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US basketball strike costs Compass

The 149-day strike by US basketball stars this autumn disrupted more than just the NBA season: Compass, the world's biggest caterer, yesterday admitted the lock-down would cost it £30m this year.

The Olympic caterer, which is cooking at the O2 Arena, Wembley Arena, Wimbledon, ExCel and Earl's Court for this summer's Games, had contracts at 21 of the 30 NBA stadia.

But despite that setback, Compass still said growth in the US was the main reason for its 8 per cent jump in revenues during the first quarter.

The group, which employs 470,000 around the world, thanked emerging markets including Brazil, Turkey, India, China and Russia for the rest of its growth.

Business wasn't so great on this side of the pond. Compass said: "Volumes in Europe have continued to be impacted by the challenging economic environment in some countries."

The caterer ladles out more than four billion meals a year to schools, offices and the military, serving 140 hot drinks every second.

"We have seen good levels of new business wins and the improved level of retention we achieved in the second half of last year has continued into the new financial year," it said.