Serco raises cost estimate of tagging probe

Another blow for embattled outsourcing company Serco.

The group is currently the subject of an investigation into whether it overcharged the government for its electronic tagging of prisoners, and it's now upped its estimate of how much the review will cost it - from £12m to £17m, with accounting and other one-off costs increasing from £15m to £19m.

The announcement follows Sky News' report that Serco and fellow government contractor G4S are bracing themselves for more bad news today, in the form of the outcome of the probe into the alleged overcharging.

Serco added that the extra costs "exclude any settlement to be reached in respect of issues arising on the Electronic Monitoring (EM) contract".

It said that discussions "are at an advanced stage regarding a settlement" and it plans being able to provide an update shortly. This'll also cover the conclusion of the review into the central government contracts, as well as how the company's progressing with its corporate renewal programme.

And on the upside, the company said it would recognise around £9m of "exceptional" income this year - a deferred consideration on its 2011 acquisition of Intelenet.

Serco will release its 2013 full year results on Tuesday 4 March 2014.