New G4S chief faces shareholders over Olympics

NEW G4S boss Ashley Almanza will face shareholders for the first time on Thursday after predecessor Nick Buckles stepped down as head of the security giant in the wake of its botched Olympics Games contract.

Buckles, who was paid a total of £1.2 million in 2012, walked away from the company with a year’s salary of £830,000 and a pension allowance of £332,000.

It came after he was pilloried by MPs following the London 2012 fiasco. The business ­announced recently that he was leaving to be replaced by Almanza, who only joined G4S as chief financial officer in May.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Its annual general meeting will be the first opportunity for investors to question senior executives over the episode. Buckles had been instrumental in creating the G4S business through the merger of Securicor and the security businesses of Group 4 Falck in 2004.

But the end of his 28-year career was tarnished by the Olympics fiasco, when military personnel had to be drafted in to fill the gap left by G4S’s failure to supply enough staff for the £284m contract.

Investors will be anxious to hear from Hornby chairman Roger Canham about plans to turn around the business when the toy firm announces full-year results on Friday.

Chief executive Frank Martin has announced he will step down by the end of June, while there will also be a shake-up of the senior management team following a recent disastrous performance.

Canham, who joined the firm in January, is taking up an executive role and will lead a hunt for a new chief executive.

Hornby is attempting to improve its fortunes after it suffered from poor London 2012 merchandise sales and supply chain problems.

Disappointing demand for the Olympics goods, including model taxis and buses, left it having to sell off merchandise at a discount, contributing to a £541,000 loss in the first half to last September.

Analysts at Numis Securities predict that annual figures will show profits have been wiped out, forecasting the company to break even against a £4.5m surplus the previous year. But in a recent shareholder update, the group said trading remained in line with expectations, while new products had been received enthusiastically.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bellway is likely to provide further signs that the property market is gathering momentum when it updates on recent trading on Friday.

The sector has been enjoying a recovery, spurred on by recent government incentives, with Nationwide revealing that prices in May saw their strongest year-on-year growth in 18 months.

Housebuilders in particular have been benefiting from government measures after the Budget included a new Help to Buy scheme for those struggling to find mortgage deposits, featuring a UK government interest-free loan worth 20 per cent of the value of a new-build house up to £600,000.

Rivals such as Charles Church parent Persimmon have thanked the initiative for sparking a marked increase in enquiries and analysts expect Bellway to report similar trends.

Building materials group Wolseley will unveil its latest trading update on Tuesday, with struggles in Europe likely to continue offsetting a better performance from its US arm.

The group, which trades as Plumb Center, Pipe Center and Drain Center in the UK, is expected to do well out of the housing recovery in America, where it has a major presence.

City analysts will also be hoping to hear whether the Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes announced in the UK have boosted customer sentiment. The group may also have seen more emergency boiler repair business in Britain and France due to the prolonged cold spell.

Analysts at Numis said that with strong growth in America offset by its European “problem child”, restructuring, particularly in France, could lead to forecast upgrades.