CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Securitas targets doubling of electronic security sales by 2023

(Corrects number of Securitas employees globally in second paragraph to about 370,000, from about 300,000)

STOCKHOLM, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Sweden’s Securitas aims to double sales of electronic security, including combined packages, to about 40 billion crowns ($4.2 billion) by 2023, it said on Thursday.

The world’s biggest security group, the services of which include guard personnel, alarm surveillance and airport security, wants to increase the share of electronic surveillance in its business mix, thereby reducing wage costs. The company currently employs about 370,000 people around the globe.

Securitas also seeks to move away from standalone service contracts towards more profitable packages that combine electronic security with other protective services, such as fire safety, corporate risk management and traditional manned guarding services.

Employment rates are high in many countries, putting upwards pressure on wages, while some are also increasing minimum wage levels.

Chief Executive Magnus Ahlqvist last month said that labour markets had become increasingly challenging across the company’s markets and that the price-wage balance would remain a key focus in 2020.

The company’s security solutions and electronic security sales operations accounted for a fifth of group sales in 2018, with an operating margin of 10%. That compared with 6% for the group as a whole.

Ahead of presentations to investors in Stockholm later on Thursday, the rival to Britain’s G4S also reiterated an earnings per share growth target of 10% and introduced a cashflow target of 70% to 80% of operating income.

Securitas’ shares were up 0.5% at 0900 GMT, roughly in line with the wider market, taking 2019 gains to 10%. ($1 = 9.6261 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom Editing by David Goodman)