JOHN MENZIES chairman Philipp Joeinig has said he believes the company will be well placed to “substantially increase” profits in 2020 after the firm navigated through a difficult trading backdrop this year.

The Edinburgh-based aviation logistics firm’s chairman made the declaration in a trading update for the period between July 1 and October 31.

The board reported “good progress” and said 2019 “has been a year of transition with a difficult trading environment”.

The company said that, commercially, it has moved to “put the business back on the front foot” with the majority of the substantial contracts due during the year renewed, significant new contract wins and “a full pipeline of opportunities”.

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It said under-performing operations are being tackled and a cost reduction programme that delivers at least £10 million of savings has been put in place with benefits being seen now and also expected into next year.

It said: “The executive team has been strengthened and new structures put in place. As a result, we are now confident that we have a strong team, with significant industry experience, focussed on driving the business forward.”

The firm earlier announced Alvaro Gomez-Reino, former chief financial officer at Menzies’ biggest rival Swissport, was joining.

READ MORE: John Menzies bolsters board after falling into red

Mr Gomez-Reino succeeded Giles Wilson in the lead finance role after the latter became chief executive, replacing Forsyth Black. Mervyn Walker was also appointed chief operating officer.

Mr Joeinig said: “I am excited to move into 2020 when we believe the company will be well placed to substantially increase profits over 2019 with the business right size and fit for the future.”

He said the firm is “now a leaner organisation with a new targeted commercial and business development approach”. Shares rose 6.1 per cent, or 25p, to 435p.