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November 15, 2017updated 15 Dec 2017 3:11pm

Lfl sales growth pushes up profits at travel caterer SSP Group

SSP Group, an operator of food and drink outlets in travel locations worldwide, saw its profits rise by 27% for the 12 months ended 30 September 2017, driven by growth in like-for-sales and new contracts.

By Maria Bracken

The British multinational increased its underlying operating profit to £162.9 million, a 27% growth at constant currency and 34.2% rise when exchange rates are considered.

Kate Swann, CEO of SSP Group

Revenues across the group increased by 11.7% at constant currency versus the same period last year to £2.4 billion, with UK and Ireland revenues up 4.8% and continental Europe up 3.1%.

Revenues increased by over a quarter in the firm’s North American and Rest of the World operations at 27.8% and 25.5% respectively, thanks to new contracts won in the US, China and Thailand.

Group like-for-likes were up 3.1% driven by growth in air passenger travel, with UK and Ireland sales up 2.1% and continental Europe’s up 2.7% on last year.

Lfl sales were again strongest outside of Europe with North American growth of 4.9% and rest of the world growth of 7.4%.

The strongest money-making, geographical division of SSP group remains the UK however with underlying profits up 23.2% on 2016 at £77.8m.

Kate Swann, CEO of SSP Group, said: “SSP has delivered another good performance in 2017. Operating profit was up 27.0% at constant currency, driven by good like-for-like sales growth, substantial new contract openings and further operational improvements.

“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.” SSP Group declared a final dividend of 4.9p per share, bringing the full year dividend to 8.1p, an increase of 50%, which the company said reflected an increase in the payout ratio to 40%.

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