LONDON Nov 27 Compass Group, the
world's biggest catering company, launched a 500 million pound
($809 million) share buyback on Wednesday, its third in as many
The British firm, which employs more than 500,000 people to
feed office workers, soldiers and school children, also reported
underlying pretax profit up 9 percent to 1.2 billion pounds in
the year to end-Sept, slightly ahead of analyst expectations.
New contract wins in the U.S. and emerging markets,
particularly its deals with Ascension Health and Texas A&M
University , pushed organic revenue growth to 4.3 percent.
Revenue for 2013 was 17.6 billion pounds.
Compass, which estimates that the outsourced food market is
worth around 200 billion pounds, also signed new deals with
LinkedIn, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
AEGON USA this year.
The firm reported its highest ever operating margin of 7.1
percent, helped by it closing businesses and exiting uncertain
contracts in Europe. It said conditions in Europe and Japan,
where it gets just over a third of its revenue, would remain
Its biggest rival Sodexo warned earlier this month
that austerity-hit Europe and a slowdown in emerging markets
would weigh on its results in the short term.
Compass also increased its dividend by 12.7 percent on a
year earlier to 24 pence.