G4S Fights Back After ‘Very Tough’ Olympics Fiasco

Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013 | 2:57 AM ET
G4S CEO: Company Grew Despite Olympics
Nick Buckles, CEO of private security company, G4S, tells CNBC why, aside from the Olympics, the company has had the best organic growth for a number of years.

The security fiasco at last year's Olympic Games was a "significant distraction" for G4S but its core business has managed to avoid any long-lasting damage to its reputation, Nick Buckles CEO at G4S told CNBC Wednesday.

"The Olympics experience was a very tough experience for us,we've had issues but we're putting that behind us. Aside from the Olympics we had good organic growth and that was driven by good performance in U.K.government and U.S. commercial business grew. Developing markets grew by 10 percent which we expect to continue," Buckles said.

Earlier the group posted a 6 percent rise in annual profits bolstered by emerging markets growth. Full year revenues stood at 7.5 billion pounds ($11.1 billion) up from 2011's revenue of 6.8 billion pounds. Organic growth at the group was up 6.9 percent last year.

The world's largest security firm security firm was the focus of intense criticism last year for the mismanagement of the security operation at the London Olympic Games where it was unable to recruit and train enough staff to handle security in time for the games' start in July.

Buckles said the group could "not afford" to make any other major errors and new risk management processes were in place to mitigate those possibilities. The group had reached a settlement with the organizing committee for the Games and hoped that would draw a line under the episode.

G4S' Olympics debacle doesn't appear to have dampened the company's reputation after its aviation division managed to secure a three-year deal with British Airways to provide security at two of the U.K's largest airports.

"U.K. margin was down a little bit but we did take a big restructuring hit this year to make sure we[have] the overhead base right in the future and margins in continental Europe are being squeezed," he said.

The company announced earlier in the month that it was selling its U.S. government business, with other developed markets businesses within the group also being eyed for divestment. Buckles added that the company saw no major merger or acquisition plans in the near future as the company focuses on organic growth, the brand and margins.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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