John Menzies said it made a good start to 2018 as the aviation services group reported record annual underlying profit driven by new contracts.
Underlying operating profit for the year to the end of December rose 41% to £77.9m, helped by the company's acquisition of ASIG in February 2017 and signing new contracts. Excluding currency gains underlying operating profit rose 34% to £73.8m.

The company said it achieved 150 net contract wins in 2017. Its main aviation services business handles cargo, check-in, ramp-handling and other activities for airlines. Its distribution business, which delivers newspapers and magazines in the UK, is up for sale.

John Menzies bought ASIG, its biggest acquisition, for $202m (£164m) from BBA to add plane refuelling to its operations and expand into new markets. The company said integration was going well and that synergies would be more than £15m by the end of 2018 – up from an initial target of £10.5m.

Dermot Smurfit, John Menzies' chairman, said: “2018 has started well. Menzies Aviation is trading ahead of last year …Underlying volumes are strong, synergy benefits are being realised and contract win momentum continues. Across the network, our commercial and business development teams are busy pursuing many opportunities to grow the business both organically and through acquisition.”