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John Menzies affected by Boeing grounding | Superdry secures finance chief | Online trader’s profits drop 82%

Aviation services provider John Menzies revealed the impact of headwinds in the aerospace industry as it reported a pre-tax loss in the first half.

The company swung to a loss before tax of £4.4 million in the six months to June 30, compared with a profit of £8.3 million for the same period in 2018.

Revenue was up 3.6% at £649.9 million.

The group said it was affected by the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, which has been taken out of action following two fatal crashes.

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Weak cargo volumes also contributed to the difficulties, as did the loss of some contracts in the latter half of last year.

Chief executive Giles Wilson said the company had taken a number of “decisive actions” to address the issues, including a cost reduction programme which is on track to deliver £10 million of savings by 2020.

“We continue to drive a company-wide focus on cost reduction, customer engagement and operational discipline, with profitable growth at the forefront of our agenda,” he said.

“We have an increased awareness of our customers’ needs that will ensure that we are viewed by our customers as the partner of choice and recognised for our best-in-class operational delivery.”

Shares in the company were down 3.5% in early trading on Tuesday.

Fashion retailer Superdry has appointed interim chief financial officer Nick Gresham on a permanent basis.

It comes in the wake of the recent boardroom shake-up, triggered by the return of founder Julian Dunkerton earlier this year.

Mr Gresham has been heading up the group’s finance operations on an interim basis since June 3.

Peter Williams, chairman of Superdry, said Mr Gresham is “playing a crucial role in ensuring the business is on a stable financial footing as we set out to return Superdry to strong profitable growth”.

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Mr Dunkerton and former Boohoo chairman Mr Williams were elected to the board in April, triggering a mass exodus of Superdry’s then-directors, including chief executive Euan Sutherland.

Online trader Plus500 has seen pre-tax profits plunge by 82% to $63.9 million (£57 million) in the six months to June 30.

The group said its performance was hit by a lack of volatility in financial markets at the start of the year, but added that trading improved in the second quarter.

Asaf Elimelech, chief executive of Plus500, said: “The group performed well during what was a difficult period for the entire industry.

“Financial markets from February 2019 to April 2019 were very stable, providing a limited number of trading opportunities for customers.”

But the stock surged 17% as it announced plans to buy back up to $50 million (£44.6 million) of its own shares.

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