.7380 pounds)