Caterer Compass serves strong outlook as schools open, stadiums fill up

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(Reuters) -Compass Group, the world’s largest catering company, on Tuesday forecast fourth-quarter revenues slightly above expectations as sports fans throng stadiums again and students come back to campuses.

The return to classrooms and live attendance at the Premier League and major league baseball games has been “strong” since the start of September, Compass said.

But the company remains cautious about its business and industry division, which caters to office workers, as uncertainty persists over the pace of workplace reopenings in its major markets.

Fourth-quarter revenue is expected to improve to about 86% of 2019 levels, slightly ahead of the company’s forecast of 80% to 85%. Full-year revenue is seen at about 76% of 2019 levels, said the company which operates across 45 countries.

Compass, which serves office staff, students, seniors in old age homes, armed forces and events attendees, expects its full-year underlying operating margin to be about 4.4%, with fourth-quarter margins seen at the mid-point of its 5.5% to 6% range.

Caterers such as Compass and France’s Sodexo (PA:) had seen more first-time outsourcers during the pandemic as institutions battling cost pressures contracted big players to meet their food needs.

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