STOCKHOLM, May 5 Reuters Security services company Securitas reported on Wednesday a slightly smaller rise than expected in firstquarter profit as the slump in demand for airport security due to the COVID19 pandemic held back group sales.
Operating profit at the Swedish provider of guard services, alarm surveillance and airport security rose 8 from a year earlier, to 1.03 billion crowns 122 million. Four analysts polled by Refinitiv had on average forecast a 1.10 billion crown profit.
Securitas said cost cuts and pandemicrelated extra sales of highmargin guarding services had supported profits.
Organic, or likeforlike sales were unchanged against 2 growth a year earlier and 1 growth in the fourth quarter. Securitas added that all its business segments managed to achieve organic growth in March, the last month of the quarter.
Although we are seeing signs of commercial activity picking up throughout the group, the corona pandemic continues to hamper organic sales growth, Chief Executive Magnus Ahlqvist said.
The airport security business remains significantly negatively impacted, primarily in Security Services Europe, but we continue to improve profitability through contract reviews.
COVID19 and government restrictions to slow its spread practically drew air travel to a halt a year ago, and travel remains drastically reduced.
Securitas is pushing to increase its share of electronic surveillance. In the first quarter, that share was, however, unchanged from a year…