(Adds details, CEO comment, background)
May 10 Compass Group, the world's
biggest catering firm, proposed a 1 billion-pound ($1.3 billion)
special dividend and said that revenue growth had accelerated in
the first half of the year on strong trading in North America
and improving trends in Europe.
The British firm, which serves about 5 billion meals each
year, said organic revenue rose 3.6 percent at constant currency
to 11.6 billion pounds in the six months ended March 31. It had
reported revenue growth in the first quarter of 2.8 percent.
First-half underlying operating profit grew 5.2 percent at
constant currency to 894 million pounds, Compass said.
Last month, rivals Sodexo and Edenred
reported higher sales, prompting them to maintain financial
Compass said on Wednesday its expectations for the full year
to September were unchanged and "positive", with growth expected
to more skewed towards the second half of the year.
"Our pipeline of new contracts is encouraging and our focus
on organic growth, efficiencies and cash gives us confidence in
achieving another year of delivery," Chief Executive Richard
Cousins said in a statement.
The company also proposed an interim dividend of 11.2 pence,
up 5.7 percent from an year ago.
($1 = 0.7717 pounds)
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru. Editing by Jane