According to a FICCI report, private security industry (PSI) is one of the largest employers in India (almost 90 lakh people, with the potential to employ 31 lakh more by 2022). These unarmed security guards are employed with about 22,000 private security agencies (PSA), and prominent players are G4S, SIS, Securitas, Peregrine, CISS, Checkmate, etc.
The demand for security services is increasing due to urbanisation, the real and perceived risks of crime, belief that public safety measures are insufficient, and growth of a middle class with assets to protect and means to pay for supplementary security measures.
This demand soared during the lockdown last year, beginning the March 24, 2020, notification by the home ministry which declared PSI as ‘essential services’. “This industry was least impacted due to lockdowns and amongst the few to have reported growth this year,” said Rituraj Kishore Sinha, group MD, Security and Intelligence Services (SIS).
“We have reported 7.6% year-on-year revenue growth in FY21,” he said. “This is unique, unlike many other BSE 500 companies that would be reporting higher profits [and not necessarily revenues] on the back of extreme cost-cutting.”
SIS currently employs 2.2 lakh security guards deployed across India. Of these, 1.55 lakh are in private security, 55,000 in facility management, and 10,000 in cash logistics (SIS is also present in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, where it employs another 10,000 people).
“When GDP grows 5-7%, PSI grows 3X, or 15-20%. But what is unique about PSI is that even when GDP contracts 5-7%, this industry still grows,” he said. “These services are needed in good times, but they are needed more in times of crisis. Today, you can’t run a hospital without the cleaning staff and security guards. It was one of the few sectors which didn’t have massive layoffs during the pandemic year.”
During the financial year, SIS also announced a Rs 10 crore Hamare Heroes Corona Welfare Fund; of its total employees, about 3,500 employees got infected with the coronavirus, as of April 20, 2021, and all these were supported from this fund, Sinha said.
On Wednesday, for FY21, SIS reported consolidated revenue at `9,127 crore (7.6% growth), consolidated EBITDA at Rs 521 crore (0.1% growth), consolidated PAT at Rs 367 crore (62.9% growth), and OCF generation at Rs 640 crore—all of these its highest-ever figures.