January 10, 2019 / 6:03 AM / 10 months ago

French catering group Sodexo keeps goals after Q1 sales rise

PARIS, Jan 10 (Reuters) - French food services and facilities management group Sodexo said underlying revenue grew 2.6 percent in the first quarter of the 2018/19 fiscal year, reflecting stable growth in Europe and an improvement in North America.

Revenue reached 5.671 billion euros ($6.55 billion) in the three months to Nov. 30. On a like-for-like basis, revenues were up 2.6 percent, slightly above analysts’ expectations for 2 percent growth in an Infront Data poll for Reuters.

Sodexo, which is the world’s No.2 catering services company after Britain’s Compass Group, said it was reinvesting the proceeds from an increase in its productivity towards various initiatives to boost growth.

It cautioned that differences between these productivity gains and money spent on investments would weigh “slightly” on its first half underlying operating profit.

Sodexo, however, kept its financial targets for the year.

It maintained its forecast for underlying revenue growth of between 2-3 percent and an underlying operating margin at 5.5-5.7 percent of sales for the full year ending Aug. 31, 2019.

$1 = 0.8654 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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