UK defence contract wins have helped drive a 5.5% increase in revenue growth for Compass Group UK & Ireland's European business.
The contract caterer reported revenue of £12.5b in its half-year financial results for the six months ended 31 March 2019, reflecting 6.6% organic revenue growth across the business, including "excellent performance" in North America. Operating profit was up 5.8% at £951m.
Dominic Blakemore, group chief executive, said: "Compass had a strong first half. Organic revenue growth was 6.6%, driven by excellent growth in North America, a strong performance in Europe, particularly in UK defence, and good growth in rest of world.
"We maintained our strong margin while absorbing the increased mobilisation costs in Europe from the higher growth as well as strategic investments being made by the business. Our focus on efficiencies and pricing have continued to offset inflation and helped mitigate ongoing volume weakness in the UK and continental Europe.
"Following the very strong first-half performance we now increase our organic revenue growth guidance for the full year and expect to deliver organic revenue growth and margin progression similar to 2018. We remain mindful of the macro uncertainty in parts of Europe and its impact on the business."