Compass seeks £2bn to "weather" Coronavirus crisis

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Compass seeks £2bn to "weather" Coronavirus crisis

Related tags Compass Group Share Coronavirus

Catering firm Compass Group has launched a £2bn share offer this morning (19 May), as it seeks to raise extra cash to help it “weather” the Coronavirus crisis.

The group has also scrapped its previous growth and margin outlooks for 2020, saying the pandemic has had a “profound impact” on the company.

In a statement outlining the group’s half year results to 31 March 2020, chief executive Dominic Blakemore said the proceeds of the £2bn share offer would be used to strengthen Compass’ balance sheet and liquidity position.

While the first five months of the results show “a continuation of the strong performance reported last year”, Compass saw organic revenue plunge 20.4% in March and 46.1% in April. 

Operating profits fell 28.5% and 23% respectively over the two months. 

In response, the group says it has mitigated its cost base by around £500m per month by taking a wide range of actions. 

They include a temporary reduction of 30% in the group chief executive’s salary; whilst the group board and executive committee have temporarily reduced their fees and salaries by 25%.

“A strong balance sheet will allow us to weather the crisis whilst continuing to invest in the business to enhance our competitive advantages, support our long term growth prospects and further consolidate our position as the industry leader in food services,” said Blakemore.

“Alongside a placing to institutional shareholders, I am pleased that we are giving our valued retail investors an opportunity to participate in the fundraising through a separate retail offer.

“Although there are significant short term challenges, I firmly believe that Compass is now well-placed to succeed in a post-Covid-19 world.”

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