Serco Shares Sink Amid Uncertain Outlook

News from the “We Own It” outsourcing company Serco that is ridiculed by its “expertise” in golf course “development and management” at the Beacon Park Golf Course.

We Own It launched an online petition to pressure Hancock to end Serco’s role in contact tracing saying Our position is that we’re opposed to all privatisation of public services – including in the NHS – so, in short, yes – we’re opposed to Serco’s involvement in the system because it’s a private company”.

Despite a profit surge in the first half, Serco Group PLC (LON:SRP) shares were lower on Thursday as the firm offered an uncertain outlook for the coming year despite a strong performance for its first half. In an outlook statement accompanying its results for the six months ended June 30, the security and outsourcing firm said they expected the uncertainty in its business is “likely to persist well into 2021” as the fallout from the pandemic continued.

Chief executive Rupert Soames also reiterated the company’s guidance for 2020 of £3.7bn in revenues and an underlying trading profit of between £135-£150milion, originally issued on June 17. “Nothing in recent weeks has changed our view, although, as set out in our Outlook section, [coronavirus] has introduced a greater degree of risk around our guidance than would normally be the case” Soames said.

In a note, analysts at Liberum retained their ‘buy’ rating and 180p price target on the firm, saying the interim results were “in line with expectations”, although they cut their earnings per share guidance for 2021 by 7% to reflect the macro uncertainty, adding that “much will depend on the order book wins in [the second half of 2020], the level of activity and government support in aviation and rail, and the continuation of [coronavirus] work”.

Shares in Serco were down 9.7% at 153p in early trading. There was no mention of the current state of the Beacon Park Golf Course but Serco Leisure stated “Since Saturday, the well-established leisure operator has opened 36 of its 49 sites, and is in the enviable position of being able to claim that for each of its contracts, customers will have access to a site, or number of sites. This follows the lifting of lockdown for indoor fitness facilities, announced by the Government earlier this month.

Simon Bailey, Managing Director of Serco Leisure, who visited a number of centres during the reopening weekend said “We’re very proud to be able to say that across every one of our contracts, we are now offering an indoor-exercise option for the communities we serve. Working closely with clients across our contracts, and involving countless hours of safety planning, we’ve been able to find a safe, socially-distanced solution, which works for each of the areas we operate in.

“To get to this point has not been easy and we have to thank the co-operation and support of our clients during these unprecedented times. Our role is to serve these organisations while providing quality, safe activity options for the people using our centres, as well as for our 3,000+ employees.

“This is just the first step towards rebuilding the industry. We’ve got to convince customers and colleagues that our centres are safe places to be. We’ve left no stone unturned in our safety planning and with the support of our teams across the business, I feel confident in saying that when people visit a Serco Leisure centre, they will be receiving the industry’s highest level of safety standards”.

Mr Bailey hasn’t been seen at the Beacon Park Golf Course yet, where he would find no evidence of the quality he speaks so glibly about?

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