Profits at Compass Group, the contract caterer, rose by more than one-fifth this year and the increase was mainly down to sales growth rather than acquisitions.
Pre-tax profits were up 21.7% to £193.6m in the financial year to 30 September 1999, the company announced today.
Turnover rose 14.3% to £4.82b and operating profits were up 19.9% to £261.4m.
In the UK, turnover increased by 9% to £813m while operating profits rose 12% to £60.7m. As a result, profit margins increased from 7.3% to 7.5%.
In North America, turnover increased by 13% to £1.58b and margins were up from 4.4% to 4.8%.
In Continental Europe and the rest of the world, turnover increased by 17% to £2.42b. Margins rose from 4.8% to 4.9%.
Compass now employs more than 190,000 people in more than 70 countries. But it said today there were "still some gaps in our coverage so we intend to make infill acquisitions in the future".
Major contract gains during the year included a five-year deal to provide catering at 40 sites for packaging firm Crown Cork and Seal in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Compass has also signed a 10-year contract with Spanish rail firm Renfe to cater at railway stations across the country.
Since the end of September, the group has secured deals to cater for staff at Disneyland in California and to run the restaurants at Macy's Department Store in New York.