(Adds CEO comments, details on Latin America)
By Alan Charlish
Feb 23 Prepaid meal voucher and card provider
Edenred said on Thursday it expects growth this year
in Latin America, its biggest market, to be broadly in line with
2016 as strength in Mexico offsets weakness in Brazil.
Chief Executive Bertrand Dumazy, however, said the situation
in Brazil was gradually improving.
"The recovery of macroeconomic indicators doesn't mean there
will be an immediate recovery in the real economy. For example,
our Employee Benefits business depends on the unemployment
rate," he told reporters on a call.
Unemployment in Brazil stood at 12.0 percent at the end of
December 2016, up from 9.0 percent a year earlier, according to
For 2017, the company is targeting overall like-for-like
growth of more than 7 percent in operating revenue and more than
9 percent in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), in line
with its medium-term goals announced in October.
Edenred, which helps firms manage staff expenses and is best
know for its "Ticket Restaurant" vouchers, said its comparable
issue volume, an indicator of the nominal value of the vouchers
issued, rose 10 percent in 2016 to 19.81 billion euros ($20.9
The company confirmed in October that it expected
like-for-like issue volume growth to be at the lower end of its
historic target range of 8 percent to 14 percent.
Issue volume in Latin America, which represents 49 percent
of the total, grew 12.4 percent on a like-for-like basis. Growth
in Brazil was 4.2 percent despite the weak economic environment
and high unemployment.
Edenred said EBIT rose 8.4 percent to 370 million euros for
the full year. The company proposed a dividend of 0.62 euros, a
decrease of 16 percent from the previous year.
($1 = 0.9471 euros)
(Editing by David Clarke)