G4S targets big events after Olympics boost

LONDON Fri Jul 6, 2012 11:30am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - London's Olympic security provider G4S expects its work at the 2012 Games will help it win a bigger share of a four-year cycle of global events whose safety and security budget has been estimated at more than $10 billion.

The world's biggest security group hopes its profile - it is the world's second-largest private sector employer behind U.S. retailer Walmart (WMT.N) - will be broadened by the media attention, opening up wider opportunities in international and domestic events markets.

"We are keen to pursue events all over the globe and we do have the scale to do more than one thing at once," Ian Horseman Sewell, managing director of G4S Global Events, told Reuters in an interview.

"We are delivering a London Olympics now. If there was a similar event going on in Australia, I would be bullish that we could deliver that at the same time."

Horseman Sewell said while the sensitive, high-profile nature of security meant it ran the risk of its image being damaged if problems occurred, its Olympics association was already paying off. G4S (GFS.L) is a sponsor of the 2012 Games.

"It is a relatively small major events world and we have got some really interesting conversations going on which, in some cases, are turning into formal procurement and bidding with the next swathe of world events." he said.

"I would certainly hope that we will be making at least one announcement in the rest of this year about other major overseas events that we have been successful with."

G4S, whose services include cash handling, prison management and guarding ships from pirates, will search and screen spectators during the Olympics and also transport athletes under a 284 million pounds contract.

Looking ahead, it has targeted work at international events ranging from soccer's 2014 World Cup in Brazil and also the 2016 Olympics there, England's 2015 Rugby World Cup and more Formula One work, to domestic events, entertainment venues and political summits.

G4S plans to raise its events presence over the next six years in 17 targeted markets, including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Qatar, Russia, and the United States, with the aim of building a capability similar to its British arm, which runs security for events such as soccer, horse racing and concerts.

"In addition to those 17 markets, we have also selected six years worth of target world events that we are going to make a very significant effort to make sure that we provide services to," Horseman Sewell said.

G4S, which employs over 657,000 staff in more than 125 countries, said market research suggested the security and safety spend for the top 10 world events, most of which take place every four years, was now over $10 billion in each cycle, including infrastructure and advice as well as service delivery.

Horseman Sewell said it had "nine-figure aspirations" for the value of new global events revenue over the next six years.

G4S reports events business revenue as part of its secure solutions division, and so the business's annual turnover could not be identified.

With London 2012 posters and coffee cups spread about his office, and the Stratford Olympic site in clear view from his Canary Wharf office window, the Games are never far from Horseman Sewell's mind.

The group will operate airport-style screening, canine searches and response teams among other things during the event, managing almost 25,000 personnel.

With less than three weeks to go, he said G4s was "absolutely on track to deliver". (Editing by Dan Lalor)

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