Compass doubles up on Upper Crust sale

Catering giant Compass is to sell its travel services operation which includes the Upper Crust and Moto chains for £1.82bn (€2.6bn).

Catering giant Compass is to sell its travel services operation which includes the Upper Crust and Moto chains for £1.82bn (€2.6bn).

The world’s largest caterer said it has agreed to split its travel catering business Select Service Partner (SSP) and sell it to two different firms.

Swedish private equity group EQT Partners is to buy the airports and railway business while Sydney-based Macquarie Bank is to take over its Moto motorway service station arm.

Compass, based in Surrey, England unveiled plans to sell the units last autumn and said it wished to focus on its core contract catering business. The firm supplies school meals to children and other contract catering.

Compass Group, UK and Ireland is a £2.5bn (€3.7bn) turnover business, employing more than 110,000 people.

In a statement, Compass said it planned to return £500m (€720m) from the sale proceeds to shareholders over the next 12 to 18 months and make an additional £275m (€396m) contribution to its pension plan.

It will use £143m (€206m) to buy out the remaining 51% of the Levy restaurants business in the US.

Compass has also completed the sale of 90% of its European Inflight catering business.

Michael Bailey, chief executive of Compass, said: “This is a great outcome for Compass and we wish the new owners and all the staff well for the future.”

SSP operates catering and retail units at more than 600 sites across 26 countries. The Moto business accounts for about a third of SSP’s revenues.

EQT, which is controlled by the billionaire Wallenberg family, will buy the remaining business which include Upper Crust and Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip restaurant chain.

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