(Reuters) -Outsourcer Serco Group reported a 58% jump in its first-half profit and stuck to its full-year outlook on Thursday, as it benefited from COVID-19 test-and-trace contracts and acquisitions in Australia and the United States.
The British company, one of the few suppliers to support Britain's test-and-trace programme, said its underlying trading profit for the six months ended June 30 was 123 million pounds ($170.76 million), compared with 78 million pounds a year ago.
Serco, which provides services such as security, cleaning, engineering, and air traffic control for governments across 20 countries, declared its first interim dividend since 2014 at 0.8 pence. It also resumed annual dividend for 2020 in February.
The company also said its profit was boosted by its acquisitions of Whitney, Bradley & Brown — that provides services to the U.S. military — and facilities and cleaning services company Facilities First Australia.
While keeping most of its annual outlook, including revenue and profit, unchanged, Serco upgraded its free cash flow forecast to 120 million pounds from an earlier projection of 100 million pounds.
($1 = 0.7203 pounds)
(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)