Capita to raise £700m as losses deepen

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Capita has reported a £513m annual loss as the outsourcing firm set out plans to revive its indebted business.

The company was hit by £850m of one-off costs, mainly from writing down the value of acquisitions made under its previous management.

However, underlying pre-tax profits, which exclude restructuring costs and one-off items, rose by 23% to £401m.

The company said it would raise £701m through a rights issue to fund a reorganisation of the business.

Capita's shares closed 13% higher at 180.8p in London, valuing Capita at just over £1.2bn.

It operates the London congestion charge and runs an electronic tagging service for the Ministry of Justice,

The loss compares with a £89.8m deficit in 2016, while revenues last year fell by 4% to £4.2bn

However, new chief executive Jonathan Lewis dismissed any comparison to Carillion, the services and outsourcing group that went bust earlier this year.

"I get frustrated with that comparison - we are a completely different business," Mr Lewis said.

"We have £1bn in liquidity, strong cash flow and a new strategy with investor support. We are not in PFI contracts and have nothing like the risk profile."

Mr Lewis has announced a major overhaul of the company which has debt totalling £1.7bn. The rights issue will reduce borrowings as well as fund investment.

'Fundamentally strong'

Under its new strategy, Capita plans to raise about £300m disposals this year and is targeting cost savings of £175m by the end of 2020.

Capita's share price jumped by 12.7% to 180.1p in early trade.

The company collects the licence fee on behalf of the BBC and recently won a five-year extension to provide audience services to the broadcaster.

Commenting on Capita's future, Mr Lewis said the business was "fundamentally strong" but "needs to evolve".

He added: "We need to simplify Capita by focusing on growth markets and to improve our cost competitiveness. We need to strengthen Capita and plan to invest up to £500m in our infrastructure, technology and people over the next three years."

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