Amey today announced plans to take off into the aviation sector with an £81.5m offer to buy airport ground services group Servisair.

Amey, which has a wide range of interests from engineering and railways to managing property, said it would pay 200p in cash for every share in Europe's biggest independent supplier of ground support services.

This represents a premium of 72 per cent ahead of Servisair's market value before the group announced being in talks with a number of potential bidders last month.

Amey, based at Sutton Courtenay, near Abingdon, said it first made a formal approach to Servisair more than four weeks ago but said no timetable had yet been established for the deal.

The volatility this created in the target's shares led Amey to make a formal offer today, it said.

Such a deal would mark Amey's first move into the airports market, taking over services ranging from baggage handling to check-in and ticketing operations for passengers.

Servisair, based in Stockport, Cheshire, has operating licenses in eight countries and provides services at more than 60 airports across Europe, mostly in the UK, Spain and Portugal.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange, Amey said it would expand Servisair's operations into other sectors such as the train and ferry markets.

Story date: Friday 22 January

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