G4S swings to loss after £291m impairment hit

G4S has swung to an annual loss after being hit by £291 million of impairment charges, despite hailing a jump in revenues.

The outsourcing firm reported a 4.7% increase in underlying revenue to £7.7 billion for 2019, which it said was driven by major investment in technology.

However, it swung to a £91 million statutory loss for the year from an £81 million profit in 2018, after it was hit by the £291 million impairment charge related to its cash business.

Last month, the company secured a £660 million deal to sell its cash-handling business to US-based The Brink Company as it looked to simplify its operations.

It said the sale was a “major milestone” which will bolster its financial position and provide profits of around £300 million in 2020.

G4S said the cash business reported 1% growth over the past year, compared with 18% growth in its retail technology arm and 4.7% growth in its security solutions division.

The company added that it remains confident in its outlook for the year despite uncertainty over the impact of the recent Covid-19 outbreak.

Group chief executive Ashley Almanza said: “Whilst there is clearly near-term uncertainty about the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy, the effect on the group has, to date, been immaterial.

“We will continue to closely monitor the development and impact of the coronavirus and take mitigating actions as required.

“The long-term, fundamental strength of the global security market, together with the competitive strength of our secure solutions and retail technology solutions businesses, underpins our confidence in the outlook for the group.”