PARIS, April 18 French catering and vouchers
group Sodexo forecast flat operating profit this year
and said it would expand its cost-cutting programme as it
battles a "particularly difficult" economic environment.
Operating income in the first half to Feb. 28 slipped 1.1
percent excluding restructuring costs and currency effects to
528 million euros ($688.6 million), below the average of analyst
forecasts in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 557 million.
Sodexo forecast organic sales growth of between 1 and 2
percent for the full year, following a 2.1 percent rise in the
first half to 9.46 billion euros.
The group said it would enlarge its cost-cutting programme,
leading to charges of 180-200 million euros in the 18 months
through February 2014 and similar savings as of fiscal 2015.
This compares with 130-150 million previously targeted.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Dominique Vidalon)