StockMarketWire.com - Aviation services group John Menzies swung to a modest first-half profit, citing cost cutting and a gradual improvement in demand amid what is still a challenging time for the transport sector.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through June amounted to £4.7 million, compared to a year-on-year loss of £80.1 million, as revenue slipped 3.6% to £415.8 million.

John Menzies didn't declare an interim dividend.

The company said a turnaround in its performance was driven by restructuring, cost actions and new business wins, together with continued support from governmental schemes.

Pressure from the pandemic on the commercial aviation sector was being partly buffered by a strong performance in air cargo services and cargo forwarding.

'The board remains confident about the group's long-term outlook,' John Menzies said.

'The prompt actions taken at the start of the pandemic have put us in a good position to prosper now the aviation sector has begun to recover.'

'Our strategy for growth, based around our strategic priorities, and our disciplined approach are set to deliver sustainable stakeholder returns in the coming years.'

'In terms of outlook for passenger volumes, the trend we have seen over the first half is currently expected to continue over the remainder of the year.'

'The near-term outlook for our operating segments continues to be primarily driven by local travel restrictions.'

'Although there will be regional variations, we currently do not anticipate a return to the volume of ground services and fuelling business that we had in 2019 before 2023.'

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