November 21, 2017 / 7:45 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-British caterer Compass' profit helped by growth in US

(Adds details, background)

Nov 21 (Reuters) - Compass Group Plc, the world’s biggest catering firm, reported a 5.6 percent rise in full-year profit on steady growth in the United States, its biggest market.

The company, whose long-time Chief Executive Richard Cousins is stepping down by March-end, said on Tuesday organic revenue in North America rose 7.1 percent, accounting for more than 58 percent of total revenue. Its European business was also robust, posting an 8.3 percent increase in revenue.

Compass, which provides meals for office workers, armed forces and school children around the world, said operating margin rose by 20 basis points for the full year, helped by restructuring and modest price increases.

Compass said its expectations for 2018 are positive, with much of the growth and margin improvement coming in the second half of the year.

Last week, France’s Sodexo, the world’s second-biggest catering services company, posted a 1.9 percent increase in like-for-like revenue and expressed confidence it could accelerate sales growth.

Compass’ operating profit rose to 1.71 billion pounds ($2.27 billion) in the year ended Sept. 30, from 1.61 billion pounds a year earlier.

The British company, which serves around 5 billion meals each year in more than 50 countries, said revenue rose 4.1 percent to 22.9 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.7548 pounds) (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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