Shares in Serco jump on better-than-expected annual result

Outsourcing firm Serco announced better-than-expected results for the full-year to December, sending shares up by 32 pence to 553½ pence-a-share.

UK-based Serco said it pocketed a pre-tax profit of 177.1 million pounds in 2009, up from 136.1 million pounds in the year ago period. Sales were reported at 3.97 billion pounds.

Wide-ranging services from Royal Navy tugs in Britain to prisons in Australia and air-traffic control towers in the United States are operated by Serco. It has already won future orders worth 17 billion pounds.

Speaking on the topic, chief executive Christopher Hyman said, “There are more opportunities than we are able to bid for.”

After acquiring Indian outsourcer Info Vision Group in 2008, the firm is now planning to expand further into India.

Industry has seen an improvement as rival firm Capita also posted 17 per cent increase in profit for the previous year.

Serco has increased the final dividend by a quarter to 6.25 pence per share.