January 11, 2018 / 6:05 AM / a year ago

French group Sodexo keeps goals despite slow start to Q1

PARIS, Jan 11 (Reuters) - French food services and facilities management group Sodexo said organic revenue grew a modest 1.9 percent in the first quarter of the 2017/18 fiscal year, reflecting a weak performance at its arm dealing with North American schools and universities.

Sodexo, which is the world’s No.2 catering services company after Britain’s Compass Group, said it was nevertheless confident of achieving its full year financial targets.

Sodexo, which bought a majority stake in FoodCheri - a French start-up delivering fresh meals in the Paris area - said the pipeline for new contracts was good and revenue should progressively improve in the coming quarters.

Revenue reached 5.312 billion euros ($6.35 billion) in the three months to Nov. 30. This marked a reported decline of 2.6 percent, due to a lower U.S. dollar and Brazilian Real currency. On a like-for-like basis, revenues were up 1.9 percent.

Sodexo kept its forecast for organic revenue growth of between 2-4 percent and a flat organic operating margin at 6.5 percent of sales for the full year ending Aug. 31, 2018.

The performance at its north American education arm was impacted by fewer working days. That division handles areas such as managing school facilities and providing catering.

$1 = 0.8368 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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