* CEO says to focus on integrating Brazilian acquisition
* Says small or mid-sized deals cannot be ruled out
* Says Lenotre can generate same margins as Sodexo - CEO (Adds details, quotes)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Sodexo’s chief executive on Tuesday reaffirmed the French catering and vouchers group’s financial targets for this fiscal year despite a challenging economic climate.
Chief Executive Michel Landel also told Reuters the group would focus on integrating Brazilian corporate caterer Puras do Brasil, which it recently bought, but would not rule out “small and medium-sized buys”.
“We have given our financial goals, we are maintaining our goals,” Landel said when asked if global recession fears were weighing on the group’s fiscal fourth quarter. He declined to comment on the quarter ahead of the group’s full-year results announcement slated for Nov. 9.
Sodexo, the world’s second largest catering group after Britain’s Compass Group , has forecast full-year organic revenue growth of around 4.5 percent and aims to increase its operating profit by 10 percent for the year ended Aug. 31.
Landel spoke to Reuters after a news conference to mark the acquisition of French gourmet caterer Lenotre.
Earlier this month Sodexo bought Brazil’s Puras do Brasil for an enterprise value of 525 million euros ($707 million) to take advantage of booming demand in the fast-growing Brazilian market.
When asked if Sodexo eyed other large purchases, notably in emerging markets, Landel said: “We are going to focus on making this acquisition thrive.”
About of 80 percent of Sodexo’s growth was organic, he added.
Earlier this month Sodexo finalised the acquisition of gourmet caterer Lenotre from hotel group Accor for 75 million euros.
Landel told a news conference held at Lenotre’s three-star Pre Catelan restaurant in Paris’s Bois De Boulogne that the acquisition would help Sodexo develop a prestige catering offer for its customers.
“Lenotre is a well-managed company. Its margins will be the same as those of Sodexo once synergies are in place,” he said.
The purchase of Lenotre also expands Sodexo’s “prestige” business that includes the famed Paris cabaret Le Lido and the Yachts de Paris luxury yachts.
Created in 1947, Lenotre, which had 2010 sales of 105 million euros, has boutiques around the world offering fine pastries, gourmet dishes, chocolates and sweets. It also organizes special events and operates restaurants. It currently has 64 locations across 13 countries. ($1 = 0.742 Euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Christian Plumb and Hans-Juergen Peters)