PARIS, Nov 8 (Reuters) - French food services and facilities management group Sodexo vowed on Thursday to accelerate sales growth in the current fiscal year although it cautioned that its turnaround would take some time.
Sodexo, the world’s second-biggest catering company after Compass Group, made the forecasts after it posted a well-flagged slowdown in sales growth and a lower operating profit margin for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31.
Sodexo had warned in March that it would not meet its sales and profit targets for the year due to weakness in its North American business, where cost savings have lagged and several large contracts have taken time to pay off.
Sodexo reported a 1.6 percent rise in like-for-like revenue of 20.407 billion euros ($23.33 billion), a slowdown from 1.9 percent growth achieved the previous year. An Inquiry Financial poll for Reuters had forecast revenue of 20.277 billion.
Its underlying operating profit margin reached 5.7 percent, excluding currency impacts, against 6.4 percent a year ago, in line with the company’s revised guidance.
For the current 2018/19 fiscal year, Sodexo forecast underlying revenue growth of between 2 percent and 3 percent and an underlying operating profit margin of between 5.5 percent and 5.7 percent, at constant exchange rates.
$1 = 0.8748 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta