Belfast Telegraph

Cheer for G4S shares after double-digit earnings growth

G4S shares soared nearly 9% after the world's biggest security firm reported double-digit earnings growth in the nine months to September and celebrated new contracts worth £2 billion.

The company said revenues from continued operations grew 5.7% to £4.8 billion in the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period in 2015.

Its latest trading update also mentioned double-digit earnings growth, but stopped short of revealing the figure.

G4S also cheered new contracts that it said were worth £2 billion that would deliver revenues of £1 billion per year.

The news helped send G4S shares to the top of the FTSE 250, rising 8.8% or 19.3p to 239.4p.

Chief executive Ashley Almanza said: "The group's strategy is delivering tangible benefits which are reflected in our operating and financial performance. The strong progress made in the first half has been sustained."

Mr Almanza added: "We still have a long way to go to realise the full potential of our strategy and we are encouraged by the Group's progress and prospects."

The company said it would continue to tackle its pension deficit, but had agreed to a reduced payment of £39 million for full-year 2016, which would increase by 3% per year until their next funding valuation.

The upbeat trading update comes despite earlier warnings that the security company could be hit by Britain's decision to quit the European Union.

During its half-year trading update in August, G4S said that it could suffer as a result of a subsequent skill shortage and lower economic growth following Brexit.

But election news in the US could deliver more business for the security company.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said that a presidential victory by Republican candidate Donald Trump could be good news for G4S.

"Private security firms and prison operators could be asked to assist with immigration policy changes, so G4S could be a beneficiary there," Mould said.