Compass Group Continues to Serve Up Growth


LONDON -- Compass Group (ISE: CPG.L) , the catering and support services company, issued an upbeat trading statement this morning, ahead of its full-year results, to be announced on Nov. 21, 2012.

A strong fourth quarter means that full-year expectations remain unchanged, with constant currency revenue growth expected to be around 8%. Operating profit is anticipated to increase by approximately the same amount, with the margin being slightly ahead of 2011.

Both North America and emerging markets delivered significant growth -- organic revenue growth in emerging markets was over 12%, and there's still a healthy pipeline of new contracts.

Richard Cousins, group chief executive, commented:

Trading in the fourth quarter has been good and, in line with our expectations, organic revenue growth will be around 5.5% for the full year. The positive trading momentum in North America and Fast Growing & Emerging has continued and the outlook in both regions is encouraging. The fundamentals of the European business remain solid, but we are taking decisive action to protect profitability in the immediate future and improve operational efficiency over the medium term. Overall, the prospects for the business around the world are good and I remain confident that we will continue to drive revenue and margin growth.

Compass continues to rally strongly since its doldrums in the mid-2000s, delivering a near 300% gain since its low in October 2005.

Such a substantial return suggests that it could be worth watching Compass Group closely, particularly if conditions in the emerging markets remain positive, and the stock market in general embarks on a new bull run.

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Jon Wallis does not own shares in Compass. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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