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domingo, 24 de julho de 2011

UPDATE 2-Edenred optimistic on second half after LatAm lift

* H1 revenue 501 mln euros, up 9.8 pct
* H1 vouchers issue volume up 10 pct
* First signs of stabilisation in central Europe
* Eyeing significant rise in H2 revenue, issue volume -CFO
(Adds CFO comments from call, details)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, July 18 (Reuters) - French vouchers and prepaid cards group Edenred said it was confident about the rest of the year after first-half sales were boosted by demand in Latin America and central Europe.
The company, which owns the Ticket Restaurant brand of meal vouchers, also said it benefited from sharply higher financial revenue thanks to interest rate gains.
Edenred competes with catering services companies Sodexo and Compass Group , as well as credit card networks MasterCard and Visa .
Chief Financial Officer Loic Jenouvrier said he was looking at the second half with "optimism" and "realism", and predicted a "significant" rise in revenue and issue volume.
He reiterated a goal of annual organic growth in issue volume -- the face value of its vouchers and the amount put on prepaid cards -- of 6-14 percent in the medium term.
In the first half, the volume of vouchers issued by Edenred grew 10 percent, driven by a 21 percent jump in Latin America.
Jenouvrier said Edenred was confident about second-half growth prospects in Latin America despite less favourable comparables.
Total revenue grew 9.8 percent to 501 million euros ($703 million) in the first half, helped by a 16 percent jump in like-for-like financial revenue.
Last month, domestic rival Sodexo posted a 6.2 percent rise in like-for-like vouchers revenue in the first nine months of its 2011 fiscal year, also driven by strong demand in Latin America.
Edenred split off from hotels group Accor in July 2010. Its shares closed down 0.07 percent on Monday, giving the company a market value of 4.7 billion euros. Its shares are up 18 percent this year.
The first-half sales were disclosed after the market close.
($1 = 0.713 Euros)
(Editing by Christian Plumb and David Hulmes)

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