Securicor well ahead despite static Cellnet

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The Independent Online
A STRONG profits recovery in Securicor Group's traditional security, parcels and hotel interests offset a static contribution from its 40 per cent stake in the Cellnet mobile phone operation, leaving pre-tax profits a third higher at pounds 63m in the year to 30 September.

A final dividend of 2.23p makes a 13 per cent increase in the total to 2.96p. An identical dividend rise to 5.68p, with a final of 4.15p, is proposed at Security Services, 50.75 per cent owned by Securicor, where pre-tax profits rose by 43 per cent to pounds 43.3m.

Substantial promotion of the Lifetime low-cost tariff held back growth in Cellnet's contribution to only 0.7 per cent, from pounds 45.9m to pounds 46.3m. Helped by the autumn promotion of Mercury's new One-2-One mobile phone, where handset availability proved inadequate, fourth-quarter connections to Cellnet more than doubled to 181,000.

Roger Wiggs, chief executive of Securicor, said he expected a 60 per cent rise in Cellnet's installed base last year to lead to a much improved contribution from Cellnet in 1993/4.

Securicor's non-Cellnet businesses showed a profits increase of 85 per cent to pounds 17.1m, reflecting past heavy restructuring. The recently awarded pounds 95m prisoner escort contract for London is expected to contribute to profits next year.

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