G4S close to Israeli business sale

G4S
G4S has more than 611,000 employees in more than 125 countries Credit: Ed Robinson/OneRedEye

Security company G4S is close to offloading its Israeli business in a $100m (£77.1m) deal, as plans to rationalise the firm continue.

The company is understood to have selected private equity firm FIMI Opportunity Funds as the frontrunner to take on the business, which employs around 8,000 people in Israel operating prisons and providing security services for the Israeli government.

It was reported earlier this year that Israeli industrial group Electra had also been working up a bid to buy the company, but a deal was not agreed.

G4S announced its intention to sell a number of its subsidiaries in March, including its division in Israel; its UK utilities business, which fits and maintains energy meters for utilities companies; and contracts to run youth justice facilities at Medway in Kent and Oakhill near Milton Keynes.

The sales are expected to generate proceeds of £250m-£350m, which the company will use to reduce debt over the next one to two years.

G4S has in the past come under fire from anti-Israel pressure groups such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), which has accused G4S of human rights abuses, particularly because it provides equipment for Israeli-run checkpoints and terminals in the West Bank and Gaza.

Earlier this year BDS claimed that its actions had forced G4S to sell its Israeli operations, a claim which G4S has continually denied.

A spokesman for G4S said: “The rationale for selling out business in Israel is entirely commercial, and certainly not in response to any pressure from BDS or any other pressure group.”

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