LONDON (AP) ¿ Compass Group PLC, the world's largest food service company, said Tuesday it expects revenue growth of 3 percent in the six months ending March 31, as the depreciation of the pound boosts the value of earnings in the United States and Europe.

The company said revenue was weaker in some of its services to business, industry, sports and leisure, while services to education, health facilities and remote sites performed well.

"We expect an overall favorable impact of around 70 million pounds ($100 million) on operating profit from the movement of our key currencies," the company said.

Compass said it expected revenue in North America to be up 4 percent or more, helped by new contracts with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Eastern Connecticut State University.

Continental European revenues are expected to be broadly flat compared to a year earlier, while revenue in Britain is forecast to be down 4 percent.

Compass shares were up 6.2 percent at 313.75 pence on the London Stock Exchange. The company will publish its half year results on May 13.

"In the current economic environment, volume and pricing increases will be more difficult but encouragingly, the level of new business wins in all sectors has remained strong," said Tony Shephard, analyst at Charles Stanley & Co.

He rated the shares a "buy."

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On the Net: http://www.compass-group.com

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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