Serco is an international services company that operates in markets as diverse as government, defence, transport, healthcare, education and science. Although it still generates the majority of revenues from the domestic UK market, its aim is to continue growing the international business in all of its chosen sectors in order to reduce risk and boost opportunities for growth.
To this end, the company will make strategic acquisitions to acquire new skills and enter new markets where it sees a lot of potential.
One such acquisition was the purchase of a majority shareholding in Indian business process outsourcing firm InfoVision Group. The £13.3m acquisition put Serco into the heart of the fast-growing Indian domestic BPO market, as it intends to grow InfoVision's business on the sub-continent and launch its own brand in India with a view to providing its own services to the public.
Serco, which saw its half-yearly revenues grow by 20 per cent to £1.95bn in the first half of 2009, is continuing to work to enhance its margins by using a combination of three approaches. These comprise improving the management of its contract portfolio, bidding selectively for new projects and introducing such efficiency measures as strategic sourcing for both products and services.
It is also starting to see the benefits in efficiency terms of having completed the roll out of its new SAP system as well as its newly centralised and standardised procurement applications.
Current projects in the UK include an upgrade to the network infrastructure of London's Docklands Light Railway in preparation for a rollout of a new IP-based public address system, a £14m desktop services contract with West Sussex County Council, and the £265m deal for ICT services with Glasgow City Council. The contract is expected to save the council £70m over the next decade.
Elsewhere, following a two-year preparation programme, in September 2009 Serco began operating the Dubai Metro system. Preparation for the £500m project involved training more than 3,000 employees in safety and technical skills, and Serco will continue to run the Metro's Operations Control Centre as well as maintaining the network's infrastructure and rolling stock.
Serco's UK IT solutions arm, Serco Solutions, is going from strength to strength following its creation from the 2005 buy-out of ITNet, and has been boosted by the arrival of Darryn Gibson as CEO. Gibson was previously CIO of the global Serco Group.