Compass Group, the world\'s biggest caterer by sales, said on Wednesday that its annual net profits dropped 17 percent owing to the cost of restructuring operations, particularly in troubled eurozone nations. Profit after tax slid to £605 million ($962 million, 754 million euros) in the 12 months to September 30 compared with net earnings of £728 million in 2010/11, Compass said in an earnings statement. The underlying business showed strength as Compass said its sales rose 6.8 percent to £16.9 billion on growth of the business in the north America and the company\'s emerging markets such as Turkey and Brazil. Compass said it planned to repurchase £400 million of shares in 2013. \"The fundamentals of our European businesses remain solid and the decisive actions we\'re taking to improve operational efficiency are progressing well,\" Compass chief executive Richard Cousins said in the statement. \"Overall, the prospects for the business around the world are good and I remain confident that we will continue to drive revenue and margin growth.\" Compass said it had taken a hit totalling £295 million mainly related to its overhaul of southern European operations amid economic unrest in Italy, Portugal and Spain.