Securitas eyes new UK deals

THE chief executive of Securitas, one of the world’s largest security companies, is warning that the global threat posed by terrorism is escalating while vigilance at airports means travellers will have to pay the price with longer queues.

The company Alf Goransson leads provides security at four airports in the UK, including Liverpool and the City of Manchester, as well as for retail giant Marks and Spencer.

The Sweden-based firm is the second largest security firm operating in the UK after buying rival Reliance.

Earlier this week it posted sales worth $144m (£90m) for the past quarter, beating forecasts. Goransson said the company made an acquisition at least once a month and was eyeing other targets in the UK.

“When there are economic problems, opportunities do arise and if the price and opportunity is right we are interested.”

The executive admitted that the rise in the terror threat as well as an increase in blackmail and the theft of data, which could cripple a business overnight, offered his sector opportunities.

“Unfortunately the world is getting a more dangerous place, what with the raised terror threat, more blackmail and other things.

“Increased airport security is a fact of life, but it is necessary. I think there will be more use of full body scanners.”

He said that the patrolling and checking of ports was increasing as the potential for terrorists exploiting cargo had risen up the agenda since an alleged plot to bring a cargo plane down over the US.

“We are seeing an expansion of our maritime division as the world tries to come to terms with the threat.”

Goransson said the company was enjoying a flourishing relationship with M&S, where it is carrying out a crackdown in store car parks with teams in CCTV vans swooping on vandals and thieves. The undercover detectives patrolling the stores are also gearing up for a possible shoplifting bonanza at Christmas as the austerity measures threaten to create a crimewave. “We are always aware of the amount shoplifters cost retailers,” he said. On the future of the business Goransson is upbeat, particularly as the US market has picked up. “Things are picking up and with our acquisitions and cash position we are well paced,” he concludes.