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Services group ISS lifts outlook as customers reopen offices

·1-min read

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish business services group ISS on Thursday said that about two thirds of its largest customers are now allowing about half of workforces to return to offices, up from only 10% at the end of July.

ISS provides services ranging from call centres to office cleaning, catering and security for more than 200,000 customers globally and surveys its largest customers every two weeks, providing a snapshot of developments at workplaces around the world.

"We've seen a rapid shift ... that's an interesting trend and we would expect that number to continue to go up over the next couple of months," Chief Executive Jacob Aarup-Andersen told Reuters.

"We've gone from 10% to two thirds of global workplaces being open again," he said, adding that it remains unclear how many people are actually going back.

The ISS share price rose 6.6% in early trade after the company reported forecast-beating sales and upgraded 2021 guidance. It raised guidance for both its operating margin and free cash flow, adding that results were boosted by its turnaround plan and the reopening of customers' offices.

Third-quarter sales came in at 17.5 billion crowns compared with the 17.3 billion expected by analysts in a poll compiled by the company. ISS now expects an operating margin of 2.5%, up from the previously forecast 2%.

(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by David Goodman)

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