Economic stability key to demand, says Buckles

AS CHIEF executive of G4S since 2005, Nick Buckles has weathered the financial crisis and is now focused on returning the company to its former high growth.

While G4S, as a security firm, is associated with flak jackets and war zones, Buckles says it is global industry, not instability, that will help it regain pre-crisis growth levels by the end of 2012.

The recent violence in north Africa, for instance, isn’t what he sees fuelling growing demand for security.

“We prefer stable economic environments and stable governments because that actually attracts investment and enables economies to grow,” he told City A.M. “Short term crises, while good for the reputation and helping customers, don’t really create growth opportunities.”

Energy, aviation and ports are all high on G4S’s radar – but also telecoms infrastructure such as mobile phone masts.

It’s a very different tale to the UK, where it is capitalising on the authorities’ need to provide public services more cheaply. Here, it is working on reducing the benefits bill and outsourcing probation services.

“We’re helping the UK government save money in the medium term,” he said.