WHEN plotting its future course, 185 year-old John Menzies decided to cut ties with the newspaper and magazine distribution business which has been core to its offer for so many decades and concentrate exclusively on an industry it has worked in for less than 30 years.

When weighing up which of the two had better prospects for growth, Menzies opted for air over road.

The sale of its distribution division hasn’t happened yet of course – there is the small matter of finding a buyer and agreeing terms for the £1.2 billion turnover business.

When the sale does go through, the work will focus solely on building the aviation business. Currently second-placed Menzies turns over £1.6bn against market leader Swissport’s £2.8bn.

The group’s strategy focuses on taking its core services (of which there are 30, including cargo handling, baggage handling and into-plane fuelling) and supplementing this with services it can offer now, and can feasibly offer in the future. This could, in theory, add 45 further services – while pushing into new countries, particularly in South East Asia.

These are the numbers which convinced Menzies’ board that its future lay exclusively in aviation. And with a clear strategy, reduced debt and money to invest from the impending sale, it’s going to be fascinating to watch what Menzies does next.