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Supply Chain

Compass Group Investors Set For 1 Billion-Pound Cash Windfall

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Serving food to North Sea oil workers, cleaning offices and keeping properties secure are leaving Compass Group Plc with more cash than it can put to work.

The U.K. services provider said on Wednesday it will return 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) to investors in the form of a special dividend, sending its shares to a record high. It’s the second such payout in three years and comes on top of an increased ordinary dividend for the first half of the fiscal year.

The one-time distribution of 61 pence a share reflects “excellent cash generation and the strength of the business,” Chertsey, England-based Compass said in a statement, adding that its expectations for the year are “positive and unchanged.”

Company Growth

Compass has grown to become one of Britain’s biggest companies, employing more than 500,000 people providing a range of services to hospitals, factories, offices, universities and sports venues around the world. A key part of the business model is cash generation, which exceeded 500 million pounds in the first half of the current financial year.

Also on Wednesday, Compass reported first-half results that were broadly in line with analyst estimates. Underlying operating profit rose 5.2 percent to 894 million pounds on revenue that gained 3.6 percent to 11.6 billion pounds.

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The shares rose as much as 2.8 percent to a record 1,639 pence in early London trading.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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