Compass to return £1 billion to shareholders via special dividend

Catering giant Compass has reported an increase of nearly 6 per cent in adjusted pre-tax profit for the six months to March 31 this year, announced decision to serve up £1 billion special dividend to its shareholders.

The Surrey-based world's largest catering group announced that its six-month pre-tax profit jumped 5.7 per cent year-on-year to £608 million.

The company increased its interim dividend by a tenth to 8.8p per share, and said it planned to return £1 billion to shareholders through a special dividend. Since 2006, it has returned £6 billion to shareholders.

CEO Richard Cousins said that British and mainland European economic recoveries would be long & slow, while Mediterranean countries are still struggling. Speaking on the topic, he added, "Let's not get overly swayed by London property prices because that doesn't affect our restaurants."

He further added that he was confident that emerging markets like India and China would be offer longer-term growth, in spite of ongoing volatility in these markets.

Following the encouraging announcement, stock in Compass gained 15½p to 996p a share.

Compass, which counts the American Senate, the World Bank and Chelsea Football Club as its clients, has a global workforce of more than 500,000 people.

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