Companies Seek Advice About How to Protect Employees After Paris Shootings

By | January 15, 2015

The world’s biggest security provider, G4S Plc, is fielding more inquiries from prospective clients after terrorists killed 17 people in Paris last week.

Companies are seeking advice on how to protect their employees following attacks at the weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, Anne Tiedemann, managing director of G4S Risk Consulting, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“We’re working more with businesses, not just to put in place measures to secure their people and premises, but to ensure their business continuity plans are up to meeting the challenge posed by an attack,” she said.

The Paris assaults prompted the deployment of 10,000 troops throughout France to protect sensitive sites, while armed police officers stood guard outside media offices and government buildings. Crawley, England-based G4S provides security for government buildings, utilities and corporate clients including Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

G4S rose as much as 1.4 percent in London trading, valuing the company at 4.3 billion pounds ($6.5 billion) while rival Serco Group Plc gained as much as 1.9 percent.

December’s hostage-taking at a Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney also increased customers’ concerns since large parts of the city were closed off, shutting offices, according to Tiedemann.

‘More Interest’

“Even if a business is not a target, the impacts of an attack can be felt across quite a large area within a city,” she said. “Companies are increasingly taking the threat seriously and we are seeing more interest in this area from both our established client base and people who are reviewing their measures following these terrible attacks.”

Governments contributed 24 percent of G4S’s 7.4 billion pounds in 2013 revenue, while major corporate customers represented 29 percent of sales, financial institutions accounted for 19 percent, and utilities for 8 percent.

G4S sold its business providing the U.S. government with protective services in November as Chief Executive Officer Ashley Almanza weeds out under-performing businesses. In the U.K., the company became the focus of a fraud inquiry last year for overcharging the government for tracking criminal offenders, dealing another blow to G4S’s reputation after it failed to provide enough guards for the London Olympics.

About Alex Webb

Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco. More from Alex Webb

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