G4S share price edges up as it reveals growth in developing markets and North America

Guy Bentley
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It's been a disappointing few years for outsourcer G4S, but things might finally be looking for the company. It reported this morning its performance was in line with expectations, with organic revenue growth rising 4.2 per cent in the nine months to 30 September, thanks to "strong growth" in its US and emerging markets businesses.

Shares rose 1.5 per cent in early trading, reflecting investors' relief.

The company won new contracts netting £870m in annual revenue and reaching a total contract value of £1.7bn. Furthermore, G4S's ability to hold on to contracts was slightly above its historical average, reaching above 90 per cent.

The FTSE 100 firm said its programme of "corporate transformation" - ie. the disposal of unwanted assets such as the $135m (£84.8m) sale of its US government solutions business - had led to a rise in underlying profit before interest, tax and amortisation (PBITA) ahead of revenues.

Its North American and emerging markets businesses proved particularly fruitful, with revenue growth up six per cent and 11 per cent respectively. However, its European and UK businesses were less impressive, with a fall of one per cent in the UK and Europe.

Commenting on the company's outlook, Group chief executive Ashley Almanza, said:

Our trading performance in 2014 and the on-going implementation of our performance improvement plans are expected to provide good momentum for the group in 2015.

In August, G4S returned to profit with growth in Africa and South America. The company's recent turnaround from a series of scandals including prisoner tagging and the loss of three chief executives in two years is a stark contrast to rival Serco, whose share price plunged 33 per cent earlier this week after it issued a profit warning and revealed it was seeking to raise up to £550m with a rights issue in the first quarter of 2015.

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