February 8, 2018 / 7:58 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Compass Group sees better FY organic revenue growth, margins

(Adds details on quarterly revenue growth, margins, background)

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Compass Group Plc, the world’s biggest catering firm, said it expected full-year organic revenue growth to be at the higher end of its forecast, helped by continued strength in North America and better-than-expected performance in Europe.

Compass, which provides meals for office workers, armed forces and school children around the world, said its organic revenue growth would be above the middle of its 4-6 percent target range.

The company also expects higher margins for the full year ending around Sept. 30, with growth weighted towards the second half, as actions it is taking to offset above-average cost pressures in the UK pays off.

Organic revenue grew 5.9 percent in the three months to Dec. 31, with North America rising 8.2 percent, it said. In Europe, organic revenue was up 2.1 percent, while the rest of the world saw a 4 percent rise.

The company’s long-time Chief Executive Richard Cousins, who said in September he would step down from the top job, died in a seaplane crash on the New Year’s eve, forcing Compass to advance the date Dominic Blakemore’s appointment to Jan. 1.

Cousins, who led Compass over the past 11 years, was due to step down in March after being widely credited with turning the company’s business around and making it into one of the best-performing firms on UK’s blue chip index.

Last month, France’s Sodexo, the world’s second-biggest catering services company, posted lower-than-expected lower quarterly sales, but said it would achieve its full-year targets. (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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