G4S Plc (LON:G4S),the world’s largest security firm which employs more than 630,000 staff worldwide, announced today that it had decided to sell its UK Children's Services division, which has come under scrutiny over allegations of mistreatment at a training centre for young offenders.
The business includes 13 children's homes and contracts to manage two youth training centres for the British government. One of those, the Medway secure training centre in Rochester, Kent, is currently at the centre of a scandal, with four workers fired over allegations of using unnecessary force and improper language, and three suspended pending further investigations. The director of the Medway centre stepped down last month.
A spokesman for the security giant said that the future of the division had been under consideration for some time and added that G4S had seen interest in the unit from a number of parties. G4S revealed that last year the business had posted revenue of about £40 million.
In today’s trading, G4S shares were up 2.7 percent at 210.50p, as of 15:06 GMT. The stock has fallen 6.7 percent since the start of the year and the company’s market capitalisation currently stands at £3.3 billion.
The 18 analysts offering 12-month price targets for G4S Plc have a median target of 246.00p, with a high estimate of 320.00p and a low estimate of 170.00p. As of February 20, 2016, the consensus forecast amongst 23 polled investment analysts covering G4S Plc had it that investors should hold their position in the company. The same consensus estimate has been maintained since July 01, 2015, when the sentiment of investment analysts deteriorated from “outperform”.