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G4S promises three years of growth after recovery in profits

Rhiannon Curry
G4S provides security at Hinkley Point - Image is copyrighted to Ed Robinson.

Security company G4S has presented a bullish outlook for its future, promising three years of growth after its 2017 pre-tax profits jumped almost a third.

The company had warned in November that it expected revenues to rise by less than it had originally hoped, citing a lack of growth in India and the Middle East.

But its other markets performed well, meaning pre-tax profits for 2017 rose to £386m, up from £296m the previous year, on revenues of £7.8bn, which were up 3.1pc.

Revenue for the Middle East and India dropped 5.1pc as G4S’s customers struggled with a lack of spending in the region and increased costs.

Despite the generally brighter outlook, shares in the company were down 3.45pc on Thursday to 254.9p.

Ashley Almanza, the company’s chief executive, has been seeking to turn around the business since he joined in 2013, after it was hit by a number of scandals. G4S runs prisons and detention centres as well as managing security for large companies.

Mr Almanza said on Thursday that the company would be looking to roll out some of its services which have been successful in North America and Europe to emerging markets, which are G4S’s main focus of growth.

“Our strong market positions, commercial discipline, growing technology-related revenues, positive cash generation and ongoing productivity programmes provide substantial confidence that the group is well positioned to deliver a strong performance over the next three years,” he said.

The company said its restructuring and efficiency programmes were on course to deliver between £70m and £80m of savings by 2020, through “efficient organisation design and leaner processes”.

Kean Marden, analyst at Jefferies, said Thursday’s results were “exactly in line with expectations” and “should improve materially over the next few quarters”.

Shareholders in the business will receive a full-year dividend of 9.7p per share, up from 9.41p per share in 2016.