Profits rise at G4S, but shares in the security group are down

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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G4S's profits and revenues rose (Source: G4S)

G4S, the world's biggest security group, revealed a rise in profits today, but shares edged lower as it missed expectations.

The figures

The company said pre-tax profit for the year to December rose to £386m, up from £311m the previous year, on revenues of £7.8bn, which were up 3.1 per cent.

G4S, which runs prisons and detention centres, proposed a full-year dividend of 9.7p per share, up from 9.41p per share in 2016.

Shares in the FTSE 100 firm fell 3.3 per cent to 255.3p in morning trading ​as earning per share missed expectations, according to Jefferies.

Read more: G4S shares tank on Middle East warning

Why it's interesting

The outsourcer said its outlook for the three years ahead was "positive".

"Our strong market positions, commercial discipline, growing technology-enabled revenues, positive cash generation and on-going productivity programmes provide substantial confidence that the group is well positioned to deliver a strong performance over the next three years," the firm said in a statement.

However, Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, warned: “A positive medium-term outlook may not, in any case, hold a lot of credibility given the patchy track record in recent years. Plus, sentiment towards the wider outsourcing sector has soured in the wake of the collapse of Carillion at the start of 2018."

Late last year, G4S' shares tanked after the security giant warned poor performance in the Middle East and India would hold revenue growth back.

The company today said trading in the region was slower due to the "macroeconomic and fiscal environment", and revenue was 5.1 per cent lower.​

Sales and profits in all of G4S's other regions lifted.

What G4S said

Chief executive Ashley Almanza said:

G4S has delivered another year of profitable growth and good cash generation, enabling us to invest in our growth, technology and productivity programmes and, at the same time, strengthen our balance sheet.

The outlook for the group is positive: our strong market positions, commercial discipline, growing technology-related revenues, positive cash generation and on-going productivity programmes provide substantial confidence that the group is well positioned to deliver a strong performance over the next three years.

Read more: G4S wins lucrative Home Depot cash deal

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