- Organic sales in the quarter to end March are expected to come in around 28% below the same period last year, an improvement from the 34% decline seen in the previous quarter.
- Operating margins are improving, up 130bps in the quarter to 4.0%.
- The pandemic is impacting Compass Group plc (LON:CPG) (OTCMKTS:CMPGF)’s operations most severely in the Sports & Leisure sector, where revenues are down 73%, whilst revenues in the Healthcare & Seniors category are inching into positive territory at plus 1%.
Compass Group's Strong Track Record
Commenting on the statement, Steve Clayton, manager of the HL Select UK Growth Shares fund, which holds Compass Group shares said:
“Compass cannot make office canteens fill up, nor fans turn up at US sports stadia. That is for governments to decide as and when the pandemic allows. But they can control their own costs and the margin progression in recent months is encouraging. The group see operating margins heading back up above 7% once the world returns to pre-COVID levels of activity. If they achieve that then Compass will have bounced back better and will be well set to exploit the ongoing structural growth opportunities in the global contract catering industry. Encouragingly the Group talk of a strong pipeline of new business, backed up by good client retention.
We hold Compass because of its strong track record in controlling its own operations and generating strong free cash flows in the process. The pandemic side-swiped the group and they were forced to raise new funds last year. That has now left them well positioned versus smaller, weaker rivals and we expect to see them capitalising on their position of strength as vaccinations progress and economies normalise in the quarters ahead.
Today’s update showed stronger progress on margins than most were expecting and the shares rallied by around 3% at the opening.”
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