A FIRM behind a North-East fire safety business says it remains committed to the region, despite seeing annual profits fall.

Serco, which operates the International Fire Training Centre (IFTC), at Durham Tees Valley Airport, says it has invested £1m into the facility in the last three months and is not looking to leave.

The reassurance comes after the Serco group revealed annual profits had dropped 62 per cent following its involvement in a Government criminal tagging contract.

Loading article content

The company last year agreed to repay £68.5m for over-charging on tagging contracts and a further £2m of past profits from a prisoner escorting agreement.

Gary Watson, IFTC business operations manager, said: “We remain committed to the IFTC, which has a healthy and growing order book from clients in the UK and overseas.

“In the past three months alone, the company has invested more than £1m into the business, and we continue to actively engage with Peel Holdings, the owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport, about our long-term commitment to the site.

“Both organisations share real confidence about the future.”

Serco's profits fell to £106.6m, reflecting £90.5m of one-off charges principally relating to the tagging settlement.

Its order book stood at £17.1bn at the end of last year, compared with £19.1bn a year earlier, with operating profits down 2.3 per cent to £285.4m.