Compass Group PLC is today issuing its first Interim Management Statement for 2012 ahead of its Annual General Meeting to be held at 12:00 noon today at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE. At this meeting, shareholders will be provided with the following update on the Group’s performance for the first three months of the current financial year.
Compass has had a good first quarter and our expectations for the full year remain positive and unchanged. We have seen good levels of new business wins and the improved level of retention we achieved in the second half of last year has continued into the new financial year. As expected, like for like volumes in North America and the Fast Growing & Emerging Markets continue to be robust, whilst in Europe they have been impacted by the continuing challenging macro economic environment. Excluding the one-off impact of the NBA strike in the US (which is now resolved and impacted organic revenue growth by approximately 1%), organic revenue growth in the first quarter was almost 5%; including the impact of acquisitions, overall revenue growth was over 8% on a constant currency basis.
Using our performance management framework, MAP, we are continuing to drive efficiencies across the business. These efficiencies are being partially re-invested in the business to support the exciting growth opportunities around the world as well as underpinning our expectations that we can continue to deliver further improvement in the operating margin. Free cash flow conversion remains strong.
The trends seen in the geographies in the last financial year have continued into the first quarter of the new financial year. In North America we have continued to see good levels of organic revenue growth across all sectors. In the Fast Growing & Emerging Markets organic revenue growth has been strong, with good performances in Australia, Brazil, Turkey, India, China and Russia. Like for like volumes in Europe have continued to be impacted by the challenging economic environment in some countries, while in Japan, encouragingly, we are seeing a gradual return to normal activity levels.
Since 30 September 2011 we have announced £140 million of infill acquisitions. In support services we have completed the acquisition of Integrated Cleaning Management Limited in the UK and have also agreed to buy Supercare Services Group (Pty) Limited in South Africa, both of which are leading providers of cleaning services in their respective countries. In foodservice, we agreed to acquire DORA Gastro a.s. in the Czech Republic and completed the acquisition of Obasan in Turkey.
On 20 December 2011, the Group pre-paid the $450 million US Private Placement notes that were due for repayment in May 2012. On 27 January 2012, the Group launched a 7 year €600 million Eurobond with a coupon of 3.125%. The proceeds from the bond issue will be received on 13 February 2012. Other than this, there has been no significant change in the strong financial position of the Group in the period since 30 September 2011.