Crucial time as investors await news of public sector contracts

 
Elizabeth Fournier
NICK Buckles could be forgiven for not greeting today’s start of the Paralympics with much enthusiasm.

While the rest of the country is desperate for a return to the more carefree mood that the Olympics brought with them (was it really just two weeks ago?) scrutiny of G4S over the next fortnight is going to be fierce.

Neither the firm nor its chief executive can afford any more reputational damage, after yesterday’s results showed its pipeline of government work shrinking by an estimated £200m over the past three months.

Buckles has appeared contrite in the face of criticism so far, and has a strong track record at G4S, but there’s only so long the man at the top can survive when things start going wrong further down the chain.

He sounded confident yesterday, but the market will need convincing and they may have to wait until after the Paralympics for the next round of government contracts – mostly for outsourced prisons – to be announced.

In the meantime it’s unlikely that shares will recover much of the 10 per cent they’ve lost in the last few weeks.

Investors, and hopefully Buckles, are in for the long haul.