Compass trading on track

COMPASS Group, the world’s biggest caterer, shrugged off a £5m hit from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to report a better-than-expected first-half operating profit yesterday.

Compass said it had made a good start to the year, delivering strong organic revenue growth and an improvement in its margin.

“After absorbing the expected profit impact of the tragic events in Japan, our expectations for the full year remain unchanged,” chief executive Richard Cousins said.

The group said its underlying operating profit for the half year to the end of March rose 11.8 per cent on a constant currency basis to £567m.

Compass said the earthquake and tsunami in Japan knocked £5m off its earnings, affecting the last three weeks of the period, and estimates it will result in a reduction in second-half profit of £20m.

Market expectations for Compass’s full-year earnings before tax currently range between £1.04bn and £1.17bn, with the average forecast at £1.09bn.

Shares in Compass closed down 0.7 per cent at 575p.