LONDON, March 27 Compass, the world's
biggest catering firm, forecast first-half underlying revenue
growth of about 4 percent and said its expectations for the full
year were unchanged, though it anticipated a translation hit
from currency movements.
The group, which employs more than 500,000 people to feed
office workers, soldiers and schoolchildren in over 50
countries, also forecast on Thursday an increase in its
operating profit margin of around 10 basis points in the six
months to March 31.
Compass said it was encouraged by its pipeline of new
During its first half, the British pound continued to
strengthen against many of the currencies in the firm's key
overseas markets, such as the U.S. and Canadian dollars, euro,
yen, Australian dollar and Brazilian real.
For the first half the firm expects a negative currency
impact on the translation of overseas revenues into sterling of
approximately 5.5 percent, or 486 million pounds ($805 million),
and 5.7 percent, or 37 million pounds, on underlying profit.
It said if current spot rates were to continue through the
second half it would expect a negative currency impact on
revenue of 5.9 percent, or 1.03 billion pounds, and 6.2 percent,
or 78 million pounds, on full-year underlying profit.
Compass said first-half revenue growth was driven by
continued high levels of new business, stable retention rates
and positive like-for-like revenue growth.
It said the underlying trends in its three regions had been
consistent throughout the first two quarters, with strong growth
in North America, its largest market, and its Fast Growing &
Emerging region, and signs of stabilisation in Europe & Japan.
Shares in Compass, up 13 percent over the last year, closed
on Wednesday at 929 pence, valuing the business at 16.5 billion
($1 = 0.6037 British Pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Mark Potter)