G4S, the legion of┬á security services, defied the┬á worst global economic crisis since World War II┬á that triggered it┬á to pledge┬á landmark acquisitions ahead of the June this yearÔÇöas regulators would be preparing themselves to enforce the newly adopted competition policy.
G4S Botswana’s head, Percy Raditladi, assured investors of eminent take-over in the offing but declined to disclose the details.
The cash-rich security firm being the only one listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), addressed┬ájournalists Monday where it┬áreported the most robust┬áfull year results in four years.┬á
All segments reported┬á sterling performance in full year to December 31, 2009 boosted by tight new┬á acquisitions, credit collection and new products due to better performances from the existing operations.
Total revenue was up 21 percent┬á to P 136.7 million┬á and profit before tax was up 11.8 percent to P 31 million┬á before it splashed┬á 58.86 thebe per share, bringing the total to 147.41 thebe per share on dividends paid over the year.
The company’s reserves ballooned from P 15 million to P 35 million from a year earlierÔÇöa move that was praised by Raditladi as putting it on the right paddle for acquisitions.
“There are acquisition opportunities before Competition Policy┬á comes into effect in June,” he said,┬á adding that “we are┬á seeing some people and they also come┬á here. But┬á there is nothing concrete in terms of price and if that happens we will approach BSE with┬á a cautionary statement.”
“We are well positioned and have cash,” he said, referring to the P 35 million war-chest that is stashed┬á overseas which they can tap into whenever they want. The last acquisition involved another competitor, Fidelity┬á Cash Management Services to the tune of P9 million.
Raditladi further indicated that┬á his company will be spending on new products that include┬á armoured cars, cell alert, ORYX monitoring software┬á in a bid to reposition the G4S against its peers in the market.
However, he indicated that┬á┬á they are expecting a number of customers to terminate contracts ÔÇô especially in the┬á alarm systemÔÇöowing to the continued impact of the global economic crunch at corporate and household level.
“Just look at the number of companies that are applying for voluntary liquidation in the government Gazette then you will get the picture,” he said.
G4S market is led by households which contribute 70 percent to its revenue while the corporate┬á accounts for the remaining part.
The company, which┬á started as┬á an alarm system company has one of the largest guard services in the country outside government┬á a move that is eating heavily on the balance-sheet. Last year labour cost ┬áamounted to P 7 million ÔÇô largely made up by┬á 1, 600 guards out of┬á staff compliment of 2,300 people country-wide.
“In the┬áshort and medium term guardian┬áservices will be the order of the day, given a number of┬áservices that are being outsourced from government. But in the medium to long term technology has to drive the business,” he said.
Government has an army of 25,000 guards sprawled across┬áthe country but is slowly trying to┬áopen up the market to the private sector.
The company is optimistic┬áabout┬ánew contracts┬áduring the year which will largely come from aviation industry and the imposing central Business District in Gaborone.