UK/INTERNATIONAL. Travel restaurateur SSP Group has reported revenues of £2,379.1 million (US$3,152.3 million) for the year ended 30 September, up +11.7% on a constant currency basis and +19.5% at actual exchange rates.
The company said underlying operating profit was £162.9 million (US$215.8 million), up +27% at constant currency and +34.2% at actual exchange rates. This was driven by +3.1% like-for-like sales growth as a result of retailing initiatives and an increase in air passenger travel.
“SSP has delivered another good performance in 2017. Operating profit was up +27% at constant currency, driven by good like-for-like sales growth, substantial new contract openings and further operational improvements,” said Group CEO Kate Swann.
It noted that like-for-like growth in the air sector had again been stronger than the rail sector, driven by increasing passenger numbers in most of SSP’s markets.
Indian joint venture Travel Food Services added +2.9% to revenue and £12.9 million (US$17.1 million) to operating profit, resulting in a combined group underlying operating margin of 6.8%.
SSP’s underlying profit before tax increased +38.3% to £148.7 million (US$197 million), with reported profit before tax rising +37.1% to £144.8 million.
Underlying earnings per share increased +31.0% to 20.3 pence (26.90 cents) while reported earnings per share rose +28.9% to 19.5 pence (25.8 cents).
SSP reported an underlying operating cash inflow of £103.5 million (US$137.1 million) after what it said was the company’s highest level of investment to date.
“We have grown our presence across the world, particularly in North America and Asia and we are pleased with the performance of our new business in India. We have invested significant capital in the business this year, our highest to date, and at the same time we are returning cash to shareholders.
“The new financial year has started in line with our expectations and, whilst a degree of uncertainty always exists around passenger numbers in the short term, we continue to be well placed to benefit from the structural growth opportunities in our markets.”
Despite this, SSP said it anticipated slightly lower like-for-like revenue growth next year.
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