Congestion charge firm sees profits up


Congestion charge firm sees profits up
Capita, the operator of London's congestion charge, has reported an 18 per cent rise in first-half profits.

In a statement the provider of back-office services revealed that its pre-tax profits in the six months to June reached £103.8 million.

Reporting a 17 per cent jump in turnover to £985 million, Capita also revealed its intention to return £155 million to shareholders through a special dividend of 25 pence a share.

The company revealed that it secured six major contracts worth a total of £1.15 billion in the first six months of 2007, up from £655 million in the same period last year.

Contracts gained include a deal with Swindon council to deliver a range of local government services as part of an agreement worth an estimated £243 million over 15 years.

Capita is currently bidding for contracts worth £3 billion, which it said reflected the quality of business opportunities across the markets in which it operates.

Analysts say that the company is also seeking to cut costs by increasingly transferring operations to India, where labour is available more cheaply.

Capita now has 1,000 staff working across two sites in Mumbai, India's economic capital, and is currently in the process of securing a third site in Chennai.

The group estimates that it will subsequently be employing around 1,500 staff in India by the end of the year, with the figure expected to rise to 3,000 by 2009.

Commenting on the results, Capita chief executive Paul Pindar said that the company remained "very positive" about future growth.

"Our markets continue to generate opportunity, our sales prospects are exciting and our operational performance is consistently strong," he stressed.

"Our successes in 2006 and progress in the first half of 2007 mean that the ingredients for a successful year and beyond are already in place," Mr Pindar added.

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