COMMENTS FROM THE PRESIDENT AND CEO
As in the third quarter, organic sales growth continued to strengthen in the fourth quarter and reached 6 percent compared with 3 percent in the first half of the year. The quarter reflected a strong market momentum throughout the Group, supported by favorable macroeconomic conditions and our ability to deliver complete security solutions. Some large contracts were started in the US in the fourth quarter, and the portfolio in Europe gradually improved during the second half of the year. In the Ibero-America business segment, Spain and Portugal continue to grow faster than the security market, while growth in Argentina has slowed down.
The operating margin in the fourth quarter was slightly better than previous year, but slightly below for the full year. In North America, the fourth quarter was burdened by start-up costs in large projects related to the strong organic sales growth, while Europe improved compared with previous year with support from several countries and strong technology sales in the fourth quarter. Earnings per share for the full year, adjusted for changes in exchange rates, improved by 9 percent excluding the one-off effects of the new tax legislation in the US. The strong macroeconomic conditions and shortage of qualified labor in the US and Europe will result in higher wage inflation in the coming year. We believe we are strategically well positioned to offset such an increase by price increases and offering alternative security solutions using technology.
We continue to deliver on our strategy. Security solutions and electronic security grew by 19 percent compared with 2016 and represented 18 percent (16) of total sales in 2017. We will continue to increase this relative share through organic growth and acquisitions, including the consolidation of Automatic Alarm in France, as of January 2, 2018. This marks an important milestone in our efforts to improve our sales of security solutions in France and makes us the only major security company able to offer optimized solutions combining electronic security and guarding in our second-largest market in Europe.
As an important part of our strategy, Vision 2020, we are gradually increasing investments in digitizing our customers’ historical and real-time data in order to deliver more predictive security. In combination with our security solutions and electronic security strategy, intelligent security will create greater customer value and enhanced security, and strengthen our leadership in the global security market.
President and Chief Executive Officer
PRESENTATION OF THE FULL YEAR REPORT
Analysts and media are invited to participate in a telephone conference on January 31, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. (CET) where Securitas’ CEO Alf Göransson will present the report and answer questions. The telephone conference will also be audio cast live via Securitas website. To participate in the telephone conference, please dial in five minutes prior to the start of the conference call:
US: + 1 855 269 2605
Sweden: + 46 8 519 993 55
UK: + 44 203 194 0550
To follow the audio cast of the telephone conference via the web, please follow the link www.securitas.com/investors/webcasts. A recorded version of the audio cast will be available at www.securitas.com/investors/webcasts after the telephone conference.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Micaela Sjökvist, Head of Investor Relations, + 46 10 470 3013
Gisela Lindstrand, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs,+ 46 10 470 3011
Securitas is a global knowledge leader in security. We base our protective services on customer-specific needs through different combinations of on-site, mobile and remote guarding, electronic security, fire and safety and corporate risk management. Everywhere from small stores to airports, our 335 000 employees are making a difference.
This is information that Securitas AB is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Securities Markets Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons set out above, at 1.00 p.m. (CET) on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.
Securitas AB (publ.) P.O. Box 12307, S-102 28 Stockholm, Sweden Corp. ID no: 556302–7241 Visiting address: Lindhagensplan 70 Telephone: +46 (0) 10 470 30 00 Facsimile: +46 (0) 10 470 31 22 www.securitas.com