Global detention centres are thriving and vulture capitalists rejoice

Placing tortured asylum seekers into immigration detention in Britain – where private companies “take care” of aspects of this process – is shameful. Britain’s Channel 4 has the story:

Meanwhile, in Australia Serco is loving the increase in asylum boats. The more the merrier. Yesterday’s Australian records the screams of joy from the Serco board-room:

The private contracting company that runs Australia’s immigration detention centres has reported record profits, as the number of asylum-seekers rises to levels not seen in more than a decade.

New figures show Serco’s revenues reached $692 million last year, up from $369m in the previous calendar year.

While many companies in Australia are doing it tough, Serco reported a $59m profit after tax, close to a 50 per cent increase on its $40.5m profit in 2010.

Serco Australia is part of the global Serco Group, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The company renegotiated its contract with the Department of Immigration late last year after an increase in the number of detention centres.

It signed a $370m five-year contract in June 2009 to manage seven immigration detention centres and provide transport services.

There are now more than 20 centres and Serco’s contract is worth $1 billion.

With reports yesterday that the number of asylum-seekers was returning to the levels last seen in 2001, Serco is likely to further profit from the surge in arrivals.

Rivalling the $1bn detention centre contract is Serco’s $1.3bn contract with the West Australian Department of Health to provide services to the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth.

The company employs 3564 people and as well as running immigration detention centres also provides “systems engineering work and related services” and “equity investment management”. It has $81m in cash and cash equivalents on its books, borrowings of just $7.6m and net assets of $157m.

Serco also has a five-year contract with the Queensland Department of Corrective Services managing the new South Queensland Correctional Centre in Gatton. Serco values that particular deal at $100m.

The company also has a $500m contract with the Royal Australian Navy.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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