SSP Group plc, a leading operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, announces its financial results for the year ended 30 September 2023.  


FY 2023

FY 2022

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Underlying Pre-IFRS 161,3















Operating profit





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Free cash flow4





Net debt5











Operating profit





Profit before tax





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Net debt5






Performance Highlights: (Underlying pre- IFRS161,3)

  • Significant further recovery in Group performance with full-year revenue of £3.0bn, up 38% compared to last year and ahead of pre Covid-19 levels throughout the year
  • H2 revenue growth of 25% on a constant currency basis comprising: like-for-like growth of 19% driven by a further recovery in passenger numbers, with North America (at 24%) and APAC and EEME (at 44%) the principal contributors; net gains of 6% from the mobilisation of our new contract pipeline
  • Trading momentum sustained into new financial year with Group revenues in first 8 weeks up 22% on a constant currency basis
  • EBITDA of £280m, up from £142m last year, driven by strong revenue growth and profit conversion; EBITDA outturn at top end of Preliminary Results 2022 planning assumptions despite significant strengthening of Sterling over the last twelve months
  • Operating profit margin up 400 bps year-on-year to 5.4%, driven by operating leverage as volumes have recovered, alongside our extensive efficiency programme and pricing action, which has mitigated the impact of the high levels of inflation across most of our cost base
  • Strong contributions to profitability delivered by the North America and APAC and EEME regions, reflecting the faster recovery in demand in these markets and strong profit conversion, as margins increased in line with revenue growth
  • Profit growth in UK and Continental Europe impacted by the relatively slower revenue recovery in the rail channel and significant disruption caused by strikes and civil protests
  • Underlying pre-IFRS 16 EPS of 7.1p per share compared with a loss of 4.5p per share in the prior year. Reported EPS of 1.0p per share compared with a loss of 1.3p per share in the period year.
  • The strong recovery in profitability and earnings gives the Group the confidence to propose a resumption of ordinary dividend payments with final dividend of 2.5p reflecting a payout ratio of 35% on full-year underlying earnings
  • Free cash usage limited to £125m after funding higher capital investment of £220m (compared with £149m in the prior year), acquisitions of £41m and a small use of working capital as a result of the unwind of payment deferrals of c.£50m
  • Net Debt of £392m at the end of September 2023, and leverage (Net Debt: EBITDA) improving from 2.1x to 1.4x. Under IFRS 16, net debt increased from £1,151m to £1,421m
  • Refinancing completed in July 2023, extending our maturity profile and maintaining a high level of liquidity
  • The secured pipeline of contracts yet to open (at the end of September 2023) now represents estimated annualised revenues of c.£450m, once fully mobilised; in 2024 we expect organic net gains of c. 5% (excluding the full year of the Midfield concessions acquisition, which will add a further c. 2% to sales), all of which should be delivered from the secured pipeline. In the medium-term net gains in the region of 3%-5% on average are anticipated, underpinned by our secured pipeline and current momentum in new business success.
  • Continued to make good progress against our strategic priorities:  pivoting to higher growth markets approximately two thirds of the sales from the secured new business pipeline is planned to come from North America and APAC;  enhanced business capabilities – in particular, strengthened portfolio of partner brands, including new partnerships BrewDog in the UK and Europe, Breakfast Club in the UK and Jones the Grocer in Singapore and existing partners, including Pret, Hard Rock Café, Popeyes and Starbucks
  • Contract retention levels have remained consistent with long-run historical levels, underpinned by the strength of our operational performance, client relationships and brand portfolio
  • We have a clear and consistent compounding growth and returns strategy to further strengthen our market-leading positions in food travel markets globally, based on our key priorities: Pivoting to high growth markets, enhancing business capabilities and delivering operational efficiencies


Recent Trading and Outlook

Strong trading momentum continues into new financial year

Since our year-end, trading has remained strong in all key markets, with total revenue during the first eight weeks (from 1 October to 26 November) up 22% on FY2023 levels on a constant currency basis. Our revenue performance is being driven by passenger recovery, a strong customer proposition and robust operational execution.  In addition, revenues are benefitting from net gains as we mobilise our secured pipeline.

In North America, sales grew by 33% year-on-year on a constant currency basis, driven by robust domestic air passenger numbers and strong like-for-like performance. Our performance includes a sales benefit from the acquisition of the Midfield concessions business, with the transfer of units at all seven airports now complete. In Continental Europe, revenues grew by 14% year-on-year, on a constant currency basis, benefitting from an extended holiday season into the Autumn. In the UK, sales increased by 22%, reflecting a strong performance in our Air business and an ongoing improvement in rail passenger volumes as commuters continue to return to working in offices. In APAC and EEME, revenues rose by 29% on a constant currency basis, as we saw further improvements in passenger numbers across the Asia Pacific region.

