UPDATE 2-Sodexo cuts sales goal on tougher Latam, Europe
* 9-month sales 15.14 bln euros, up 2.2 pct
* Sees FY sales growth of 2.5 pct vs old goal 3 pct
* Keeps FY operating profit growth goal of 10 pct, mid-term goals (Adds CEO comments, forecasts from call, shares, analysts)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, July 8 (Reuters) - French catering group Sodexo cut its annual sales goal on Wednesday, blaming tougher economic conditions in Brazil, Chile and Europe but maintained its profit growth target.
The world's second-biggest catering services company after Britain's Compass Group, Sodexo also said it was confident it could deliver on its mid-term goals after reporting like-for-like sales growth of 2.2 percent to 15.14 billion euros ($16.7 billion) in the nine months to May 31.
The performance, which lagged market expectations of 2.5 percent growth, matched growth in the first half.
It reflected strong demand for facilities management services in North America and Britain, but tougher economic conditions in Brazil and Chile. It was also influenced by a decline in catering services sales in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Finland where clients continued to cut costs.
Chief Executive Michel Landel told analysts he did not expect the situation to improve this year in Brazil where the economic slowdown was forcing clients to delay investments and where Sodexo was now working on cutting its own costs. Continuación...