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Securitas’ profits grow as airport security demand picks up

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A car of private security firm Securitas arrives at the Courthouse in Geneva, Switzerland, February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse 2/2

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Swedish Security services group Securitas reported on Tuesday a rise in fourth-quarter profit and said demand for airport security, which plunged early in the pandemic, was recovering.

Securitas, which expects to finalise a $3.2 billion deal to buy Stanley Black & Decker’s electronic security solutions arm in the coming months, said operating profit before amortisation rose 17% from a year earlier to 1.65 billion crowns ($180.5 million) on the back of cost savings and sales growth.

Sales growth before acquisitions was 4%, unchanged from the third quarter and up from a year-ago 1%, driven by the group’s Security Services Europe and Security Services Ibero-America divisions and helped by a recovering airport security business.

Security Services North America, however, saw no growth.

“The conditions in the business environment improved gradually during the year, with good commercial activity across all business segments while growth was hampered in North America due to reduced corona-related extra sales and the previously announced contract losses,” CEO Magnus Ahlqvist said.

Securitas, whose biggest rival is privately held U.S. group Allied Universal which became market leader after it bought G4S (CSE:G4S) last year, said it had compensated for wages – its biggest cost – with price in 2021 and it was well placed to do so in 2022 as well.

The group, whose services include guards and alarm surveillance, and which is pushing to grow its share of electronic security solutions, proposed a dividend of 4.40 crowns per share, up from 4.00 crowns for 2020.

($1 = 9.1418 Swedish crowns)

Securitas’ profits grow as airport security demand picks up

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