Distributor John Menzies sees profits almost treble

Magazine and newspaper distributor John Menzies almost trebled its profits in the first half of the year.

The company reported this morning that profit before tax rose to £20.6m during the first six months of the year, up from £7.4m in the same period last year.

Revenue increased to £924m in the period from £821.3m in the first-half of last year, the company said this morning as it announced its interim results.

John Menzies handles around 5.5m newspapers and 2.2m magazines each day, it said today, delivering to more than 25,000 customers from 48 sites across the UK, employing 4,000 staff.

The company’s distribution wing, which controls around 45 per cent of the newspaper and magazine wholesale market in the UK, brought the company £14.5m in underlying profits in the half-year to June, up from £13.6m last year.

John Menzies’s cargo distribution business, Menzies Aviation, generated underlying profits of £9.1m in the period, up from £4m in the same period last year.

Chairman Iain Napier said: “The performance of the group during the first six months has been very strong.

“Group underlying profits are up 46 per cent on the corresponding period last year and both operating divisions are performing well.

“As a result, the board expects the full year results to be slightly ahead of current market expectations.”

Napier said Menzies Distribution traded in line with expectations despite a difficult marketplace. Results benefiting from successful integration of the contracts gained last year and from the sales of stickers associated with the 2010 World Cup, he added.

John Menzies paid £500,000 to take hold of assets held by Dawson Holdings after that company wound down its core news distribution division last summer.

Dawson lost a string of distribution contracts, including Trinity Mirror, News International, Telegraph Media Group and Associated Newspapers, to John Menzies and Smiths News through the early part of last year as that part of its business crumbled.

John Menzies said last summer that gaining those extra contacts was likely to add over £180m of sales revenue by end of 2010.

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