Capita boss calls for ‘swift resolution’ to Brexit ahead of Commons vote
The group reported underlying pre-tax profits of £282.1m for 2018
The boss of outsourcing giant Capita has urged the Government to find a “swift resolution” to Brexit and end damaging uncertainty for UK business, ahead of another critical vote in Parliament.
Chief executive Jon Lewis told the Press Association a no-deal Brexit would “not be a good outcome”, but warned over the impact of prolonged talks.
He said: “The ongoing uncertainty is unhelpful.
“Like every business, we want a swift resolution.”
Our transformation still has some way to go. But I am very pleased with our progress Jon Lewis, Capita CEO
It comes as MPs are set to vote on whether to keep Britain in the EU longer than planned after they defied the Government on Wednesday and dramatically decided to rule out a no-deal withdrawal from the EU.
But Mr Lewis said Brexit might provide opportunities for Capita, which is Britain’s biggest outsourcer.
He said: “There clearly are going to be contracts that are provided by the EU today, which the British Government will have to decide … if it wants to replace them with a British-based capability.
“I suspect there will be opportunities for companies like ourselves.”
The comments came he insisted Capita’s overhaul is on track despite having “some way to go”.
The group – Britain’s biggest outsourcer – reported a 26% fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £282.1 million for 2018 after revenues fell 5% to £3.9 billion.
But its profits were higher than expected.
On a statutory basis, Capita swung to a profit of £272.6 million against losses of £513.1 million in 2017.
Capita said it was expecting broadly flat profits in 2019, guiding for between £265 million and £295 million.
It said the successful delivery of its ongoing overhaul was “critical to the future performance” of the group.
Mr Lewis said: “We’ve successfully completed year one of our multi-year transformation, fixed the basics and are firmly on track.”
He added: “Our transformation still has some way to go. But I am very pleased with our progress.”
Capita has been undergoing a large-scale transformation under Mr Lewis.
The boss has said Capita will centralise its procurement, consolidate its UK footprint and exit leases on properties as he seeks to slash costs.
Capita also raised £700 million through a recent rights issue, as well as selling off units to garner £400 million.
The company’s order book at the end of the year stood at £7.1 billion, compared with £8.2 billion in 2017.
It said it was accelerating plans to achieve next £175 million of cost savings, brought forward from 2020 to the end of 2019.