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Sodexo: share on benefits with broker cautious

( - This morning Sodexo said that it has defined a new roadmap to accelerate the development of its benefits and rewards activity (meal voucher business).

Following this announcement, Stifel confirms its Hold rating on the stock with a target price of 75 euros.

"Although this news could be taken negatively by the market as it was one of the pillars for some bulls, we actually consider it positive from a medium to long-term perspective given the attractiveness of this business", it says.

The analyst also points out that Sodexo has finally taken the decision not to open up the capital of its voucher unit, Benefits & Rewards (about 5% of sales/about 30% of adjusted EBIT). The decision is based on valuation, as the various offers received were well below expectations. "Our valuation points to E3-3.5bn".

"We understand the objective is still to strengthen the governance and management of the division and to accelerate growth, notably through a diversification strategy (recent management comments pointed to an interest for 'near-core' activities)," Stifel adds. "In this context Sodexo will still look at external growth opportunities".

Sodexo shares are currently the worst faller in the SBF 120 index, down almost 5% at noon today.

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