G4S shares fall 10% as profit slides

G4S security officer Image copyright Getty Images

Shares in global security firm G4S have slumped more than 10% after it reported a fall in profits, with loss-making contracts continuing to hit trading.

Pre-tax profits fell to £78m in 2015, down from £128m the previous year.

It took an extra charge of £65m to cover "onerous" UK government contracts, including one relating to the management of UK asylum centres.

G4S warned it could suffer a further £57m of losses if its UK asylum centre contract was extended to 2019.

Asset sales

G4S is seeking to recover from a series of damaging incidents, including revelations in 2013 that it overcharged the Ministry of Justice for the electronic tagging of offenders.

The company also courted controversy four years ago after it failed to recruit and train enough security staff ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

In its latest results, it reported £40m losses from businesses it had closed or sold in the year plus a further £40m of restructuring costs.

G4S said it planned to sell more divisions in the next two years, including G4S Israel, UK Utility services, US Youth Justice services and UK Children's services, along with 38 other divisions previously announced.

Those sales are expected to raise between £250m and £350m, G4S said.

The security firm said it had experienced higher demand in emerging markets and North America, where revenues grew by 8.6% and 5.8% respectively. However, UK revenues fell by 3%.

"Demand for our services remained resilient and growth accelerated in the second half of 2015, providing good support for further operating and financial progress in 2016," said chief executive Ashley Almanza in a statement.

"In the current economic environment we expect medium term demand for our services to grow by around 4-6% per annum."

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