Flotation to put £75m price tag on Rifkind security firm

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The Independent Online

ArmorGroup, the security services firm which is chaired by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former foreign secretary, plans to float in London.

The company has personnel providing security in many of the world's most chaotic places, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia. It is thought that the group, which is headquartered in London, will be valued at up to £75m.

Jerry Hoffman, the chief executive, said that "we need the cash to fuel our growth". Last year, the company's revenues were a little less than $100m (£54m), while this year, to the end of August, has already seen $115m come in.

Mr Hoffman is keen to distance ArmorGroup from other "security" companies that provide mercenaries and have been associated with involvement in military coups. "We are a private security company, not a private military company. We operate with the approval of the US government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office," he said.

Mr Hoffman said that 84 per cent of the company's employees were not armed and those that were carried "defensive" not "offensive" weapons. He said the company was pressing for regulation of the industry. Outside security, the company is also involved in landmine clearance. ArmorGroup provides security to diplomats and multi-national companies. It has 1,300 security personnel in Iraq. Its projects there include training police protection teams for the justice ministry and judges. Its global private sector clients include Bechtel and Halliburton, the giant US contractors.

Sir Malcolm, 58, who served as a Conservative foreign secretary in the 1990s, was appointed chairman of the company in April although he owns no shares. ArmorGroup was part of a US-listed company until it was taken private in a £20m management buyout last year, backed by Granville Baird Capital Partners, the European private equity group which owns a majority stake, with management holding the rest.

The float aims to raise more than £20m through the issue of new shares, with no existing investor selling into the listing. ArmorGroup's rivals in the global protection business include Control Risks Group.

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