SSP in strong position to benefit from long-term structural growth in the industry

FY2024 expectations

While we face into macroeconomic and political uncertainty, we believe that demand for travel will remain resilient and is well set for near and long-term structural growth.

In 2024, we are planning for like-for-like sales growth of between 6% and 10%, reflecting the expectation of an ongoing recovery in passenger demand as well as increased spend per passenger including year on year price increases. We expect net contract gains to be in the region of 5%, as we mobilise our pipeline of secured new contracts, with a further contribution of c.2% from the acquisition of the concessions business of Midfield Concession Enterprises, Inc in North America.

In total we are planning for revenue to be in the region of £3.4-3.5bn in 2024 with a corresponding underlying pre-IFRS 16 EBITDA within the range of £345-£375m and an underlying pre-IFRS 16 operating profit within the range of £210-235m, all stated on a constant currency basis.

Our expected performance would represent a further strong recovery in profitability despite the ongoing inflationary pressures on operating costs, which we continue to manage successfully through productivity and pricing initiatives.

Reflecting the strong momentum in the pipeline and the timing of openings, we are planning for capital expenditure to be in the region of £280m in the 2024 financial year (which includes c£30m deferred from FY2023) comprising: capital to fund our renewals and maintenance programme of c.£140m; expansion capital for new contracts of c.£80m and c.£60m reflecting the deferral of renewal and maintenance capital expenditure from the Covid-19 period. Our capital investment programme is expected to deliver in-year organic net contract gains of c.5% in 2024, with returns in line with historical levels (typically a 3-4 year discounted payback).

Medium-term outlook

Our compounding shareholder growth and returns model, aligned to our medium-term financial framework is set to deliver:

  • Sales growth ahead of pre-Covid levels, including net gains of between 3% and 5% p.a., resulting from our pivot to higher growth markets (principally the North America and APAC regions) which offer higher levels of structural demand and infrastructure growth, and where we have strong businesses with relatively low market shares and significant momentum.
  • Sustainable operating margin enhancement benefitting from operating leverage (driven by revenue growth), greater use of technology and automation and our wide-ranging efficiency programme, all of which will enable us to mitigate the impact of rising rent levels and inflationary cost increases.
  • Sustainable medium-term earnings growth driven by strong operating profit growth, with minority interest continuing to grow in line with revenue growth in countries with joint venture partnerships.
  • Capital investment funded from operating cashflow, underpinned by high returns on capital projects, with 3-4 year discounted cashflow paybacks, in line with historical performance; we expect contract renewal and maintenance capex to be on average c. 4% of Group sales and expansionary capex to be c.2-3% of Group sales, both in line with historical levels.
  • Balance sheet deleveraging, the pace of which will be determined by the scale of new business investment and value creating infill M&A.
  • Payment of the ordinary dividend with a target payout ratio of c.30-40% and surplus cash returned to shareholders in line with our capital allocation framework.

Commenting on the results, Patrick Coveney, CEO of SSP Group, said:

“This has been a year of strong financial, operational and strategic progress for SSP. We are continuing to lay the foundations for accelerated expansion in key growth markets such as North America and Asia Pacific. We are also making clear strides in enhancing our customer proposition, our digital capabilities and our sustainability initiatives. Our ongoing focus on these areas has led to SSP delivering strong like-for-like growth, high levels of new business, a robust margin recovery, and even closer relationships with our clients and brand partners. We are very pleased to be taking the important step today of proposing to reinstate the ordinary dividend.

SSP is in very good shape, and we are excited by the opportunities in front of us. We are building strong momentum across all areas of the business thanks to the efforts of our outstanding colleagues across the world, as well as the ongoing support of our clients and brand partners. The commitment of our people, the structural growth in travel demand and the strength of our business model mean we are well placed to deliver compounding growth and returns in the years to come.”



1 Stated on an underlying basis, which excludes non-underlying items as further explained in the section on Alternative Performance Measures (APMs) on pages 20-23. 

2 Underlying EBITDA (on a pre-IFRS 16 basis) is the underlying pre-IFRS 16 operating profit excluding depreciation and amortisation.

3 We have decided to maintain the reporting of our profit and other key financial measures like net debt and leverage on a pre-IFRS 16 basis. Pre-IFRS 16 profit numbers exclude the impact of IFRS 16 by removing the depreciation on right-of-use (ROU) assets and interest arising on unwinding of discount on lease liabilities, offset by the impact of adding back in charges for fixed rent. This is further explained in the section on Alternative Performance Measures (APMs) on pages 20-23.

A reconciliation of Underlying operating profit/(loss) to Free cashflow is shown on page 18.

Net debt reported under IFRS 16 includes lease liabilities whereas on a pre-IFRS 16 basis lease liabilities are excluded. Refer to ‘Net debt’ section of the ‘Financial review’ for reconciliation of net debt.

6 Constant currency for 2023 is based on average 2022 exchange rates weighted over the financial year by 2022 results. Constant currency for 2024 is based on 2023 exchange rates.