NEWSPAPER and magazine distribution company John Menzies said today that its results for 2012 were likely to be in line with previous expectations following further “positive progress” since its last update in November.

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However, the company warned of an exceptional charge of £7million following a decision by its Menzies Aviation airport services division to close its cargo handling operations at Chicago Airport, having “exhausted all alternative options”.

Menzies said the provision would bring exceptional charges for the full year to around £18m, but the closure would improve earnings by £1.4m in 2013.

“The enhancements to underlying earnings from these actions are included within the board’s expectations and leave the group in a stronger position with a more stable platform for growth,” it said.

Net debt at the year end was expected to be below £100m, it added, although interest charges would increase by about £2.5m in 2013 as a result of accounting changes.

John Menzies also announced today that group finance director Paul Dollman planned to retire from the board and would not seek re-election at company’s annual general meeting on May 17, subject to a successor being appointed.

Non-executive director Ian Harrison, who has been on the board since 1987, has also indicated that he will not be seeking re-election at the meeting.

Company chairman Iain Napier said: “Paul has done an outstanding job for John Menzies plc over the last 10 years and we wish him well for the future.

“He has been an integral part of the executive team and has played a key role in the success of the group. A full search process is underway and we will make a further announcement at the appropriate time.”

He added: “I would also like to acknowledge Ian Harrison’s contribution to the group and thank him for his support during my time as chairman.”

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