Cousins delighted with Compass's progress

29 November 2007 by
Cousins delighted with Compass's progress

The boss of the world's largest caterer Compass Group has said he is delighted at the progress the company has made in the past 18 months.

Speaking to Caterersearch after the release of preliminary full-year results to 30 September 2007, Compass Group chief executive Richard Cousins said he was excited about the reshaped business, which has been simplified with improved transparency.

"I think we're well posited now to move forward with some healthy topline growth," he said.

Under his leadership, the caterer has withdrawn from 30 countries and hundreds of loss making contracts as well as selling its Selecta vending machine business and travel concession and roadside interests.

Cousins credited much of the turnaround at the business on the Management and Performance (MAP) strategy that has been in place at the caterer for the past 13 months.

MAP addresses five key profit divers and Compass has used it to increase operating profit by £101m so far.

Areas addressed by MAP include food and unit level cost efficiencies and although Compass, which spends £3.5b a year on food, said it had kept a lid on food price inflation in the past year with a single percentage point increase in inflation, each point increases the caterer's £9.7b cost base by £35m.

With Compass's "basket of goods" currently experiencing market increases of 4% to 5%, Cousins is not complacent.

"Food price increases are an issue that is very real and a challenge that we are taking seriously. However, it's something we feel we can manage through further efficiencies and appropriate price increases."

Headline figures

Turnover (adjusted for currency fluctuations): up 5.1% to £10.3b (2006: £9.8b).
Operating profit (adjusted for currency fluctuations): up 23.6% to £529m (2006: £428m)
Pre-tax profit (underlying): up 41.7% to £442m (2006: £312m)
Free cash flow: up 68.4% to £357m (2006: £212m)
Margin: 5.1%, up 70 basis points

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By Chris Druce

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