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PARIS, April 14 (Reuters) - French catering, facilities management and vouchers group Sodexo kept its full-year and medium-term goals after cost cuts, the Rugby World Cup in England and sustained North American demand helped first-half operating profit rise 6.1 percent.
The world's second-biggest catering services company after Britain's Compass Group said operating income excluding exceptional items in the six months to Feb. 29 reached 658 million euros ($741 million).
Excluding currency effects, operating profit rose 7.9 percent, Sodexo said in a statement.
The group, which joined the CAC 40 index of French blue-chips in March, reiterated its forecast for like-for-like sales to rise around 3 percent and operating profit at constant exchange rates and excluding one-time items to grow around 8 percent in the year ending Aug. 31.
This was after revenue grew 3.7 percent like-for-like in the first half to 10.596 billion euros.
Sodexo also kept a medium-term objective of average annual revenue growth excluding currency effects of between 4 percent and 7 percent, and average annual growth in operating profit excluding currency effects of between 8 percent and 10 percent. ($1 = 0.8880 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)