Profit warning hinders G4S’s Nick Buckles

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ANALYSTS last night questioned the outlook for G4S chief executive Nick Buckles after the security firm issued a profit warning that wiped nearly 15 per cent off its share price and some £600 million from its market value.

In an unscheduled trading update, the firm warned that its first-quarter profit margin had dropped by 0.6 per cent due to restructing of the Dutch prison system, pricing pressures in its UK and Ireland cash transport business and unpaid bills by African customers.

Buckles said profits for 2013 would be £40m to £45m lower than the £457m that the City had been expecting.

Keith Bowman, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: “In the wake of a bad 2012, the current year is looking equally challenging.

“A change of chief executive could now be a step nearer.”

In late 2011, Buckles had to abandon a £5 billion bid for Danish cleaning services group ISS following a shareholder revolt. Soldiers had to be drafted in last summer after G4S failed to train enough security guards for the London Olympics.

G4S – which is the largest employer on the stock market, with more than 620,000 staff – closed down 45.5p at 260p.