G4S turnaround strategy delivers higher profits

A management overhaul and restructuring helped G4S to beat profit forecasts in 2014, marking progress for the world’s largest security group after a series of setbacks.

The firm, which has around 2,300 employees in Yorkshire, said underlying operating profit rose 7.9 per cent to £424m last year, ahead of a consensus forecast of £414m.

Under CEO Ashley Almanza, who took charge in 2013, G4S has shaken up its management and begun cutting costs in areas like IT and procurement.

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It has also axed weak businesses to help feed growth in more profitable emerging markets, where 2014 revenue rose 8.9 per cent and helped offset weaker trade in continental Europe and Britain.

Mr Almanza maintained a cautious tone on the outlook for the company.

“There remains much to be done to realise the full potential of our strategy,” he said.

The profit rise was helped by 3.9 per cent revenue growth and cost savings that pushed margins up slightly.

“The group’s turnaround continues to progress,” Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Keith Bowman said.

“Underperforming businesses are being sold or discontinued, contract retention rates have stayed strong, whilst exposure to both expanding emerging markets and the recovering North American economy is proving beneficial.”