CATERING giant Compass said it had shrugged off the effects of soaring food prices as it posted forecast-beating results today.
The business, which spends about £3.5bn on food every year, said inflation has added more than £100m to its costs.
But chief executive Richard Cousins said the biggest food price increases – for rice, pasta and dairy products – only accounted for about 10% of its food costs.
Mr Cousins said: “We’re taking it seriously and managing it hard, but I’m not worried about it.”
Compass posted underlying pre-tax profits of £442m in the year to September 30. The figure is 42% up on last year and ahead of consensus forecasts of £429m.
Compass has seen its shares fall by 14% during November amid concerns over the impact of the costs. But the shares rose by 5% today on the news of the results.
The group – which provides food services to schools, hospitals and businesses – is tackling the extra costs by changing its menus, driving savings from its suppliers and increasing customer charges.
Surrey-based Compass added that it had made an “encouraging start” to the new financial year.