iNVEZZ.com, Tuesday, January 7: British security and support services company G4S (LON:GFS) could be subject to a new scandal, this time related to the company’s alleged business in the Palestinian territories which have been occupied by Israel since 1967. According to sources, quoted by The Independent, the UK branch of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is preparing to launch a probe into the security giant’s alleged supply of surveillance equipment to Israeli security services. The equipment is supposedly used at Israel’s checkpoints in the occupied territories and the OECD is expected to investigate whether this deal is in contravention of its guidelines for responsible business conduct of multinational enterprises, given the illegality of the settlements under international law. The first stage of the investigation is likely to take about three months.
G4S, which has been hit by a number of scandals over the past two years, has long been criticised by various organisations for participating in Israel’s illegal settlements and helping the Israeli authorities to abuse Palestinian human rights. Several Dutch organisations, for example, have stopped doing business with the company for that reason.
Last month, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), a government department working with UK-based businesses that operate internationally, warned companies that there are clear legal and economic risks related to any economic and financial activities in Israeli settlements and advised companies to be aware of the potential reputational implications of involvement in the settlements.
G4S’s reputation has already been hurt by its bungled London 2012 Olympics security contract (G4S Shares Slump on Olympic Security Debacle) and by irregularities in public facilities management contracts that led to overcharging the UK taxpayer. Last month, the UK government said it would refer the security group to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for a second time this year (G4S share price down on contract review outcome). The company suffered more adverse publicity when the G4S-run Oakwood prison, near Wolverhampton, was hit by a five-hour disorder on Sunday night.
**G4S share price**
G4S was one of the blue chip underperformers in 2013 with its share price falling 2.8 percent for the year compared to a 14.4 percent rise in the FTSE 100 index. In today’s trading, G4S share prices was down 0.6 percent to 253.1p at 10:39 UTC, compared to a 0.4 percent advance in the Footsie.
According to a survey of analysts published by Analyst Ratings Network, G4S has a consensus rating of ‘hold’ and an average target price of 257.13p. Twelve research analysts have a ‘hold’ rating on the stock, seven have it as a ‘buy’, and two call it a ‘sell’.
**As of 10:25 UTC buy G4S shares at 253.20p.**
**As of 10:25 UTC sell G4S shares at 253.10p.**
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