SECURITY contractor G4S has posted a better-than-expected rise in operating profits, boosted by a jump in sales across emerging markets.
The group is trying to restore its reputation after a string of scandals, such as failing to provide enough security guards for the London Olympics and overcharging the UK government on a contract for tagging criminals.
Although chief executive Ashley Almanza said the firm’s performance was “satisfactory” during the first half, he added: “There remains much to be done to capture the full potential of our strategy and to strengthen the group’s performance.”
Almanza took over from previous boss Nick Buckles last summer following the emergence of the tagging scandal as well as its previous debacle over the Olympics contract, which saw members of the armed forces drafted in to beef up security for the 2012 Games.
Operating profits for the six months to 30 June grew 6.3 per cent to £185 million, ahead of City forecasts of £177m.
Revenues increased 4.1 per cent to £3.4 billion, helped by a 12.1 per cent rise in emerging markets across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Sales for Europe, the UK and US were flat at £2.2bn.
Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 3.42p a share, unchanged from last time.
The results came the day after rival Serco, headed by former Aggreko chief Rupert Soames, revealed it had slumped to a first-half loss of £7.3m, compared with a £106.1m profit a year earlier.