French catering firm Elior has posted half-year pre-tax profits of €50.1m (£33m), up by 21.4% from €41.3m (£27.2m) last year, on the back of an aggressive expansion and acquisition policy.
For the six months to 31 March, turnover came in €1.27b (£840m), up by 3.8% on the previous year's €1.23bn (£811m).
Elior's contract catering operation reported moderate first-half turnover growth, up by 2.9%, with good performances in France and internationally within its education and healthcare divisions.
In its concession catering operation, first-half turnover rose by 7.8%, although margins in France were depressed by increased start-up costs arising from major new contracts at the Paris-Porte de Versailles exhibition centre and Terminal 2E at Roissy airport.
The absence of this year's Paris Motorshow cost the firm around €2m (£1.3m), it said.
In Spain, the company also suffered a €2m (£1.3m) reduction in earnings, partly because of the impact of the Madrid terrorist attacks.
On the acquisitions front, the company is set to increase its stake in French hospital cleaning firm Hôpital Service to more than 97% by the end of July.
It has also increased its stake in Italian motorway services catering company MyChef, owned by Chef Italia, by 30% to a total of 40%.
It has taken an indirect stake of around 10% in travel retail operator Dufry and sold off its Pomme de Pain and Serrac/Quick fast food activities in shopping centres and city centres.
Francis Markus and Robert Zolade, co-chairmen, described the results were "very satisfactory".
by Nic Paton
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