Compass points to healthy profits and new Twickenham deal


Compass group, the world’s biggest caterer, has revealed a jump in profits thanks to strong demand in North America and emerging markets.

Pre-tax profit in the year to 30 September was up 5.4 per cent at £1.3bn.

The European and Japanese markets were more of a struggle for the group’s business, however, although overall revenue came in up over four per cent, at £17.1bn.

The group employs more than half a million people worldwide and, in the UK, caters for major events such as Wimbledon and leading London restaurants.

Richard Cousins, Group Chief Executive, said: “Compass has had another good year, with strong growth in North America and fast growing and emerging markets.”

A focus on efficiencies, Cousins added, had enabled the group to improve margins. “We generated good levels of cash flow, which has allowed us to reinvest in the business and reward shareholders through a proposed increase in the dividend alongside our ongoing £500m share buyback,” said, noting the group had returned a further £1bn to shareholders through a special dividend  announced in May.

“Our strategy is clear,” Cousins said. “Food is and will  remain our core competence and is backed with some strong support service businesses. All our markets have exciting opportunities and as a result we are investing more resources around the world to deliver strong growth. At the same time we remain disciplined with regards to margins. I remain positive about our potential for continuing progress in the years ahead.”

Meanwhile, The Rugby Football Union and Levy Restaurants UK, the sports, leisure and hospitality sector of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has announced the renewal of contracts, to continue their joint venture,Twickenham Experience Ltd (TEL).

The partnership provides all match day catering, hospitality and bar services, as well as non-match day catering, conference and event management at Twickenham Stadium and has been in existence since 2000.

The 10-year contract extension is worth over £30m in annual revenues to the RFU Group, with profits going back into the game at all levels. The renewed venture will deliver all match day retail and hospitality food and beverage operations for the 82,000 capacity stadium as well as continuing to grow the non-matchday conference and events business at the venue.

The operational functions of TEL will continue to be supported by Levy Restaurants UK’s sales specialists – Lime Venue Portfolio.

Stephen Brown, Chief Financial Officer, RFU and Chairman of TEL, said: “We are not only committed to delivering a unique and inspiring experience for fans attending Twickenham Stadium on match day, but also creating the same quality of experience for customers attending the many other non-match day events and conferences that occur throughout the year at our venue. There has been a long and successful partnership over the past 14 years with Compass Group UK & Ireland. The new 10-year contract will allow us to continue to develop and innovate our match day and conference and events offering as well as to set an ambitious, standard setting long term strategy for the Twickenham Experience Limited business.”