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PARIS -- Sodexo saw its first-quarter revenue rise 8.1% to $5.9 billion. Sales rose 6.8% for the three-month period ended Nov. 30.
Demand for the French catering giant's services remained especially robust in emerging markets. Sodexo cited a tough economic climate in Europe, where clients have been slower to make decisions and have reduced their discretionary spending.
"While the global economic environment remains volatile, revenues for the first three months of fiscal 2012 reflect dynamic sales activity and are in line with our objectives for the year," said chief executive Michel Landel.
Organic growth in the first quarter was driven by Sodexo's corporate services division, which reported an increase of close to 20% in Latin America and Asia, compared with only 2.2% organic growth in continental Europe's corporate business.
In North America, Sodexo's organic corporate business grew 5.1%. The healthcare and seniors segment grew 4.9%. The education sector posted 4.7% growth.
Sodexo, the world's second-largest contract foodservice provider after Britain's Compass Group, said it expects full-year organic sales growth of between 5% and 8% in the 2012 fiscal year. The company operates in 80 countries and makes about 70% of its revenue from catering.