LONDON -- G4S (LSE: GFS.L ) -- the world's leading international security outsourcing solutions group and the largest employer quoted on the London Stock Exchange -- is currently down almost 2.5% on the release of its half-yearly report. Underlying turnover is up 5.8%, and underlying organic growth is up 5.1%, but operating margin has slipped to 6.2% from 6.5% in the first half of 2011, with the fall attributed to the challenging U.S. government market and U.K. contract phasing.
The best improvements in performance came from developing markets, where there was organic growth of 10%. Revenue from developing markets was 1.19 billion pounds -- 31% of the group total, with a target of 50% by 2019.
Nick Buckles, who has survived as CEO following the Olympics security fiasco, commented:
We were deeply disappointed that we had significant issues with the London 2012 Olympics contract and are very grateful to the military and the police for their support in helping us to deliver a safe and secure Games.
We continue to see good opportunities from outsourcing around the world particularly from governments looking to improve quality of services and reduce costs and we believe that, with our long-term track record, we will continue to play a major role in this sector.
The breadth of our portfolio in 125 countries continues to present many new growth opportunities. Our market leading businesses, broad customer base and 3.8 billion pounds per annum contract pipeline give us confidence in the outlook for the Group.
This morning's fall takes the shine off the recent recovery in GFS's share price, which remains 10% down from its pre-Olympics-debacle value.
G4S is not one of Neil Woodford's biggest holdings, but he's come out publicly in support of the group's under-fire boss, Nick Buckles. You don't achieve the level of market-beating returns Woodford has (an impressive 347% total return, thrashing the wider market, in the 15 years to the end of 2011) by only picking shares that will win a popularity poll among investors.
You can discover the shares he now holds -- and which losers he has avoided -- in "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor." But act fast -- the report is available for a limited time only.
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