Vertical Markets

Securitas reports on 2020: tough year

by Mark Rowe

Last year was challenging for Securitas, as for many others, and a tough year for everyone, says Magnus Ahlqvist, Securitas President and CEO, in the company’s annual report for 2020. He said: “Considering the difficulties that we faced during the year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Securitas as a company and team has shown incredible resilience.

“With a clear focus across the entire company on four main priorities – protecting the health and safety of our people, staying close to our clients, managing costs and maintaining our cash generation – we have been able to cope well throughout the different stages of the pandemic. We entered 2020 from a position of strength and, despite the short-term challenges we have faced, have accelerated our pace of transformation and further clarified our priorities as a business.”

The Europe arm of the multi-national saw ‘a significant corona-related impact from reduced aviation security’, he said. The company’s operating margin was 4.5 per cent, down from the previous year’s 5.2pc. Ahlqvist, pictured, said: “Due to the pandemic, many of our clients’ needs changed during the year and we managed to provide outstanding security solutions and services, often on short notice, to meet their requirements. Our adaptability, agility and ability to deliver were widely recognised by our clients and provided further proof of the strength of the Securitas model.”

On that point, the report spoke of a company ambition to double the security ‘solutions’ and electronic security business by 2023, compared with 2018. This is a long-time point of the firm, looking to shift from purely manned security – a man at a gate or door – to more sophisticated and higher margin services, such as alarm monitoring and mobile response.

Also in Europe, the firm is carrying out a ‘significant business transformation programme’ to 2024, with an aim to increase the operating margin to ‘around 6.5 per cent’. In 2020, the company’s overall organic sales growth was zero; in Europe, it was minus two per cent. The firm reports that it has some 355,000 employees – 121,000 of them in Europe; 1360 branch offices; and 153,000 clients, not including monitoring-only customers. As for the market, Securitas said that its main global competitors are G4S and Allied Universal (Allied has recently acquired G4S) and Prosegur; but in many of our markets, the main competitors are small or medium sized, local companies, the report added.

As for ways of working during the pandemic, the report says that through virtual means, the company was able to increase client engagement in 2020, staying well connected despite limits to travel and physical interactions. “Digital meetings will continue to play a role in our client-centricity efforts as well as in our sustainability efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, even after the pandemic,” the report said.

The contractor says that it’s automating many processes with a Client Excellence Platform, a customer relationship management (CRM) system. That IT work means that the contract firm can capture data to map client relationships and touch points: “This way, we can develop new safety and security services built on the data and insights generated,” the report added.

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