Shares rise at travel caterer SSP as summer holiday-makers boost profits

 
Kasmira Jefford
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SSP won a contract to open 29 outlets in Oslo airport including a Jamie's Italian restaurant (Source: Jamie's Italian)

Travel catering giant SSP posted a surge in full-year profits thanks to a rise in customers dining at their airport restaurants and cafes this summer before jetting off on holiday.

The FTSE 250 company also paid its first full year dividend to 4.3 pence per share since its £1bn debut on the London stock market last year, sending shares up nearly five per cent today as a result.

The company, which operates over 2,000 shops and restaurants, mainly in airports and railway stations in 29 countries across the world, said adjusted pre-tax profits rose by 14.7 per cent to £82m in the year to 30 September.

Group revenue rose by 4.3 per cent to £1.8bn on a constant currency basis, while like-for-like sales were up 3.7 per cent thanks to a boom in air passenger numbers over the summer in SSP’s fourth financial quarter.

Chief executive Kate Swann said the trend was reflected in figures reported by the airlines, with easyJet recording a record number of passengers in August at over seven million for the second month in a row.

She said that the new year had started well but added that, while it was too soon to tell, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris could have an effect on travel.

“The new financial year has started in line with our expectations and whilst a degree of uncertainty always exists around passenger numbers in the short term, we continue to be well placed to benefit from the structural growth opportunities in our markets,” Swann said.

The group bagged a significant number of new contracts during the year, including a 10-year £48m contract to open six restaurants and cafes at ShenyangTaoxian International Airport in China. Last week it announced a £500m contract to run 29 shops, cafes and restaurants at Oslo Airport Gardermoen in Norway.

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