Belfast Telegraph

G4S continues strong run with fresh profits rise

Global security giant G4S is set to report another rise in profits next week as the group continues a strong run of form that has seen it catapulted back into the FTSE 100.

A consensus of City analysts forecast that the firm will see pre-tax profits for the first half of the year rise from £203 million to £230 million.

Revenues are also predicted to jump from £3.5 billion to £3.7 billion as its turnaround under chief executive Ashley Almanza picks up pace.

The reboot - which was launched three years ago following a prisoner-tagging scandal and its failure to supply adequate security for the London Olympics in 2012 - has seen the G4S sell off underperforming assets and score a number of new contract wins.

The group has offloaded over 20 businesses since 2013, with dozens more earmarked for sale or closure.

The net result of all this has seen profits increase and the firm's shares bounce back, leading to a promotion from the FTSE 250 to London's top tier.

G4S's share price has risen from 188p to over 330p over the past 12 months and at the group's annual results earlier this year, Mr Almanza hailed "significant progress" for the once scandal-hit firm.

Sylvia Barker, analyst at Deutsche Bank, said: "G4S's strong organic growth and divestments have rescued the balance sheet and the leverage has been brought down to levels where we believe we can see investments in the business and potentially even mergers and acquisitions."

Ms Barker also pointed to a lucrative "Cash 360" contract with US giant Walmart that will see G4S provide cash services across the retailer's American stores.

"We again highlight the interesting opportunity for G4S in Cash 360 cash retail automation for large retail stores.

"We think it is possible G4S announces further contracts with large US retail stores," she added.

G4S, which books around 80% of revenues outside the UK, also stands to benefit from US president Donald Trump's pledge to boost defence spending, in addition to potentially picking up new contracts to help with America's immigration policy changes.

Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said: " There has been a significant recovery in the share price since last August on the back of reassuring results and the market warming to management's restructuring.

"Investors will be concentrating on further improvements to efficiency, cost cutting and news on past loss-making contracts.

"In an unsettled world the hope remains that demand for security work is unlikely to fall significantly."

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