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Serco warns of 2014 profit hit after contract scandals

London: Serco, accused of overcharging the British government, took a raft of charges and warned of lower 2014 profits on Thursday as its problems in Britain and Australia hit margins. The firm said its operating margin in 2013 would be slightly lower than the 6.4 per cent a year earlier and that this would lead to 2014 profits being slightly lower than in 2013. “Awful statement and we expect yet further weakness,” Liberum analyst Joe Brent said. The news caps a tumultuous six months for the firm in which it has become the subject of multiple investigations, its chief executive has quit and it has lost around a fifth of its market value.