UPDATE 1-Serco raises 2021 profit outlook on demand for COVID-19 services in UK

(Adds details on contract win)

June 14 (Reuters) - Serco Group raised its 2021 profit outlook on Monday by 15 million pounds to about 200 million pounds ($282.18 million) as the British outsourcer expects stronger demand for its COVID-19 services in the UK.

The company has outperformed the wider UK outsourcing space, benefiting from its focus on the public sector, including the country’s national test and trace programme related to the pandemic.

Serco said its testing and tracing contracts volumes in the UK have continued to be strong and expects demand for these services to continue for longer in the second half than previously anticipated.

“All of our four divisions have traded in-line or ahead of their budgets in the first five months of the year,” the company said.

Serco said Vivo Defence Services, its joint venture with energy and services firm Engie SA, was awarded UK defence infrastructure contracts worth 900 million pounds, adding that the contracts would not have any material impact on its 2021 profit.

$1 = 0.7088 pounds Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta