Compass has reported that operating profit plummeted 82% to £294m in the year ended 30 September, down from a profit of £1.6bn reported the year before.
The catering company also saw revenue fall by 19.8% to £19.9bn due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, as well as resulting lockdown restrictions on businesses, education and sports and leisure customers.
In addition, underlying free cash flow fell by 82.9% to £213m in the same period, “further emphasising” the effect of the pandemic on profitability and cash generation.
The group said it acted quickly to mitigate costs, increase liquidity and strengthen its balance sheet, however.
It has also renegotiated contracts to “reflect the difficult trading environment” while continuing to remain “disciplined” in terms of costs.
Dominic Blakemore, group chief executive for Compass, said: “2020 was a challenging year for Compass. We began the year on track to deliver our strongest performance ever, and over the course of a fortnight in March, we saw the containment measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 close to half of the business.
“We rapidly enhanced our health and safety protocols, mitigated our costs, increased our liquidity and strengthened our balance sheet.”
He added: “Although the prospects of a vaccine are encouraging, the resumption of lockdowns in some of our major markets shows that we have to continue to take proactive actions to control the controllable and ensure the business can thrive despite the ongoing pandemic.
“We are innovating and evolving our operating model to be more flexible and to provide
our clients and consumers with an exciting offer that is delivered safely and provides great value.”