Securitas has announced its financial results for January to March 2018. Total sales stand at MSEK 23 356 (22 491), with organic sales growth at 6% (4). Operating income before amortisation is MSEK 1 091 (1 056) and operating margin 4.7% (4.7). Earnings per share is SEK 1.89 (1.72) while free cash flow/net debt is recorded at 0.08 (0.12).
President and CEO Magnus Ahlqvist (pictured) commented: “The strong sales momentum from 2017 continued in the first quarter of 2018 and resulted in an organic sales growth of 6% (4). We continue to be supported by favourable macroeconomic conditions in our main markets. We estimate that we grew faster than the security market in general, where our ability to deliver complete security solutions is a market advantage.”
Ahlqvist added: “The operating margin was stable at 4.7%. It was flat in North America, while Europe declined slightly and Ibero America improved. Adjusted for changes in exchange rates, earnings per share improved by 13% supported by a lower tax rate reflecting the impact from the US tax reform in December last year. The favourable macroeconomic conditions in our main markets are expected to yield higher wage inflation in 2018. In Q1, we balanced wage cost increases with price increases. Our strategy to mitigate higher wage inflation is also to offer security solutions using technology.”
The weak cash flow in the first quarter was mainly due to Europe where the timing of Easter had a negative impact. Cash flow improved significantly during the first part of April.