Robberies “will not affect Securitas finances”

Securitas AB said it is fully insured, and sees no short term financial impact from the increased number of violent robberies against its Swedish operations this year.

The attacks have included both highway hold-ups and attacks on the company’s depots, and have led to criticism of the company by both the police and the Swedish justice minister, Thomas Bodström. The company has responded with criticism of its own against both the police and Swedish legal system.

Speaking to AFX News, Securitas’ head of investor relations, Henrik Brehmer, said the company is also insured against the effects of a recent strike by van drivers who were demanding better protection.

The strike followed an attack earlier this month in which machine gun wielding masked robbers blew out the side of a vehicle in southwest Sweden, seriously injuring a female guard in the process.

Brehmer declined to comment on the amount of money stolen in recent months, but confirmed that the company is insured.

“The money stolen is insured so there is no financial exposure to Securitas,” said Brehmer, adding: “There is obviously an excess fee but that is accounted for by existing provisions”.

However, he said if the attacks continue the company would face higher insurance costs in the future.

Brehmer acknowledged the company faces a particular problem in Sweden where criminals have apparently declared open season its facilities. Attacks in Sweden far exceed attacks in neighbouring countries such as Norway.

“We face a problem in Sweden right now. But every party has a responsibility for the situation. The industry has that, the police, the politicians and the unions have that responsibility,” said Brehmer.

Brehmer indicated that tensions between the various parties have eased following a meeting between it and the Justice Minister yesterday. He described the meeting as “very good”, and said the minister has agreed to consider certain legal requests from Securitas, such as ruling the area around its depots as a “no go zone” for members of the public.

“Yesterday we had a very good meeting with Thomas Bodström and there is a true understanding, and there is a commitment among all parties, the police, the politicians and the industry to tackle this problem,” said Brehmer.

Brehmer said the company is now confident that the relevant authorities are prepared to tackle the problem collectively. He said Securitas has agreed to examine its own routines in Sweden, even though they are largely in line with its operations elsewhere.

“The situation in Sweden is unusual to the normal situation elsewhere, but we feel now that everyone involved is willing to take the responsibility. There are very constructive talks going on now, and we are confident that the police, and the politicians, and the other authorities are willing to change regulations and policies in order to support a safe flow of cash in the Swedish society,” said Brehmer.

He added that Sweden accounts for less that 10% of Securitas’s total cash handling business.