G4S gives upbeat update as it looks to defend against hostile bid

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G4S PLC (LON:GFS), which is currently in a bid situation, has said its underlying profits for the first eight months of 2020 are now ahead of the prior year.

Revenues are down 1.9% year-on-year, the security group said in a short and unscheduled trading update a week after rejecting a hostile takeover offer from smaller Canadian rival GardaWorld, with the comparison excluding the conventional cash business sold in February.

The lower revenues have been “more than offset” with tight control of costs, meaning underlying earnings were positive compared to the 4.6% decline at the half-year stage.

In the statement, G4S chief executive Ashley Almanza said: “The benefits of our strategy, strong execution and timely response to Covid-19 continue to be reflected in the group’s results during 2020 with resilient revenue, earnings and cash flow.”

Last Monday, GardaWorld went hostile with its takeover bid after it said that three attempts to engage with G4S in recent months had been “dismissed or ignored”, though the UK firm countered that the offer “significantly undervalues” its prospects and its timing is “highly opportunistic”.

The shares fell 2% to 191.25p on Monday morning.

Analysts at UBS said the revenue update implied that trends have remained stable through July and August at -3% organic growth, in line with the June exit rate reported before and well-above the April and May trough of 6-7%.

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