UPDATE 2-Sodexo cuts sales growth forecast due to contract delays
* Nine-month sales rise 2.3 pct like-for-like
* Sodexo cuts 2013/14 sales growth goal to 2.2-2.5 pct
* Sodexo keeps full-year profit goals
* Shares drop almost 3 pct (Adds CEO comments, shares, analyst)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, July 9 (Reuters) - Sodexo, the world's second-biggest catering services company, cut it full-year sales growth forecast on Wednesday, warning its fourth quarter would be weaker than expected due to the delayed start-up of some large contracts.
However the French firm said recently signed deals with Johnson & Johnson in Germany and Procter & Gamble in France should have a positive impact next year and stuck to its profitability targets for this year and next.
Sodexo manages canteens and facilities for office workers, the armed forces, schools, hospitals and prisons, and sells vouchers for meals and gifts. Its clients range from Britain's Royal Ascot Racecourse to the U.S. Marine Corps.
The company, which operates in 80 countries and has a market value of 12.4 billion euros ($16.9 billion), said it now expects 2013/14 like-for-like sales to rise by between 2.2 percent and 2.5 percent - compared with a previous forecast of 2.5-3.0 percent growth. Continuación...