Foodservice company Compass has repaid the £25m it received in furlough money for its staff during the six months to 31 March 2021.
The global business announced the repayment in its latest half-year results, which revealed the Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in a 32.4% fall in revenue to £8.4b and an 83% drop in pre-tax profit to £133m.
The underlying revenue for the business was 71% of that achieved in 2019, with the sports and leisure sector taking the biggest hit, down to just 26% of the previous year's levels, and business and industry dropping to 60%.
Meanwhile, healthcare and senior living was up to 105% of 2019 figures and defence and offshore business operating at 108% compared to the previous year.
The company said that the operation of the group continues to be disrupted by the pandemic, but it had taken steps to reduce its costs. Some 7,000 employees have left the business since March 2020, taking the total workforce in the UK to 45,000.
Dominic Blakemore, Compass group chief executive, described client retention as "excellent", standing at 95.6% during the first six months, alongside new business wins at 5.4%.
"With the gathering pace of vaccination rollouts across our major markets, we are working closely with our clients to prepare to reopen their sites safely, although the picture across the world remains mixed. While we expect any revenue recovery to be gradual, we remain confident in our ability to return to a group underlying margin above 7% before we return to pre-Covid volumes.
"Throughout the pandemic, we continued to develop our digital culinary platforms. These concepts complement the traditional on-site restaurant and now provide us with a variety of solutions from which to create a truly bespoke client offer."