Neil Woodford Backs G4S Boss

Published in Company Comment on 18 July 2012

Leading fund manager Neil Woodford comes out in support of G4S's Nick Buckles.

Nick Buckles, the embattled CEO of G4S (LSE: GFS), probably feels friends are in short supply at the moment. But at least he can count on the support of legendary fund manager, Neil Woodford.

In an interview with Reuters, Woodford said:

"It is my view that the interest of shareholders are best served by keeping Nick Buckles in this business because his track record is excellent. I do not want to throw all of that away on the back of this failure of local management to deliver one contract, one of literally thousands and thousands of contracts that this company has around the world."

That seems somewhat charitable to me. Not only was this contract worth nearly £300m, it was also to be used as a springboard for contracts at similar events around the world, like the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. That plan, as you might expect, looks to be in tatters.

There will also be a lot of pressure on the UK government to look elsewhere when the existing deals it has with G4S come up for renewal. That said, Woodford knows G4S far better than me, as he is the company's second largest investor.

GFS share price over the last week


Reuters added that Woodford also supported Buckles last year in the wake of G4S's failed bid for ISS, even though he wasn't in favour of the proposed £5bn acquisition. That failed bid led to the departure of G4S's previous chairman, Alf Duch-Pedersen, who was replaced just a few weeks ago by John Connolly, who ran Deloitte in the UK for many years.

Following yesterday's Parliamentary grilling, it looks like Buckles will remain at the helm until the end of the Olympics. Despite the support of Woodford and other City investors, he may then find political and media pressure will quickly lead to his departure.

If you want to find out more about Neil Woodford and how he delivered an impressive 347% total return during the 15 years to 31 December 2011, you can download our latest free report called "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor".

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> Stuart does not own any of the shares listed above.

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wiblet 18 Jul 2012 , 6:27pm

Either misplaced loyalty or niaivity by Woodford. The police were planning for this failure over two years ago, it wasn't a case of just in case, rather we know it's going to happen but the government won't listen. This is not speculation but based on personal experience as a recently retired senior police officer. G4S may be cheaper than the police at providing non-warranted services but the quality of service provided is way below that provided by current police support staff.

theRealGrinch 18 Jul 2012 , 6:28pm

its seems the world consists only of woodford and buffet

jackdaww 18 Jul 2012 , 6:45pm


its good to hear from someone on the inside who knows about these things.

having had their fingers burned g4s may learn and progress.

could be a good investment.

LastChip 18 Jul 2012 , 7:54pm

Wow! The government wouldn't listen; there's a surprise!

goodlifer 18 Jul 2012 , 8:28pm

"He is the company's second largest investor."

If the Blessed Neil owns a lot of G4S shares it's hardly surprising he tries to talk them up.

In his shoes I'd probably do the same - wouldn't you?

ANuvver 18 Jul 2012 , 10:34pm

Thanks for that wiblet.

"Can I see your ID?"
"Can I see yours?"

TMFTigger 19 Jul 2012 , 10:06am
tru2me 19 Jul 2012 , 11:24am

Thanks Stuart for the Daily Mash take.

All these agendas?

eccyman 19 Jul 2012 , 7:54pm

Was it just me reaching for the sick bag at the sight of MP's playing to the gallery with the recent baitings of senior business leaders?

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