UK government contractor Serco today posted bumper profits, as it continued to capitalise on Covid and the impacts of the global pandemic.
The Hampshire headquartered firm said its profits soared by 21 per cent, as contracts for work on the UK governments Covid-19 response lasted much longer than expected into 2021.
Serco CEO Rupert Soames said the firm had achieved its “outstanding” results in “the face of constant challenge and disruption” as he claimed that 2021 was the “toughest operational environment” ever.
Soames said the global shortage of “every type of skill” – including HGV drivers and prison escort officers – and the sharp rise in unplanned absences caused by the spread of Omicron had placed “relentless pressure” on staff.
Nonetheless, Soames said that in spite of “this challenging environment, the business excelled,” as the firm capitalized on the global response to Covid-19.
The contractor said that its work on the UK government’s Covid response accounted for approximately £700m of its £4.42bn revenues last year.
However, the firm said it generated around two thirds of its profits from outside the UK, after working in commonwealth countries including Australia and Canada.
Last year the firm also made three acquisitions of companies, worth a total of £250m, including US defence consultancy WBB, Australian cleaning company Facilities First, and Belgian arms supplier Clemaco.
Looking forwards, Serco said it has had a “strong stat” to 2022, after being contracted to run the UK’s new HMP Glen Parva prison in Leicestershire for a sum worth £300m over a 10-year period.
The firm also said the US Navy has awarded it a £200m contract to manage its shipbuilding programme.