Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We’d also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won’t set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our cookies policy

Analytics cookies

We’d like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone.


Half year results announcement

Half year results announcement for the six months ended 31 March 2021

  Underlying1 results Statutory results
HY 2021 HY 2020 Change HY 2021 HY 20202 Change
Revenue £8.6bn £12.2bn3 (30.4)%4 £8.4bn £12.5bn (32.4)%
Operating profit £290m £817m3 (64.5)%3 £168m £775m (78.3)%
Operating margin 3.4% 6.7% (330)bps      
Earnings per share 9.6p 35.9p3 (73.3)%3 5.6p 36.7p (84.7)%
Free cash flow £359m £186m 93.0%      
Operating cash flow       £563m £545m 3.3%

1. Reconciliation of statutory to underlying results can be found on pages 32 to 34.

2. Prior period comparatives have been restated as required by IFRS 5 'Non-current assets held for sale and discontinued operations' to account for joint ventures and associates using the equity method retrospectively when they cease to be classified as held for sale. Additional information is included in note 10.

3. Measured on a constant currency basis.

4. Organic revenue growth.

Margin recovery continues; looking ahead with confidence

Performance summary

  • Q2 operating margin at 4.2%, 20bps ahead of our pre close trading update and an increase of 150bps from Q1
  • Restored more than half of our pre COVID margin during Q2, despite volumes being 72% of 2019 revenue
  • Continued strong retention of 95.6%
  • New business wins increased by about 20%1 with first time outsourcing now accounting for around 50%, up from a third historically
  • Strong underlying free cashflow of £359m driven by efficient working capital management
  • Gross capex was 3.4% of underlying revenue as we continue to invest in growth opportunities
  • Peak net debt to EBITDA ratio of 3.0 times

Strategy – positioning for the future

  • Committed to the wellbeing of our people, clients, consumers and the communities we serve
  • Focusing on reopening existing and new client sites safely
  • Adapting our operating model to be more agile, digitally enabled and relevant to clients’ changing expectations
  • Excellent pipeline of new business as well as significant market opportunities from first time outsourcing
  • Investing in attractive organic and inorganic opportunities to grow the business and support our recovery


  • Anticipate gradual improvement in revenue in Q3
  • Expect Q3 margin to be between 4.5% and 5.0% absorbing the impact of reopenings and mobilisations
  • Remain confident in rebuilding the Group underlying margin to above 7% before we return to pre COVID volumes

Statutory results

  • Statutory revenue decreased by 32.4% as a result of the pandemic. Operating profit decreased by 78.3% due to the adverse impact of COVID and related actions to resize the business and adjust our cost base.

1. Annual revenues of new business wins compared with 2019.

Dominic Blakemore, Group Chief Executive, said:

“During the first half of this financial year, by controlling the controllable, we delivered continued margin progression, strong cashflow and excellent client retention. This was despite further lockdowns and limited volume recovery.

With the gathering pace of vaccination rollouts across our major markets, we are working closely with our clients to prepare to reopen their sites safely, although the picture across the world remains mixed. Whilst we expect any revenue recovery to be gradual, we remain confident in our ability to return to a Group underlying margin above 7% before we return to pre COVID volumes.

Over the last six months, the “flight to trust” continued as clients sought quality partners with health and safety expertise, supply chain resilience, and financial stability. As a result, new business wins have increased due to the acceleration of first time outsourcing, which now accounts for about half of our growth. We remain committed to supporting future growth by investing in attractive opportunities to enhance our competitive advantages and further consolidate our position as the industry leader in food services.

Throughout the pandemic, we continued to develop our digital culinary platforms. These concepts complement the traditional on-site restaurant and now provide us with a variety of solutions from which to create a truly bespoke client offer. Along with digital innovation, COVID has also heightened client focus on diversity and inclusion and decarbonisation initiatives, reflecting and reinforcing our own strategic framework of People, Performance and Purpose. In the past week our UK and Ireland region has announced its commitment to be Net Zero by 2030, while today we are also announcing that the Board has decided to repay the funds our employees benefited from in the half year under the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We are now a stronger, more agile business with new client propositions, improved digital capability and a more flexible cost structure. These factors, underpinned by a robust balance sheet, have created a strong platform from which the business will continue to recover and grow. In the longer term, we remain excited about the significant structural growth opportunities globally, the potential for further revenue and profit growth and shareholder returns over time.”

Results presentation today

A recording of the results presentation for investors and analysts will be available on the Company’s website today, Wednesday 12 May 2021, at 7.00 am. There will be a question and answer session at 8.00 am, accessible via the Company’s website, www.compass-group.com, and you will be able to participate by dialing:

UK Toll Number: +44 330 336 9105
UK Toll-Free Number: 0800 358 6377

US Toll Number: +1 323 794 2093
US Toll-Free Number: +1 866 548 4713

Participant PIN Code: 3024541

Please connect to the call at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time.


Agatha Donnelly & Helen Javanshiri
+44 1932 573 000

Tim Danaher & Fiona Micallef-Eynaud, Brunswick
+44 2074 045 959