(Adds BBA response, details, share movement)
Dec 15 Britain's competition watchdog on
Thursday raised objections against UK airport services and
logistics group John Menzies' acquisition of some
operations of BBA Aviation, saying the deal could lessen
competition in the market.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said since
Menzies and ASIG, BBA's ground handling and fuelling unit, were
close competitors at Aberdeen airport, a merger of the two
businesses could leave Swiss air cargo handler Swissport as the
only other credible bidder for airlines located there.
Menzies had in September agreed to buy ASIG in a deal that
was expected to make it the world's largest interplane fueller,
doubling its existing North American operations and adding
significant scale at major international gateways, including
London's Heathrow airport.
The Scottish firm has been under pressure to revamp its
business, as a string of warnings and the departure of top
executives attracted criticism from three investors who have
advocated separating its aviation services and printed media
Menzies said it would consider its position with regard to
its operations at Aberdeen airport and respond to the CMA
The CMA said Menzies would have until Dec. 22 to offer a
remedy to avoid the merger being referred for an in-depth
investigation and that it would consider whether to accept an
The antitrust regulator has already opened an investigation
into the deal in October, but has not detailed its specific
The update from CMA would allow the companies to work
towards completing the deal, BBA said in a statement.
For BBA, the ASIG sale marks a well-flagged disposal of a
smaller unit, allowing it to focus on growing Signature, its
largest unit that provides services such as passenger handling,
office rentals and hangaring.
The deal was originally expected to close by year-end.
Menzies shares were up 1.1 percent at 562 pence at 0814 GMT
on the London Stock Exchange, while BBA shares were down 0.6
percent at 269.6 pence.
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair
and Gopakumar Warrier)