Securitas profit up on airport, electronic security demand

Securitas (SECUb.ST) on Thursday reported a slightly bigger than expected rise in second quarter profit helped by demand for electronic security and further recovery in airport security in Europe.

The world’s biggest listed security services provider posted a 28% rise in operating profit to 1.46 billion Swedish crowns ($142 million), topping the 1.42 billion expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.

“The good business conditions accelerated in the second quarter with organic sales growth of 6%,” CEO Magnus Ahlqvist said in a statement.

Securitas’ European operations saw good momentum in electronic security services and a continued rebound in demand for airport security. Big price hikes boosted margins in the region, the group said.

Shares were up 8% at 1212 GMT in the company, whose biggest competitor is privately held U.S. group Allied Universal after it bought G4S last year.

Organic sales in Securitas’ high-margin electronic security products – a segment it aims to grow – rose 13%, helping profitability reach an all-time high.

Securitas last week bought Stanley Black & Decker’s (SWK.N) electronic security solutions business Stanley Security for $3.2 billion in its biggest acquisition to date.

It had sold the same business in 2011.

In North America, organic sales edged down, as flagged earlier, falling by 1% due to the termination of low-margin contracts and lower extra sales.

“However, the underlying business in North America is developing very well and we expect organic sales growth to return to positive in the third quarter,” Ahlqvist said.

($1 = 10.2856 Swedish crowns)